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Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P

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Daniel Trout
Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P
on Jan 5, 2017 at 3:28:26 pm

I posted this to the forums on Adobe's site, and got a bit of good feedback, (which I will also include here,) but I wanted to know if any folks had ideas or experience anything similar.

I just recently came back to Premiere after using Final Cut Pro since version 1.2, (the last version of Premiere I was using before CC 2016 was version 5.1) First of all, my CURRENT planned workflow.

I'm working on a series of classroom training videos in which I'm shooting with two GoPro Hero5 Sessions shooting in 4K 29.97fps pointed at students (shooting the classroom cross axis,) and one JVC HM700u operating at it's native resolution of 720p 29.97fps, (the camera records in XDCAM-EX format and I'm using the Quicktime recording feature, which saves the files with a .MOV "wrapper".)

I've been stitching the sequential GoPro and HM700 files together into longer 4K ProRes 422 and 720p ProRes 422 files and then importing those into Premiere CC v.11.0 on a Windows 10 Pro system, creating a 4K multi-cam sequence using the "Synch with Audio" feature and edit accordingly.

(Jim Simon over on the Adobe forums suggested using Cineform proxies rather than ProRes 422.)

Once the edits are in place, and I've panned/zoomed the 4K footage so that the desired area of the frame is within the centered 720 frame, I nest the 4K sequence in a 720p sequence and output.

I've worked this out with an initial dry run with fairly good results, though it is a somewhat cumbersome and kludgy process. We're getting ready move into full production of this project, and I have two questions.

First, does anyone have any suggestions for a method to do some streamlining to this workflow? I've had some stability issues with this process where Premiere would just crash seemingly randomly. I found working at 1/4 res preview and frequent saving has addressed a lot of that. But, I'm expecting it to get worse as we move into much larger files generated by the actual project.

As I said, I've been back in the "Premiere" saddle for about 3 months now after about 18 years of Final Cut Pro, so I'm likely going about things a bit back-assards. The render times on stitching those GoPro clips into single ProRes files is a time-killer, and I've attempted to eliminate that by generating the multicam sequence just using the first of each of the source cameras sequential files, then using "Open In Timeline" to get access to the multi cam source and dropping the rest of the sequential clips behind the synced clips on their respective video tracks. That seemed to cause some stability issues, and I went back to ProRes 422, as I figure that would give Premiere a break on that realtime GoPro/Quicktime-flavored-XDCAM-EX interpretation that I figure was causing the instability.

Second question: On output through Premiere or through Media Encoder, I've noticed some pixellation in the 4K footage that I didn't see within Premiere. Outputting to MP4 for YouTube using 720 sequence settings. Is there something I'm missing? I know that's not a great amount of detail, but any initial thoughts as to what it could be. I figure I'm missing a check box or a specific small setting in there somewhere.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance. Loving how much Premiere has grown in the last two decades!

Daniel G. Trout
Video Production Specialist
The Roger Bacon Academy
Leland, NC

"For truly cinematic expression, the camera and the microphone must be able to cross both fire and water."
-Sensei Akira Kurosawa


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Blaise Douros
Re: Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P
on Jan 5, 2017 at 5:42:16 pm

One thing that might help you streamline your files: instead of shooting 4K on the GoPros and then zooming in, why not shoot 1080P on the narrower FOV option, and just frame the GoPro images where you want them in the first place? Seems like a waste of time and data to shoot 4K just so you can zoom in.

You may be getting pixelation on the output because you're zooming in far enough on the 4K to see a breakdown in quality. The highly compressed 4K that a GoPro shoots is not exactly the same stuff you're getting out of a real camera.

Frankly, if you were able to take my above suggestion and were running three streams of 1080P, (or two 1080P plus one 720P) there would be no reason to transcode to proxy formats. I run multicam sequences with three streams of compressed 1080P all the time, with no performance issues. Select your Camera 1 file first (I assume the JVC, since it would be a continuous file with continuous audio), and then the GoPro files, and create an audio-synced Multicam sequence. Then the original media all goes into one Multicam sequence. You'll need to do a little organization of that sequence, moving cameras to the correct tracks, that sort of thing, but it'll take less time than transcoding all your media.


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Daniel Trout
Re: Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P
on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:20:29 pm

The reason I'm shooting 4K is that I don't know where I'll want the shot centered on a moment by moment basis. The GoPros are shooting a classroom full of students, and I want to be able to focus on individuals and small groups of students, depending on activity.

I'm not actually zooming INTO the 4K footage, just selecting or panning across the 4K image in a 720 frame, keeping the 4K at it's native resolution. If I do any zooming at all, I just scale the 4K down a bit to include more of the 4K image in the 720 frame, so that's not what's going on with the pixelation. It may indeed be a field dominance issue in there somewhere, but I'm not sure.

Daniel G. Trout
Video Production Specialist
The Roger Bacon Academy
Leland, NC

"For truly cinematic expression, the camera and the microphone must be able to cross both fire and water."
-Sensei Akira Kurosawa


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Blaise Douros
Re: Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P
on Jan 5, 2017 at 8:12:41 pm

Got it. I wasn't clear that you were moving the frame around to highlight groups of students--I thought you were just taking a single crop and leaving it there!


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Blaise Douros
Re: Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P
on Jan 5, 2017 at 5:46:11 pm

Oh, regarding pixelation of GoPro shots: it occurs to me that you may want to check your field settings for your output--if the JVC's XDCAM codec is forcing an upper or lower-field-first timeline, there may be a conflict with your GoPro media, which is fully progressive. Does this make sense?


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Jeff Pulera
Re: Intercutting 4K GoPro and 720P in MultiCam to output cropped/panned/scanned 720P
on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:29:20 pm

If I'm understanding the workflow correctly, it may be incorrect/not optimal.

If you are putting the 4K footage into a 4K sequence, and doing pan/zoom in that sequence, you are immediately losing quality the moment you scale past 100%. Since you want to export as 720p, then edit ALL FOOTAGE in a 720p sequence, not 4K.

You shouldn't need nesting, just put the two clips into the 720p Sequence and edit them. I don't use MultiCam either. Put "Main" camera on V2, and other cam on V1. With a wedding for example, the wide shot/balcony cam will be on V1. The V2 cam follows the action. I scrub through V2 clip, and whatever parts of clip I don't want to keep gets cut away, revealing other V1 cam footage below (my go-to shot).

For the 4K clip, be sure to right-click in timeline and select Set to Frame Size. This will allow you to pan/zoom while retaining the quality made available by all the extra 4K pixels in a 720p frame size. Do NOT use Scale to Frame Size, that dumbs down the 4K footage to 720p before you ever start scaling.

When scaling the 4K footage - just put a razor cut in clip each time you want to change scaling, like wide to close. Otherwise, you are dealing with lots of tedious keyframe work. By cutting clip into pieces, each piece is then treated individually when applying Motion effect. Remember, you can Copy/Paste Attributes from one clip to another which can really speed up production rather than configuring each clip one by one.

I've been shooting 4K stage events on wide angle, then I edit in 720p sequence and I can zoom in very far without degradation.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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