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Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)

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Brittany DeLillo
Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:42:52 pm

Hi everyone.

I am running Avid MC6. My project lives on an internal RAID while all the media files sit on two separate 8TB drives. One is mostly empty and was where I was going to dump all my MXF media. The other, contains the project so far.

The Story Thus Far:

The footage has all been converted to ProRes 422(Proxy). Some footage is 23.98fps, some is 24fps. It varies from card to card. The director organized all the footage in Final Cut Pro 7, hence the decision for ProRes and the lack of attention regarding FPS. They also ran all the footage through PluralEyes so the media is synced with the production audio. All of this is great. Except now we're using Avid instead.

The Problems:

I assumed I would get back a bunch of raw dailies. They shot on the C300 (at 24p), occasionally a 5D, GoPro, the usual suspects. When I opened the drive I was surprised to find that everything had already been converted to ProRes 422 Proxy. Before knowing that our media was ProRes, my plan was to transcode all of it to DNxHD36. But after researching a ProRes workflow, it seems I can rewrap the ProRes in an MXF codec and not have to convert it all to DHxHD. I planned on doing this via AMA and CONSOLIDATE or Right Click --> Import.

But hold on, what about all that organization in Final Cut Pro? I dug out my old Automatic Duck plugin, as it's the only one I could think of that would help make the jump from FCP to Avid relatively painless. I export a timeline using the following settings:



I imported my AAF into Avid and it came through but with all the media offline. So I Right Click --> Relink to the files on the original media drive. Either Avid fails to find them or I get a Media Segmented error and Avid crashes. Okay...

In the past, I would use Batch Import to get files back online and transcode them at the same time. So I right click --> Batch Import --> point to media drive --> choose Apple ProRes 422 Proxy MXF --> change RGB to 601/709 --> Import. It works! The imported sequence from the FCP-created AAF even updates with the new footage.

So now I think I'm a hot shot and figured out my problem. I can keep the PluralEyes sync and still have MXF files. So I export another AAF from FCP. Follow the same procedure. Right click to try my batch method except the footage is 24p and...



Well shit. That kind screws everything up. So I try to relink to the original media again. Crash. I import a single 24p clip and try to consolidate it but I get the "foreign compression types" error message.

So now I have a ton of media that's a rogue FPS and a bunch of PluralEyes sync files and project organization in FCP that seems virtually useless now if I can't figure out a way to link the Timeline to something that is Avid-friendly. Not to mention Avid can't even handle the 24p timeline and makes a 23.98 copy instead.

Would I be better off importing everything wrapped as an MXF? Can I still do a PluralEyes sync from Avid afterwards? How will my audio be affected if I change everything to 23.98?


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Shane Ross
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 1:56:48 am

Let's tackle 24p first. There are three formats of "24p."

First there's 24fps straight up. This is what film is shot at. All feature films you see in theaters...24fps. 24fps is one of Avid's main formats that it deals with. But it isn't referred to as 24p...it's just 24fps. But there are some video cameras that also shoot 24fps straight. WHy? No idea...they really shouldn't. BAD frame rate for video.

Then there's 23.98. That's 24p that runs at 24fps...but being a broadcast format, slightly slower than 24fps (look up on wikipedia as to why if you want).

Last there's 24p that runs at 29.97. It's called 24p because it has the LOOK of 24fps, but runs at the video standard of 29.97. Shows shot on film but edited on video and airing on TV, that is 24fps telecined to 29.97 using pulldown (wiki that too). There are many cameras that shoot this format.

Now onto what you are dealing with...

Don't organize in one NLE for use in another NLE. There is no way to take all the syncing and organizing you do in FCP and convert that to Avid. No way at all. You can bring sequences over...but that's it. And no...you cannot mix frame rates when doing that. And FCP 7 is really bad at mixing frame rates...where Avid can mix them better. But you can't really make multiclips with mixed frame rates in Avid nor FCP. Pluraleyes will make sequences with them layered...and that Avid and FCP can do. But really, you need to choose your horse right out of the gate..FCP or Avid. Otherwise you are in for a LOT more work.

Especially since you are attemping to to an offline/online workflow. Low res footage for the edit. This REALLY makes trying to organize in one NLE for use in another NLE not work. Even if you get things to link up for the offline edit...when you go to online, you are looking at another big mess to sort through.

You need to stick to one edit system. If this is going to be cut in Avid, then you need to start in Avid. AMA to access the footage...transcode to the codec you want, SAVE THE AMA BINS..you'll need them later to relink and online. Then do all of your organizing and syncing.

I'm sorry to say this, but my advice is that you need to start over...and start with the edit system you plan on using to edit. Either use FCP or use Avid. If you want to save time, since all the organizing was done in FCP...edit with FCP.

Although...HOW was it converted to ProRes Proxy? Because unless it was done through Log and Transfer...if it was done with outside apps like Compressor or MPEG STREAMCLIP...then onlining will be pretty tricky as well. If you do the conversion with Log and Transfer, then all you need to do is Media manage the final sequence as MAKE OFFLINE, choose the mastering codec...and batch capture. Then FCP will capture only the footage used in the cut, with handles...and the clip is rebuilt but at full res. If you converted all the footage outside of FCP...then you'll need to convert the FULL clips to full res, and if the timecode matches, you can relink. But this footage will take a lot of space. And if the timecodes don't match, then you'll have a lot of eye-match cutting to do.

Sorry...you started off on the wrong foot.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:18:17 am

Shane,

First off, thanks for the incredibly in-depth answer. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out. I've loved your blog and Twitter musings for a few years and it's great to get your opinion on this.

Thanks for the breakdown of 24p. I still get those guys confused.

You're preaching to the choir regarding the use of one NLE. Long story short, it wasn't my decision. I'm just the AE :p

I feared starting over from scratch was my only option but wanted to hear someone else say it before moving forward.

"You need to stick to one edit system. If this is going to be cut in Avid, then you need to start in Avid. AMA to access the footage...transcode to the codec you want, SAVE THE AMA BINS..you'll need them later to relink and online. Then do all of your organizing and syncing."

Right now the footage I have is all ProRes Proxies. I'm trying to track down where all the RAW stuff is (the drive the producer gave me just has Transcoded media). I can get through the AMA process fine but the Reel/Tape names aren't coming through at all. In the FCP projects, they're there, but not when I Right Click-->Link to AMA Files. See the below screen grab for comparison (that blank spot next to the Avid file is the Tape column):



(When I import the Automatic Duck AAFs, the Tape names survive the journey. I thought this might be because they were added inside FCP and not part of the original media's metadata, but the tape names show up when I import the Proxies into Adobe Premiere so it must be inherent in the Proxies themselves.)

To make matters worse, I don't think the Proxies were made with FCP7 Log & Transfer since a few 5D Tapes start at 00:00:00:00 (and if I remember correctly, FCP7 L&T adds TC to 5D footage). So I have Proxy files that have no Tape name and, in some cases, no TC.

If I had my way, I'd take the Raw footage and convert it all to DNxHD36 in DaVinci, using QTChange to add Reel and Tape names where they're missing. That way, when we online, all the original media has the right Reel and TC as well as whatever transcodes I create. Is this the easiest solution, rather than going backwards with Proxy media? Or is there a way I can salvage the Proxies? If so, how does online look? I'd be going from MXF --> Proxies --> RAW Media which is one more step than necessary, correct?

Thanks again for all the help.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:12:40 am

When using AMA, the filename goes into the "Source File"column, and not "Tape". If you add "Source File" you will see it. Just be aware that Media Composer does not support embedded REEL names with .mov files.


Michael


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Pat Horridge
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:16:01 am

Why on earth would you deliberately aim to have an FCP legacy to MC workflow? Bad enough having to do it every now and then. But to plan it that way...
In MC 24fps should be fine.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Pat Horridge
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 5:00:31 pm

My understanding of 23.98 is it can be 2:3 pull downed to 29.97 directly 24fps to 29.97 needs 3:2 then a slow down.
So 23.98 is for NTSC folks who need to get to 29.97 for video post.

The additional interlaced frame added isn't intended for the final output just for the 29.97 stage. the additional frame will be removed to get back to 23.98 and if need be speeded up to 24fps

So you shoot at 24fps for true 24fps offline and in PAL land speed up to 25fps if need be.

or shoot 23.98 2:3 pulldown to 29.97 for NTSC post then back to 23.98 and speed up to 24fps or standards convert the 23.98 to 29.97 (or 59.94i) if you need a true output at that frame rate.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 5:05:18 pm

Yes, I agree. It was bad planning. A switch in editor on the project changed more than just the guy in the chair.

My main dilemma now is what to do about all the ProRes Proxies. See my questions on an earlier post:

If I had my way, I'd take the Raw footage and convert it all to DNxHD36 in DaVinci, using QTChange to add Reel and Tape names where they're missing. That way, when we online, all the original media has the right Reel and TC as well as whatever transcodes I create. Is this the easiest solution, rather than going backwards with Proxy media? Or is there a way I can salvage the Proxies? If so, how does online look? I'd be going from MXF --> Proxies --> RAW Media which is one more step than necessary, correct?


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Pat Horridge
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 5:07:30 pm

The best bet is a small test first. Select a selection of media that covers the various issues. Then run the whole workflow and confirm the final conform behaves.

I'm not sure there isn't an issue with Tape IDs added to media and Avid AMA linking.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:21:27 pm

I've tried everything and the only time I'm able to export an EDL and have it work in DaVinci is when I use DaVinci-created MXF files that have Tape Names built in.

If I import the ProRes Proxies using AMA or regular Import, the EDL comes out with no clips linked up. I followed the procedure in this video



and my final EDL had errors when imported into DaVinci.

I tried to recreate the situation: converted H264 Qts to ProRes using Compressor. I AMA'ed and transcodes for one sequence and then basic imported them for another. I tried the Basic Import method and converted them to ProRes MXFs on one try and DNxHD on another. In all three instances, the EDL came up with media offline.

I'm at a loss here and not sure what the best process is to get this project going without asking for all the raw media and starting 100% from scratch. Has anyone worked with ProRes Proxies before and successfully conformed them?


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Shane Ross
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:25:25 pm

You are going to need the masters at some point in order to online...you can't ONLY deal with Proxies.

As the assistant editor, it's your job to do the importing and organizing...making sure that online goes smoothly. If I were in your shoes, I'd not use ANYTHING that was given to me from FCP...if this is going to stay in Avid. I'd ask for all the masters now...and say that in order to make the online to smoothly, I need to import these properly....so they relink properly.

Too much time will be wasted mucking about trying to get what you have to work in Avid...and then when the online comes...more and more time needed to clean up the mess. All billable hours...that's the way to explain it. If they want to make sure things fall within the budget they want...they need to let you do your job and start things off on the right foot. And no, you won't work for free to clean up any mess that happens if they want you to go ahead with what you have.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Pat Horridge
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:33:15 pm

Just for clarity it's unlikely you'll import into Avid. More likely you'll AMA link and Transcode. Ingest is the more generic term.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:00:18 am

Got it. I was just referring to the menu item that I was clicking on, which was "Import".


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Michael Phillips
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:38:52 pm

I mentioned this before...when using AMA, you will not have any values in the TAPE column. They will all be in the Source File column. That's how it works. When EDL Manager generates an EDL, it will first look to a value in TAPE, if none, then it will use SOURCE FILE.

The value in SOURCE FILE is always the name of the file when it was linked. If you were to conform these very same files in Resolve, you would set the REEL to "file name" in the "assist conform using..." setting.

The only issue here is whether the proxies kept the exact same filename as the camera originals. If so, no issue, if they didn't, then that is something to look into and most likely will mean starting over.

Michael


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:55:32 pm

Michael, thank you for your patience and the added explanation about how EDL Manager processes the information. It was that last bit about the REEL setting in Resolve that made the clips show up. I'm glad it was just user error and easily fixed.


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:10:49 am
Last Edited By Brittany DeLillo on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:16:55 am

Okay so an update on all this.

My project is 23.976. Some footage is 23.98fps, some is 24fps. I'm linking to AMA and then transcoding to ProRes Proxy MXFs. How can I go about transcoding all my media without having issues later on? It states that if I transcode this footage, I won't be able to relink it back to the original AMA file, batch import, etc. Kinda limiting, no?

Some quick research online said I should create a new project at 24fps, AMA & transcode the footage in at a native 24fps, then import the bins into my 23.98 project. The only apparent difference is that the files are highlighted green in my timeline.

Any other suggestions?


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Shane Ross
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:25:07 am

For the 24fps straight up footage, make a 24fps project and import that footage in there...then bring the bin over to the main project.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Pat Horridge
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 15, 2014 at 6:37:39 am

That method of making a project for each different frame rate, AMA linking into there and Transcoding there then copying the bin to the main project is a standard workflow in Avid for avoiding baked in frame rate changes!

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Michael Phillips
Re: Final Cut Pro to Avid Workflow Debacle (why is 24p a thing?!)
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:57:57 pm

While it is standard operating procedure to do so, I think the whole concept is getting long in the tooth and is based on conventions set in the 90's. Especially with AMA (a fully developed AMA), frame raster and raster type should just be part of the source settings when linking. But having to create a project and manage separately just to set those values is a pain the ass, and project association becomes more problematic, etc. And even when in the project you can change "field motion" anyway, so it just becomes multiple levels of obfuscation.

The same goes for codec choices within the same project. Why have to change project type to transcode to RGB 709 and vice versa? Just pick the one you want and let the computer figure it out.

The same could said for timelines. a project becomes an association of all elements for a given project regardless of sources and delivery timelines.

Now what does come into play as Pat mentions is transcode, but even that can be managed during the transcode selection process with a "preserve source rate or project rate otion" (if projects are still locked to a single rate and raster) or any given target/raster rate.

And while on topic, don't make auxiliary timecode such a lossy field. When trancoding from one rate to another, there is no reason to lose its original frame rate and ability track it. There are plenty of columns for tracking every kind of timecode rate known. Currently any values being tracked in the AuxTC columns disappear after a transcode.


Michael


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