4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2012 11:29 PM by pheng@applevideo.us

    Encoding, final production, archiving use case question ...

    joneisele Level 1

      Long one here, but should be a quick read.    I had a few questions on encoding and final production so to speak.   In case it matters, I'm new to PP CS6, but had edited video prior for over a decade with VideoStudio, a consumer product.   I realize the answer is always "it depends", so I will describe my situation and it would be great to hear what a few of you far more experienced than me would do here on the forum or via a private message.



      My video interests at present are somewhat Hollywood-like in a crude sense.   For example, I have a Sony HDRCX560V camcorder where I will record lots of family video.  (I also have a flip camera, my wife's iPhone, 5D, etc. video, but these are not the mainstay recording devices at present.)  Two or three times a year I will take all the raw footage and edit it down to a final "home movie" production.    Once I'm satisfied with the result, it becomes the final version archived forever much like a movie release.  I have yet to go back and want to re-edit an extended version or director's cut.   In fact before I moved to an HD camera I have deleted the source video captured from miniDV on my hard drive to free up storage.   Similarly, I recently purchased a Countour+ helmet camera unit.  I just took 3+ hours of video from a ride and ended up with an 8-minute movie production that I have no intent to edit any further.   


      In case it matters both cameras use some sort of H.264 MPEG-4 compressed format.   At present I am shooting 1280x720 59.94 fps on the Countour+, but I may switch to 1080/30.   The Sony is set to 1920x1080, 29.97, although again I may choose something else in the future.   I am still learning to speak video codecs and formats, so let me know if you need more information.



      I want one highest quality I can produce video that I can play on my computer, PS3, etc.    Then BD (and DVD on occasion).  I might put some video on Youtube at some point.  In the future, who knows.   Again, no plans to re-edit once a final production is reached.



      I'm going to struggle to articulate my questions, but what format or formats would you encode to and keep forever, what would you keep on your hard drive, etc.?   I am pondering several alternatives, but I'm not sure what makes the most sense or if there are far better ideas.


      One option is to store all the source video and the PP project and encode as necessary in the future.  I can see how this has the advantage of always starting with the raw source footage.  But it would seem this route would take up a lot of storage space (and I'm also a backup freak with multiple backups of everything).  Old PP project files may lose compatibility.  And I would be worried that some day I will open up the project file and accidentally mess something up in the timeline or be missing an asset file somehow.  I can handle the storage issue, it's just money I suppose. 


      A second thought I had was to encode one highest quality "master file" so to speak and re-encode to whatever I need when the time comes.  Given that I don't need to re-edit or modify the original production, is there a big difference between starting with the source video vs. a master file created from a sequence with the same settings as a clip?   Or maybe one of these lossless codecs I have been reading about makes sense.   This method removes the storage burden, PP project file compatibility issue, and I don't have to worry about timeline/assets accidents.


      A third thought was to encode a different version for each of the known needed types up front for archival storage.  Perhaps combined with either of those options above in case of new needs in the future.


      Let me know if my questions don't make sense or if I'm asking the wrong questions in the first place.   This use case model is relatively constant for me, so would like to arrive at a well thought out approach that I can repeat over time. 



        • 1. Re: Encoding, final production, archiving use case question ...
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          Install the UT codec on your system.  It's free, lossless, and plays nice with Adobe software.


          Create your Masters using that, then from there you can create any type of compressed version you wish.

          • 2. Re: Encoding, final production, archiving use case question ...
            Jon Geddes Level 3

            If your cameras are encoding to a compressed mpeg2 or h.264 codec, then you will not be saving any storage space by transcoding to a lossless codec. However, if you are recording to tape, then you will likely want to back that up using a lossless codec, such as Lagarith, or UT.


            If you want to backup the project file which references the originals, then keep the originals. If you want to edit your clips and backup an HD master of the edited video, then you should use a lossless codec for that. If you have no reason to ever go back and edit the original, then you might just backup the edited video and delete the originals and project file.

            • 3. Re: Encoding, final production, archiving use case question ...
              josephs51576386 Level 3

              Like both people above have mentioned I'd recommend Lagarith and UT as export choices for your master copy. However keep in mind that for 1920x1080 footage Lagarith will generally take up around 2.5-4GB per min. So you'll be taking up around 150Gb per hour with the best scenario. I have had Lagarith take up to 240Gb per hour a couple of times. I don't have a lot of experince with UT but in general (from my experince anyways) you can expect it to take around 2Gb for every minute. So it compresses 1920x1080 footage a little better than Lagarith. The other option you could go with is DNxHD which for 1920x1080 footage takes up about 1.2Gb per minute. So it takes about half the space that Lagarith does however you will need to keep in mind that it does encode a slower than both lagarith and UT in most cases.


              It also isn't technically lossless like UT and Lagarith are although it's "visually lossless". I've done tons of comparisons to try to see if I could tell them apart and I wasn't ever able to notice any quality differences.

              However in many ways all three have pros and cons it really just comes down to what matters most to you.

              • 4. Re: Encoding, final production, archiving use case question ...

                Deal with this dilema all the time! Working with several projects a year, we are constantly running out of space. The best option is to get more space (and keep everything; master, project, source). Some storage options are removable drives (cheapest), DLT tape drive and tapes (in the middle), and servers with raid arrays for redundancy (if you got the money).


                What we have done to conserve space is delete anything that we can reproduce, don't need, or don't like. With most projects, we save the master file and that is it; lossless format of the file and dvd image. This is what we do with most internal projects.


                With client projects, we charge them a fee for storage or delete everything after a short period.