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How to export same quality as camera originals for vfx pulls?

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Nina Lucia
How to export same quality as camera originals for vfx pulls?
on Aug 24, 2019 at 7:11:35 am
Last Edited By Nina Lucia on Aug 24, 2019 at 8:18:31 am

I normally don't do vfx pulls, but on this project I am! I am also still new to Premiere having only cut this one film using it. I come from the land of Avid, so I'm not new to NLEs, but new to Premiere and pulling from camera originals. So this is really above my pay grade but we are not getting an online editor until we get vfx in in case of any tweaks that may need to be done when we get the final shots.

I'm using Premiere Pro CC 2018. I have the proxies offline to be certain I'm accessing the camera originals.

Here is the camera info:

Arri Alexa mini - anamorphic. Camera files are Prores 2.8k.

Below is info the DP sent:

When I get info from QT it says:
Apple Pro-Res 4444 XQ
2944 x 2160
1021 mbits/s
Quality Normal (3.0) **(don't know where I got this info, I don't see it in 'get info' for the QT now, nor the pixel aspect ratio!)
Pixel Aspect Ratio 2.0

Most search results on this are from at least two years ago, mostly several years more back than that.

I hoped I could just pick a Pro-Res setting that matched the camera but I don't see that. I don't see any "Same as Source" as Avid has either.
Okay, poking around some more and I see that after picking Quicktime as the Format, I can go down to the Video section and see more options than what are in the Presets. I see Pro-Res 4444, without the XQ (I don't know what the XQ signifies). I also see the DNxHR/DNxHD option there as well.

From my experience, vfx pulls are usually dpx files. I see dpx but I don't know what all the options are/mean and have read some posts saying their dpx files came out looking bad. I read about EXR and that it is newer and ILM developed it. I tried that as well. I imported both back into Premiere and the dpx looks flat with almost no color and the EXR seems to look identical to the original. I don't know how to know if it is truly lossless/same quality though.

Export settings I used for EXR:
Format: OpenEXR
Preset: OpenEXR Sequence - Uncompressed (Match Source)
And under Video I left compression on None, left everything unchecked and clicked on 'Match Source'

I also read this:
"before you go down the route of the log to linear nightmare, do they accept EXR? its much easier to work with(and newer). you can do half float which is lossless 16 bit images which is really nice or full 32bpc that can hold RAW's latitude." and I don't what that means as far as matching my originals and didn't see much to do with this in the settings. I did see a 32 bit preset option but then under video it says it is not recommended. And anyway, it seems to me I would want 'uncompresses'.

Can someone please help me with what the settings should be to get the same quality as the camera originals? Is what I used correct? Is EXR the way to go or should I use something else?

Thank you!

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Oliver Peters
Re: How to export same quality as camera originals for vfx pulls?
on Aug 24, 2019 at 11:10:34 pm

Any chance you can just give them a copy of the camera originals for the VFX shots with timecode notes? I don't believe Premiere Pro can export 4444XQ. Otherwise, send a clip of the EXR you generated and see if that works for the VFX vendor.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters -

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Nina Lucia
Re: How to export same quality as camera originals for vfx pulls?
on Aug 25, 2019 at 4:54:30 am
Last Edited By Nina Lucia on Aug 25, 2019 at 4:55:18 am

That's what I'm suggesting. That or get an online editor on now and let them do it. They can take it to Resolve if need be.


Stay tuned for my post about why my EDLs are messed up! ;)


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