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Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?

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Adam Claude Jones
Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 3:56:07 am

I need to capture 10 bit 4:2:2 straight to a computer for green screen work. Uncompressed would be of course the best but the hardware and storage requirements are insane. So I was thinking about using ProRes. But the question is should I use ProRes 4444 or would ProRes 422 HQ be more than enough? I know ProRes 4444 is 12 bit 4:4:4 so would I be gaining anything in using it to capture 10 bit 4:2:2 or is it only for 4:4:4 sources?
Now there’s also the other side of the story, which is I was told to forget ProRes all together and use Cineform because it is wavelet instead of DCT and is supposedly better than HDCAM SR. Is it so and should I go with Cineform then?
Prores is also said to introduce level shifts.
Post will be all Mac with Final Cut Studio (mainly FCP and Color), Shake and Nuke.
I know there’s Cineform for the Mac but I’m not sure it works with the Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink which is the card which will be used.
The piece will be shown in movie theaters before movies and will be heavily color graded and stylized so the key and quality needs to look good and although there’s no way of using a 4:4:4 system like the Viper or F23, I would like to capture the 10 bit 4:2:2 with the best quality possible short of uncompressed.
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:44:40 am

Hi Adam,
Prores 444 supports 12b, but I really don't know in which circumstances you will get such 12b.
Of course no when capturing with a crd that supports only 10b.
Neither out from FC for the same reason.
I would think on my workflow.
For what you say, I imagine that you will cut in FC, then send to Color.
Here in Color is when your captured footage will be first time processed.
Converted in RGB.
So your decision is about how to keep the most from the 10b Unc that feed the capture card to Color.
I can not tell you nothing about Cineform because I've never used it.
But between Prores 444 and Prores HQ, I don't see much advantage on going 444.
If you capture 444, the video card will nicely fill the missed chroma. But this interpolated chroma won't be of much help when Color will convert to RGB. I guess that Color will do the same job starting with the 422 picture.
IMO the choice would be between Cineform or Prores HQ.
The best solution would be Sheer (the best codec of the world), buts as long as Apple still not supporting it, probably would complicate your job.
Best,
Rafael


http://www.nagavideo.com


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:28:57 am

Forgot.
From Color, when your picture reach the 32b RGB, I would go Proress 444.
Here is really important to keep all the Chroma.
A bit of DTC compression would be bearable for this purpose.
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:05:00 pm

Not sure I understand what you mean here Rafael.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:01:51 am


I mean that you have no advantage in capturing 10b 422 as 10b 444.
But there are many advantages on going to Prores 444 from the moment you have to render firs time your picture.
When you process in Color at 32b, your picture inside Color is 32b RGB.
If you export to 422 will be Chroma down-sampling: You throw the half of your color samples.
If you export to 444, it wont be down-sampling: you keep all the color in all your pixels.
Do you understand this?
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 3:45:07 am

So you are saying I should capture it in ProRes 422 but then convert it to ProRes 4444 before editing?



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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 5:08:49 am

No.
Capturein Proress 422.
Cut in FC and send to Color the original Prores.
From Color export Prores 444.
There are very good reasons to shift to 444 at this point.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:57:43 pm

I see. Thanks.
So you can't use the send to FCP function. You have to render out and re-import in FCP. I never did that but I would think you would have to render a self contained movie then? If so you would lose the ability to tweak the cut, transitions etc. There are advantages in using the send to FCP function, specially with a big sequence.
So why not convert to 4444 before going into FCP? Would it slow FCP any? Thanks.



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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:09:32 pm

Then you should learn about the Round Trip process and how to set handlers so you can trim the sequence back in FC.
Whatever the path you fallow you won't have any benefit with 444 until the first rendering.
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:44:23 pm

[Adam Claude Jones] "So why not convert to 4444 before going into FCP? "

Adam,

I have worked on almost 50 ProRes > filmouts projects in the last 3 years and do not recommend this workflow at all. Taking guidance from someone with limited experience (only a couple of months if I remember correctly) using the the latest versions of the ProRes codec and is quoting the marketing materials and not real experience with ProRes 4444 and filmouts.

My number one reason, most film recorders work with frame based content as DPX or from HDCamSR Master tapes- if you use the workflow prescribed you will be doing 2 additional conversions that are not necessary, and with those come issues like the TC can slip with a software transcode, if the TC follows at all, as can be the case when using Apple's media manager.

IF you want the highest quality go directly to DPX from Color not back into ProRes, if you are going to tape you gain nothing by converting the files prior to output.

Do a search on Google for " ProRes a Closer Look" and you will find the original article I wrote on ProRes.



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:15:09 pm

[gary adcock] "aking guidance from someone with limited experience (only a couple of months if I remember correctly) using the the latest versions of the ProRes codec and is quoting the marketing materials and not real experience with ProRes 4444 and filmouts. "
To be accurate my experience with Prores 444 is just three weeks, but I work in this business since 26 tears ago.
Apart of playing with buttons, I have a formation. I've been togth to understand how a machine works reading a manual.



[gary adcock] "IF you want the highest quality go directly to DPX from Color not back into ProRes, if you are going to tape you gain nothing by converting the files prior to output. "
Coming from 10b Unc, DPX or Cineon makes no sense.
Is no me who say so.
Is Joseph Owens, colorist and telecine expert:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/223/12685#12692
Rafael



http://www.nagavideo.com


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:51:39 pm

[Rafael Amador] "To be accurate my experience with Prores 444 is just three weeks, but I work in this business since 26 tears ago."

I am not questioning how long you have been in the Video Business.

I do question your knowledge of the ProRes 4444 codec and workflow you are communicating about with a scant 3 weeks of practical knowledge of the 4444 codec. In that time exactly how many filmouts have you done?

In the last month I have been part of 4 projects (not DI or tape - real 35mm filmouts) from ProRes masters and I had 3 different workflows- your methodology ended up being the most troublesome for both the editors and the Lab.

"Coming from 10b Unc, DPX or Cineon makes no sense. "

Then you do not understand the filmout process as it works for this type of delivery. I will re-iterate "[gary adcock] "IF you want the highest quality go directly to DPX from Color not back into ProRes"

A frame based DPX output from Apple's Color is part of the App's original operation and design and if Adam is going to a file based output device why not? - since these systems are most likely Linux or windows based OS's and likely not able to handle ProRes content natively.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:06:12 pm

Gary,
I haven't say that going DPX is not better than going 444.
That is JO who say that.
What I say is that is better keep 444 than HQ.
Difficult to understand my point?
Or do you recommends down-sampling?
Up to your Prores papers, Adan should be capturing in Prores SQ.
Is you who always say that Prores HQ is only for 2K.
Isn't it?
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:20:41 pm

Rafael
How many film outs have you done? This is an area where I make my living- handling just this type of issues on the high-end, I only give out information based on my own knowledge and experience , not on material I have read on or based on someone else's work.

[Rafael Amador] "What I say is that is better keep 444 than HQ"

Transcoding to a different version of the codec can cause compression errors - and rendering to ProRes 4444 will not gain any extra bit depth not even from color- then Transcoding to 4444 then to another output is a adding an extra step to the process.

Once again, in filmout workflow, this is a needless and unwarranted step- go straight to DPX (since DPX are up to 12bit from Color and 16bit in the film world - nothing is lost).

"Or do you recommends down-sampling? "
What down sampling are you referring to? Adam is starting with 10bit master recording from the camera , and I have never talked about downsampling anything - are you saying that Color can output a 32bit file? it cannot,
"Up to your Prores papers, Adan should be capturing in Prores SQ. Is you who always say that Prores HQ is only for 2K. Isn't it? "

if you have actually read the article you would see that I have never said that - what I did say was there is no advantage for most users to transcode to ProRes HQ from previously captured camera files on any camera that is not capable of shooting/ recording more than 10bit data- and all of those cameras are capable of more that 1080 acquisition.

Capturing directly from the camera via HDSDI is different, since there is no camera compression going on.






gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:13:33 am

Well, first I would like to start by thanking both of you for your input. In such a gigantic forum you were the only 2 who bothered replying and not only that but going into deep detail. Thanks!
I would also like to thank you Rafael. I know you are trying to help with the best of the intentions and based on the best of your experience. But considering Gary’s experience I think there’s something to be learned here for all of us. This thing although technical isn’t really exact science in many ways. You will find people pulling for both camps when it comes to any number of subjects, specially when it comes to what looks better, which in this case can also apply to quality. But in the end of the day all you got is your own experiences, which do not come without making mistakes and making mistakes is how you grow and learn about what works and what doesn’t. From the 3 of us Gary seems to have made the most mistakes because he’s the one doing it for the longest and for that reason he is probably the one who knows what works best which makes him the most experienced. Knowledge is great but experience is king! Don’t take this or Gary’s comments in a personal way, I’m sure he like you has the best of the intentions and is just trying to share his personal experiences on the matter. It’s all about the exchange of good info.
Coming back to the initial topic, Gary (Thanks a bunch for all the deep info), so if I got it right, I should capture it in ProRes 422 (because 4444 would be the same quality and just more storage space), edit it on a ProRes 422 timeline in FCP, send to Color and when finished in Color rather than using the send to FCP function I shoulder render it out as a DPX image sequence. I think I got it. But there’s just one thing though. The footage is green screen which means before it even comes into FCP is needs to be keyed and composited, which will be done most likely in Shake. Shake doesn’t really like Prores that much I hear (quicktime in general actually) and even if you go in as ProRes you should definitely not render out as Prores from Shake You should render a DPX or EXR. So it seems to me going into FCP as ProRes would not really be a good idea since it needs to go trough Shake first. Of course, you could cut in FCP, send to Shake and come back as DPX, but that would mean going into Shake as ProRes. So, should it be all convert to DPX first thing after capturing in ProRes to start it all in DPX already?
I guess one of the workflow could look like: capture>edit>composite>back to edit>color grade>back to FCP>final output.
Or what would you suggest and when should it leave Prores?
By the way, there will also be XDCAM and HDCAM footage (recorded in camera) mixed with the show which are the non green screen portions if it needs to be taken in consideration. So they should probably be either converted to ProRes 422 right away or to DPX depending on what is done for the green screen stuff?

My head is about to go kaboom!

Thanks a lot for the great support.




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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 23, 2010 at 3:34:19 pm

[Adam Claude Jones] "Well, first I would like to start by thanking both of you for your input."

You are most welcome.
I would also like to say your comments were very well stated, I thank you for those also.

One correction on my part, my production manager told me that I have only done 26 film related projects in the last 45 days, not the 50 I claimed yesterday, so my experience was mis-stated and I stand corrected.


"But there’s just one thing though. The footage is green screen which means before it even comes into FCP is needs to be keyed and composited,"

Every workflow is different, I have not had the issues with Shake that you refer to. I have had no issues handling ProRes/HQ materials in Shake.

I agree about your comment not to output to ProRes from Shake and the DPX > ProRes route can bring up gamma issues on some machines.

The simple rule is to keep as much of your content in the same format and frame rate as possible, VFX workflows are often completely separate from post and require managing them as a complete entity unto itself, then handling the conversion after that element is finalized.

[Adam Claude Jones] "So they should probably be either converted to ProRes 422 right away or to DPX depending on what is done for the green screen stuff? "

Once again, the DPX output I am referring to is only for use if that format is required (preferred) for the film scanner to be used. DPX files can be a huge encumbrance when people are not prepared for that level of data (about 30% larger file sizes than 10bit uncompressed)

These questions need to be answered BEFORE you go into Production or Post.
I am not able to decide what your workflow is from a few questions here on the cow. You will need to make your own choices as to how this production will handle files from different sources.


(note: that my company specializes in designing and de-bugging workflows of this nature)



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 4:41:36 am

Thanks again Gary.
Yeah, I have to figure out the best workflow.
So to summarize about my original question which we got a little side tracked to post workflow and the question was about capturing codec, I should use ProRes 422 HQ to capture the 10 bit 4:2:2 1080p footage for green screen and not ProRes 4444 right?

Somebody also suggested Motion JPEG saying if i don't want to go full uncompressed this is a good option.
Not that I don't want to go uncompressed, I don't think we can really afford it, besides so many have said you can't really tell the difference in the key with Prores.

Thanks.



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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 2:50:51 pm

[Adam Claude Jones] " I should use ProRes 422 HQ to capture the 10 bit 4:2:2 1080p footage for green screen"

Direct from the camera -correct.

"Somebody also suggested Motion JPEG saying if i don't want to go full uncompressed "

I would not, since you will loose all of the RTX functionality in Final Cut if you use M jpeg, since that is a very old codec (and can be 8 bit or less at higher compression ratios)

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 8:30:38 pm

[Gary Adcock] "Direct from the camera -correct"

Yep. Straight out of the HD-SDI into a Blackmagic Decklink card.
Thanks for the confirmation. I just wanted to make that I should be using ProRes HQ.



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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 4:02:05 pm

[Adam Claude Jones]
"Somebody also suggested Motion JPEG"
If you consider this suggestion, you should think about to hire a proffessional to help you with your job.
Best,
Rafael

Best,
Rafael




http://www.nagavideo.com


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:30:02 pm

[Rafael Amador] "But there are many advantages on going to Prores 444 from the moment you have to render firs time your picture. "


I disagree.

Unless the camera captures and outputs a 444 / 12bit signal there is no earthly reason to capture and work in ProRes 4444, Use that for the graphics and greenscreen output segments only.

IMHO -- NEVER transcode to a higher quality ProRes codec if you do not have a specific reason too.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:43:20 pm

[gary adcock] "
Unless the camera captures and outputs a 444 / 12bit signal there is no earthly reason to capture and work in ProRes 4444"

As usual, you don't read what I write.
I haven't talk of capturing 444.
I said that there is no reason to do so.
What I said, and say again, is that we have all the reasons to to output 444 from Color, when whatever we import may becomes 32b RGB.
If you don't see the advantage of no downsampling, I see it very clear.
Rafael


http://www.nagavideo.com


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:29:35 pm

[Adam Claude Jones] "I know ProRes 4444 is 12 bit 4:4:4 so would I be gaining anything in using it to capture 10 bit 4:2:2 or is it only for 4:4:4 sources?"

That is only accurate when the original source material is 12 bit.

Your looking at this from the top down.

the first question is 'what is my deliverable?" if its HD or less ProResHQ / Standard would be fine for Greenscreen work. Use 4444 when you need to maintain the alpha, as with graphics.

" I was told to forget ProRes all together and use Cineform because it is wavelet instead of DCT and is supposedly better than HDCAM SR."

While Cineform is a great codec and recommended by me and others as the ideal codec for cross platform workflows, I do not feel that it is any "better" that ProRes HQ or 4X4.

"although there’s no way of using a 4:4:4 system like the Viper or F23, I would like to capture the 10 bit 4:2:2 "

Then capture direct at the camera and not from tape or cards, that will be the only way to achieve the highest quality of imagery you can.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Adam Claude Jones
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:03:00 pm

Thanks for the reply Gary.

Your looking at this from the top down.

the first question is 'what is my deliverable?" if its HD or less ProResHQ / Standard would be fine for Greenscreen work. Use 4444 when you need to maintain the alpha, as with graphics.


The deliverable is 35mm filmout and digital projection for movie theaters.

While Cineform is a great codec and recommended by me and others as the ideal codec for cross platform workflows, I do not feel that it is any "better" that ProRes HQ or 4X4.

What is the advantage of Cineform for cross platform?
While editing, keying and color grading will be done on a Mac, there may be some parts of composited on the Windows platform and they returned to Mac for editing finishing.

"Then capture direct at the camera and not from tape or cards, that will be the only way to achieve the highest quality of imagery you can."

I'm not sure I was clear on my original post but this is exactly what we are doing. Capturing the 10bit 4:2:2 1920x1080 signal straight out of the camera's SDI to a computer. Just want to make sure I capture it at the best quality possible (codec?) short of fully uncompressed which will be unpractical for us.

Thanks.


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:25:55 pm

[Adam Claude Jones] "The deliverable is 35mm filmout and digital projection for movie theaters. -- Capturing the 10bit 4:2:2 1920x1080 signal straight out of the camera's SDI to a computer."

You gain nothing by going to 4444 in this workflow- ProRes HQ offers you virtually the same capabilities
without the extra overhead even for 35MM filmouts (which I have done and will be showing at NAB).


"What is the advantage of Cineform for cross platform?
While editing, keying and color grading will be done on a Mac, there may be some parts of composited on the Windows platform and they returned to Mac for editing finishing."


If the editing and finishing were being done simultaneously I would say go to Cineform. however since the edit and finish will be on a mac, doing this would take away all of the RT performance on the Mac, since Cineform's codec does not offer the same level of realtime playback as Apple's own codec.

Stay with ProRes.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 4:18:32 pm

Gary,
I don't gonna waist my time going through all your contradictory post about Proress.
You state now the opposite of what you said few weeks ago:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/8/1070538

Contradiction is natural in the human being, but I'm too old to play game.

And if you want to be a full guru, be carefullwith statement like this one about the "DCT conpression of the Apple 8/10b Uncompress".
People may lose the faith.
I'll be without Internet for one week or so, but we can caht when I come back.
Best,
rafael
PS: Do you remember the tale of "The Naked King"?

http://www.nagavideo.com


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gary adcock
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:20:48 pm

[Rafael Amador] "I don't gonna waist my time going through all your contradictory post about Proress. You state now the opposite of what you said few weeks ago:
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/8/1070538 "


No, not at all.
I see nothing contradictory about that statement, especially in context as listed here when asked about using ProRes specifically for a filmouts.http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/8/1075694


"And if you want to be a full guru, be carefullwith statement like this one about the "DCT conpression of the Apple 8/10b Uncompress". "

EH? I don't understand your comment and since you did not offer a link to any statement that I have made, I figure you are just trying to make a point.

However - do realize that the Uncompressed is talking about the video signal and not the file compression? Otherwise you would be working with the codec called NONE.

"Do you remember the tale of "The Naked King"? "

That fable is called "The Emperor's New Clothes" in the West, and funny I think it applies more to you than to me. I have articles, whitepapers and published data that back my opinions and statements and my experience.



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Rafael Amador
Re: Is ProRes 4444 the right thing fomr me?
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:55:55 am

[gary adcock] ""And if you want to be a full guru, be carefullwith statement like this one about the "DCT conpression of the Apple 8/10b Uncompress". "

EH? I don't understand your comment and since you did not offer a link to any statement that I have made, I figure you are just trying to make a point.

However - do realize that the Uncompressed is talking about the video signal and not the file compression? Otherwise you would be working with the codec called NONE."


Here you have the link:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/8/1063573

What a heck you say now about NONE?
As I said, I'll be out of reach for a couple ofweeks, after we will have some for a technicall discussion.
If you want.
rafael



http://www.nagavideo.com


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