4k editing workflow
We're considering shooting our doc feature all in 4k with the Sony FS5. I've never really worked with 4k files before other than dropping a few of them in a 1080 timeline. For a feature, would you import + create proxy/optimized media files? So, the optimized files would be your master files? Let's say I edit proxy files in a 1080 timeline, if I wanted to output everything at 4k, do i create a new 4k timeline and copy everything to that one? or change the settings of original 1080 timeline? confused at that point.
Depends entirely on the speed of the system. If it's a MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt drives- proxy all the way. If it's a Mac Pro 12 core with fiber channel raid, you could cut at 4K. If I'm not mistaken, the F55 shoots a proprietary Sony RAW format that needs to be transcoded regardless. So as with all post workflows- test test test.
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*FS5, but yeah you can't edit natively with footage from that either. I would probably have to edit in a 1080 timeline, but now sure how to output to 4k at the end of my edit. Just relink to my optimized media + export 4k?
Generally you start with original media timeline settings and then switch to proxy media for edit, then back to original for final export. All of this needs to be done within X for best results- ie ingest original media, edit proxy, export original res as final output.
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For my RED workflow with Premiere and FCPX I usually do the switch at Resolve.
But yes, its fun editing in 4K plus in FCPX natively :)
[Elizabeth Perlman] "I would probably have to edit in a 1080 timeline, but now sure how to output to 4k at the end of my edit. Just relink to my optimized media + export 4k?"
FCPX makes this incredibly easy. You don't need to edit in a 1080p timeline although you could. You basically have two options:
(1) Import 4k, and transcode to proxy and edit in a 4k project. You can transcode during import or afterward. To use the proxy files, simply set View>Proxy in the viewer (upper-right corner drop-down menu). This automatically uses the proxy files. You edit as normal. When finished and ready to output at 4k resolution, set View>Optimized/Original in the viewer, otherwise it will output proxy resolution files. There is nothing to keep track of and nothing to relink. In general this will provide sufficient performance to edit camera native H264 4k on a MacBook Pro or even lower end machine.
(2) Import 4k and edit in a 1080p project. If the project is created with "Set based on first video clip", this would make it 4k, which you don't want. In File>New>Project, simply select "Custom" and pick 1080p, then add/edit content to the timeline. This by itself will help performance somewhat without transcoding. Whether it is sufficient or you also need proxy, you'll have to investigate. Despite being a 1080p project, and despite FCPX automatically scaling the 4k content to 1080p, you can still zoom/crop without losing the underlying 4k resolution.
In the #2 case, if you export at 1080p, you are done -- a zoom/crop will use the underlying 4k resolution even though the final output resolution is 1080p. If you want to export at 4k, you just copy/paste the timeline into a 4k project and it becomes 4k. All the edits are retained.
The #2 case provides faster performance than using a 4k project because the internal render files are generated at 1080p, not 4k. However it is not as fast as using proxy, so if you want the best performance use proxy.
On my 2015 iMac 27, if I'm editing a short single-camera 4K H264 piece, I just import with "leave files in place", do not transcode and FCPX is fast enough. If I am editing multicam 4k, then I generally use proxy. If there is huge amounts of content edited down to a small piece (very high shooting ratio), it doesn't make sense to transcode all that to proxy before editing. FCPX is fast enough on a new machine to skim through camera-native H264 4k, mark favorites and keywords, then you can transcode to proxy the initial selects.
Although I've focused on proxy, you can obviously also use Optimized media. It will also give better performance than camera native 4k H264, but proxy is faster. However optimized media is typically 8x the size of H.264 hence I/O bandwidth and storage requirements will be much higher.
Don't forget in all cases to keep playback set to "better performance." Much of the time that is enough to playback 4k in a 1080p timeline. It softens the image a bit during playback, but stays sharp when paused. Also, turn off those annoying drop framed warnings. Honestly, why do I care if I'm dropping a frame here or there? This is a bit of a throwback to outputting to tape. It's not going to drop frames on my export file, so I leave it off. If it's so bad that I can see it dropping frames, I really don't need a computer to tell me.
Not sure if its my setup or a FCPX thing.
After dragging a 4k clip(not transcoded) into 1080 timeline, the inspector reads it as 100%. Since it's only half of its original scale, I can scale it up to 200% without IQ loss. Why doesn't FCPX see 4k as 50% in a 1920x1080 timeline?
This is genius I think. The default scaling is based on percentage of fitting the whole screen. That way, when you decide you'd like to make a 4k version of your timeline, all you have to do is duplicate it and change the settings to 4k and render. All your scalings and keyframings will look correct.
If X were to scale based on absolute pixels as you're wondering, then when you change the 1080p sequence to 4k, the 50% would be based on an absolute and 50% would still be 50%, but in a 4k sequence it would be HALF the size of the frame, and in a 1080p sequence it would FILL the frame. NOT what you would want most of the time.
If you want it to act as absolute 1 to 1 pixel ratio, where you would never exceed 100%, then change the spatial conform to NONE instead of the default of FIT. I actually do this occasionally when using 4k in a 1080p sequence as you suggest because I know I'm not going to be making a 4k version. But it's better to just learn the math. You can blow up 4k 200% in a 1080p and 300% in a 720p.
FCP legacy was based on absolute scaling and key framing and when you tried to switch to a SD sequence from a HD or vice version either via copy and paste or changing sequence settings, you had to redo every shot that was scaled and keyframes. Easy if every shot is the same size and scaling but in any other case a major pain. Especially key framing.
I just finished cutting a 4k music video with Joe's second method, and though I'd share my experiences and problems.
Raw footage 4k (not positive of camera, Sony I believe)
FCPX 10.1.3 on a 2011 MacBook Pro with 8 GB ram
The raw footage was unable to playback on my system, so I transcoded the media to Proxy and cut on a 1080p timeline. I'm now on the exporting phase and running into some issues.
Exporting the 1080p timeline was fine, it wasn't until I tried to scale back up to 4k that errors occurred. First thing I tried was duplicating the 1080p project and manually changing the settings to 4k. Everything looked good until it background rendered, then my viewers just showed a solid green screen of death. I exported a small section and the rendered area was solid green and the unrendered section came out normal.
Then I started a new 4k project, copy/paste timeline, and again same green screen issue. Exported a sample and same result as above.
TURNED OFF BACKGROUND RENDERING, exported sample, and it looks normal! Very annoying, but not the worst thing I've had to deal with. I am currently exporting a final unrendered 4k version, which looks like it will take a few hours. I will update this thread with the result.
Hope this info is helpful