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DNxHD settings when exporting for master

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Tim Fast
DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 12:19:19 pm

Hi,

I've searched all over the internet but find very contradictory results.

I have a 1080p/25 project that has footage from both a camcorder (AVCHD, 28 Mbps) and a DSLR (H.264/MPEG-4, 24 Mbps). It's time to make a master copy. I am on a Mac but since I don't have FCP I cannot export using ProRes. I am planning to use DNxHD instead.

However, I am not sure what settings I should use. What color levels should I use: 709 or RGB Levels? Is resolution 1080p/25 36 enough? Are 120 or 185 overkill for my footage?


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Tim Kolb
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 2:32:07 pm

You can buy Motion for 50.00 USD and get ProRes.

DNxHD behaves somewhat differently depending if you're using the QuickTime wrapper, or if you have Premiere Pro CC and have the MXF wrapper available.

For DNxHD, I typically recommend as high a data rate as you can store... Keep in mind that if you've done any color correction, exporting to a 10 bit color precision profile will maintain those changes somewhat better...

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Tim Fast
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 2:51:35 pm

Thank you Tim for the answer. I still have CS6 and I was planning to use the QT wrapper.

Yes, I've done some color correction. But I don't plan to do any additional color corrections. Why would I need 10 bit? 8 bit/channel is all our eye can resolve.

So, you are suggesting go up to DNxHD 185 10 bits. That would give 50 % larger files compared to 120/8. I guess I can afford it but I still wonder whether it is actually possible see the difference.

Another question that's bothering me. According to Avids data sheet both 185/8 and 185/10 have the same bitrate. Do they compress the video harder to be able to increase bit depth without increasing bit rate?


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Walter Soyka
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 3:23:06 pm

[Tim Fast] "Why would I need 10 bit? 8 bit/channel is all our eye can resolve."

That's not true. Banding is easily visible with 8b video.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Tim Kolb
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 4:10:46 pm

Walter said it as far as 10 bit vs 8 bit. Much of the footage I work with is shot at 8 bits as well, but my master clips are all 10 bit CineForm.

As far as Avid's bitrates...I can only surmise the same as you...though with color precision math, sometimes a file structure has some 'rounding room'...some 12 bit formats actually live in a 16 bit file because it's easier math to process and therefore faster to run... However, I don't speak for Avid, I have seen where this has been done with the math on other codecs and image processing tasks.

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Tim Fast
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 4:40:06 pm

Thank you all, guys for the answers. Regarding the color depth I have found following on Avid's home page:

- Avid DNxHD 220x: For superior quality image in a YCbCr-color space for 10-bit sources. Data rate is dependent on frame rate. For example, 220Mbps is the data rate for 1920 x 1080 30fps interlace sources (60 fields) while progressive sources at 24fps will be 175Mbps

- Avid DNxHD 220: For highest quality image when using 8-bit color sources. Data rates based on frame rates are the same as for Avid DNxHD 220x


As I interpret it Avid recommends to use 220/8 for 8-bit sources (which I have). However, I still don't get it how they manage too keep the same bit rate for both 8 and 10 bits. If they use harder compression would it be risk actually degrade the quality?

Any ideas about using 709 vs RGB levels?


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Tim Kolb
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 6:37:46 pm

RGB Levels would be more appropriate to consider for RGB media...

Rec 709 is appropriate for broadcast masters. Your source material is Y'CbCr, not RGB...

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Tim Fast
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 10, 2013 at 6:26:13 am

Do I get it right that both DSLR and camcorder produce video in Y'CbCr? I'm so used to RGB from the photo world. :-)


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Tim Kolb
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 10, 2013 at 10:59:21 am

Yes.

There are RGB video formats, but they're definitely not the majority as RGB makes a larger file for what is (perceptually for most viewers at least) an image of apparent equal visual quality.

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Tim Fast
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 10, 2013 at 11:13:46 am

Ok, thank you Tim.

To sum up for master archiving of camcorder/DSLR footage you recommend DNxHD 185/10bit with color level set to 709.

Thank you all for the help! :-)


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Walter Soyka
Re: DNxHD settings when exporting for master
on Oct 9, 2013 at 3:21:11 pm

[Tim Kolb] "You can buy Motion for 50.00 USD and get ProRes."

ProRes encode is available natively with Premiere Pro CC on Mac OS 10.8.x.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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