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Avid can't match FCP 7 quality

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Pete Fausone
Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 4, 2014 at 12:32:36 am
Last Edited By Pete Fausone on May 4, 2014 at 2:06:28 am

I've been trying to online in MC 6.5.4 using Alexa Prores4444 master files, AMA relinked to the timeline that came from the offline edit.
Problem is after I get everything linked and checked, when I export the Prores4444 master flat file, Avid breaks the quality.
Compare with the original Alexa files in FCP7 on a good reference monitor you can clearly see a difference. Any Prores4444 that passes through
MC looks to be half resolution. I set the export to Prores4444 millions of colors+. The timeline quality is set to 10bit but I wonder if I have to set that somewhere else in MC for export.
You can see the missing lines on edges and shiny surfaces and the softness overall.
Sure would be easier to just online in MC 6 since that's what the editors use, but I always have to AAF into FCP7 with Boris transfer and online in FCP7.
FCP exports just fine with identical quality to the original dailies. Now I know Avid doesn't really fully support Quicktime but I wonder if
anyone has conquered this and knows what I am missing in Avid. Please don't respond if you work in 422. I have to assemble the master 444 camera files without changing anything so the colorist has the pure raw file.

Thanks!


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Michael Phillips
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 4, 2014 at 2:42:43 am

Do a mixdown within Avid in an RGB 709 project choosing ProRes 444 then export with "same as source". Exporting and setting the codec is now up to the whims of the QuickTime engine.


Michael


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Pete Fausone
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 4, 2014 at 4:17:23 pm

Same exact results. Avid creates an inferior picture quality when compared to the same file in FCP7.



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Job ter Burg
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 4, 2014 at 7:21:23 pm

Where are you determining that difference? Source/Record monitor? Full Screen Display? Quicktime Player?
In 6.5 and later, ProRes is a native codec, so if you fast import it or AMA-link & consolidate it, then export Same As Source, not a single thing about the source will be changed. This would be 100% transparent.


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Pete Fausone
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 4, 2014 at 7:50:34 pm

I AMA link to Alexa Prores4444. I then export the timeline same as source just like you say. Then compared to the exact same process in FCP7, the file from Avid is soft. On a frame leader you can actually see the missing lines and bad edges in the text. The files can be compared in FCP or Quicktime, just switch between them and it's obvious. The colorist at Fotokem first pointed this out on a high rez monitor. If you are working in 422 it might work as you say, but 444 is a no go. I wish it worked, this makes my online much harder and I wish I could get the quality I need straight out of the Avid.



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Job ter Burg
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 5, 2014 at 5:27:26 am

And the source file is 1920x1080?
When you say you AMA-link and then export Same As Source, do you first consolidate at any point (methinks one cannot export AMA-linked sources Same As Source).


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Michael Phillips
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 5, 2014 at 12:23:06 pm

I believe Job is correct. Try AMA link to the file in RGB 709 project. Consolidate the clip, them export the consolidated clip with Same As Source.

Michael


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Pete Fausone
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 5, 2014 at 4:30:29 pm

I've done all this and more. No matter what method I use the resulting export is soft. I am directly comparing it to the same clips exported from FCP7 and Resolve. The last show I did this on successfully was cut on MC 5.5.3. They have broken the Prores444 export in MC 6.5.4



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Job ter Burg
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 6, 2014 at 3:03:07 pm

In 5.x, ProRes was not a native codec, so it cannot have been the same workflow.


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Pete Fausone
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 7, 2014 at 1:23:06 am
Last Edited By Pete Fausone on May 7, 2014 at 2:04:25 am

Maybe it worked because it wasn't a native codec in Avid as far as transcode etc. I linked to AMA Prores4444 and rendered Prores4444 out of 5.0.3 and 5.5.3 for the entire run of Warehouse 13 etc.etc. I have an entire raid full of shows with clips rendered from MC 5, all using Prores4444.
The computer has Prores from the Final Cut install and I guess Avid just got out of the way with MC5. You can "Send to Quicktime" and choose the Apple Prores4444 codec and use it to render a clip without any change. I wish I could get the MC6 bins to work in 5 at this point.


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Job ter Burg
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 7, 2014 at 6:25:08 am

Actually, the fact that it is a native codec implies that nothing would at any point need to be modified in any way. The v5 workflow you describe implies a fully QT-based export (with a re-transcode).

Also, you mention "Send to QT", which is something very different than what I was talking about. If you use that "Send to" command, you are using some type of export preset.

When I wrote about "Same as Source", I am not talking about selecting the same codec as your source is. I am talking about using File->Export, selecting Quicktime Movie, and clicking the "Same As Source" radio button.

I did a small test and I simply cannot see any difference between source and result, not in MC and not in QT Player afterwards. What I did was:
- create a 1080p24 RGB709 project in MC
- Do a Fast Import of a ProRes 4444 source file (Fast Import meaning that MC asks me to preserve the resolution of the source file when importing, and I acknowledge).
- Do an AMA-link to that same ProRes 4444 source file into the same project
- Consolidate a copy of that AMA-linked clip in MC (so consolidating into Avid MXF Media)

I edited each of these into a sequence of their own, then chose File->Export, Selected the Same As Source button, chose '601/709' as the color space, and exported. I don't see any difference at any point.
Here are the results as well as the originals: http://www.terburg.com/EVEN/140507b_APR4444_Test.zip

Further thinking also made me wonder if there can be interlaced/progressive issues at play, since you mention noticing quality issues on lines in a frame leader and text. Is your source file progressive or interlaced, and when you bring things into MC, is it a P or an I project, and what does it think the source is: P or I? Are you seeing any motion adapters?


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Pete Fausone
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 8, 2014 at 2:58:52 am

I don't expect you to spend anymore time on this. The point is I don't want to do anything but link the media offline timeline to the Alexa Prores4444 23.98 camera masters.
Then simply export the timeline to create a flat file. This is how I did many onlines over years with MC5. No consolidate or anything to waste time. Just assemble the camera originals and export out a flat file with the Avid effects baked in. In other words never make an mxf file. I am doing a simple uprez style online.
I think you're test, which works fine for me also, is not apples to apples. I start with Alexa camera originals shot at 23.98, not 24fps. Maybe that's what trips it up.
The dailies are mostly 2K 2048Xx1152 and the VFX are 1920x1080, all 23.98. So I really appreciate your help but at this point the top Avid engineers can't solve this, so don't waste any more of your time. I just posted cause I wanted to make sure I didn't miss something obvious.

Thanks



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Job ter Burg
Re: Avid can't match FCP 7 quality
on May 8, 2014 at 4:42:50 am

You misread my test. One of my three workflows does precisely that. Just link and export. i did perform the same est with an Alex file, but cannot share the results because I don't own the rights to those clips.

Simply put: I cannot reproduce the issue you are describing.


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