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codecs & colorspace upon exporting

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Byron Caplan
codecs & colorspace upon exporting
on Oct 11, 2013 at 3:06:14 pm

to any and all,

i am using FCP 6.0.6 and editing video shot with my canon xf300 at 50Mbps with a 4:2:2 colorspace. during log and transfer i used the "native" compressor setting which (i'm told) re-wraps the video, in this case to xdcam hd422 1080p24 cbr (i shot the video at 24p) without loss. so far so good.

so i edit my video and then go to export it as a quicktime movie with the same codec (xdcam hd422 1080p24 cbr). after it's been exported, it looks a little washed out, so i right click the file to get information... and lo and behold... it says that the video has a 1:1:1 colorspace. i exported it again to make sure all my settings were the same... but with the same result.

so my question to anybody is... what happened to my 4:2:2 colorspace? i thought exporting the video in it's native form would retain the quality, but obviously it hasn't. so how does one export to get the same quality?

inquiring minds want to know...

thanx in advance,
-byron


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Dave LaRonde
Re: codecs & colorspace upon exporting
on Oct 11, 2013 at 3:31:27 pm

Try this:
Create an entirely new Sequence in the frame rate & horizontal-vertical dimensions of the footage.... but in the ProRes 422 codec. Copy the entire XDCam timeline and paste it into the new sequence. Export as a self-contained QT.

The file size will be a lot bigger, but you'll retain the color resolution you seek. And it won't hurt image quality one bit.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Byron Caplan
Re: codecs & colorspace upon exporting
on Oct 11, 2013 at 3:59:40 pm

dear dave,

thank you for your swift and sensible suggestion. please correct me if i'm wrong, but it sounds like you are saying that if i want to retain the original quality of the video, i have to bump it up to ProRes 422 at 3X the file size.

forgive my questioning and hopefully someone can explain... but i just can't wrap my head around why a video can't export at the same quality as it was imported in (from 4:2:2 down to 1:1:1 is a huge loss)... unless that is just the way that FCP handles the .mxf format. the degradation of colorspace is unacceptable, but the incredible jump in file size when converting to ProRes 422 is problematic for reasons of storage space.

new question: would this happen on premiere pro or avid (which i hear accepts .mxf format)?

thanx again,
-byron


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Dave LaRonde
Re: codecs & colorspace upon exporting
on Oct 11, 2013 at 6:21:41 pm

[Byron Caplan] "...it sounds like you are saying that if i want to retain the original quality of the video, i have to bump it up to ProRes 422 at 3X the file size...."

Actually, I was talking about putting your completed edit in a ProRes 422 edit timeline and exporting.... but the answer to your question in "Yes". The original video files are in the acquisition codec, which is highly compressed. Its image quality is sufficient to look good to the human eye, but you run the risk of significant image degredation upon re-rendering because it's lossy. That's why it's always a good policy to transcode to ProRes 422 when working in FCP: the codec can withstand 6 generations of rerendering before there is any hint of loss of image quality.

If you find ProRes file sizes a bit stunning, just know that the nice look of your hard work won't get worse... and that storage is much, much cheaper than a poor-looking image in the long run.

I'm pretty sure Premiere Pro has no problem with native MXF, but then again, you may still face the image degredation problem when rerendering.

If all you do is ingest-cut-export, you ought to be okay. If you intend to do color correction/color grading, effects work or motion graphics, I would recommend looking at a different workflow.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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