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Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?

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Danny Mulen
Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:43:31 am

As far as I understand the ProRes codec in FCPX is 10bit and according to some it allows for "better color correction".

What I really want to know is which program, between FCPX and Premiere Pro 5.5, has the best output quality in the final render. I will be sharing my music videos with the internet through YouTube and Video if this matters - and I want the highest quality outputs I can get.

This is one side of the debate that never gets discussed, why is that? Are Premiere codecs just as good?


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Shane Ross
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:01:33 am

[Danny Mulen] "Are Premiere codecs just as good?"

There is no such thing as a "Premiere codec." Unlike Avid that has DNxHD...and Apple that has ProRes...Adobe does not have an internal codec. It relies on Avid's DnxHD codec or Apple's ProRes codec for high res output. Or the multitude of other codecs that exist.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:02:01 am

There are no "Premiere codecs"; Premiere is codec independent. You can output Prores from Premiere, same thing as you would get from FCPX. Or you could choose any other codec that is available on your system. For Youtube or Vimeo... it doesn't really make that much of a difference since your final result will be heavily compressed anyway.


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Shane Ross
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:05:11 am

[Frank Gothmann] "You can output Prores from Premiere, same thing as you would get from FCPX"

Unless you are on a PC. Then you need to use DNxHD or other codec. If going to YouTube...exporting to H.264 is best, and that is a standard codec.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:07:53 am

True, I assumed he was on a Mac anyway since he was enquiring about FCPX.


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Danny Mulen
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:14:34 am

Yes I am on a Mac and trying to pick between Premiere and FCPX and because Vimeo seems to offer much higher quality video than YouTube I want my files to be of the highest quality (sorry if I sound ridiculous, I just want to understand).

I am using a Canon EOS 60D DSLR to shoot all my video at 1920x1080x24p and they are saved as .MOVs in my memory card. I am just looking for the best workflow for me and trying to figure out how to get the best quality render.

If Premiere can use ProRes (can someone tell me how btw?), then I will learn Premiere because my entire setup is Adobe. I use Lightroom, Photoshop and want to get into After Effects later too.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:31:58 am

[Danny Mulen] "If Premiere can use ProRes (can someone tell me how btw?)"

You simply import it as you would with any other .mov and when you export you choose Prores (or .h264 or whatever codec you want) along with your other export settings. There is nothing special there with regards to Prores in Premiere.
I assume you have the Prores codec already on your system. If not and you don't want to spend any money for an app that brings it along get the free Avid DnxHD codecs. Won't cost you a thing, also 10bit, same quality as Prores and cross-platform.


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Danny Mulen
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:57:21 am

If I have FCPX already installed in my system, and I'm just a basic user who's going to make short films (4 to 15 minutes max), is there a reason i shouldn't learn what I have? I keep reading that "FCPX isn't professional" and it's much "slower than Premiere" because of how often it needs to render. If I import all my MOVs as ProRes in FCPX wont the render times be cut drastically?

Also, if I stick with FCPX how hard would it be to transition into After Effects for further processing, and more importantly, how much quality would be lost? Quality is my most important concern here.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 4:37:37 am

Quality really depends on how your footage was shot - lighting, focus, camera placement etc and then how you handle it throughout post. Either program can give you an excellent end result.

If you already have FCPX I would spend some time learning it and see how you like it - it is a lot of fun to use and has much better tools than PPro for color timing and output.

If you find you don't like FCPX you can always download a fully functional 30 day trial of PPro and check it out. I think if you learn FCPX properly you'll end up liking it a lot in the end.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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T. Payton
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 4:13:03 pm

You're right FCP X rendering on the timeline is slower than FCP 7 (and others). Mainly because it is rendering in very high quality float (not 24 bit or 32 bit but "float"). Render time is also compounded because when rendering the timeline it doesn't utilize the GPU. However, when exporting FCP X does use the GPU to render and it is about 10x as fast as rendering on the timeline (yes 10 times as fast). Here are some test: http://fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/2175-looking-for-a-reason-to-act...

Most of my clients review proofs on YouTube, and I am frankly shocked at the speed of FCP X. I never render my timeline, no matter the codec, I just export and it is about 1.5x times real time including upload. So for a 5 minute video, from the moment I click "Share to YouTube" until I back to working, 7 minutes. And I'm on a 2006 MacPro.

I haven't tested Premier Pro, but I hear it is quite fast.

Concerning the "not professional". That is a big can of worms. However in my book a screwdriver can be a professional tool, not because it has a ton of features, but it is dependable reliable and becomes an effortless extension of the person using it. FCP X "can" do nearly anything (I worked on a students feature length film this fall. It worked but was painful.) But I would not consider FCP X a "professional tool" not because of the lack of features, but because of it not being dependable and has many omissions. The crazy thing is that I can recognize it's brilliance, and I can see great potential, which is drawing me to it. I did a project a month ago, editing in FCP X on set, did several revisions with posting on YouTube for the client, and FCP X was glorious. Not a single hangup! Unbelievably good! But not all projects go that way. With my current projects I afford a bit of a learning curve and a bit of downtime, so I am quite content learning FCP X and seeing what pans out. However, if I had a very large production and lots of people depending on me, I would be a fool to use anything less than the most dependable NLE I could find.

With that said, I would encourage you to test both Premier Pro and FCP X on a project. Adobe does an excellent job on their products, and Premier Pro is much more of a swiss army knife than FCP X. Both can do the job, but you need to determine if the hope of FCP X is worth hanging around while Apple fixes it.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 6:19:59 pm

Concur with leaving rendering off on timeline - the truth is FCPX seems about as fast as PPro with a qualified CUDA card so there isn't really a need to render until output. The only stuttering I've found is using 3rd party FX - all the built-in effects and color run really smooth without rendering, even stack multiple Color FX and sharpen.

Not sure what you mean by PPro being much more of a Swiss Army knife than FCPX - unless you're talking about how it works with other Adobe apps?

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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T. Payton
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 7:05:51 pm

[Lance Bachelder] "Not sure what you mean by PPro being much more of a Swiss Army knife than FCPX"

This is another can of worms. I'm sure Shane could speak at length about this. But FCP X just isn't there as a serious production tool able to handle many different workflows. Features like broadcast monitoring, tape import/output, EDL, XML, OMF Import/Export, batch export, Proper handling of anamorphic Footage, etc. PPro also has extensive codec support.

I know FCP X could and will have some of these features (and I hope it does!) but it is not there yet.

BTW. I really like FCP X alot, and for my workflow it is working well (no tape, 90% of work ends up on the web, simple collaboration needs), but it is obvious that it is not as flexible as other NLEs.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Dominic Deacon
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:54:40 pm

What were the issues you came up against that made work on the feature film "painful"?


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T. Payton
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 6, 2012 at 5:02:17 pm

First let me clarify that this was not a feature film, but a feature length student film. About 2000 edits. 90 ish minutes long, so it is "feature like". I got the assembly edit that was done in iMovie and tightened the edits (hundreds of l & J cuts), audio sweetened, color correction and a bit of looks. This was not a high end project by any means, but was still a large amount of work.

I'll share a few of the benefit below, but to answer your question the thing that caused pain was what I call the "database bloat bug". When a project/event gets over a certain size, between 40-60MB things in FCP X get very slow (at least on my MacPro). And since the database is written with every keystroke and click (hence 'automatic saving') , FCP X slows to a crawl while editing. (I was about to bail and go back to FCP 7 several times, but I figured out a few workarounds http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/21342#21399 .) I have confirmed this on multiple machines. Here is a bit more info where I outlined some of the issues specifically with this project:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/21413

On a positive note here are some good things I encountered:

1-Grouping sections in compound clips
Incredible time saver and helped to organize the project. There were about 25 sections. I could open one at a time and work as needed but still have an eye on the big picture. I can't imagine working any other way. I see one big timelines of feature films in FCP 7 or Avid and there is no grouping of scenes. I can't imagine the difficulty of working that way.

2-Adjustment layers for applying grades
This was again an incredible time saver. For each location, I applied a basic look to the adjustment layer and then tweaked an individual clip as necessary. When the director asked to make a flash back sequence look more romantic and less contrasty, it was a matter of changing one adjustment layer.

3-Roles
Since I was doing the sweetening in FCP X, I created audio Roles Dialog, SFX, Music, and Ambient. Video roles for Effect Shots, Adjustment Layer, and Titles. I could easily solo a role, or highlight as I made a sweetening pass. The roles can be turned on and off regardless if the role resides in a compound clip or not. Which meant I could be on the master timeline where I was viewing the major sections and still toggle roles. Very cool.

4-To Do Markers
These made revisions from the director almost fun. ;)

5-Magnetic Timeline
After the first or second full review by the director (I supplied those on DVD, no chapter markers for scenes was a big negative BTW). There was a scene that needed to be shortened and rearranged. In FCP 7 this would have been a terrifying task and taken considerable time. In FCP 10, it was effortless. It was so easy that it emboldened me to be very free in trimming a few frames here and there rather than thinking it was going to be a daunting task to make a proper selection to remove a frame from a shot. The only gotcha is that I needed to trim or extend the compound clip in it's parent because the in out point of the compound clip is set in the parent.

6-Secondary Color Correction
I was a heavy Color user and while FCP X only has a small subset of features from Color, the secondary color correctors in FCP X are wonderfully easy and always real time. Correcting for light spill with a mask, adding a linear gradient to a sky and some tweaking a big of color with a range was wonderfully fast.

7-Using and Stock Footage, Music, etc.
In FCP 7 I have had to been meticulous organizer of assets for stock footage, needle drops or stills. Carefully copying them to the project assets folder and then importing them into FCP 7. I used digital haven's "loader" in recent years to help with this. However in FCP X there is no need since I was letting it organize my footage with "copy to File Cut Pro Event" enabled. I would download whatever, drag it to my event or the timeline and get back to editing. I only had to transcode some public domain FLV footage, but all other media types came in without transcoding.

8 - Auditions
I used auditions on all my effect shots so I could flip back and forth between the original shot and the effect shot in the timeline. Kept things very clean and tidy in the timeline and it was a nice way to show the director shots.

In summary, I believe FCP X could handle a feature length project without much issue, that is when Apple deals with the database problem. Of course when it came to spitting out an ELD for conforming, that is another issue altogether.

I hope this helps.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Paul Jay
Re: Is ProRes codec better than what Premiere uses?
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:30:47 am

You do need to consider your type of Premiere Sequence settings right?

Editing ProRes in a Premiere HDV sequence will not give you ProRes quality on export.


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