AVID 6.0 V's FCP 7 V's PR CS6 with canon 5d workflow...
Hey I not sure where to post this so just letting you know before we get in to it I'm going to post it in all three forums so as to get the most informed feed back, I genuinely hope not to annoy any one by doing this.
I have been editing freelance for nearly 15 years online and offline mostly to Digi beta, using avid for broadcast in numerous TV stations and production companies etc using Unity and interplay, I have also cut a bunch of series on FCP and initially trained on PP back in the day, so I do have a fairly extensive history of cutting using most formats from DV to XDCAM cards right up to red footage.
BUT....I have never used the canon 5ds yet and here in lies the problem,
I have recently bought a new Mac book pro running all three software bundles, and have started editing some short drama's on it. Shot on the canons 5d mark 11 and using avid as a way to test the system,
So far everything has been going great but the one thing I notice is the workflow with the h 264 files in avid can be quite overbearing.
I'm using external esata drives for storage and playback but don't want to transcode everything to dnxhd175 as the file sizes are to big so I have transcode to dnxhd30 for the edit and will have to probably either relink to original media or transcode everything to the higher res dnxhd when I'm finished and relink that way, My other problem with the avid workflow when transcoding is that it is done on a bin by bin basis, there is no render queue. (I realise I could copy all my files in to 1 bin but is a pain in the ass for file management in big projects)
This particular short is only a 30 minute final piece but with 3 directors and quite a lot of footage..even so it is manageable
THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM IS...having gone through this process on avid with the 5d I find my self lined up for my next gig which is a much longer 140 minute feature set in Thailand and mostly shot on 2 canon 5d mark111.
I can cut it in either AVID, FCP OR PP and have been wracking my brains researching online as to which platform to choose.. I’m not actually going on the shoot and will have a data wrangler/assistant on set to gather the cards each day, and my thinking is that we have to decide before they go which system we are using so he can be transcoding the daily rushes as he copy’s the cards. The actual edit will be happening 2 weeks after they return from the month of filming when everything is synced and ready for me.
AS far as I can tell FCP is fairly stable with proress I can transcode all the footage to a proress LT for the offline and also transcode to proress HQ at the same time on a separate hard drive/folder and direct Fcp to see this (HQ) hard drive later for the online...
It is going to be a huge project with loads of footage and just like the Avid this workflow scares me for the amount of transcoding involved.
The one big advantage I can see with FCP is that the PRORES HQ will be identical in quality to the h264 native files (correct me if I’m wrong), but the program itself is 32bit and will this make a difference in the long run with the size of the project?? Export and render time etc??
And finally I come to PP, if you believe the hype the footage will open directly in the project with no transcode and edit till the cows come home, BUT even though I have a copy of CS6 I have never used it, and am basically worried about its ability to handle a project this size and to playout /export for sound mix, colour grade and final online to at least a digi for the film festival circuit.
I love HD, I love the possibility's but with this much freedom there is room to make a big mistake at the start of the process, so I am looking to stand on the shoulder of giants here and find out has anyone any preferences, or experiences using canon's on any and all of the three software bundles, and what are the pro's and cons of choosing to edit the film in either one.
I’m faster in Avid, but FCP by all accounts handles h264 files better, and I’ve never tested premiere on such a large scale before, If they were shooting on anything else I would probably use avid, but after my last short I’m not sure if this is the best option. I’m hoping that some one out there has the answer and can help make the decision for me,
Thank you all in advance and sorry about the length of this rant.
I think the first question for you to answer is what is the final online conform workflow going to be? Will you be going to a dedicated DI type system (Resolve, Baselight, etc.) or color correcting in the NLE? Do you want to conform back to the camera originals, or a submaster from a transcode?
Once you have that decided, then you will have a better picture of where and when to transcode or not, and depending on where and when that happens, which system gives you the best workflow beyond "native support".
Hey michael, thanks for the reply,
The online hasn't been finalized yet, and the shoot happens in 2 weeks, so I will probably have to decide before they go, so I can train up the assistant, what I'm trying to find out in your opinion is which of the three packages has the best workflow with canon 5ds and why?? and I hoping that with enough answers I can make the most informed choice in the next few days.
Well everyone will bring their preference to the table - but my process is to use the tool that best suits the telling of the story and I do that best with Media Composer - some do it with FCP, Premiere Pro, Lightworks, etc. Tools like ScriptSync and PhraseFind allow me to easily find, access, and create the best story I can with the footage at hand. So to me, that toolset is more important to me than whether a particular codec is handled natively or not.
In my projects, there is an offline, then a online conform somewhere. Another reason I like MC is because of its handling of metadata and solid list management (as well as change list management). So for me, and for the couple features I have worked on that were shot Canon 5D, I did a transcode to DNxHD36 which gave me a very fluid experience for editing. Conform was done with the original camera files. In one scenario, the Cinestyle LUT was used, so a transcode with REC.709 LUT was needed as part of the process anyway.
Audio is another consideration which is usually not discussed enough ahead of time. The ability to bring in BWF directly, and choose the mix track versus the ISO tracks as part of the AutoSync process is very helpful. If using Canon 5 with not timecode jam, recording an LTC to the H,264 and using the "Read Audio Timecode" to enable an automated AutoSync speeds up the syncing process considerably while having as much control and choices over audio to hand over to sound when done.
So as you can see, from my perspective, working on feature length projects, native codec support is not high on the list as there will be a transcode anyway, and it's all the other functions and solutions I need to manage a feature length that become more important.
I am not discounting its importance in certain situations of fast turnaround and no time for a conform process, but in feature work, that is usually not the case.
Food for thought and why I asked what your back end conform process was going to be as it changes everything to decision process.
[Michael Phillips] "So as you can see, from my perspective, working on feature length projects, native codec support is not high on the list as there will be a transcode anyway, and it's all the other functions and solutions I need to manage a feature length that become more important."
Thank you Micheal I really hadn't thought of that...I was desperately trying to think of a work around from transcoding EVERYTHING...and hence the interest in PP..But I think I'm just going to have to test it in a smaller project some other time...
As it is I have decided to let the assistant to handle the data wrangling ONLY on set, and I'll deal with the edit when they get back, taking the pressure off everyone...They can view the rushes through vlc or mpeg streamclip while they are out there, and he will essentially be doing file management and paperwork with the cards everyday making sure everything arrives back which is WAY more important.
I still haven't decided on which platform to choose between FCP and AVID, but the short I'm working on at the moment in avid has everthing trancoded to DNxHD36 and does work fine, so that is definitely swaying me. I'm still cutting it though and haven't tried the online yet.
I would ask you though is the confrom back to the original H264 file an easy process in avid. I loaded the clips in using AMA link (all the cards are copied to an external harddrive in their native format) and then trancoded the files to DNxHD36. all the file names are the same with ".new 1" at the end.
Is it the same as an old fashioned digi online, where you decompose the seq and point the avid to the original files instead of a batch capture????
So it seems that the conform will done in Avid? The process would be no different with FCP or Avid if you go with an offline proxy or look to avoid the conform process and edit at your final mastering resolution. You did not mentioned whether the camera would be shooting with a CineStyle LUT or not which might or might not change things in the process.
If you want to avoid a conform, you can certainly consider a transcode to a DNxHD 175x (10 bit) right off the bat and that becomes your offline/online all in one. Consideration here are storage. Keep in mind that the H.264 are long GOP so their file size to quality is different than an I frame format such as ProRes or DNxHD. For example, 1TB will hold 52 hours of H.264 whereas the equivalent in DNxHD 175x will be 13.5 hours. Roughly a factor of x4. You will still want to archive your camera originals, so the DNxHD would be in addition to.
You might get away with DNxHD 145 which is 20 hours per TB, but there have been stories of some banding issues and I would go to the 175x. The savings of 5 hours per TB is not worth it to me. The same goes for ProRes as the codec data rates are about the same.
In this scenario, it's one time transcode unless there is a LUT as that might change how you approach the dailies process. I would consider doing them in the free Resolve, it removes the processing from your editing system freeing you up to edit and gives you LUT control if needed. Just make sure to use "use filname" in the REEL settings.
The process for offline would be the same, you are just choosing a lower bandwidth codec knowing it's disposable. At DNxHD 36, you will get 65 hours per TB. If a LUT is required for editorial it can be applied. When I say LUT changes things, it is because editors, producers, and directors don't like looking at washed out images. Certainly a color effect can be used on the timeline, but it is more of a pain to keep that going and does not apply to anything in the source monitor. Also once you get to final color correction, the LUT gets thrown out and the original full dynamic range of the image can now be controlled. So if doing 175 and a LUT on camera orignals, you may or may not still be doing a conform back to the un-LUT'd sources. I would have that conversation with the colorist. And where is color correction going to be done?
I am hot and cold on AMA - there is something nice about consistency in a workflow - if doing AMA, then start and finish AMA. With v6.5, you can start with one, and finish with another. You just want to be sure that the file names being tracked in either Source File or Tape are consistent. AMA conform can be done - there seems to be some trickery needed from time to time. In the scenario you describe, I believe you will need to remove or hid the Avid MediaFile folder with the transcode material. Bring your other files back online via AMA and go from there. I have seen some weird suggestions on forums with AMA - Once you transcode to MXF via AMA, you will be editing with the .new clips. I always keep my original AMA clips and links in that same bin and move the .new to my next level of media management - usually renaming the clips to scene-take and putting them in my scene bins. later once you hide the Avid media, open the AMA bins with the media attached and it should come back online.
I usually start in Resolve (or other type dailies program), create my offline with LUT. When done, I take my edited locked sequence (or pseudo locked) and decompose with handles. I create a new timeline of master clips from the decompose. Make EDL, send to Resolve, conform to original camera sources there, do not apply a LUT, create DNxHD 175x, transcode, bring new media into project, go to original timeline and do a "relink to selected" with the highlighted new material. Done.
Sorry for the lateness of the reply, but my second Son Ronan was born shortly after the last mail and everything basically was put on hold till now..
I'm actually at the online stage with the first 30 minute short I was discussing shot on Canon mark 11 and it is to be graded in Da vinci.. everythings transcoded to DNxHD36 , as i didn't have enough space to transcode to dnxhd175..
This rez is perfect for the offline and the avid handled it fine.
Before I started the cut I originally loaded the clips in using AMA link (all the cards are copied to an external harddrive in their native format) and then I trancoded the files to DNxHD36. all the file names are the same with ".new 1" at the end. All of the clips Ama linked and transcoded are in the same bin, with all the transcoded footage at the top of the bin and 1 bin per card. but i only used the transcoded footage for the edit.
I still am not quite sure how to get the picture locked dnxhd36 seq to conform back to either the native ama linked files or to transcode to dnxhd175???
Do I need to decompose the seq? and somehow tell the avid to relink back to the h264 clips via ama?
Or if I consolidate the seq to a new drive and tell it to be a dnxhd175 rez is the avid clever enough to transcode from the orginal native files or does it just uprez the dnxhd36 files hence creating no new increase in the resolution??
Should I start a new project and import the final seq bin and tell the media to relink etc..
Dnxhd36 is not full rez similar to oldschool 15:1 and is only suitable as a screening copy so this process of up rezing for the online must happen all the time within Avid, my question is WHY IS IT NOT EASIER TO ACHIEVE???
Am I missing something basic in the workflow?? At this stage I just want to get a full rez version to the grade house, I dont care if it is h264 or dnxhd175, which ever process is easiest to achieve!
Any help you could give will be greatly appreciated as I have to do this all over again on this feature film in the next few months, and I need to get the short done and finished, its funny how the last few hurdles can some times be the hardest to get over!!!
Congratulations! Two boys - I have three boys but at the other end of the spectrum; 17, 19, and 21.
As far as conform and color goes, does the facility doing the work want to work off the original H.264 files? In that case, an AAF or EDL of the sequence will work and they can import into Baselight, Film Master, Resolve, or whatever they are using. The will conform to filename and timecode (in this case all starting at 00:00:00:00).
If you want to relink back to the H.264 and transcode to 175x, then rename the Avid MediaFile folder so MC doesn't see your mediafiles.
Either re-open all your original AMA linked bins, or relink to the H.264 again if you don't have them. I usually select all the AMA clips, then the sequence, right click on the sequence, select "relink" and from the next window, select "Relink to Selected". Just all light up.
Thanks micheal you are a superstar..
the facilities house is using DA VINCI to do the grade.. So just to clear this up in my head, you reckon If I just give them an AAF of the dnxhd36 seq with the video tracks included, and a copy on a external hard drive of all of the original media from the cards it will all link up in their system full rez h264...
Failing that I can hide the mxf folder By changing the extension (ie from mxf 1 to mxf xxx etc) and with my seq offline because it can't see the transcoded media open and select all my AMA linked bins (there is quite a few) and tell the seq to "relink to selected" and them I will have a full rez seq linked to the h264 which i can transcode to dnxhd175 if i wish and send and EDL of AAF to the Facilities house!!
I think I under stand the process now...I am going to attack it in the morning and I'll let you know how I get on..
I went through the both process's detailed above and gave the Grade house the AAF and the orginal H264 files, but they came back to me and said my seq was to complicated and they were having trouble relinking some of the files to the original media and didn't want to spend the time having to recrearte the seq in the Da Vinci, (which is what they do if they face this problem for a paying customer)
So I went about the second workflow and hid the MXF folder by putting the XXX after the name... i then relinked to source using the AMA clips in the project just as you described and everything linked up..
It was a thing of beauty...easy and painless.
I then Transcoded all this seq to DnxHD175 onto a new Drive and deliverd this DRIVE to the grade house ...Actually the asked for a video mixdown of this new trancoded seq 175 and an Export from EDL Manager to provide them with the edit info.
So I have provided final picture lock which is great and I want to thank you for that...
The only other problem i face now is when I tried to get the Avid to see the old MXF folder by renaming the folder from MXF XXX TO MXF, the avid still doesn't see it and everyting is offline...
I deleted the Daabase files within the MXf folder and thought that when I restarted Avid it would rescan the drives and rebuild the database but it is not doing this and everything except the full rez H264 seq is offline within the project..
Is there a way to force the avid to Rebuild and rescan the MXF FOLDERs???
The sequence no longer sees the media or the original master clips no longer see the media? If sequence, it is still pointing to the AMA linked/transcoded clips. You would now need to relink to the original media. Duplicate the sequence and look at the relink settings. At the bottom of the window, there is a menu for linking to a specific resolution - try one of those.
If it is the original master clips, then that is a different issue.
No the only thing online within the project is the seq which i relinked to selected with the h264 clips..
everything else that i originally transcoded and edited is offline including the audio( which is the most import thing..
All of the files are still within the original MXF folder, but I cant get the project to see them and reboot..to the dnxhd 36 seq...
The main reason i need this is for the audio export for the sound mix... and also I just want to know how to do it...
I am going to duplicate the seq and give it a go, but with out the transcoded dnxhd36 files online in the bins Im not going t o hold my breath..
Thanks again for your help... I genuinely feel like you are the only other person in the world who understands my pain... lol
Right I have gone through all the files in the AVID MEDIA FOLDER on the other drive with the transcoded clips and all the audio from the project and there is isn't a avid media database file inside the folder...SO I am assuming that is why the avid cant see the files... but I dont know how I can get the avid to locate the folder and recreate the database files???
make sure that the path is:
root drive: Avid MediaFiles: MXF: numbered folders
Anything else, or name will be seen by Media Composer.
Yeah all godod LACIE DRIVE:Avid MediaFiles: MXF: 1 folder (withall the files in it and no avid database files.... and another folder with 2 folder with nothing in it...
If I create a new folder and call it 3 folder and plae all the mxf files inside it will aid rescan it and recreate a database file and let the project relink???
Sure you can try that.
Its the little things in life Michael...
Its all back online again, so now inside my project I have the original h264 ama links, the final picture lock dnxhd175 seq and the offline rez dnxhd36 seq's
I had to fool the avid again by copying the folder into a new avid media files folder and then I restarted, Avid rescanned this and everything was back online..
It is easy when you know how..but to be honest the whole workflow SHOULD be simpler...inside the new FCP10 when it is importing the clips you can tell it to do a low rez proxy and a full rez import at the same time, and you just switch between them inside the seq setting and everything goes instantly from offline to online...plus it actually does the import process's in the background and allows you to edit in the meantime...I'm absolutely not sold on it yet (FCP10) but it is definitely pointing the way to the future...
Regardless...thank you so much for your time and expertise, you are a gentleman and a scholar..
Glad it worked out for you - and yes, it's a little quirky and could be better managed, but v7 is promising better AMA management, so we shall see.