I'm editing a feature length doc, and I'm nearing a fine cut. Though I realize now I screwed up a little bit. The film was shot on Nikon and Canon DSLRs, and I imported and edited the h264 files without converting to ProRes beforehand. As it is a documentary, there was a lot of footage and I wasn't sure what I was going to keep. I'm a one-man operation at home on a single iMac so I had neither the time nor the hard drive space to convert everything, though it would be also accurate to say I simply forgot anyways.
So now I have a project of h264 clips in the timeline, and if I try to apply any color correction or filter it appears the gamma shifts downwards. Apparently what I'm seeing as it plays isn't really the 'correct' image that will display upon output; it's more washed out. So I feel as though I'm 'guessing' with whatever adjustments I make. I'm assuming that the darker image is what will actually export... is this correct? Is this FCP doing some sort of display conversion to a 'native' format? Also, making even the slightest change to a rendered clip (i.e. cutting one frame at the end) will un-render the entire clip. So you can imagine it's quite a headache.
My real question is, is there a way to convert the edited clips to ProRes, so I can move on to color correction and make the work a little easier? I don't want to export the entire movie as a single .mov, as I want to make changes to individual clips.
I would like to apply noise reduction in After Effects to several clips as well.. Would the best workflow be to (hopefully) convert the clips to ProRes, export an xml to After Effects, apply sharpening, then noise reduction, then color correct?
I'd really appreciate any help on this. Let me know if any of this was unclear.