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Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?

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David HammeTranscoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 1, 2016 at 6:59:56 am

Hello,

Thanks in advance for help with my first post, and with determining a first-time workflow.

I am working with three consumer-grade sources for a multi-cam job.


1. iPhone 6s video with variable bit rate

2. Sanyo h.264/mp4 video @12mbps

3. Sony AVCHD/.m2ts @26mpbs

I'd like to preserve the on-camera mic audio(maybe?), and they will then sync to an external H4N file.

My goal is to transcode to an intermediary codec for the following reasons:

-- to preserve all color data for eventual color-correct in a third-party program ('best practices' practice)
-- to reduce computational strain on the processor with multiple mixed camera formats
-- to apply a constant bit rate to prevent audio-sync issues
-- to use the Prelude option to import clips of large camera-original files
-- to standardize resolution between 720p/60 and 1080p/24and30

I am working in a Windows 8.1 environment with CC2015.3 (soon to be CC2017).

I have done some study and made some assumptions based on that study:

-- h.264 All-Intra may be and option, but it is lossy, and I am not sure about certain setting decisions when making a preset in the Media Encoder
-- HEVC is lossless, but again, not sure of settings choices, nor what kind of file bloat this will incur
-- DNxHD seems a favorite in the broader post-production world, but I may be looking at very large files, and I'm not certain whether I would want the DNxHD100 or the DNxHD145 profile (I did see that elsewhere on this suite someone specified 145

Can anyone shed any light on best practices for me to consider,?
Are there other options I should consider given my source formats?
Am I thinking about this properly? Trying to avoid any degradation if possible.

I would like to ask specifics about my options if anyone is willing to discuss this with me.

Also, is you can recommend other online forums that have lively discussions on such topics, I would be grateful to know about them, too. I posted in Adobe Forums, but I don't find much activity there.


Thank you for your time and consideration on my behalf.


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Tero AhlforsRe: Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 1, 2016 at 7:34:10 am

[David Hamme] "h.264 All-Intra may be and option"
[David Hamme] "HEVC is lossless"

Nnoooooooope. You don't want to recompress your already compressed footage to some other compressed format.

[David Hamme] "DNxHD seems a favorite in the broader post-production world, but I may be looking at very large files"

Yes. DNxHD or Prores will be bigger but they will deal with generation loss better. Also they'll probably run better, especially in the case of AVCHD.


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David HammeRe: Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 1, 2016 at 1:51:50 pm

Thanks for the speedy response.

For the sake of comparison and contrast, do you have any thoughts about editing 'native' in these formats? Is it done? I know it can be done, but I don;t really want to spend any time testing for what is probably well-known among pros.

Any favorite 'go to' sources for clear and deep examination of these issues?

Are there any other prevalent industry options for these kinds of sources, for the sake of thorough education?


So, I'm happy to begin exploring DNxHD.
I'm unclear as to whether I need to download anything additional from AVID, or whether it is included in the Adobe install. I see indicators that read both ways. (In fact, Adobe support reps in the call centers have separately given me conflicting info each way. They also suggested the two codecs I first mentioned, so my confidence in that support system is very low.


Also, am I correct in assuming that the DNxHD145 profile is the way to go?

Thanks again for responding.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 1, 2016 at 4:27:39 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Dec 1, 2016 at 5:53:00 pm

Choose a frame rate. Choose wisely: find the closest common denominator among all of them. You have a Hot Mess of frame rates. Ugh.

Make all of your footage that frame rate -- none of your footage is a standard frame rate, so it's going to be tough. Especially with that sync sound; you don't want the audio drifting out of sync, which is by far your greatest danger.

Get ALL your footage to play in sync before you do anything.

Good luck with that variable frame rate stuff. You may have to cut it into your multicam separately because of all the motion & sync problems it poses.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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David HammeRe: Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 2, 2016 at 4:09:52 am

Thanks Dave.

My intent is to master in 1080/24p.

Surely there must be someone who has tried to do this sort of mixing before I came along and figured-out a repeatable workflow, no?

I thought that one of the big selling points of Premiere for some time has been it's ability to handle mixed sources on the same timeline?

My conceptual intent has been to do all of my editing and output at 1080/24p to preserve the quality of the highest-quality source, and to some degree to deliver a more cinematic 'feel'.



you wrote:
"Get ALL your footage to play in sync before you do anything. "

That sounds like standard procedure, but maybe I am missing your point.
Theoretically, it seems to me, that if a transcode is executed and the encoder is working, it should standardize the material, making sync a straightforward process. What am I missing?


you wrote:
"Good luck with that variable frame rate stuff..."

Thank you. :P
You raise an interesting question I have had about terminology, namely this:
Are the phrases 'variable bit rate' and 'variable frame rate' used as interchangeable terms/concepts?
(Both the Sanyo AND the iPhone stuff is recorded with variable bit rates, but the formats settings on each indicate fixed frame rates, with exception to the 'slo-mo' and 'time-lapse' modes on the iPhone)

Or perhaps you are just referring the variants of frame rates among my sources?


you wrote:
"You may have to cut it into your multicam separately..."

I'm new-ish to Premire, but have been studying. I know Premiere has a feature called 'Multicam' which facilitates a particular proprietary workflow, as opposed to the more generic usage of multi-cam meaning "multiple simultaneous or synced camera sources."

Would you be willing elaborating the procedure you have in mind there?

thanks for your thoughts.


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Tero AhlforsRe: Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 2, 2016 at 4:56:09 am

[David Hamme] "Are the phrases 'variable bit rate' and 'variable frame rate' used as interchangeable terms/concepts? "

No. Bit rate tells how much data there is per second. Phones usually try to compress footage even more and use variable frame rate and that means that the actual frame rate is changing while shooting. This doesn't matter if you're just viewing it but it matters if you put it in an NLE that's expecting a continuous unbroken timecode. The footage might play back fine but you'll probably run into audio sync issues pretty quick.


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David HammeRe: Transcoding to Intermediate Codec: Best Practice for Mixed Source Consumer Formats?
by on Dec 2, 2016 at 9:59:54 pm

Thanks.

So, even though the iPhone spec says 1080/30, that is not necessarily an accurate standard, but an approximation? That's aggravating from a marketing-to-consumer perspective.

(Luckily for me, the iPhone stuff rarely if ever needs to sync with the others. More like audience/crowd/environmental B-Roll.)


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