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Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?

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Michael Angelo
Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 10:03:00 pm

Hello CC peeps,

So as far as I can see, after much testing, it seems the best transcode from GoPro Hero Black Mp4 to ProRes 422 is done inside of FCPX, everything else seems to negatively effect the gamma. There is still a slight shift in phase but I can tackle that in correction, not too much is lost. I compared all of these transcode methods using a difference matte, a very interesting exercise to be sure.

I've uploaded frame grabs from these various transcode methods to dropbox :

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qr6qkswuy4ix6ks/Jcu-fwanpO

The file names are in the bottom right corner of these images for your own reference in case you care to take a peak:


ORIGINAL GOPRO MP4 - GOPR0073orig_mp4.jpg
AFTER EFFECT PRORES 422 - GOPR0073ae422.jpg
COMPRESSOR 4 PRORES 422 - GOPR0073comprs4_422.jpg
COMPRESSOR 4 PRORES 422 NO AUTO GAMMA - GOPR0073comprs4_422noautogamma.jpg
FCPX PRORES 422 - GOPR0073fcpx422.jpg
MPEG STREAM CLIP PRORES 422 - GOPR0073mpegstrmclip422.jpg
QUICKTIME 7 PRORES 422 - GOPR0073qt7_422.jpg
QUICKTIME 7 PRORES 422 NO AUTO GAMMA- GOPR0073qt7_422noautogamma.jpg

Here's the rub: I want to transcode to ProRes LT!! FCPX doesn't seem to do this. Yes yes I KNOW "drive space is cheap" which you hear over and over but I have my reasons to transcode to ProRes LT as I have a TONS of GoPro footage and am saving my straight ProRes 422 transcodes for 5D, 7D and RED footage, I could go on and on and would prefer not to have a Prores 422 vs ProRes LT debate.

Any ideas on how to transcode GoPro to ProRes LT and get the relative quality of transcode I got from FCPX ie it does the best job and doesn't mess up the gamma? Due to a bug in FCPX I had to transcode all of my 5D mark iii footage to ProRess 422 using FCP 7, it worked like gang busters but there is no MP4 plugin for FCP7 log and transfer, so can't get GoPro reels to load.

Many thanks in advance this forum rocks!!

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 10:22:01 pm

BTW I'm tempted to use Cineform as it looks the best after transcoding but I'm worried how a "non ProRes Codec" will perform in FCPX with a feature docs worth of footage, having mutli cam and compound clips mixing cineform with pro res etc. I may have to given the way other transcode paths seem to step on the image. Thoughts? Experience with GoPro heavy shows?

hmmmmmm....

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:13:39 pm

Sourcing directly from Cineform codec in FCPX not looking so good even per their website:

https://cineform.zendesk.com/entries/20328292-Final-Cut-Pro-X-Import-and-Pl...

To get a quality transcode to ProRes LT however may need to look into the Cineform Studio Premium software, anyone using it?

http://cineform.com/products/gopro-cineform-studio-premium#meta

It does export ProRes:

https://cineform.zendesk.com/entries/515450-Conversion-and-pre-processing-o...

Really curious what Pro Res out of Cineform Studio Premium app looks like. The stuff I converted to Cineform codec using their free app Cineform Studio looked exactly like originals out of GoPro Hero Black 3:

http://gopro.com/software-app/cineform-studio/

Interesting learning curve to be sure...

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:25:22 pm

You can download a free demo of the pro and premiere versions. of Cineform Studio

I'm new Cineform Studio, but it seems that you use the app to convert the MP4 into the Cineform codec. Then you apply LUTs within Cineform Studio. You can import those files into FCPX and change the LUTs within Cineform. Those changes seem to update immediately in FCPX.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:32:41 pm

Yep that's the work flow and the paid versions do ProRes export tho not sure if they can embed non destructive LUTs.

Looks like a good prospective solution!

Cheers

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:33:36 pm

This is by no means scientific, but I just did a quick test with some 2k GoPro footage. I found that I was able to get a better grade on the footage doing the grade in X on the original MP4 vs using Cineform, applying a LUT and then importing to X/color correcting in X.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:03:57 pm

If your system is fast enough, you could choose to not transcode. Just edit with the native MP4s. I've been doing that lately and it's been fine. I start a project next week that's shot entirely with GoPro (approx 10 hrs) and I don't plan on transcoding unless the timeline really bogs down.. We'll have to start editing immediately.

FCPX will transcode to LT if you want to make proxies of the footage. But it will be at 960x720. You could do that and copy all those files elsewhere to become your new masters if the smaller raster size is ok for you.

Or, you could have FCP do the transcode to full ProRes and then use Compressor to transcode those into ProRes LT. I would assume Compressor would get the gamma right on a Prores to Prores conversion.

Have you tried Adobe Media Encoder or Episode? I know there can be a gamma shift with AME. There's also the pro version of Cineform which might transcode to Prores.

Is space the only reason why you want to use LT? How much footage do you have? According to AJA Data Calc, there's a 12GB difference between 1 hr of LT and 1 hour of ProRes 422.

Even if your system is fast enough to deal with M4Vs or mixed codecs, you might find the process of editing to go smoother if everything is in the same codec. This might become more apparent as your timeline gets complicated.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:30:54 pm

Hey Michael Garber

I haven't tried Adobe Media Encoder or Episode yet, will explore that. As far as working with original MP4s I am concerned about performance, mixed codec compound and multi cam clips, looks like cineform codec is no better:

https://cineform.zendesk.com/entries/20328292-Final-Cut-Pro-X-Import-and-Pl...

Double transcoding seems too lossy and definitely want to keep the full 1920x1080, but like that you are thinking outside the box. I've got so much GoPro footage and more coming in that LT seems the best bet, it's to my understanding that ProRes LT saves 30% on space which is awesome:

http://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/professionalformatsandworkflo...

I'm going to try the trial version of Cineform Studio Premium this weekend and see what's up cuz if it does a good LT transcode that would be perfect:

http://cineform.com/products/gopro-cineform-studio-premium#meta

I hope your GoPro Project goes well. GoPro is a cool little camera despite some shortcomings. Been working on a battery hack as that seems to be the biggest shortcoming with their latest edition. The footage looks pretty darn good if you record with Protune on and apparently the Cineform Studio Premium and Professional apps can do a variety of non-destructive LUTs, would be interesting to see how all that fits into a FCPX workflow.

Really appreciate you reaching back, it's such a great think tank here

Cheers

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:38:52 pm

You can also try 5DtoRGB. I know a lot of people like it when converting from GH2 or 5D footage to Prores. It does some filtering on the red channel, I believe, so that you get a better conversion from 420 to 422.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:43:44 pm

Just tried Remaster - there is no gamma change when converting to LT.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 12:10:06 am

Hey Michael Garber,

Wow 5D2RGB looks cool...

Claims a better conversion than Canon's E1 Plugin which I have found is hands down the best after using difference mattes and waveforms to compare transcodes.

I've already transcoded the entire features worth of 5D for editing, hope it's not too good otherwise will have to start over for everything. Better to discover this stuff now at the front that's for sure.

I had seen 5D2RGB in threads but thought it was a setting not a stand alone piece of software.

Will dive into 5D2RGD and Cineform Studio Premium over the weekend.

Thanks so much!

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 12:13:58 am

Just curious. How much gopro footage is there?

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Andy Neil
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 12:20:02 am

It was kinda hard to tell by flipping through the images, but the Compressor with no auto gamma seemed pretty close to the original. You can also add a gamma adjust in the inspector so if the gamma shift is consistent throughout your footage, you can just create a preset with the gamma shift accounted for and get your pro res lt.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 12:51:22 am

Hey Andy,

If you want to really analyze the difference simply download photos and review, I use difference mattes in Smoke for Mac... Really looking for a solution that respects the integrity of the original image rather than tweaking something that doesn't. Do appreciate the idea tho and I thought about playing with compressor values but prefer again to use something that gets it out the gate ;)

Hope u r well

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Oliver Peters
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 12:52:10 pm

My SOP is to use MPEG Streamclip. Quality is fine, you can batch and run 4 simultaneous processes. Then conform to 23.98 (if needed) with Cinema Tools and add Reel/TC with QtChange.

GoPro MP4 footage looks terrible to start with, so there's little you can to to it to make it worse. I have had some nice results with their timelapse, especially with the new versions where you start with 4kx3k JPEGs. Also some of the new cameras do 2700 pixel wide MP4s, so the compression artifacts are reduced in size once the image is scaled to 1080.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 5:15:24 pm

Hey Oliver.

When you project the shots in a full size movie theatre, you can really see the difference, so going to take the highest signal path and do everything possible to respect original integrity of the original image.

Thanks for the shout Oliver... Have read many of your thread responses, learned lots of great things from them.

Cheers

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Oliver Peters
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 5:49:35 pm

[Michael Angelo] "When you project the shots in a full size movie theatre, you can really see the difference, so going to take the highest signal path and do everything possible to respect original integrity of the original image."

Well sure, but you are starting with a poor image as the original. If the objective is full screen projection, then I wouldn't go to LT. I'd go to ProResHQ, since you have more latitude for grading and further rendering.

I doubt you'll see any difference between conversion using MPEG Streamclip or Compressor since they both tap into the same QuickTime engine under-the-hood. The 5DtoRGB folks might give the best results, since they do more with antialiasing. I'm not sure if that makes a difference with the GoPros, since they may or may not employ the type of line skipping that Canon does.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 5:53:43 pm

Hey Oliver

Did you compare these transcode test images

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qr6qkswuy4ix6ks/Jcu-fwanpO

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Oliver Peters
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 7:09:58 pm

[Michael Angelo] "Did you compare these transcode test images"

I see color and gamma differences, but these don't bother me, since I assume a final grade in the end. A lot of that depends on which application you used to decode the playback. Again QT is generally the culprit.

Otherwise - in terms of noise and artifacts - they all look about the same. Assuming you neutralize for consistent contrast. Hard to tell with web JPEGs.

Of course, the less light the camera has, the worse the images will be.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Will Granzier
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 24, 2013 at 5:52:16 pm

Hi

I have been using 2 options and they work like a dream..

First up I use MpegStreamclip.... does it in a breeze
If you want to go a bit more upscale with more options on the export Episode does a good
Job as well, nut u have to buy the package ... Streamclip is free

William


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 25, 2013 at 9:29:37 pm

Thanks for feedback William and Oliver.

William I am not familiar with Episode, will explore that one...

Oliver I agree, LT is prolly not good enough for projection. I totally get the "quicktime under the hood", it's what you would expect and hope but difference matting and close inspection seems to reveal a variety of variations, ah computers. I reposted uncompressed TIFs from the original frame grabs given your comment about evaluating JPEGs in case it's a useful for discussion. They are larger files but a relatively fast download, make sure to download by right clicking to get full rez TIF and not JPEGs:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qr6qkswuy4ix6ks/Jcu-fwanpO

Oliver I do agree color correction can deal with much of the variance from the original when it comes to phase but I'd expect some loss in the details of the blacks given the change in gamma as it seems to crush the blacks a bit in a lot of the transcodes.

What was really interesting was testing Cineform and 5DtoRGB this weekend, here are some results so far:

1) Using Cineform Studio Premium app to convert GoPro MP4, 5D mark iii plus Canon 7D to quicktimes with the cineform codec look almost exactly like the originals. I was unable to use Cinefrom to create ProRes. Cineform website says that with "Apple Pro Tools" installed it can export ProRes, spent hours trying figure that one out hit a wall, going to contact them directly.

3) Meanwhile onto 5DtoRGB. In my opinion the transcodes using 5DtoRGB over all look superior. FCPX is a close second as both apps seem to have drawbacks in how they reproduce color but surprisingly looks like there is some type of chroma edge artifact that FCPX and FCP7 E01 plugin introduces. I've uploaded a difference matte between FCPX and 5dtoRGB transcode along with the other reference images pinpointing the issue:

GOPR0073fcpx422_vs_5D2RGB422_diffmatte.tif

4) Upon deeper inspection I found this chroma edge artifact in all of my FCPX and Canon E01 FCP7 transcodes for my 5D and 7D footage, ay carumba! It's interesting to note that 5DtoRGB website seems to boast a superior transcode in the RED channel (seems to be true) but the GREEN and BLUE channels in the FCPX and Canon E01 FCP7 transcodes look a little better. In the end I still like the 5DtoRGB one better especially with the chroma edging artifact. introduced by FCPX and FCP7 E01 plugin.

Good times to be sure. Gonna trudge ahead using 5DtoRGB for GoPro transcodes and editing with proxies for now, I can always replace the ProRes later after continuing research. I'm also considering re-transcoding all my 5D and 7D ProRes with 5DtoRGB to ProRes at a later date.

Appreciate everyone taking a peak and taking the time to offer feedback.

Cheers

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Michael Garber
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 25, 2013 at 10:15:14 pm

Michael-

Did you try using Remaster, which comes with Cineform suite? You can make the conversions to ProRes with that program and I saw absolutely no difference between the two frames. Also you never answered - how much GoPro footage will you be dealing with?

Also, with Remaster, you can feed it the original MP4 files straight from the GoPro. No need to transcode to Cineform.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 25, 2013 at 10:50:47 pm

Hey Michael Garber,

Aha ReMaster, now I see that's what you need to use to export ProRes out of Cineform, thanks for catching that!

Meanwhile exported using Remaster with both Filter to 420 to 422 on and off, either way the first frame of clip was thrown away and the transcode looks pretty awful, very strange, I'm still demo-ing the software but still...

Hard to evaluate how much GoPro footage we have, guessing under a Terabyte of original raw footage tho may grow to a Terabyte in the end.

So far 5DtoRGB seems to be the big winner regarding quality of transcode...

Thanks for the shout

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Eric Santiago
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Aug 26, 2013 at 1:10:17 pm

Im not sure if its mentioned here but there are issues with CineForm and Adobe products installed on the same system (both platforms).
We had issues with round tripping QT movies from Premiere to After Effects due to CineForm installed on same workstation.
This was back in CS 5.5 and 6 from my experience.
We also found the issue from AE to FCPX and back.
Didnt affect any of our RESOLVE or REDCineX workflows since thats all R3Ds.
THe issue is that the QT file becomes un-recognized.
Bizzare and still havent botheres to report it.
Un-installed CineForm on OS X and Windows 7 and now all good.


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juliet zhu
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Nov 27, 2014 at 7:25:22 am
Last Edited By juliet zhu on Nov 27, 2014 at 7:29:32 am

One possible reason is that you did not copy the entire card folder from your camcorder. FCP requires videos metadata while ingesting. I got a tool to deinterlace Mp4 videos to FCP X. That way works well.





http://format-changes.over-blog.com


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Michael Angelo
Re: Getting the best transcode from GoPro to ProRes LT for use in FCPX?
on Nov 29, 2014 at 1:11:50 am

So far very happy with 5D2RGB it's as good as native encode through FcP7 and FCPX

Thanks

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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