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SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?

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Sascha Engel
SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 7:45:22 am

Hi Everybody,

I am finishing a rock concert, which was film on the SONY EX1 (4 of them), the Color Grading was done with a mix of 3Way Color Corrector and MAgic Bullet Looks.
Now, my question: Is there a significant difference in rendering the timeline in 8Bit or 10Bit YUV in this case?
The TL settings are XDCAM 35MB/s 1920by1080.

The final output will go on a regular DVD.


The difference in rendering is enormous, so if the difference on the EX 1 Material is rather small between 8 and 10bit, I guess I'd go for 8Bit.



Any thoughts on this one?
Thanx a lot.

Greetings,


Sascha


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Rafael Amador
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:48:58 am

- If you have to crunch your picture, do it only once: When you make the MPEG-2 for the DVD.

- If you export XDCAM and then make the MPEG-2, you crunch your picture twice (two consecutive MPEG-2 compressions).

- Without regard of the codec/bit-depth of your sequence, "High Precision makes a more precise rendering.

- Rendering to Prores will be faster than to XDCAM (LGOP), even if you set "High Precision".


Half of my jobs are about making DVDs from EX-1 footage. I always render to Prores and with "High Precisions". The difference in quality versus exporting 8b without "High Precision" is VERY noticeable, most of all when you are applying filters like Magic Bullet.

Sascha, the point is to try to work as much uncompressed as you can until you need to compress for delivery (DVD, Web,..).
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 11:00:00 am

Hi Rafa,

first thanx for the nice mail reply. Gonna answer you in detail soon, just in the middle of finishing two projects.

Regarding my question:

Right now the setting of my timeline were:
-Quicktime video settings: XDCAM 1080p25, field dominance none, aspect ratio square
-Video processing 8bit YUV (will set this still to high precision)
- and yes prores under: "Render Control" Tab -> Codec: Apple ProRes for XDCAM Footage


Can I export in those settings or you think I should put the Quicktime video settings to ProRes as well? I thought when I render and set it to ProRes in the Render Control Tab it will be enough?

The resizing I usually do in After Effects, since it does a great job, or in Compressor.


Greetings,

Sascha


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Rafael Amador
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 11:51:13 am

[Sascha Engel] "- and yes prores under: "Render Control" Tab -> Codec: Apple ProRes for XDCAM Footage"
This "useful"(?) option in the end is a bit of a trap, because when you export, the Prores files are converted to XDCAM which is your sequence codec. So things end up re-compressed.

Unless you are too pressed, I would recommend you the way I told you.
It probably will take longer to export your sequence to XDCAM than re-render to Prores/high Precision and the results won't ever be the same.
MagicBullet can't achieve the same in 8b than in 10b Floating Point.

[Sascha Engel] "The resizing I usually do in After Effects, since it does a great job, or in Compressor."
Whichever of both applications you use for the downscaling, export Prores. If in AE, set the rendering at 18b. If in Compressor, set the "Frame Control ON".

Sascha, the extra time that you spend in making a better process is well paid by the final result.
Cheers,
rafa

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 11:57:41 am

I know, but sometimes the factor time is killing you and I do not have a 12 Core Desktop - unfortunately ;-)
So, Best things to do would be:

- Set my timeline options to ProsRes and render everything in Hi Precision YUV?

Does it matter that the actual footage on the timeline is still XDCAM Codec?


Sascha


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 5:18:43 pm

Hi Rafa,

one more question: If I set it to ProRes, will ProRes LT do? Because of space issue on HD.
Is there a huge difference in Footage from the SONY? I know, with the 5D there is, but with the AVCHD Codec, PorRes LT usually is good enough.

Sascha


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David Roth Weiss
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 5:29:54 pm

[Sascha Engel] "with the AVCHD Codec, PorRes LT usually is good enough."

What is good enough Sascha? Is throwing out half your video information satisfactory?

Do you really like the concept of spending all your time to perfect a project knowing that you chucked out half the video information with the click of a button just to save a few $$$ on an extra hard drive?

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com
http://www.ProMax.com
Sales | Integration | Support


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 7:20:46 pm

Sascha,

Why not pick some visually intensive segments of the concert (like where there are a lot of fast lighting changes) and do some tests with different settings to see if there is a difference or not? Sometimes different settings result in a visual loss of info and sometimes they result in just an 'on paper' loss of info (where technically data has been lost but visually it looks exactly the same).


David,
Why the hate for LT? I've used LT in workflows where I've personally tested LT footage against regular ProRes (used scopes, broadcast monitor and large client monitor for evaluation) and found no difference in quality for our particular needs (including broadcast). And before you accuse us of being cheap, we generated about 2-3 TB a week of new data and upgrading an 40TB Xsan w/25 clients attached isn't an inexpensive process.

LT won't hold up as well when it comes to processing (like I wouldn't use LT for green screen) but for our workflow of record LT, minimal if any post processing, layoff to HDCAM, it works great.


-Andrew

2.9 GHz 8-core (4,1), FCP 7.0.3, 10.6.6
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (7.9.5)



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David Roth Weiss
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:15:52 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "David,
Why the hate for LT? I've used LT in workflows where I've personally tested LT footage against regular ProRes (used scopes, broadcast monitor and large client monitor for evaluation) and found no difference in quality for our particular needs (including broadcast)."


It's my age and experience speaking here Andrew, not any personal hatred for LT.

I've actually been around long enough to see the results of a decision like Sascha's years afterward.

I assure you, no one in the future, years from now, will ever complain that Sascha's master was too good, if he goes with ProRes 422. However, if he uses LT, someone, probably Sascha himself, will complain if the master or its copies aren't as good as they should be.

I've seen the same type of mistake made many, many times over the years...

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com
http://www.ProMax.com
Sales | Integration | Support


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 7:36:53 pm

Well, if I really see a difference, of course I am not willing to compromise, but I just did a projects shot on the AF101 (AVCHD Files) and it looks great in ProRes LT:







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David Roth Weiss
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 8:38:39 pm

You're looking at a first gen copy now. Twenty years from now, when someone is doing a retrospective of your work on a 10 generation copy it won't look as good as iit would if you'd avoid chucking out 50% of the info.

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com
http://www.ProMax.com
Sales | Integration | Support


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:16:00 pm

Wow, thanx for the vote of confidence! :-) I guess, I never saw it from that angle.
Very interesting point.

Sascha


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David Roth Weiss
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:23:31 pm

[Sascha Engel] "I guess, I never saw it from that angle.
Very interesting point."


They call it wisdom Sascha... It's about the only benefit there is to aging I can think of.

You'll be thinking of me twenty years from me as you step up to the podium after they play that retrospective. :)

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com
http://www.ProMax.com
Sales | Integration | Support


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:37:43 pm

Now, I am seriously blushing. Well, if that ever happens, you have my word on the COW:
I will invite you as guest of honor for that ceremony!

Thank you!
Meanwhile I will see if I can get some place on my HD, since our salaries here in the Middle East are just not cut out for constant HD buying.

But wow, that posts of yours certainly made my day:-)



Sascha


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:15:03 pm

If someone's looking at a 10th gen copy of this work it's going to be derived from the HDCAM deliverable and I'd say that the HDCAM tape (1440x1080, 3:1:1 8-bit, interlaced) is a already a step down from the source ProRes LT footage (full raster, 4:2:2, 10-bit, progressive). And for pieces where a master QT exists, a 100th gen copy of the file is going to look exactly like the master QT (assuming no data corruption happens during one of the copies). It's not like BetaSP where every analog step away from the master tape is a notable step down in quality. Sure, if the generation pipeline looks something like QT Master->HDCAM SR->HDCAM->DVCProHD->Blu-ray->Torrent->YouTube->DVD then the end product will look far worse than the Master. But at that point it doesn't matter if the Master was PR LT or PR Regular.

We all have practical limitations, like budgets, and the trick is to do the best you can with what you have (I hear 5k RAW is sweet, but how many have the means to handle it cradle to grave?). At the old gig there wasn't a budget to build two new 100TB Xsans (one mirroring the other like they have now) so the option was either staying in DVCPro HD or moving to ProRes LT (better quality at about the same file size). I guess turning away work would've been a way to decrease our data footprint and allow us to use ProRes regular but that just sounds like a bad idea to me. ;)

I even walked the exact same footage in ProRes regular and ProRes LT through our post cycle (editing, rendering, exporting, tape layoff, web compression, etc.,) during the evaluation process and saw no difference between the two in our workflow. In other situations the results might not be the same, but in our workflow they were. Trying to get a 6 figure corporate expenditure approved for little to no gain just didn't seem worth it. Using those funds to buy a bunch of Ki Pros so we didn't have to use Cineform or XDCAM EX/HD for field capture, now that was money well spent. Sure, if someone is being stingy over a few hundred, or even a couple thousand bucks that can be short sighted, but in the situation I'm talking about it would've been hundreds of thousands of dollars to sufficiently upgrade the storage.


To further derail this thread, why do you keep equating PR LT w/tossing away half your data (especially when the sources being discussed are of lesser quality than PR LT)? PR LT, like PR regular, is full raster 10-bit, 4:2:2 it's just about 30% smaller in data rate. Sure, 30% could be a difference maker but when the source footage is 4:2:0, 8-bit and nearly 1/4th the data rate of PR LT I'm not immediately convinced that bigger is better. That's not to say I wouldn't choose regular PR just to be safe (I cut a DV-sourced doc in a PR timeline and did PR exports) but there's certainly a point of diminishing returns. I mean, I doubt you work exclusively in Uncompressed even though, on paper, it should provide a better quality master than any flavor of ProRes or DNxHD. ;)


-Andrew

2.9 GHz 8-core (4,1), FCP 7.0.3, 10.6.6
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (7.9.5)



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Rafael Amador
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 3:19:34 am

I was writing a long shitty post but i've deleted it.
In short:
- Compression means degradation (even if your eyes can't see it).
- The only reason for compression is economy (money).
- Your source shouldn't determine your workflow. A poor quality footage doesn't justify a poor quality workflow. You can decide a lesser quality workflow for speed, HD space, system performance or whatever other constrain you may find reasonable, but never because your footage is not the best. In fact i see this the other side: The poorer the footage, the more care deserves.
- The same about your final delivery format. Whatever the delivery format will be, my target is a master with the higher quality i can get from my means.

Just a technical add about this case:
When you put an 8b compressed file in FC sequence and you apply an effect like MagicBullet (that works in 10b) and you set your sequence for 10b High Precision. the stuff in your sequence is not anymore 8b compressed, but full 10b, with 1024 luma values and 1024 Cb/Cr values.

I don't dismiss ProresLT (I haven't used not a single time).
I think is a great option for 10b massive data storage and high quality distribution (quality/data-rate), but is not a post-production codec. Not even Apple recommend it for post (see the Prores White Paper). LT is not ideal for stuff that will undergo further heavy processes.

Then you may or may not see the difference on an screen (you'll hardly see it in YouTube), but the difference exists.
Is a pity that nobody has yet made a good comparative test between the different Prores flavors. I mean a test as these made years ago by Marco Solorio (http://www.onerivermedia.com/codecs) with the QT codecs available at the time.
To judge a codec for postproduction you don't use a monitors/scopes (that's good for judging codecs for distribution), because is not just about what your eyes see, but about what your eyes do not see.
Is about what the machine see.
If you have time, please have a look to the link I've posted and click in the "Tests" tab. Is quite interesting to see how a proper test should be done.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 8:26:56 am

Thanx for that long and detailed answer. Of my current project I already re-batched everything in ProRes instead LT. About the Rock Concert, I will just have the client to be patient and wait - I have to re-render everything set to Apple ProRes 10Bit Hi Precision - which will take ages on my system, but yes, if there's a difference it's worth the pain.....Jumping back to work, clock is ticking against me....leaving in 7 days to Thailand :-).

Very nice test, by the way!


Sascha


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Rafael Amador
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 1:42:39 pm

Thailand?
Great. This year the Sonkram festival is from 13 to 16 of April.
Enjoy it.

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 1:49:04 pm

Hi Rafa,

will write you a mail soon...wanna know where that Festival is ...
But not here, that is a little off topic ;-) Keep work and travel separated!



Sascha


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 26, 2012 at 8:50:48 pm

I'm glad you decided to do away w/the shitty post 'cause I don't really see the reason to write one.

Basically, I agree w/everything you said. In a situation where there is an unlimited budget, no deadline and no technological limitations there shouldn't be a reason to work at anything less than uncompressed 4:4:4 for everything.

I've never had a chance to work on a project like that so I've got to find ways to do the best I can given the budget, time and tech limitations of whatever job I'm working with. What I find a bit bewildering is the attitude you and David are taking towards me w/o ever trying to learn more about the situation. It's like saying I made an inferior choice by choosing a bike for particular job instead of a car w/o everything asking about the details of the job and why I thought a bike was a better choice.


[Rafael Amador] " Not even Apple recommend it for post (see the Prores White Paper). LT is not ideal for stuff that will undergo further heavy processes."

From page 5 of the PR White Paper (which I am familiar with:
"Apple ProRes 422 (LT): Like Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and Apple ProRes 422, the new Apple ProRes 422 (LT) codec supports full-width 10-bit video sequences, but at a target data rate even lower than these siblings. Apple ProRes 422 (LT) weighs in at 100 Mbps or less, depending on the particular video format. It balances incredible image quality with small file sizes, and is perfect for digital broadcast environments where storage capacity and bandwidth are often at a premium.
Apple ProRes 422 (LT) is ideal for live multi-camera and on-location productions where large amounts of footage are acquired to disk. The low data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (LT) also makes it an excellent choice for transcoding complex camera codecs like AVCHD."

Every thing Apple says PR LT is good for describes part of the workflow at the last job I had. A lot of live event coverage with same day edits where getting your coverage up before your competitors is paramount. Workflows where getting a 10min export down to 7min is a big deal, where TBs of footage are being generated (at ProRes LT settings) on location and external HDDs are shuttling between locations so that everything ends up in the centralized storage ASAP.

I agree that PR LT isn't good for heavy processing in post and even stated so earlier in this thread. Sure, if you are doing a lot of manipulation in post PR LT isn't going to hold up but if you are doing little to no manipulation is stays together just fine in my experience. That doesn't mean you shouldn't test it in your own workflows, but in the workflow I tested it in it worked just fine. It exceed the quality of the previous workflow (DVCPro HD based) while not exceeding the storage and time limitations that were beyond our control.

I would love it too if someone regularly did comprehensive codec round ups. And not just codec roundups but compared different NLEs and compression software to see how they each handled a variety of codecs in common transcoding scenarios.

Like I said before, I always strive to maintain the highest quality I can given the limitations of the job. I've worked on prime time shows where no one batted an eye at renting two 40TB Avid ISIS's for redundancy and I've worked on low budget documentaries where post was held together by superglue and bailing wire. It both cases I helped setup and/or maintain the highest quality possible given the situation.

In a perfect world I'd maintain a perfect workflow but we don't live in a perfect world. ;)


-Andrew

2.9 GHz 8-core (4,1), FCP 7.0.3, 10.6.6
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (7.9.5)



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Rafael Amador
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:48:03 am

Andrew,
I fully agree with you. As I said, compression is a matter of economy and as you said: In a situation where there is an unlimited budget, no deadline and no technological limitations there shouldn't be a reason to work at anything less than uncompressed 4:4:4 for everything.

I've insisted just because I know Sascha has not those constrains to force him to work with LT.

BTW, the recomendation by Apple of using LT to transcode AVCHD is pure marketing shit.
Cheers.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Mar 27, 2012 at 5:28:38 pm

[Rafael Amador] "
I've insisted just because I know Sascha has not those constrains to force him to work with LT.


Agreed. I was more commenting on the blanket statement that one should only use PR LT If one wants to destroy the footage, and not necessarily on Sascha's specific situation.


BTW, the recomendation by Apple of using LT to transcode AVCHD is pure marketing shit.
Cheers.
rafael"


So first you tell me to read the White Paper and now you are telling me that the White Paper is shit. :)


-Andrew

2.9 GHz 8-core (4,1), FCP 7.0.3, 10.6.6
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (7.9.5)



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Sascha Engel
Re: SONY EX-1 Footage Final Render 8Bit or 10Bit?
on Apr 2, 2012 at 3:58:17 pm

Thanx for everybody involved in this discussion.
Here now the clip in Question - re-batched in Apple ProRes instead of ProRes LT.
Have a look:







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