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AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project

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David Lewis
AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:14:48 am

I'm beginning an edit project that was recorded on 3 different cameras at 720p 50fps (PAL project). Two cameras recorded on XDCAM and the third a Canon D7 as an MOV file.

Now with MC 6 I'm trying to figure out what is the better way to edit. I've looked at some of the tutorials which suggest editing natively using AMA linking to the original files (currently stored on my hard drive and safely backed up on an external drive).

I think I will want to do a video/audio mix down with some of these clips to eliminate issues of sync (matching three different cameras to a separate audio recording in some instances-I'm exploring ways to make sure to keep these cameras synced up to the music recorded) and doing some color correction for matching cameras and "fixes".

In the end the final product will be prepared for DVD and internet distribution.

Question is- Will I run into any trouble simply importing the footage as an AMA link, edit what I need to do, perform a video/audio mixdown at a certain stage and simple export the final edited (and if I understood this correctly) sequence, AMA linked to the original footage to a final MOV format for Sorensen Squeeze or what-have-you for sending to DVD and the internet?

Did I get it right or am I missing something?

Thanks for your suggestions.

David C. Lewis
Editor- Director
DCL Video Productions


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Mhd Zar
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:38:39 am

GO ON :)


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Michael Phillips
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 12:46:47 pm

You will need to transcode to DNxHD at the end in order to export a MOV reference to encode in a third party encoder. If you encode to a self contained .MOV you should be fine.

In the end, the choice of transcode or not beforehand is really about performance - what is expected, amount of layers, VFX, multicam, etc. While AMA to native sources is quick and can work in many situations, it does not work well in others. I have found linking to QuickTimes and such to be OK, but the longer the file, the slower the performance. In your case of audio, I think you are referring to a transcode and not a mixdown? Transcode your sources to a DNxHD format,then group or AutoSync as needed to create new sources clip from which to edit.

Michael

Michael Phillips


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David Lewis
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 1:02:50 pm

Michael:

Thanks for your input.

If I understood you correctly, if I continue to edit to AMA linked files, in the end I can simply transcode the final edited sequence into a (consolidate first?) DNxHD file/sequence? Another option,again, if I understood you, is that I could NOW transcode all the raw AMA linked files into DNxHD files and then edit from them (new files separate from the original files).

Regarding the audio, it's like this. I recorded a piano in a recording studio using three cameras AND a separate audio recording on the studio's sound board (excellent recording quality). I could not get a feed, so I "clack" slated each camera's audio as reference and the high quality audio, which I will now edit together. Since I will be cutting between cameras I thought it might be easier to mix down the camera cuts I do so I have one video mixdown clip to sit over that final high quality audio. I'll have to see how that works once I start editing... I might not need to in the end.

But my main issue is handling the editing. On a project I did awhile back I took the HD XDCAM material and transcoded it to DNxHD and edited that way... I just saw this new AMA linking and figured it might be an easier way to edit/save space.

David C. Lewis
Editor- Director
DCL Video Productions


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Michael Phillips
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 1:16:45 pm

As you can tell from my response, it is a 50/50 scenario with lots of factors going into that decision. There are no real hard and fast rules that can be applied in the decision of "transcoding beforehand or not".

But you can certainly start with AMA linking and see how you get along. Chances are you may be just fine, if not, then transcode your sequences and any sources you still need to use. As you mention, no additional storage is an advantage. But unless everything can be done in real time for VFX, etc. then you will be rendering to some codec, most likely DNxHD when needed.

But ideally, yes. You would edit AMA till the very end and then transcode the sequence to DNxHD. A sequence transcode also performs a consolidate as a matter of course (whereas a consolidate does not mean a transcode).

But for your multicamera, I would just put a a Mark IN at each of the slates and on the audio file, then group based on Mark IN and work with that as source clip using the multicamera functionality of Media Composer. Real time play of multiple cameras may be hindered because of the different formats, but they will tag up as needed whenever you move around in the timeline. when you group the clips, just use the high quality audio as the main track from which to edit.


Michael

Michael Phillips


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David Lewis
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 1:39:38 pm

Michael, I appreciate your input and suggestions, thank you.

As you suggested, I think I will start editing with the AMA link, as this project is very straight-forward match cuts between cameras/audio file.

Perhaps any FX I need to do (transitions or open/close credits) I will add at the end after I transcode at the end.

One last question- I see there are a variety of DNxHD codecs to transcode to... how do I choose which one for my project. What is the variance/difference between the end numbers?

Again, thanks for your time and input.

David C. Lewis
Editor- Director
DCL Video Productions


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Michael Phillips
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 3:04:39 pm

DNxHD 120 will be good enough based on the formats you are shooting - a nice balance of quality and storage.

Michael

Michael Phillips


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Hector berrebi
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Jan 31, 2012 at 3:41:38 pm

[David Lewis] "One last question- I see there are a variety of DNxHD codecs to transcode to... how do I choose which one for my project. What is the variance/difference between the end numbers?"

hey David :)

hope you are well and happy

actually, for 720P, you have only the fine choice of the DNXHD 90
and the slightly less fine DNX 60. the 90X option is irrelevant as none of your footage is 10 bit

go with 90.

hector

Hector Berrebi
prePost Consulting


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David Lewis
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Feb 1, 2012 at 7:47:03 am

Hi Hector!

Things are good, thank you for asking. No doubt things are going well for you!

Thank you for your input. I will try DNxHD 90. I'd like to keep as much quality as possible with this project as well as end up with a proper codec.

I will double check, yet I think you are right in that I do not have 10-bit material.

All the best,

David C. Lewis
Editor- Director
DCL Video Productions


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David Lewis
Re: AMA Linking or Transcoding to DNxHD for project
on Feb 1, 2012 at 7:55:52 am

Michael-

Thanks reminding me about the multi-cam option. I had forgot that AVID had it. I've never used (or needed to use) this option before and was going to do a slightly more complicated and no-doubt less efficient method than this one.

Due to the nature of the shoot, I will have a LOT of separate multi-cam sequences created (some of the takes were rather short, but all are slated). I assume I can just connect my final scene choice cuts into one new sequence combining all those individual scene sequences. Do I have to modify the various scene sequences I create or just in-out mark and insert the clip into the new sequence?

Again thanks for your time and input.

David C. Lewis
Editor- Director
DCL Video Productions


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