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RED 120fps to 24fps slow-mo...then to Avid

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Chris Tarroza
RED 120fps to 24fps slow-mo...then to Avid
on May 17, 2011 at 5:00:59 pm

Later today I will be receiving some 120fps RED footage that we want turned into slow motion. I'm working on FCP but it will then go to an Avid system, more on that later.

I just wanted to run my workflow with the experts since this is my first time actually working with new RED footage, let alone turning it to slow-mo. I've tested with pre-existing RED footage so I have some idea of how it works, but still pretty new to it. The project is going out to broadcast 1080p.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing, please correct as you see fit:

1) Using FCP, I'll Log & Transfer the RED footage into ProRes 422. Do I really need 4444 or 422 HQ? Should I use REDAlert (which I am HIGHLY inexperienced with)? With the RED footage I tested, it shows up overly green so I figured Log and Transfer in FCP would be easier since I am more familiar with it.

2) With the QT that are created, I'll bring those into Cinema Tools and conform them to 23.98 (I'm new to Cinema Tools but I have tested some other clips. Unless I'm missing something, seems that it is destructive to the original clip as in it conformed my 60fps footage to 30fps and I found no way to turn it back. Guess I just have to duplicate the footage just in case.

3) Edit away using the newly conformed 23.98 clips.

I'm thinking that converting 120fps to 24fps should be slow enough. At first I was thinking of using Twixtor but it may be unnecessary. However, if I did want to slow the 23.98 footage even more, what would be the best way to do so? Or is that pretty much the end of the line?

Now the Avid part. I'm leaving for vacation in a week so I won't be finalizing and outputting the project...unless I get everything done in a week which is ideal but unlikely with these clients.

I've spoken with the Avid editor and I quote,

"The most workable solution would be for you to do your work as you would normally and when the time comes for us to take over have you sent a QT file with the timecode burned in. We would then use that as a reference for recreating the sequence on our end with the raw RED footage and moving forward from there."

Is this really the most efficient way? For them to more or less cut it again from scratch? An EDL would help I suppose but is there anything else I should be aware of? Given my intended workflow, is there anything I should keep in mind?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Also, just wanted to say thanks to everybody who helps out here. I'm relatively inexperienced and you guys have helped me out numerous times!

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Rafael Amador
Re: RED 120fps to 24fps slow-mo...then to Avid
on May 17, 2011 at 5:45:23 pm

Hi Chris,
If never tried something like that, but I have a doubt.
I think that from the moment you "Conform" you loose any relation with the original RED footage.
The only thing could remain are the files names, but i don't think that would be enough to try to make
work any kind of XML or EDL from FC or AVID.
No TC, no "reel name" and mostly,no idea what may happens when you try to reconnect a p24 sequence to any p120 stuff.

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Alex Elkins
Re: RED 120fps to 24fps slow-mo...then to Avid
on May 19, 2011 at 4:09:34 pm

Hi Chris,

You're complicating something that is in fact very simple. When you shoot on the RED Camera you pick a framerate and a timebase.

In your case:
Framerate = 120fps
Timebase = 23.98fps

Meaning that the camera is recording 120fps but it will always play back at 23.98.

There's nothing for you to do in post other than convert to ProRes and begin editing. It will automatically be slow-mo.

Regarding the fact that you need to interchange between Avid and FCP, I can't see the logic in simply handing them a QuickTime file only for them to re-edit from the raw files. Seems a very old-fashioned way of going about things.
Avid will now work pretty well with ProRes files anyway, so in theory they could simply stick with the files you're using and give them an EDL, or give them an EDL and they can conform to the raw files automatically.
Maybe someone familiar with Avid could chime in on this point??

Alternately, you can use REDCine-X to convert to both ProRes and Avid MXF. All timecodes will match up between the files, and again, and EDL should do the trick.

You need to determine whether you need the Avid editor to revert back to the raw files at all. There's not much gained unless your final output is for cinema. For web and HD broadcast, the ProRes files will look fantastic.

You could test all of this yourself by downloading a trial of Avid Media Composer:

Use REDCine-X to convert to ProRes or MXF:
This will give you much more flexibility than FCP, and it won't come out all green.

Good luck

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
Shot on RED @ 100fps, Post on FCP/Color: Capoeira Film

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