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Problem with CC for feature doc

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Vuk Vukmirovic
Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 2:30:13 am

Sorry about the long text!
The main goal is to do a CC on a feature doc that was edited in FCP7. The video was done with different cameras: DSLR Canon 600D, JVC (I'm not sure for the model, but the one that does video files exactly like Sony XDCAM EX) and Sony HDV Z1 (there is also some DV Pal video, but b/w, so no problem with color :) ). For JVC I had to Log and Transfer and for Z1 - Log and Capture. I didn't put it in ProRes, but this other QT format I think something like native was selected? The editing was done offline, but now the project is online waiting for CC and mastering, but here are the problems:

1. First I tried to do the CC in FCP7 and the result was very bad - the exported DVD was nothing like the first look I got in viewer after 3-way CC filter. The sequence I worked on was set for DSLR footage as most video is in this format, but all different format video clips were there. I'm not sure how I exported the DVD, but probably I sent it directly to Compressor from the timeline. The thing that I also don't understand is: if I render corrected video on timeline I get one result on viewer, if I turn off filter I get uncorrected video, but if I then again turn on the filter I get the 3rd result that's not the same as the 1st rendered one.

2. After the first fail the decision was made to try to transfer the project to PPro5 and to do the CC on the PC. I created the XML that Premiere was able to correctly read, but what it couldn't read was the files created in FCP's Log and Capture/Transfer. I tried to extract MPEGs from QT (without re-compressing) to something PPro can read, but even PPro can read those, it couldn't recognize these files for the referenced ones already in the timeline.

3. Then I decided to export something uncompressed from FCP timeline to do the CC in PPro on that. As I had this HDV 1080i video, first I applied deinterlace filter on that and then exported TIFF image sequence directly from FCP timeline. After the CC I've had uncompressed AVI from PPro on witch I've put titles in FCP and exported the film. The final result was very bad, full of artifacts on darker scenes and generally soft image. I tracked the shots with most severe artifacts and saw that they are already present on TIFFs exported directly from FCP. These were dark scenes that were shot on HDV with deinterlace filter applied. When I went back into the FCP sequence I saw that deinterlace filter was degrading the image, but I also realized that if I remove the deinterlace filter and export one frame from FCP timeline (that was set for DSLR video - progressive), the image is not really interlaced? I know that FCP switch fields automatically if you put a video clip with different field order then it is in the sequence and you can see this in filter tab of the video, but does it do automatic deinterlacing as well?

4. With some help I realized that if I wanted uncompressed image, I need to do what follows: put different camera shots in sequences with same settings, export QT with "current settings" and then convert these files to 32bit TIFFs in Compressor. I think this worked nicely, the quality of the image seamed good, but... I got a call from DP, it was strange to him that on almost every shot he needs to increase exposure, so he took one original MP4 file he had from JVC camera and put it in Premiere next to the same shot from TIFF sequence he got from me. The one exported by me looks 2 exposure steps lower then the original and I think it's mostly in shadows. The original MP4 is grainy in these dark parts, but still there are details, but in Tiff sequence it's almost black.

So what to do and where to go from here? PLEASE HELP!


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eric pautsch
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 2:59:01 am

I need a Tylenol :)

What specifically are you asking?



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Vuk Vukmirovic
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:02:34 am

[eric pautsch] "What specifically are you asking?"

I'm asking: if I stay in FCP, how to get a correct image after CC, or if I'm transferring to PPro, how to get "original" image to it? Of course, I'm also very interested in what exactly I'm doing wrong?


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Spencer Averick
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 3:26:24 am

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "The video was done with different cameras"

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "The sequence I worked on was set for DSLR footage"

Are you saying your the sequence codec was set to H.264? Try setting that to ProResHQ in FCP and do a test export to see how it looks. Stay away from h.264 in FCP.
If your source material looks good and is ProRes, and your sequence is set to the same ProRes, then there is no problem adding basic 3-way color filter and exporting a great looking full-res ProRes movie. When you compress for DVD you will always lose some quality, although you can set the data rate higher for better quality.


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Nick Meyers
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 4:45:51 am

"1. First I tried to do the CC in FCP7 and the result was very bad - the exported DVD was nothing like the first look I got in viewer after 3-way CC filter. "

it helps if you monitor your grading work on a calibrated external monitor,
not just on the computer screen.


nick


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Vuk Vukmirovic
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:37:02 am

[Nick Meyers] "it helps if you monitor your grading work on a calibrated external monitor,
not just on the computer screen."


I don't have that option, I have an 27" iMac, or to go on PC.


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Vuk Vukmirovic
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:33:19 am

[Spencer Averick] "Are you saying your the sequence codec was set to H.264?"

Yes, it was set to H264 as most video is from DSLR.

[Spencer Averick] "Try setting that to ProResHQ in FCP and do a test export to see how it looks"

I can do that, but will this help fix a problem of "one image in the viewer, the other in exported image"?


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Shane Ross
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:21:42 am

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "[Spencer Averick] "Are you saying your the sequence codec was set to H.264?"

Yes, it was set to H264 as most video is from DSLR."


OH? Oh my. Well...this is worse than I thought. Yeah, you started out on the wrong foot...from the beginning.

H.264 seems like it'll work in FCP...but it really won't. It's rife with issues. FCP doesn't deal with H.264 well at all. And the fact that you have H.264 sequence settings, and mixed all the footage on that sequence...oof....oy....ugh. That DSLR footage should have been converted to ProRes 422 before editing. Now...man, you have a mess. FCP let you get into this mess.

So you have H.264, that FCP doesn't like dealing with...issues can be sync issues, exporting problems, filters not sticking, color correction not sticking...any one of a dozen possible problems. On top of that, you have HDV footage that is a codec that only works on computers with FCP installed.

SO...how can you fix this? Change your sequence settings to PRORES 422. Go into the SEQUENCE menu and choose SETTINGS. Change the COMPRESSOR to ProRes 422. Render. Well, remove all your filters, and then render. Export a self contained QT file. FILE>EXPORT>QUICKTIME MOVIE. Check SELF CONTAINED, and SEQUENCE SETTINGS. This will give you a single, ProRes file. Now, you can either bring that back into FCP, chop it up on the cut points and color correct that, or bring that to a PC Adobe setup and do the same. Or export an EDL and bring that into COLOR or RESOLVE and they will chop it up for you.

[Nick Meyers] "it helps if you monitor your grading work on a calibrated external monitor,
not just on the computer screen."

"I don't have that option, I have an 27" iMac, or to go on PC."

Yes, you do have that option. If you have Thunderbolt, you can get the AJA T-TAP or Decklink Mini-Monitor. That will get an HDMI signal out to an HDTV so you can see exactly what you have. Barring that...you won't have an accurate image on your computer screen.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Vuk Vukmirovic
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 11:09:36 am

First, THANK YOU ALL FOR HELPING!

[Shane Ross] "SO...how can you fix this? Change your sequence settings to PRORES 422. Go into the SEQUENCE menu and choose SETTINGS. Change the COMPRESSOR to ProRes 422. Render. Well, remove all your filters, and then render. Export a self contained QT file. FILE>EXPORT>QUICKTIME MOVIE. Check SELF CONTAINED, and SEQUENCE SETTINGS. This will give you a single, ProRes file. Now, you can either bring that back into FCP, chop it up on the cut points and color correct that, or bring that to a PC Adobe setup and do the same."

As I wrote in the first post I already done this, a bit differently, but still...I removed all the filters and copied footage to sequences: HDV video to an HDV settings sequence, JVC video to XDCAM sequence, left the DSLR in H264 sequence... and export the QT self contained with current settings. Then I took these files and put it in Compressor to get TIFF image sequences for PC and on first look they all looked fine. When the DP compared the original MP4 from JVC and the exported one I gave him, the image is much darker from the original. He couldn't compare the HDV as he doesn't have the original and I'm still waiting for him to compare the DSLR footage. Do you think it could make a difference doing it with ProRes?

[Shane Ross] "Yes, you do have that option. If you have Thunderbolt"

This is not the newest iMac, but a version from some years ago, so I'm not sure if it has Thunderbolt, but main problem is production, we don't have a budget for anything else. Anyway, I will try to get rid of H264 footage and sequences and export a test with CC filters.


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Joseph Owens
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 7:47:39 pm

[Vuk Vukmirovic] " and export the QT self contained with current settings. Then I took these files and put it in Compressor to get TIFF image sequences for PC and on first look they all looked fine. When the DP compared the original MP4 from JVC and the exported one I gave him, the image is much darker from the original. "

I ran into something like this a couple of years ago with a client who wanted to keep everything "uncompressed". First off, "uncompressed" is still compressed, in some way.

I was roundtripping all this material through Apple COLOR at the time, and everything wound up with a big scaling error in both directions, because, as it turned out, the RGB files that the client had exported (under Windows) were not being interpreted correctly under Apple Quicktime, and were being described as Compression: None. The effect was that 64-940 was being interpreted as 0-1023, and chaos ensued. This might be happening with your TIFF sequences, which is a workflow as dangerous, space-consuming, and time wasting as it can get. Even a hard drive manufacturer warned me that NTFS and MacOS partitions, especially where 10-bit "uncompressed" files are concerned, may have interchange issues.

It is not for nothing that people who have a lot of chaotic data-types thrown at them want to see everything consolidated into a single, easy to handle, lossless codec. The Final Cut suite was practically designed to be ProRes-centric -- use it! Premiere Pro should be able to handle it, Adobe brags about how codec agnostic they are. As far as display rendition goes, the debate has been raging for years on the colorgrade forums about whether it is possible to use graphics monitors for color correction. They can not.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Spencer Averick
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 4:39:14 pm

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "Yes, it was set to H264 as most video is from DSLR. "
Both H.264 and HDV really suck in FCP. Always always transcode to ProRes before bringing in to the project and then always keep your sequence compressor set at that same flavor of ProRes.

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "[Spencer Averick] "Try setting that to ProResHQ in FCP and do a test export to see how it looks"

I can do that, but will this help fix a problem of "one image in the viewer, the other in exported image"?
"


Yes, the canvas/timeline in FCP isn't going to be accurate (although set your canvas to 100% and see how that looks (It will be more true, but not as true as a ref monitor).
Also, the exported image will be far closer to reality than inside FCP.

This is a bit messy, I can't really speak to the PPro workaround, but if I were you I think I would go back to my original OFFLINE sequence, set the compressor setting to ProRes422, render everything for a few hours in the timeline. Then start your color correcting in FCP with the 3-way filter. As you go, export full res test clips that have been cc'd and see how they look in QT player. Then maybe compress that for DVD and up the data rate a bit, see how it looks on a tv. The dvd compression will never be as good as the full res QT, that's why if this screens in a theater it won't be from a dvd, rather an hdcam or even straight from the full res QT.


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Shane Ross
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 4:52:38 am

There's so much wrong with the above description it's very difficult to figure out what to tell you to do. The fact that you don't know what format you are working with is a very big and basic issue...

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "For JVC I had to Log and Transfer and for Z1 - Log and Capture. I didn't put it in ProRes, but this other QT format I think something like native was selected?"

So is the codec HDV perhaps? Because it sounds like it is...and HDV captured in FCP is not readable on any other computer unless it has FCP installed. It's a codec only FCP reads.

But then you did all sorts of weird conversions...You lost me a third of the way through this. Sorry, but it's like an episode of The Three Stooges...you don't know enough about the technical stuff to do things right...you basically painted yourself into a corner.

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "1. First I tried to do the CC in FCP7 and the result was very bad - the exported DVD was nothing like the first look I got in viewer after 3-way CC filter"

Do you have a video capture card connected to an HDTV? Not a graphics card that you connect to your computer displays. I'm talking a video capture card (by AJA, Decklink, Matrox, MOTU) designed to capture and output video signals. That connected to an HDTV will show you what you are REALLY doing to the picture. The FCP Canvas is not accurate...it will not match what your DVD will be. Plus note that your footage is HD, and you have made an SD version...DVDs are SD. So the colors will be slightly different, and it won't be nearly as crisp and clean as you are used to. Put that DVD into a player, and watch it on an HDTV...you are now blowing up the 720x480 SD signal to 1920x1080...yeah, the quality will not be the same.

Now, I do this professionally...online shows and color grade shows for TV...and steps 2-4 seemed like sheer folly. Yes, deinterlacing does degrade the image...you are taking one field...half the resolution of the image...and throwing it out...gone...and replicating the other field...using it to fill in the gaps. So yes, quality is lost.

You need to find someone who knows what they are doing...ON A MAC...and get them on this.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Vuk Vukmirovic
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:28:43 am

[Shane Ross] "So is the codec HDV perhaps?"

Yes, it's HDV.

[Shane Ross] "Do you have a video capture card connected to an HDTV?"

No, I don't have this, only an 27" iMac. After a problem with CC in FCP I read that I will not have an accurate image in FCP canvas, so this is one of the reasons I tried to transfer for CC in PPro. The image that I got on DVD was not slightly different, but a BIG difference and a image is so "RED" that is not technically correct.


[Shane Ross] " Yes, deinterlacing does degrade the image"

I know it degrades the image, but I never saw something like this and this needs to be done, as all other material is progressive.


So, the question is, if I don't have external monitor for CC in FCP, is there a way to do this without it with acceptable results? If not, is there a way to transfer material to PPro without loosing quality? Actually the big question is: why the image exported from FCP is darker (without doing anything to it, just Log and Transfer and putting it on timeline) then it is in the original MP4?


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Shane Ross
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:31:58 am

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "[Shane Ross] " Yes, deinterlacing does degrade the image"

I know it degrades the image, but I never saw something like this and this needs to be done, as all other material is progressive."


Your main issue is that you are editing H.264 material, and other material...on an H.264 sequence. FCP doesn't do well with H.264. Not well at all.

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "So, the question is, if I don't have external monitor for CC in FCP, is there a way to do this without it with acceptable results?"

It won't look like what you see in the Canvas. It will be close, but that's it. Again, if you have thunderbolt...you have options. But your biggest hurdle is H.264. That's a doozie.

[Vuk Vukmirovic] "If not, is there a way to transfer material to PPro without loosing quality?"

Change the sequence to ProRes 422...render...export that. take it into whatever...chop it up.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Nick Meyers
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 11, 2013 at 8:13:41 pm

oh, yeah.. the de-interlacing.

you can do that in FCP very well with Nattress Smart De-Interlace
of course you wont be able to see what you are doing with it!
i tend to keep tolerance very low between minimum (2) and 10
blending off, or zero.


nick


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Vuk Vukmirovic
Re: Problem with CC for feature doc
on Mar 15, 2013 at 12:26:06 pm

I want to thank all for your help and write what I think/hope will be a conclusion.
The bad CC in FCP was definitely a product of H.264 sequence settings. I don't know why does FCP let you make these settings, if it doesn't work good... Anyway, even the CC was now acceptable, the DP wasn't satisfied, so he insisted to have a TIFF sequence on a PC. That brings me to the problem of underexposed TIFFs that you get from FCP and/or Compressor. From what I read, this gamma shift can only be bypassed with a manual gamma shift in the export settings, so this is what I did. First I exported QT from FCP with Current Settings for all the camera formats separately, with sequences matching camera formats. The exception was with H.264 files which I put in Apple ProRes 4:2:2 HQ sequence, so that's the video file that I got. From these QTMs I exported TIFF image sequences in Compressor, where I manually adjusted gamma to 0.82 and got correctly exposed images. Don't know if I "lost" something with this, but that's the only thing I found as a solution. At the end, I had one other problem. All the TIFFs were fine except these from Apple ProRes 4:2:2 HQ. They were fine too, but they had 16 bit color depth which PPro doesn't read, so they couldn't be imported there. I didn't find where I could manually adjust this in Compressor export settings and I didn't have time for any more experiments, so I ended up making an action in Photoshop changing all the TIFFs in 8bit. Hopefully this will be the end of my agony...
Just one more question, what is the best option for an uncompressed format exported from PPro and importing again in FCP7? Or maybe is the best thing to finish everything now on the PC?


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