New (Green) Production Company Workflow Questions...
Hey Guys my friends and I have recently started a video production company, we basically work with Music Video's, Weddings, Short Films, and are dabbling in commercials but we are all very green. I have a few questions on how to do a proper workflow for what we are doing, and the equipment we have.
1. Our shots are all done on a Canon 7d, and a 5d markii... Should we be using the standard "Log and Capture" plug for bringing our footage into FCP or should we be compressing them first into prores422? (i think they shoot at different frame rates, I think our cameraman sets his up for 24 frames on the 5d, im not sure about the guy running the 7d) What would be the best way to import this footage if they are set to 2 different framerates into FCP/AE... and would that effect the quality of our color correction and final compression?
2. After our linear timeline is edited in FCP 7, we export as an xml and i use the paradice island script to bring the raw footage into After Effects CS5 for color correction (colorista II is my main tool) and effects... I then do all the effects we want and then render a lossless .mov with audio.... Does this sound like the right thing to be doing for moving between FCP and AE? My files are massive after the render.... is this to be expected or is there a more space saving way to go through this?
3. I seem to be dealing with alot of film grain, especially on blacks, and greys... I was thinking of purchasing Neat Video for AE to help with this, but i have a feeling we might be making a mistake with some of our earlier settings (i color correct with colorista II ie the way we log/transfer, the framerate we shoot in...) im not sure.
4. Upon final completion of the render, i then take the massive .mov into MPEG Streamclip for compression... until recently i have used the mp4 format with b-frames and multipassing, but I am not sure if i am compressing these files correctly for our workflow... considering they are coming right out of the camera and into fcp, then into after effects... All of our videos go online to Vimeo and Youtube so I am worried about the file sizes, and the output quality i fell might be suffering....
5. And finally should i be color correcting in 16 or 32bit float? Im pretty sure im color correcting the raw footage from the camera, but im not sure i set up this correctly for the best resulting image? Should I be conscious of what shots are on the 5d and work them in a separate comp than the 7d if they are at different frame rates?
Any help on these questions would be greatly appreciated, im kinda teaching myself all this stuff as I go and could use a little guidance from those who know...
You can see some of our work at http://www.letemhaveitproductions.com to see the finished stuff we put out, it it can help you answer my questions at all...
Thank you for your help
Log and Transfer is fine -- see Shane Ross's Tapeless Workflow with Final Cut Pro 7 [link]. You should always acquire at the same frame rate across all your cameras, and that frame rate should be determined by your deliverables requirement. Mixing frame rates means the extra step in post of conforming or converting to a single frame rate.
Colorista II is also available for FCP, so you could skip the intermediate steps from FCP to AE. If you do intend to go back and forth between FCP and AE, you can render directly to ProRes from AE (instead of lossless) for drastically smaller files and realtime performance in FCP.
Neat Image is great (and available for both AE and FCP, so you can choose which suits your workflow best), but I'd rather eliminate noise in production than reduce it in post. Use more light on set and shoot at a lower ISO.
Check out the YouTube and Vimeo upload help pages for more information about compression.
The differences between 16bpc and 32bpc (floating point) are explained in this article in the documentation: Color depth and high dynamic range color [link]. If you are stacking multiple instances of Colorist II on top of each other in AE, then working in floating point will prevent clipping between instances, giving you far greater latitude when working with multiple secondaries. If you are not using multiple effects, then it's probably overkill.
Since you're color correcting Canon DSLR footage, you should consider using a style to "shoot flat" or use the new TechniColor CineStyle. Read everything that Philip Bloom and Shane Hurlbut have ever had to say about DSLR video for some tips here.
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I have a couple of things to add to Walter's always-wise comments:
[Blaine Jensen] "(i think they shoot at different frame rates, I think our cameraman sets his up for 24 frames on the 5d, im not sure about the guy running the 7d) What would be the best way to import this footage if they are set to 2 different framerates into FCP/AE... and would that effect the quality of our color correction and final compression?"
SHOOT AT THE SAME FRAME RATE!!!! Doing otherwise is a sure recipe for disaster. If you shot at different frame rates, You'll have to pick one and convert the other camera's footage to that frame rate using Compressor. Now that's no fun, is it?
The lesson here: never, EVER mix frame rates. And unless somebody in the company is a dictatorial film school grad, I say screw 24p and shoot 60p. Why? It's the most versatile frame rate there is, that's why. It's an absolute snap to go to 59.94i, 30p and even 24p for the film school grad. Incidentally, a copy of a 60p shot can be conformed to 24p for use in a 24p edit. Poof! instant slo-mo!
[Blaine Jensen] "I then do all the effects we want and then render a lossless .mov with audio.... Does this sound like the right thing to be doing for moving between FCP and AE? "
If AE and FCP are installed on the same machine, no. Use the go-to codec for FCP, ProRes 422. It's only available on machines with FCP installed. Beware of rendering to ProRes HQ. Rendering to Prores HQ is simply a waste of good storage space: you gain nothing by doing it.
If AE's on a different machine than FCP, you're doing it the proper way and you'll have to suck it up and deal with the big file sizes. You'll probably want to convert those big, lossless files to ProRes 422 before you use them in FCP.
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