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Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X

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Rob Mackintosh
Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 24, 2012 at 10:54:04 pm

I thought I would try bringing in the raw Cinema DNG files from John Brawley's recent shoot into Final Cut Pro X

I have no idea what is going on under the hood, and I'm not suggesting this is the best approach to maximise image quality, but the following workflow produced a reasonable result.

Imported files with "Import folders as Keyword Collections" selected.

Selected each keyword collection for the individual shots and created 1080 24p compound clips. Opened up and set duration of the images to 1 frame. Dropped onto a 1080 24p timeline (ProRes 444)

Playback was realtime (playback quality high) off my internal hard drive and even with the grade applied near realtime. Off faster storage and with a newer machine (I'm using a late 2009 iMac) I'd expect good performance.

Used my free effect wvl_RGBbalance to complete a base grade. Nothing fancy here, just trying to balance each shot. I'm sure the color board would produce similar results. I started using the color board but I find the squeel less than ideal when correcting color casts.
Also using wvl_RGBbalance allowed the screenshots to show the whole correction.

Exported to Vimeo using built-in export, multi-pass enabled.
Exporting ProRes 444 to disk took around 60 seconds for the graded 23 second timeline.

Before/after screenshots from FCP X available here.


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Bret Williams
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 25, 2012 at 12:55:25 am

I find the corrector in X much better than 7, except the image mask doesn't quite have the same functionality. But inside / outside masks are great and well worth the loss of 3 way cc.


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Rick Lang
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 25, 2012 at 1:48:56 pm

[Rob Mackintosh] "Playback was realtime (playback quality high) off my internal hard drive and even with the grade applied near realtime. Off faster storage and with a newer machine (I'm using a late 2009 iMac) I'd expect good performance.
"


Rob, lovely work!

Resolve 9 gives me kernel panics! Sorry to trouble you but would you be so kind and let me know more about your iMac (late 2009)? I continually crash in Resolve 9 just adding to the Media Pool on my 2009 iMac with 16 GB RAM, 2 TB internal 7200 rpm drive, ATI 4850 GPU. I know my machine and card are not supported by BMD but I was functional with Resolve 8.2.

Thank you so much for any help! I suspect my problem is the GPU but I don't know how to fix it.

ATI Radeon HD 4850:

Chipset Model: ATI Radeon HD 4850
Type: GPU
Bus: PCIe
PCIe Lane Width: x16
VRAM (Total): 512 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x944a
Revision ID: 0x0000
ROM Revision: 113-B9110C-425
EFI Driver Version: 01.00.383
Displays:
iMac:
Display Type: LCD
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Built-In: Yes
Connection Type: DisplayPort
Apple Cinema HD Display:
Display Type: LCD
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Rotation: Supported

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Rick Lang
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 25, 2012 at 1:55:34 pm

[Rob Mackintosh] "Playback was realtime (playback quality high) off my internal hard drive and even with the grade applied near realtime. Off faster storage and with a newer machine (I'm using a late 2009 iMac) I'd expect good performance.
"


Rob, lovely work!

Rob, ignore my request re Resolve 9 if you also haven't been able to use it. Just noticed your post is FCPX, not Resolve 9! I'm still half asleep and had just finished reading Juan Salvo's tutorial on "Share It Maybe"....

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Rob Mackintosh
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 26, 2012 at 12:58:57 am

Thanks Rick.

I can't run Resolve on this iMac hence the experimentation with FCP X. I bought it before falling back into the video world so it's only the Core2 Duo model with the 256Mb graphics card. Still with 16GB ram it does surprisingly well with FCPX Motion and the Adobe CS6 suite.

I took a look at what FCPX is doing in the background with these DNGs. lt's creating 2400 x 1350 ProRes 422 frames (about 1MB) on the fly as you play (when playback quality set to high) and skim the image sequence in the event and project. These are stored within the default Event/Render Files/High Quality Media. ProRes 422 is used even if you set the compound clip and project to ProRes 444. Seems to be some intelligent caching so if you've clicked on a bunch of individual frames within the event then when dropped into the timeline the playback will be smoother. I was getting realtime playback in the project timeline because I'd viewed most of the clips already in the event. When importing check the "create optimized media" checkbox to have these files created from the get go

[If you select a compound clip or an individual frame right click - transcode media - create proxy media ( optimised is greyed out) - then 500KB 2048 x 1152 jpegs are created within the proxy media folder along with a 2400 x 1350 ProRes frame in the High Quality Media folder.]

If you export without rendering the timeline any frames that haven't been played/skimmed are created before export and exporting times will increase significantly. Even if you choose to export an image sequence as DPX or as ProRes 444 file (using export media) the frames are still created as ProRes 422.

If you render a ProRes 444 timeline then 1920x1080 ProRes 444 render files are created inside the project folder as well as 2400 x 1350 Pro Res 422 frames within the event. I think FCPX is using the Event ProRes 422 as an intermediate file to render the ProRes 444. If you then delete the event files the ProRes 444 are used on export. No ProRes 422 frames are created if you use Compressor to export ProRes 444 but they are when using compressor settings.


So my takeaway from this little bit of unscientific testing:

- if you want to follow the workflow in my original post stick with ProRes 422 compound clips and projects as FCPX appears to be processing internally with this codec (much like Smoke 2012 and earlier did with DPX). . You're not going to want to grade and edit a feature like this, but I think it's a viable option for smaller jobs.

- if you need ProRes 444 then transcode the Cinema DNGs prior to importing into FCPX. (You could try deleting all event render files, leaving rendering till export and using compressor).

Sorry this probably belongs in the techniques forum.


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Rick Lang
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 26, 2012 at 5:02:08 am

Thanks so much for the detailed analysis! Very kind.

I assume your references to the image sizes as 2350x1400 are supposed to be 2400x1350, the size of the debayered Cinema DNG images. Fascinating how FCPX is handling it.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Rob Mackintosh
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 26, 2012 at 8:22:03 am

Yes I noticed that and corrected it. Thanks. Young kids = not enough sleep.

Another workflow option is to use Aperture to perform an initial grade and pull the frames in via the media browser.

This imports the Aperture preview file, which if you have it set to the maximum quality of 12 results in a 3.5MB jpeg for each DNG. These are only 8 bit but there's no chroma subsampling at jpeg quality of 12 (not sure about Aperture but kicks in round 7 in Photoshop) so they're 444. They look pretty good.

Interestingly I noticed FCPX was creating the same ProRes 422 render files with these as well. Brought in a few tif and canon raw files and the same thing occurred.

It appears FCPX conforms all image files to ProRes 422 rec709 at their original raster. The file is created as soon as you click on the still in the event or on import if create optimised media is selected.


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Rick Lang
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 26, 2012 at 1:21:07 pm

Yes, I've used Aperture and amazingly, even Preview does an appealing beauty grade in a TIFF version of the DNG. I didn't realize that could be pulled into FCPX and automagically convert to ProRes 4:4:4. It looks good on the iMac. That was just for fun, but using Aperture, it's easy to apply the first grade of a single DNG to all selected frames with the Lift and Stamp tools. Doesn't replace DaVinci of course for finishing with the limited functionality but it does work in its own fashion for grading. And Aperture includes Noise Reduction which of course I don't have in DaVinci Lite so I played with that too. Lovely stuff having raw video! Casey Burgess should be the poster child for the BMCC!

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Rob Mackintosh
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 26, 2012 at 9:06:33 pm

I've used Lightroom since version 1 but the integration with FCP X might see me spending more time in Aperture. To be clear, it's Aperture that's generating the 444 file as an 8 bit jpeg. When you bring it into FCP X there optimised to ProRes 422. You could always export 8 or 16 bit tiffs and import into FCPX.


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Rick Lang
Re: Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNGs graded in Final Cut Pro X
on Aug 26, 2012 at 9:55:11 pm

Is there any value in using the 16-bit TIFFs in this workflow?

I had created 8-bit TIFFS in Aperture because I thought FCPX was converting the TIFFs to 8-bit ProRes but if FCPX will convert the 16-bit TIFFs from Aperture to 10-bit ProRes(HQ), then that's a superior option. No point in losing any colour resolution if the whole point is to take advantage of the BMCC's capabities. Of course 16-bit TIFFs will take about 20 MB per frame! Not a long-term strategy but okay while learning. Best long-term strategy remains Resolve 9 on a new iMac or Mac Pro next year when I can budget an upgrade and a BMCC purchase. Other priorities this year... my first grandchild arrived in July!

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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