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FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master

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Joshua Caldwell
FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master
on May 5, 2014 at 3:12:55 pm

Hey there,

Apologies if this has been discussed before. I searched the forums but couldn't find anything that spoke to my probably exactly. The particular workflow we're using for this has us offline in FCP, coloring in Avid and then back to mastering in FCP (because of my normal workflow and the way the project has already been set up.

I shot a project on the Canon 5D mk ii. We ingested footage for editing as ProRes (Proxy) and completed the cut. My colorist on this particular project preferred to color in Avid due to some time constraints. So, I gave him a Quicktime that used the Avid DNxHD compressor, meaning the typical color information HD (1:1:1) had been stripped out.

The file opened fine in Avid and looks great in the edit suite and monitors. He then exported a Same As Source Quicktime which I brought in to my system. It shows the Avid DNxHD codec being referenced in the Compressor tab of the project manager.

This is where something happened. The footage doesn't look nearly as good as it did on the Avid. Now, I understand that computers use a particular color space that doesn't always translate (hence the stripping out of color for Avid, due to the use of a pro client monitor) but the look I'm seeing gets carried through to DVD, Blu and anything else.

I normally use my iPad to check color, as my colorist on another project once told me it was the closest consumer thing he saw to a calibrated pro HD monitor that I would own. And it doesn't look the way it should. Clearly something is happening when going back out from the Avid and bringing it in to FCP.

Any thoughts? The whole color space thing is something I'm just not super knowledgeable.

Best and thank,

Josh


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Shane Ross
Re: FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master
on May 5, 2014 at 7:15:22 pm

[Joshua Caldwell] "I shot a project on the Canon 5D mk ii. We ingested footage for editing as ProRes (Proxy) and completed the cut. My colorist on this particular project preferred to color in Avid due to some time constraints. So, I gave him a Quicktime that used the Avid DNxHD compressor, meaning the typical color information HD (1:1:1) had been stripped out."

How did you convert to Proxy? Did you then bring the footage back in at a higher resolution BEFORE exporting out the DNxHD Quicktime? Or did you export the QT from the Proxy footage? If you did that...the footage was still the lower res proxy.

As for the rest...it's a poor workflow. Because there are known issues of Quicktime changing gamme when going from FCP to Avid or Avid to FCP...and you went both ways. The gamma might need to be tweaked again when you get back to FCP to adjust for this.

I'm worried that you didn't recapture your footage at a higher resolution before you sent to Avid, as you didn't mention that in your post. And there's a lot of recompression going on here. Proxy to DNxHD, rendered to DNxHD and sent back to FCP, that doesn't really show DNxHD in the full color you see in Avid. Bring that same file into an Avid on the Mac and it'll look fine.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Joshua Caldwell
Re: FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master
on May 5, 2014 at 7:33:11 pm

Thanks for replying, Shane.

We converted to Proxy via FCP's Log and Transfer. Once the cut was complete we did online via Media Manager and Batch Capture to ProRes 422 HQ.

Yeah, I realize it's a less than ideal workflow. Hoping there's a way out of this. We were thinking of printing out to HDCam and then ingesting that print into FCP via Log and Capture as a ProRes HQ file. Do you think that will help to maintain the color?


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Shane Ross
Re: FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master
on May 5, 2014 at 7:43:19 pm

Whew...don't leave steps out of your description! :)

Exporting to tape and recapturing will retain...but then you've added more layers of compression. Layback to tape, capture from tape...and layback again? Might be less than ideal...or you can correct the gamma inside FCP.

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


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Joshua Caldwell
Re: FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master
on May 5, 2014 at 7:49:20 pm

What's the best way to handle that Gamma shift? Apologies, some of this stuff is new to me.


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Shane Ross
Re: FCP to Avid for Color back to FCP to Master
on May 5, 2014 at 7:56:08 pm

I've mentioned several ways.

1) Fix the gamma in FCP when you bring it back. Use the 3-way to fix.

2) Don't use the workflow you are using. Stick to one NLE or one NLE>finishing option. Avid to FCP back to Avid is far from ideal. If you went FCP to Avid and stayed in Avid for output finishing...or went from FCP to Resolve or Color or something else...great. But the gamma shift between Avid and FCP is a pain people still need work arounds to adjust. One workaround? See #1.

3) Use your Tape method.

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


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