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4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by Kevin Duffey on Aug 14, 2017 at 10:17:49 pm


I am my kids soccer teams videographer. One of the things that has gotten to be pretty important for kids trying to work towards scholarships is video highlight reels. To make these, we need lots of recorded games to pull clips from. It is likely that an entire season of games would be a good source. For one kid, this is about 25 to 40 games depending on tournaments, scrimages etc. Each game is about 1.25 hours in length.

Because of all the 4K hoopla going on, and knowing that it is the soon to be standard for TVs and such everywhere.. and with 8K cameras already being used in youtube videos (unreal how many youtubers have 8K RED cameras for VLOG.. I am in the wrong business!!), I wanted to look to the future, so I opted for a 4K setup. In particular I am using the 4K Sony AX53 consumer camcorder on a HiPod 21 foot elevated tripod, and recording on an Atomos Ninja Inferno at 4K/24p in DNxHR SQ.

Though I read some how 1 hour of 4KRAW takes up about 100GB of storage (I am guessing CinemaDNG?), my current DNxHR SQ files, at about 1 hour take almost 250GB. I dont quite understand how DNxHR is taking about 2.5 times more than 4KRAW would.. but ok.. if that is the size, so be it.

Now, the problem for me is.. storing all these source files. I have to record for not one, but both of my kids soccer teams. At about 250GB per game, x lets hope for only 30 games per team, that is nearing 8TBs of storage per team.

So.. getting to my subject (workflow).. my problem is.. I am not going to be having 10TBs of storage on my PC. So would it be advisable to look in to a 10gig local network and some sort of 10gig NAS setup? I am looking at buying a few 10TB Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives (5 in total for a 5 bay NAS setup). I would like to make sure these are redundant because I will have to keep this footage for almost a year before I can use it to make highlight reels from. I dont think Ill keep the games past a year though.. once I make the reels, and the next season starts, unless I become independently wealthy or storage gets much larger and much cheaper by then (doubtful on both accounts), I am guessing Ill delete the source files to reuse the NAS setup.

So what do you guys do you work on 4K (and even 8K) shoots with 10s of hours of video? Do you all have these $10K plus budgets to buy storage? Is there some form of compressing the 4K DNxHR source to save room while not being used? Maybe transcoding to CinemaDNG ?? How do you work with all those hours of video for one editing session (e.g. in my case, the result is about a 5 minute output video.. pulled from dozens of clips of all those hours of source footage)? Do you always resort to proxies? If so, do you generate those from the source footage first before editing?

Appreciate any guidance on this growing problem.

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by greg janza on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:59:26 pm

Your dedication as the official videographer of your childs' soccer team is admirable. It's a lot of work for no pay. It's also admirable that you've attempted to record as high end as possible.

Having said that though, your current recording setup is seriously overkill for your needs. For a project such as yours, the first thing is to think about is what the final delivery method will be. I'm guessing that your final delivery method will be a youtube link to the highlight reel for coaches to check out.

If Youtube is the logical endpoint, then the simplest approach would be to build a normal 1920x1080 HD master which will get compressed into an H264 file for Youtube.

4k is nowhere near mainstream adoption. While it's true that you can find 4k videos on youtube it's still quite a niche area. And television in general is currently being delivered to most people as highly compressed HD.

There are a variety of compression settings with your sony camera. I would experiment a bit and shoot with a compression setting that gives you a good balance between quality and file size. DNxR HQ is a very high quality codec but there are other codecs that will give you a high quality image and with much smaller file sizes.

I'd also recommend that you create highlight selects after each game. The game is 1.25 hours in length but the actual highlights of your childs' play will probably not be more than 5-10mins.

The creation of the end of season highlight reel will be so much easier to put together if you take a bit of time each week and collect the real highlights and discard the rest. you really have no need for large amounts of storage.

If you really want to keep everything 4k that's fine but it'll be even more important to get rid of the non-usable footage each week. This is the norm for any and all kinds of sports highlight reels.

Best of luck!

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by Kevin Duffey on Aug 15, 2017 at 11:46:56 pm

Hi Greg,

Thank you for the reply. A lot of what you said is spot on. First.. have you done this sort of thing... e.g. recording sports games for your kid (or professionally)... sounds like you are drawing from experience.

You are right in that the end result is mostly going to be youtube pushed videos, which even when in 4K are I assumed AVCHD/MP4 compressed. However, I am also looking to offer highlight reels for other parents of their kids. I can not possibly know after each game is recorded who might want one of those down the road. Trying to pick and pull all the good bits would take me hours and would end up with probably at least 1/3 of the video still needing to be stored to cover all the kids (assuming they all make a few decent/good plays per game). So, assuming I were going to save each game till later in the season (end of season) I would much rather work from the barely compressed DNxHR format to edit with than compressed AVCHD/MP4. I am also under the impression (but not for sure yet on how to do this) that I could pull still frames as pictures from DNxHR/ProRes files vs AVCHD/MP4 which often look washed out or dithered on a per frame basis.

I do want to offer the source material to parents as well... perhaps to archive themselves if they are going to pay me for it. Which brings about another thing.. part of my spending the money now was hoping I could ask for a few hundred bucks to make a highlight video per kid. What do you think? Given the number of hours involved in finding a kids involvement in each game, and then cataloging the good bits to then piece together takes a lot of time. I suspect I wont be profitable at all doing this, but if it pays back some of the costs of the gear, then at least there is that. Still, I would like to advertise that I am saving 4K high quality broadcast level video for use in making 4K/HD highlights available... possibly more reason to be worth a $300 or so.

Frankly, I feel like it should cost a bit more because of how many hours are involved, but I know parents wont pay nearly that much. I might be lucky to see a couple of them interested at $200 a pop.

Still, per my thread, I was really curious if there was a way to compress the DNxHR/ProRes footage without any loss.. like how CinemaDNG RAW apparently takes up less space than my DNxHR files. The atomos can actually record in 4K CinemaDNG RAW but only for select cameras. I really wish they would allow it for use as the codec regardless of the input plugged in.

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by greg janza on Aug 16, 2017 at 12:12:12 am

kevin, yes I've worked in professional sports programming so I have experience with highlight reels.

As to your intentions, wow!! you might be in the running for parent of the year honors. I've worked in professional video for over 25 years and I'm a parent of two kids (one in competitive soccer) and I gotta say I would never even contemplate what you're thinking about doing. But I also don't want to be working on video projects in my spare time.

As long as you know going into it that this is not a profit making venture then heck, go for it. I guess I'd ask other people in the league if they know of other parent videographers and maybe you can get tips and tricks.

as for compressing dnxhr/pro-res, you could simply make high quality h264 files from the dnx and use those as your masters. the default youtube settings in media encoder will make a file that you would have quite a hard time noticing being any different than your dnx master files.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by Andy Doble on Mar 4, 2018 at 1:57:22 pm

Kevin, I have same setup and I started with a lesser Sony camera that had the USB plug on it where I could use an external battery to give me 2 hours of film time. I like the AX-53 but I have to rely on the internal battery. How do you handle that? Multiple batteries?

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by Geoff Birmingham on Mar 5, 2018 at 9:02:50 pm

Yeah. 4K seems nuts. And if you're giving that kind of material to parents, they likely aren't going to have anyway to work with it on their own. But regular old HD is something that most folks, tooling around with iMovie on their laptops, can manage.

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by greg janza on Mar 5, 2018 at 9:09:51 pm

4k would only make things much more complicated than they need to be for this programming.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles

Re: 4K (and beyond) workflow for sports shooting
by Glenn Sakatch on Mar 8, 2018 at 6:01:31 am

Bit late to the party, and curious to know how your system worked. Did anyone contribute to your costs?

Trying to pick and pull all the good bits would take me hours and would end up with probably at least 1/3 of the video still needing to be stored to cover all the kids

That is kinda the point. You are talking about 30 games, and using your math, 8 to 10 TBs of storage...why wouldn't you want to reduce this by 2/3rds?

As well, speaking as someone who did this for my kids hockey teams for is much easier to clip up the games immediately after they are done, while it is still fresh in your mind, then it is to go through 30 games at the end of the season. I would subclip the items based on the kids name and number, and then when the year was done, I would have everything ready to go.

As for 1 hour cinema DNG being smaller than DNX...There are a lot of compressed versions of the raw cinema DNG, and the numbers change quite a bit...but I'm not sure about 100 gigs for an hour...seems a bit small. I've seen numbers closer to 480 gigs, but I'm not sure what compression they were using, or frame rate.