Not sure why you converted the footage? ie what was the gain?
Suggest you try the CC plugins you mention... but also suggest you try the CC in Premiere eg Three way Color Corrector.Fast and effective.
None of them are high end CC /Grade apps due to lack of Power windows, tracking, masks, blurs etc... but one of them maybe suitable for your needs.
Try them all.
Grading in AEFX is a very different experience and workflow to doing the same in PPRO or a standalone Grading application. eg SPeedgrade or Da Vinci REsolve,
Thanks for your quick reply!
I converted the footage because I used it for effects in After Effects and was advised to do so on this forum.
The footage gain is 0 db.
The main difference I noticed is that it takes ages in AE to view the effect results ( despite the fact that I use power computer with 24 gigs of memory +GTX580) and in Premiere I can see it right away.
When shooternz said 'gain' I presume he means "what was the benefit". If your original footage can be opened in PP, converting it isn't usually necessary unless you find the scrub performance is really hampered by the camera's codec - and that's more of an issue for line editing rather than color correction as you won't be playing it back and forth very much. PP will edit in 32-bit color space no matter what the footage is, so you don't need to force the ingested material into a higher bit depth.
We get the 'real time' question asked a lot. PP is a non-linear editor so realtime playback and scrubbing are essential, but the exact content of each frame isn't all that important. AE works on individual frames so it's not designed to play back in real time - it has to compose all your effects onto every single frame before it can show you the results, and in every frame it processes every pixel. The realtime monitors in PP don't do that - they show something that looks visually the same but only some of the frames are actually processed, then the rest are interpolated.
AE has some extremely powerful CC tools, but realistically it's intended for use on small clips - if you look at grading workflows in studios their typical AE timelines might only be 20 seconds max, and often only a couple of seconds. It can work with longer clips but it gets painful. The big advantage in AE is the ability to layer up lots of effects with masks, so for example you can color-correct a video clip so it exactly matches another clip or a still image, fine-tuning one coffee cup in the background of a scene or relighting in post by masking up zones of color and exposure adjustment.
PP on the other hand is great for long timelines and cutting together clips into a program - that's what it's designed for - but it works on clips so correcting at a frame-by-frame level is correspondingly horrible. I'd say the 3-way CC in PP is perfectly fine for prosumer and indie work; if you know what you're doing it's possible to replicate any of the motion picture styles people are used to seeing, it's simply that it doesn't have a library of presets and you don't get the same level of spatial controls (there's no masked adjustment layer concept in PP like there is in AE). As shooternz says some of the third-party plugins for PP give you those power tools.
New in CS6, Speedgrade provides a standalone program with more powerful features, though the workflow at the moment isn't all that seamless (SG wants frame images, as do most pro grading applications, so there's a gnarly export-import thing to go through that makes round-tripping a one way street).
A professional colorist will use a standalone grading program for several reasons, but they're not all down to pure 'quality';
- pro colorists tend to use special hardware desks with physical versions of the three color wheels, and they only work with certain software.
- if you're matching the 'look' of an entire motion picture, being able to store, share and batch process with preset styles and look-up tables (LUTs) is important - MB Looks and the Colorista plugin bundled with AE both have libraries of presets, the native fast and 3-way CC tools in PP don't.
- On a big project the grading is done by someone other than the editor, so they don't generally need (or want) access to the master timeline - they'll get an exported mezzanine format from edit (an image sequence or uncompressed video track) so don't care about all the other stuff PP or AE can do.
If your only job is grading then a standalone package is the way to go. If it's one of an army of things you do, from shooting and editing to burning the DVDs and writing the blog, I'd say to stick with the inbuilt tools in PP/AE, have a go in Speedgrade if you have CS6 and some time to teach yourself, but the expense of a standalone grading tool would only be worthwhile if you have a few months spare to learn the skills. There's a reason the best colorists earn top dollar, it's 50% art, 50% science and 100% dedication.
- MB Looks and the Colorista plugin bundled with AE both have libraries of presets, the native fast and 3-way CC tools in PP don't.
I just want to add that both Looks and Colorista can be used within PP as well, with the same functionality and presets available. This will make the work flow much easier if you decide to use those tools.
This is an area of the workflow which doesn't have any super-clear winner.
Assuming you want to step up to a level of color and grading beyond the tools built into Pr but stay in the Adobe world (Skipping standalones such as Color or going to a Resolve) I think Colorista 2 is the way to go. It is super powerful, easy to use (once you know what you are doing) and also relatively quick since it can leverage the power of your GPU.
I flirted with Speedgrade, but since it doesn't yet allow me to utilize my Grade 1 SDI monitor with the Kona card, it is kind of useless. If that support was added, plus the ability to roundtrip, it would be amazing. (plus adding in curves!)
Fitting the grading step into the workflow is still a bit of a challenge, though, at this point. As Jim pointed out, you can use Colorista 2 within Pr, but the interface is much more challenging than it is within AE. Beyond the GUI in the effects panel being much more confusing to the eye, things such as adding a power window is much harder to navigate in Pr. (You have to add the secondary power mask, show the red overlay, and then manually drag the sliders to move it within the window. In AE, you grab the mask, resize it and move it where you want. Doing that again and again in Pr is a chore.)
Secondly, I am finding that adding in the regular cocktail of effects that are standard in my color/grading step in the workflow - namely Denoiser 2, Colorista 2, unsharp mask - bring Pr to a screeching halt. I have to go down to 1/4 res to get any kind of workable feedback between clicks and updates. (On standard ProRes or H.264 footage) So, you can do all of your very powerful finishing within Pr, but it is a grind.
That leaves sending clips to Pr to do the Magic Bullet/Red Giant treatment - ideally through a Dynamic Link. In fact, I got really excited when I watched the promos for CS5.5 where David Fincher and his team talked about doing just this for finishing The Social Network. From what I can tell, they did their cut in Pr and then opened the sequence in AE to do effects work and color. (I may be wrong about color - they might have gone to a Pablo - but the foundation of the workflow is the same) The issue here is that every cut is its own layer in AE, and it can get incredibly confusing. Add in dissolves and other transitions, and it becomes not ideal for finishing. Also, I recently had a few clips that had Warp Stabilizer on them in Pr, and AE had to do all of the stabilization again on them...so, some effects do not make their way over to AE.
I'm still trying to find the best solution, and I think Speedgrade may get there in the next release. I know Adobe is heading towards a path where everything needed from pre-pro to final output can be handled and handed off seamlessly. They aren't quite there but I can see it happening sometime in the future.
Thanks all for the information! It has been a great help.