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7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM

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Craig Moorhead
7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 25, 2012 at 6:23:41 pm

Hello, all. I want to run my workflow by you and see if you see any major flaws in this thinking:

- Film will be shot on 7D
- 7D footage will be transcoded to ProRes 422 HQ and 422 proxy
- Edit 422 proxy footage until final cut
- Replace 422 proxy with 422 HQ and output
- Color Correction
- Output from Color to 4444 for transfer to HDCAM

Mainly I'm wondering how necessary that last step is. Does it need to go to 444 before HDCAM? Will that help? Even if it's only by a matter of degrees, I would rather err on the side of better quality, but what do you think?

Also - if there are better alternatives to HDCAM (besides film-out), I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts on that, too. This will, most hopefully, be projected on very large screens at some point.


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Shane Ross
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 25, 2012 at 6:34:37 pm

[Craig Moorhead] "Does it need to go to 444 before HDCAM?"

No.

[Craig Moorhead] " Will that help? "

Not one bit.

[Craig Moorhead] "Even if it's only by a matter of degrees, I would rather err on the side of better quality, but what do you think?"

Even going to ProRes HQ is overkill. The format the camera shoots, H.264, is 8-bit 4:2:0. There is no way that you will get any missing information back by going to HQ, and definitely not by going to 4444. ProRes 422 is really the best you are going to get. You can even test. Transfer a shot as ProRes 422, the same shot as ProRes HQ. Color correct both...look. There will be NO difference.

Some people say that "the extra little bit of data you get between 422 and HQ during the color process is worth it." Poppycock. There is no difference. And 4444 is just more impressive sounding...it does no better. Besides that, HDCAM is 422, not 444...so there would be no point. HDCAM SR can do 444.

[Craig Moorhead] "Also - if there are better alternatives to HDCAM (besides film-out)"

HDCAM, HDCAM SR, D5...those are the high end tape standards. Below that you have DVCPRO HD, but that is 8-bit.

Question...why convert to ProRes HQ AND ProRes proxy? You are already taking up the space needed for HQ...why not just convert to that format and edit that? Why go with Proxy? What do you hope to gain with that? (Oh, and I still recommend ProRes 422...HQ gets you nothing but more drive space used. HQ is good for 10bit formats like RED, ALEXA, HDCAM SR).

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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David Roth Weiss
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 25, 2012 at 6:45:50 pm

I agree with Shane on every single point he's made above. And, I too am curious to know why you'd even consider the unnecessary offline to online step?

Unnecessary "do-overs" are a pet peeve of mine, so please enlighten me on your reasoning for even considering that step in your workflow.

David Roth Weiss
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David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
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Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:13:38 pm

Like David I agree w/Shane, but I'll toss in my 2 cents as well.

Why not just make a ProRes 422 master QT and hang on to that until you get proper delivery specs?

I believe HDCAM is 8-bit, 3:1:1 and thin raster (1440x1080 that is displayed as 1920x1080 on playback). With that being said it's still the defacto HD tape delivery format.

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Michael Gissing
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:20:41 pm

+1 for ProRes422 all the way. No offline/online needed and grade as ProRes422. Don't go back to HDCam as it is 1440 x 1080, 8 bit, 3:1:1 . HDCamSR is better (10 bit 4:2:2 with around 3:1 compression MPEG4 SP) but better still is a final quicktime file as ProRes422 1920 x 1080.

No need to go to tape at all as all that adds is cost and re-compression no matter what.


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Craig Moorhead
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:57:28 am

Thank you, Michael, Andrew, David and Shane.

No, I'm not expecting to gain information in the image by going up the ProRes ladder (if only it worked that way). But I've always taken shows from ProRes 422 to ProRes HQ for Color. That's just always been our colorist's spec. Shane, you say "Some people say that "the extra little bit of data you get between 422 and HQ during the color process is worth it." Poppycock." Why?

Also, because it caused confusion - the footage will be in both HQ and proxy because there's another editor and getting the proxy files back and forth when need be is going to be easier for us.

Andrew - I think you're exactly right. I need to just get this to an archival file and let festivals or what have you determine where it goes after that.

Thanks again, guys.


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Shane Ross
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 27, 2012 at 4:31:56 am

[Craig Moorhead] " Shane, you say "Some people say that "the extra little bit of data you get between 422 and HQ during the color process is worth it." Poppycock." Why?"

Because it is poppycock. Because I have tested rendering out ProRes HQ and ProRes 422...compared the results and they are identical. If you stack them and put the top clip into COMPOSITE MODE: DIFFERENCE the screen will go completely black. Meaning there is NO difference.

So the only thing you gain by going HQ is file size. And the thought that somehow it is better, because it is HQ.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Gissing
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 27, 2012 at 6:23:52 am

Craig, when ProRes codecs first appeared there was a lot of debate and testing. The explanation that was offered by experts like Gary Adcock was that for frame sizes 1920 and below, there was no benefit from HQ over plain old 422, indeed there was only penalty with larger file sizes.

For 2k or larger frame sizes, HQ offered some advantage. That was their conclusion and a search of this forum will probably bring up some more detail of that reasoning. Like Shane, I can't see any difference in a 1920 x 1080 workflow and I grade and online with proper monitoring.


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Craig Moorhead
Re: 7D Feature Film workflow to HDCAM
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:42:15 pm

Thank you again, Shane and Michael.

I hope you don't think I'm questioning your abilities or experience. I guess I'm just looking for some of the math behind why HQ has no advantage.

But no worries - I'm convinced enough, if for on other reason than you guys and Gary and Rich argue so passionately against HQ in these situations. 422 standard will be my top file type.

Thank you again for your time!

Craig


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