4k offline proxy workflow for documentary
I am an assistant editor for a company that has recently switched to Avid 8.8.1 and we are about to start shooting a ton of footage for a documentary in 4k. The plan for post is to edit with proxy files then finish in 4k. I have been researching and finding different ways to do this in media composer, but most of the tutorials I find are from older versions of avid. It looks like some things have changed in the newest version so I have a few questions...
Should I set up my project as 4k UHD to match my footage and delivery specs? Or should I create a lower resolution project (1080 or 720) then transcode my 4k media to match the project?
If I work in a 4k project I can transcode to Source 1/4, or Source 1/16 for raster dimensions, at DNxHR LB. Is this a better way of making the proxies compared to changing the project format to a lower resolution then transcoding to that resolution?
Does the Proxy dropdown in the format tab just change the playback quality? If so I can leave that set to off if I transcode all my footage to 1/4 or 1/16 quality right?
We will also be using a lot of archival news footage that we will receive in lower resolutions. How should I go about mixing 1080p and 720p footage into this project?
And lastly, what is the best way to bring my sequences back online when edit is complete? I have also found a few different ways of doing this. I do not want to delete all of my proxy files to make them offline then relink. I would like to keep them in case we have to do some tweaking. Also I do not want to relink all of my proxy master clips to the source file that I linked and transcoded, because then it will relink that media in every sequence that it is in right?
My goal is to duplicate the locked edit sequence, then tell Avid to find the source clips and transcode new .mxf files of just the media used in the duplicate sequence, like media managing in Final Cut. That way I can save space and still go back and work in my sequence with the proxy media, but also have a sequence that is onlined with that new media it created.
I think the old way of doing this is with the Batch Capture feature, but I read that is more for tape workflows. Is batch re-import what I need to look into?
I would love to hear about what kinds of 4k offline proxy workflows are working for you guys. Thanks!
Here is my workflow
Link to camera original, either by Option drag from the source folders into the avid bins , or use the source browser to link to the camera files.. ( add reel names to the TAPE NAME metadata if going to resolve for colour , see Scott Freeman blog on creative cow)
Transcode to the DnxHR Lb codec using full raster. Make new bins , sort the transcoded media into these new bins, and name the bins, so you know which is linked media and what is transcoded media.
Edit in a 1080 timeline ( my preference, as I'm set up that way)
When you want to relink, close all the bins that contain trancode media and open all bins with linked media.
Highlight the sequence and relink using the "relink to media in all open bins "command.
Your sequence should now be linked to the original master clips at the start of this process.( it's good to do this on a duplicated sequence)
Using the timeline menu option: 'clip colour' set to show 'linked media' , check your timeline for any clips that did not relink (sometimes happens? If it does , I hide the avid meadiafiles folder on the media drive so all trancode media would appear as OFFLINE , do the relink command again and this will usually solve the relink issue)
You now should have two sequences one linked to trancoded media , the other linked media.
Note that importing and batch importing are completely different workflows, and are not interchangeable.
I recommend you test this out with a small number of clips. The final step is to highlight your 'linked ' sequence and trancode it to the codec and handle length you want, phew!
(I find it helpful to use a different media drive for this transcode, to keep low Rez and high Rez media separate, for archiving etc)
Let us know how you go with your TEST.
Hey thanks for sharing Martin
When you say edit in a 1080 timeline, does that mean you change your project format to 1080p? Then edit with the transcoded clips in full resolution at DNxHR LQ in a 1080 timeline? And this is when you are finishing in 4k?
We would like to edit in a lower resolution to save space and bandwidth. I have been doing some testing today. I left my project format at 4k UHD 23.976P. I link in my 4k footage (which is shot in DNxHR SQ on an Atomos Shogun Flame recorder) and set the tape name. I trancoded test clips into Source 1/4 (1920x1080) and Source 1/16 (960x540) raster dimensions at DNxHR LQ. We decided to go with Source 1/4 proxies, which are 1080. So I am wondering if I should change my project format to 1080 while we edit with these proxies?
We have a few story stations that are running Avid version 188.8.131.52 so they will not be able to open the 4k projects or playback any footage in the DNxHR codec. Boss wants me to figure out a workflow that will work with those systems. I tried downloading the Avid DNxHR codecs but that didn't work. It looks like I will have to create the project as 1080p 23.976, link in my 4k files and transcode to 1920x1080 DNxHD 36 or 80 proxy files. That way the project can be opened in Avid 7.
I will change the project format to 4k UHD when edit is complete and then relink to the 4k masters on my Avid 8.8 system. Will this cause any relink issues if I change the project format then relink? Will I have to do any rescaling of the footage after I relink to the 4k files?
Yes I work in a 1080 timeline as that's mostly how I am delivering and my monitoring is 1080. The only 4K deliver I've done I worked in 1080 and then modified the seq to 4K ( select seq>clip modify > set format, this has to be done with project settings set as 4K)
I would suggest this is how you work with your version 7 MC , the relink should work back in vers 8 MC to the 4K originals.
I have not used the 1/4 rez transcode as I'm using frame flex to do reframing and I was concerned about camera focus and wanted good Rez to make offline decisions. But I don't think you need to change the seq format to 1080 to work with the 1/4 rez.
Do tests on the whole pipeline and let us know your results.
I have been testing and I think I have come up with a workflow that will be solid, but I have some questions.
I am working in a 1080p/23.976 format project rather than making proxies in a 4k project so our story producers can work on our older computers with Avid 7 which doesn't allow you to open a 4k project.
I have linked in my 4k footage and transcoded the proxy files. In the transcode window for raster dimensions I choose project dimensions (proxy off), convert to projects frame rate, and DNxHD 36 MXF for resolution.
My questions is, when I make a sequence and drop in some of the transcoded footage, it automatically places a FrameFlex - Layout effect on the clips. I thought it only did this when you edit with footage at a different resolution than your project?
Can anybody explain why it is doing this?