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    Start to Finish in Premiere CS6

    apelike_22 Community Member

      I'm freelancing as a finishing artist and offline assistant at a commercial shop in LA that switched from FCP to Premiere a few months back and wanted to share some of the workflow notes we've accumulated over that time.  Please feel free to contribute anything or point out things that we might be doing wrong. 

       

      First off, the work here is mostly comedy/dialog driven, so lots of long takes, improv from talent, and multicam shoots.  The footage we get is more often than not Alexa, and the dailies are, more often than not, generated out of Resolve.  Our offline clips are in ProRes Proxy for the moment, because we still need to use FCP for some finishing prep (more on that later).

       

      One note for anyone working with Alexa footage out there:  when you are making dailies, or sending specs of dailies out to DITs or facilities to transcode your raw dailies into offline proxies, be sure that the Alexa reel names are getting embedded in the transcode.  In Resolve, for example, there's a setting (not on by default), to "use reel name embedded in Source metadata" or something to that effect.  This absolutely needs to be in place, regardless of which NLE you're using.  EDLs are primarly reel name and timecode driven.  Clip names can be squirrely.  Be sure your reel names match your source files and you'll save time in color and finishing.

       

      Footage comes in extremely fast and we make heavy use of markers for jotting down notes on lines and transcribing improv takes.  The marker list is a really good tool.  We've used Prelude on single camera shoots to make subclips with comment markers for general notes and Speech markers for transcription.  It works really well, but it would be even better if it integrated multicam since we don't want to mark two cameras separately.  So for multicam breakdown and marking, we work in Premiere.

       

      Editing is great.  Once the editors got used to the GUI and keyboard, they didn't look back.  Playback, trimming and versioning is faster and smoother than FCP7 by a longshot.  Sequence-to-sequence editing is missed heavily, as is match frame detection and healing.  But overall there's nothing that gets in the way.  Playing back audio in the viewer for clients is a bit laggy, but it's a Blackmagic issue.  Blackmagic output is sequence based, meaning clips in the viewer can be problematic for client playback since they aren't embedded in a sequence.  Audio defaults to SD output, so your monitor will need to toggle between settings if you play back video in the timeline and then audio in the viewer.  AJA overcomes this by having a global output that's independent of your sequence setting.  We've stuck with Blackmagic though and it's otherwise been great.

       

      Multicam works very well although we've noticed that, when you want to play back a multicam clip in the viewer, it will only display the single cam view in the client monitor.  If we want to show the client a contact sheet view, as you can in Avid or FCP, we can't.  In the viewer, if you want to view in single camera mode, you have to disable multicam in the viewer.  If you try to switch cameras or re-enable multicam viewing in the viewer, it won't work.  We have to restart Premiere for that clip to be able to be viewed in multicam mode again.  I've submitted a feature request and bug report to allow 1-up viewing of multicam clips in the source monitor that still lets you toggle between cameras, ala Avid. 


      Adobe Media Encoder is a great utility for postings.  For large batches of files to compress, we save a copy of the project in the directory where we want the compressed spots to live, then import the sequences from that project copy into Media Encoder.  ME saves the files to the project directory by default, so this is our way of influencing the destination of the batch encode without clicking on every file name.

       

      The only drag with using Premiere right now, relative to working in Avid or FCP, is prepping for finish.  The process is pretty rough around the edges and there are some missing utilities that would be great to see in a future release.  Here are the issues we've encountered and how we work around them:

       

      - there's no matching back to a source clip from a multicam clip.  Nor is there a way to collapse that clip.  When Premiere syncs cameras to make a multicam clip, the new clip is self-contained and has its own timecode (starts at 00:00:00:00) and filename that doesn't change regardless of which camera is active.  When you dis-enable multicam, nothing changes.  If you need to prep an EDL, you have to manually find the source clip and overcut it into the sequence.  Premiere won't help with this, so you need to be organized and know where to look to speed the process up.  It's a major drag, maybe, for us, the biggest drag in the whole app.

       

      - there's no duplicate frame detection or match frame notifiers.  For match frames, it's just a matter of skimming through the sequence to find them.  For duplicate frames, it's the same deal.  In both cases, exporting an XML of your sequence (no multiclips - those can be erratic when translating into FCP) and bringing it into FCP is the fastest way to get your EDL prepped without duplicate frames or match frame edits.

       

      - EDL export is quirky.  It gets the job done, but there are a couple things to be wary of.  Most significantly, any time remapping or reverse speed effects should be removed prior to making the EDL.  As a finishing artist, I'd rather get all the media in, with handles, and a reference quicktime with text overlays or a standalone document telling me what my speed changes should be than have an incorrect EDL.  Unforunately, Premiere's EDL generator will give you incorrect source timecode on reverse speed effects and won't reflect time remapping effects at all (the latter isn't surprising, although it would be nice if it picked the slowest speed and used that as the M2 qualifier so you at least would be guaranteed to have all the media you'd need to recreate the effect).  So, remove all reverse speed effects and time remapping and you have no problems.  A second quirk, though, is that when exporting video layer 1, any media living on video layer 2 will also show up in the EDL as a key clip.  The workaround here is, if you have multiple layers, just keep video 2 empty when generating the EDL.  I thought it would be a big issue that there's no way to specify whether the EDL is referencing clip names or file names, but as long as your reel names and timecode are good, accurate clip names aren't necessary for conforming for color or finish.

       

      - OMF and AAF export seems to work fine.  No issues to report there.

       

      A couple final notes:

       

      We usually have a few people working on the same project, with one user having read/write access to the SAN directory where the media lives and everyone else having read only access.  On all of our systems, we've gone into the Media Preferences and turned off "write XMP ID to files on import." We leave on the "Enable Clip and XMP Metadata Linking" option.  This lets the write access user make metadata changes that will then ripple out to other users when they refresh their mounted SAN volumes.  Without this option selected, we've had markers, comments, and revised reel names get messed up.  I highly recommend these settings for anyone working on a project with common media shared by several users.

       

      We've been hit by project bloating a couple times.  It appears to be caused by duplicate links to preview files being added to the code within the project file.  These erroneous links can get created when exporting with Media Encoder and selecting the "use Previews" option (a bummer because that can save a lot of time).  They can also appear when click-dragging a Premiere project file into Media Encoder, which unfortunately is the fastest way to load a project sequence into ME.  You can rescue your bloated project by importing it into a new project, but keep a watchful eye on your project size.  I'd recommend a daily import into a new project just to make sure you're safe.  It gets big exponentially when it does start bloating, and before long you can have a multigig project file that can't open or be imported. 

       

      Overall we love the application and haven't looked back (except to prep) since switching.  I've recently worked at other shops using either FCP or Avid and, for loading, breakdown and editing, Premiere feels faster than either one.  I'm anxious to see where Adobe takes it in the next release.

       

      Hope this is helpful and I look forward to your thoughts and questions. 

       

      Jon

        • 1. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
          shooternz Community Member

          Always interesting to read about positive  experiences...and especially from "converts".

           

          Thanx for taking the time to relate them.

          • 2. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
            J. Simon Community Member

            We've stuck with Blackmagic though and it's otherwise been great.

             

            Which model?  Will it perform "on-the-fly" conversions?  (Resolution scaling for monitors that don't exactly match your sequence.  Adding pulldown for monitors that can't handle 24p directly.  Etc.)

            • 3. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
              lasvideo Community Member

              Jon, I really appreciate the level of detail in your constructive comments regarding your PrP experience. You touched upon issues that are unique to post / finishing houses, which are a relatively new addition to the Adobe community.

               

              I hope you dont mind, but I sent it as a link to Al Mooney who is Product Manager for Adobe Premiere Pro.

               

              Adobe listens very closely these days and I felt he might be interested in what you had to day.

              • 4. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                apelike_22 Community Member

                Hi there Jim,

                 

                There are several BMD cards at the shop.  We've got the Decklink Extreme 3D running in one of our finishing bays, and it's older brother the Decklink Exteme 3 running in the other.  The offline room uses an iMac and runs the UltraStudio 3D and we have a mobile workstation that uses the Intensity Extreme. 

                 

                All of your performance questions hit on the limitation of the Blackmagic workflow.  AJA doesn't have sequence presets in Premiere.  It has a global output process in your playback preferences that converts your outgoing signal, no matter what it is, to whatever you need it to be.  We have an IO Express that we've tested this out on.  It does a great job for picture, but the audio is highly problematic.  There seem to be others having similar issues - namely audio that doesn't start playing when it should and drops out frequently - but because it's not on a system we use regularly, we haven't gotten to heavily into it.

                 

                Back to Blackmagic.  The thing I like least about the way the cards work is that the output is handled almost 100% in your sequence setting.  Suppose you're working in 2K.  Your footage will not be sent to an external monitor unless it's in broadcast standard sequence, like 1080p23.98.  If you want to see the 2K footage in your client monitor when it's loaded in your viewer window, you're SOL.  Ditto with frame rates.  You have to make sure your footage is broadcast friendly (23.98, not 24, 29.97, not 30, etc.) or else it's not going to the monitor.

                 

                The good news is that whatever's in your Blackmagic sequence can get to the monitors.  The bad news is that the sequence setting might not match your footage and you may need a render for playback.  In my experience, though, I haven't found footage that needs a render to play back smoothly in any sequence preset.  The Mercury Playback engine is outstanding.  You'll need to render effects, but that's it.

                 

                So, it can add pulldown to 23.98 or 24 footage by the user placing that footage in a 29.97 sequence.  Our monitors here handle 23.98 directly, so it hasn't been an issue.  Ditto for the pixel dimensions.  All of our monitors are 1080.  That said, we worked remotely recently and the only client monitor available was 720, so we had to work with 720p sequences.  The Blackmagic System preference, oddly, will upscale 720p sequences to 1080 but won't go the other way.

                 

                So there are limitations, but we've yet to hit a brick wall with any of them.  They seem to play very nicely with Premiere and the ability to work with Resolve for color with clients in the room is gigantic. 

                 

                I have nothing against, AJA, by the way, and would like to get a Kona LHi card for our finishing bays so we can implement Smoke 2013 as needed.  I've had great experiences with their cards in the past.  Resolve keeps us tied to Blackmagic I/O more than anything.

                 

                Let me know if you have any more questions and I'll gladly write another essay : )  Apologies for the lengthy response.

                 

                Jon

                • 5. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                  apelike_22 Community Member

                  Hi there Tom,

                   

                  Thanks very much for the good word!  Of course I don't mind you passing the post to Mr. Mooney.  That's great to hear. 

                   

                  I'm very fortunate to work at a shop run by an editor who is very open to trying new software and workflows.  As far as I know, we're the only commercial post house in LA that's fully converted over to Premiere.  We still have FCP running on our systems for finish prep but everything starts and stays in Premiere now, including for online & finishing.  It's an excellent tool and I expect the next few years to see it creeping into more high end shops, particularly if Adobe Anywhere works as advertised.

                   

                  BTW, I've read several of your posts here and at Creative Cow and get a lot of out of them.  Thanks very much for offering your insights to the community, they've been very helpful!

                   

                  Jon

                  • 6. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                    apelike_22 Community Member

                    One quick amendment to my original post:

                     

                    We get project bloating when exporting with Encoder NOT when we click and drag a project file into ME, but rather when click-dragging individual sequences from an open project into ME.  Apologies for mixing that up.

                    • 7. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                      lasvideo Community Member

                      Thank you Jon. Glad to be of help!.

                       

                      Just a quick sidebar. Ive been running AJA Kona 3 for years with solid performance, once they got the drivers out to support Adobe changes to CS.

                       

                      Currently I am running a Mac Pro and an HP Z820 with the most recent Adobe software and AJA drivers. There is 0 frame delay between the GUI display and the external engineering monitors. Audio is also solid. This goes as well for the AE display.

                       

                      I should say the 2008 Mac Pro is parked on 10.7.4 ( since the PC is my primary edit machine now) and the HP Z820 is running Windows 7 Pro SP1.

                       

                      Personally I love AJA tech support and product design. I dont care at all for Black Magic . FWIW.

                      • 8. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                        apelike_22 Community Member

                        It's funny you mentioned this.  10 minutes ago I just recommended a Kona purchase for a new system we just installed.  The owner of the company is, (admittedly "illogically") in love with Blackmagic and agreed to think about it.  I'm working on him : )

                         

                        I've had nothing but great experiences with AJA products in the past and find Blackmagic to be too stripped down, funtionality-wise. I appreciate the breadth of options BMD gives you, though, as far as connectivity and price point.  But in practive at the shop, we deal with problems that would not exist if we ran AJA I/O.  The way AJA integrates into Premiere is so much smarter than BMD it's hard to believe BMD gets away with their solution at all.

                         

                        I'm hoping to integrate Smoke for Mac 2013 into our shop and that would necessitate an AJA purchase.  We'll see!

                         

                        I read your Creative Cow post about switching back to PC.  Your machine is an absolute beast.  Had to wipe the drool off my shirt when I read the specs.

                         

                        Since I work in commercials, I don't ever push Premiere very hard in terms of media quantity.  The dish on it has historically been that it gets crashy with large amounts of footage.  Do your projects deal with this issue and, if they do, have you found any problems arising as a result?

                         

                        Jon

                        • 9. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                          lasvideo Community Member

                          I tend to deal in short form as well (commercials, music videos, corporate communications) . But I have read lots of postings from folks who do long form and it seems that issue is a thing of the past. Of course it all depends on the media/codecs you use and the power of the edit system to fuel the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine. I guess a good Googling might reveal the experience of Adobe long form editors. Try to focus on the ones that know what they are doing. So many issues are from folks that are not well informed on editing and editing systems. 

                          • 10. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                            reToolednet Community Member

                            Jon,

                            Glad to hear your account. I am in a similar boat to you. I am an online editor, and we are a FCP7 house considering the move for offline and online to Premiere Pro. I too have pointed out the deficincies in both the lack of multicam flattening and the edl/xml reliability.  I am working on a tool, which will hopefully be out soon, that uses xml's to relink from offline xmls to online material, for instance color corrected footage from resolve.  It doesn't care about what the length is of the original media, but merely, what was used in the edit in terms of relinking:

                            Here is more info: http://www.retooled.net/?page_id=409

                             

                            The tool works great with FCP7, and for the most part it works well with Premiere Pro, BUT the things you mentioned are of course still problematic. Reverses, variable speed changes, and of course multicams do not come through. I would also love it if all effects could come through even if it was in a part of the xml that only premiere pro could read.  Please let me know if you have any questions, and if you speak to Al please share your support for fully supporting all of this information.

                             

                            For PP to play with the big post houses, it needs to support all of this information.

                            • 11. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                              apelike_22 Community Member

                              Hi there,

                               

                              That's really great news that you're working on an XML tool.  Were you able to get it to work with relinking offline quicktimes to image sequences?  My understanding thus far has been that the flavor of XML that Premiere, Smoke, Hiero, etc. all use is FCP's XML, which, since FCP couldn't read image sequences, won't correctly translate image sequence data for import in another project.

                               

                              There's a thread to this effect on Creative Cow:

                               

                              http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/3/932651

                               

                              There's a link in that post to a thread in the Smoke forum about XML issues pertaining to image sequences.

                               

                              Thanks very much for contributing to the discussion.  Can't tell you how exciting it is that users are out there developing workflow tools for using Premiere in online.

                               

                              Jon

                              • 12. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                shooternz Community Member

                                I would be really interested to hear (read) from you finishing guys, how you work with  XML and why and when you use it as opposed to say EDLs,CDLs AAFs, OMFs...

                                 

                                I have never done anything at all with XML and keen to learn more about it.

                                • 13. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                  apelike_22 Community Member

                                  For finishing, I'll only use it to pass conforms off to Nuke for compositing and cleanup work that can't be handled efficiently in AE.  For conforms I use EDLs when I need to.  Since our shop is cutting in Premiere nowadays, I don't actually need either XMLs or EDLs most of the time now.  I duplicate the project and get rid of everything from the offline I won't need, pop over into AE and use Lloyd Alvarez's Immigration script to batch import and ballpark a DPX conform, then fine tune the conform back in Premiere.

                                   

                                  My main hope with XML was that it would allow me to get conforms from Smoke, Hiero, Resolve or SpeedGrade into Premiere, because Immigration tries only to match file names to clip names when it does its replacement work.  It ignores timecode and reel names, which are really the two most important bits of metadata to consider when conforming.  Conforming in those other apps is very, very fast and accurate (especially Hiero, which, if you haven't played with it, is incredibly fun and makes you wonder what would happen if The Foundry ever threw its hat into the NLE ring).  However, since XML doesn't play with image sequences, that doesn't work.

                                   

                                  Regarding the Premiere/Nuke XML interchange,  I love AE, but 10 bit DPX sequences bog it down and the toolset, flexibility and speed of Nuke are impossible to compete with (even for Autodesk, wink wink).  There's a free python script written by a Nuke user over on Nukepedia.com that lets you import Premiere XMLs (it asks you which sequence in the XML you want to import) directly into Nuke, creating separate Nuke scripts for each shot.  It takes all of 10 minutes for me to have Nuke scripts for every shot in my conform and have everything ready to go for comp and cleanup work.  Additionally, a python script writer over at Nomad Edit (the facility that cuts Apple commercials) has written a script that actually does a full conform in Nuke from an FCP XML, complete with a reference file overlay.  It's incredible.  You eventually have to do legal, slates and tape layoff, however, so I render DPXs out of Nuke and import them into Premiere for all of that business.

                                   

                                  That's about it!

                                   

                                  Jon

                                  • 14. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                    J. Simon Community Member

                                    Apologies for the lengthy response.

                                     

                                    Please don't.  It was well said and exactly the info I was looking for.  Thanks.

                                    • 15. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                      J. Simon Community Member

                                      Reverses, variable speed changes, and of course multicams do not come through. I would also love it if all effects could come through

                                       

                                      This is what I've been saying needs to happen with Adobe's own grading tool SpeedGrade.  We need the ability to see in SpeedGrade exactly what we see in PP, including all titles, effects, AE comps, transitions, etc.  Nice to hear that same call from higher end professionals like yourself and Jon.

                                      • 16. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                        reToolednet Community Member

                                        Jon,

                                         

                                        As for reLink reTooled, our xml relinking tool, we had to focus on one type of media for its first iteration.  Because I am currently in Final Cut 7 and I want this tool to work across multiple applications, like FCP and PP, we focused on Quicktime files.  So no, it will not relink to image sequences, but that is something that we wanted to look into for later versions once we had the first one on the market.

                                         

                                        As for XML in general, it is something that is originally a standard that FCP created for interchange that would be much more full featured than an EDL. It is similar to Avid's AAF.  EDLs are very simple and only contain the 1 track of video and are meant to simply show what the edit is.  An xml however, can not only show the full edit, it can show all the audio, video, position, scale, rotation, crops, and in FCP7 can actually have all effects and settings passed through.  It is basically like your FCP project, but that you can send to another program.  So for instance if the offline editor is in FCP, they can send it to a flame or smoke artist, or even someone doing a conform in Premiere and maintain many of these settings.  Of course, I do have gripes with how Premiere handles xml in that things lings like variable speed changes, freeze frames, and effects (other than simple motion data and regular speed changes) is not maintained.

                                         

                                        The reason it makes sense to use an XML over an EDL, is because of these extra things. So if the editor did a split screen of two clips and or had opacity on layers, that will all come through.  In my case, because the color correct is happening at another facilty with a dedicated colorist, the media is a different length and typically a different name than the original clip.  For instance, the original footage might be 10 mins long, and the editor uses 2 5 second segments of it.  The colorist will export the clips with a bit of handles, but only just slightly more than what is used in the edit.  So if the original clip was clipA.mov the 2 new clips might be called ClipA_timecode.mov where timecode is the starting timecode of the new clip.

                                         

                                        That is what my app is made to do. Forget about the length of the original media and only care about what was in the edit, then let you relink based on a combination of user selected metadata.

                                         

                                        Another reason I tend to prefer xml over edl in the colorist/telecine workflow is that EDLs will cut off tape names over a certain number of characters. XML won't.  Both are of course fine, but it depends on the workflow.

                                         

                                        Jim,

                                        I would also love to see everything be able to pass in every direction within the suite.  All effects, all color correction, should be multi-directions from premiere to ae and back, from premiere to speedgrade and back and all iterations of this.

                                        • 17. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                          J. Simon Community Member

                                          Agreed.

                                          • 18. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                            apelike_22 Community Member

                                            The problem with XML is that it is confined, at the moment, to FCP land.  You mentioned that you're not happy with how Premiere handles XML, which is understandable, because it's not simply translating the premiere data into XML, but also trying to translate effects like speed changes into an FCP-friendly format, which is a set up for failure.  Every app that uses XML right now (Smoke, Flame, Hiero, Resolve, Premiere, etc.) is trying to play by FCP's rules, which at this point is a bit like trying to play football with a leather helmet.

                                             

                                            Re: passing stuff between apps in Production Premium, there are some code-specific reasons as to why certain effects don't get ported through the various apps in Production Premium.  The Premiere crop effect gets ported to a mask in AE for example.  It would be amazing - and hopefully eventually we get there - if you could pop between the apps and always have editable access to everything, but that's a long, long way off. 

                                             

                                            What's frustrating is that there are so many apps trying to latch onto FCP's XML, meanwhile FCP is a dead man walking in broadcast and Adobe has superior tools for using metadata.  I love being able to write metadata to sidecar files, for example.  It's a great system.

                                             

                                            My projects also get graded at other facilities, and we always make sure to send over everything without any effects at all.  I don't want changes to translation, opacity, etc. baked into the grade, because those things change at the drop of a hat with clients looking at the online.  In fact, the specs at Company3 and The Mill require us to send them A-Mode EDLs for grades, not XMLs.  We get DPXs back, which give you a ton of data to work with and are standard for broadcast commercial finishing.  As soon as you get into DPX land in Premiere, XML is useless.  You could still work with it in Flame, Smoke, Hiero and SpeedGrade, but for finishing in Premiere, XML and DPX aren't in bed together yet (once again, because of XML being married to FCP).

                                             

                                            For this reason I find XML to be a little limited for my taste.  It's great for resizes and split screens, but anything involving speed changes gets to be problematic.  It's simply unreliable and over-complicated to leave some effects in but not others.  EDL is very limited, but for now it's like a nice safety blanket and I don't think it's going away anytime soon.  The CMX3600 EDL format is pretty much agnostic across all systems no matter what, and the reel name truncation is only an issue with RED files and there are years-old workarounds for this in Avid, although I don't know what Premiere would do since the EDL output has so few editable settings.  Most of our jobs are on Alexa, so we don't get dinged by 16 character reel names.  Alexa reel names are 8 characters and work with CMX3600 EDLs just fine.

                                             

                                            That said, once my conform is done, XML out of Premiere is extremely helpful in getting my shots into Nuke. Couldn't live without it.  So, for now, I need EDLs and XMLs, and until XML gets a re-write to be less specific to the FCP way of doing things, it would be great if someone - ideally Adobe - developed a utility for conforming to DPX within Premiere.

                                            • 19. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                              shooternz Community Member

                                              Thanx guys  for all the info and thoughts on XML

                                               

                                              I can now see that my EDL workflow thru to Resolve and Smoke, Flame ,Nuke etc is as good as it gets for me at the moment and thats fine. Its simple and easy and works solidly as long as we plan our conforming to be mostly in Resolve (with handles taken into the comping suites)

                                               

                                              I cant see the roundtrip workflow in the manner Jim wants ever ever happening and I cant see the reason to do so either.

                                               

                                              No way I want to cc and grade or apply anything  over the top of fx , transitions, graphics or composites.   ie "burn in everything".  Too restrictive and limiting down the track.

                                              • 20. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                J. Simon Community Member

                                                I cant see the reason to do so either.

                                                 

                                                The reasons are twofold.  First, you can't grade what you can't see, so we need to see everything.

                                                 

                                                Second, we're not all so fortunate as to get picture lock.  We need to make changes to the edit after grading, ideally without losing or having to redo the grade.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                fx , transitions, graphics or composites.  ie "burn in everything".  Too restrictive and limiting down the track.

                                                 

                                                Agreed.  I don't want them burned in either.  But they still need to show up in SpeedGrade.

                                                • 21. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                  shooternz Community Member

                                                  Without picture lock...you are in an inefficient and non cost effective,  endless loop. 

                                                  Audio or video finishing workflows..same problem. due to workflow / client management  issues.

                                                   

                                                  I cant see how it even works unless the budget is open ended or the profit margin massive enough to absorb it!

                                                   

                                                  BTW - of course I can see what we are grading... its the source footage as per the offline.( via edl)

                                                   

                                                  The answer to your needs Jim ... is more powerful CC tools in Premiere it self. eg. Speedgrade inside PPRO.  (Resolve inside PPRO would be better still)

                                                  • 22. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                    apelike_22 Community Member

                                                    Incredibly, I haven't had a job go to finish with picture lock in years.  Agencies - a few in particular, namely Crispin Porter Bogusky - make changes throughout the finishing process - to the edit, to mix, to color, to comps, etc.  It's constantly in flux.  We've had to deal several times with running changes being made to a spot that's already airing. 

                                                     

                                                    It's absolutely ideal to have lock before heading into finish, but, at least in the sphere of work I'm in, that doesn't happen.  It's horribly inefficient, but the approval process has changed a lot since the film days and it's very, very common to go to a color grade with several versions in play, none of which may actually be the hero.

                                                     

                                                    Beefing up SpeedGrade would be great to be able to grade a pick up and save the time and money of having to go back to a facility like Company 3 for an extra shot or three.  The problem is that grades can be so complex that matching becomes a big issue and it's often times just easier to send the shot off to the shop that graded the rest of the material.

                                                     

                                                    And, to your point, this does have financial repurcussions that make me glad to not be a producer.  Commercial post faces some of the same issues that feature VFX faces in terms of agencies who make money hand over fist making escalating demands over the course of a project - adding versions, comps, cleanup that wasn't initially in the bid - at the expense of the post house.  The problem seems to be getting worse, not better.  There's a meeting in LA coming up about the pros and cons of the feature VFX industry unionizing.  It would be interesting if someone took up that torch for commercial post as well. 

                                                     

                                                    I'm getting WAY off topic now   

                                                    • 23. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                      reToolednet Community Member

                                                      Well I don't have time to do a full on response right now, but I can say, like Jon finishing is hardly EVER on a locked picture.  Approval process happens after finishing. Agreed, its a bad workflow, but it is the common one when it comes to TV commercials anyway.

                                                      • 24. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                        shooternz Community Member

                                                        The "wonder"  of the advertising production system in the USA is that the advertiser / agency manages and pays for the post production.  Not the shoot production company.

                                                         

                                                        Its weird that the Post House cops the overuns..but then...I have seen how much post is budgeted on some of the U.S productions I have worked on.

                                                        • 25. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                          reToolednet Community Member

                                                          Jon,

                                                          Yeah our offline assistant editors always give EDLs and XMLs to Nice Shoes, Co3, the Mill, etc.  I agree, that the colorist won't use opacity and effects, but for finishing, I want that info.

                                                           

                                                          I stay away from DPX for two reasons, one, the issues you explain with metadata getting lost, and two, pure size.  I typically find ProResHQ or 4444 a good substitute in a much smaller package.

                                                           

                                                          I would love if conform, xml, or even some new universal standard could all be improved upon.  If it could have all the power of xml, but be a bit more open and not controlled by apple, that would make me happy.  But hey, if we could have what we want, everything would be progressive, SD would be dead, there would only be 1 frame rate and 1 codec....  And that all couldn't be further from the truth!

                                                          • 26. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                            apelike_22 Community Member

                                                            Do you have issues with color fidelity working with Quicktime files?  There's that pesky gamma shift that we've scoped at our shop and makes us stay well away from quicktime.  Even if you pass an uncompressed quicktime file from Premiere to After Effects and back, your vectorscopes will show a change, which is one of the reasons we went DPX.


                                                            The other reason is Nuke. It's optimized for working with image sequences and gives us speed and tools that we don't get with AE.  Keeping everything in DPX, even shots that don't need a comp or cleanup work, gives me both color fidelity I can show clients on a scope and keeps media management simple since I don't need to generate any new media to get things into Nuke when needed.

                                                             

                                                            I haven't had any issues losing metadata in DPX files.  The only metadata I use for finishing - reel names and timecode - comes through just fine.  There's more in there, too, since when I conform in Hiero with all search parameters selected it matches to my DPXs more accurately than Smoke.  No idea what's going on there, but it's awesome. 

                                                             

                                                            I love your last paragraph.  Literally every single job I joke with clients about placing bets on when we won't have to deliver SD anymore.  I'm just happy DG accepts ProRes HQ delivery now!  Unfortunately, not only do we not have any standards yet, I think we're actually farther away from it than we were a couple years ago.  Now we have HFR movies coming out, Hero GoPro cameras shooting 4K at 12fps, and a multitude of cameras released with their own flavors of RAW, metadata handling, and aspect ratios.  I must be a masochist though, because I kinda dig it.  Except for SD.  No love for SD from this side of the forum

                                                            • 27. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                              reToolednet Community Member

                                                              In the early days of using quicktimes and final cut, we used to get color changes between fcp7 and after effects all the time.  We realized that was a bug caused by the AJA uncompressed codec that was making uncompressed gamma shift.

                                                               

                                                              Since sticking with purely prores and learning what settings need to be in fcp7 (gamma of 2.2 for codecs like animation) we get 0 gamma shift.  If take our proreshq source export from fcp, import to AE, and back, no shift whatsoever, no the scope or to the eye.  The same of course would go for Premiere to AE.  Because the media, is exactly the same, you just copy and paste your quicktime from one to the other, no issues there.  Again, I am not using Premiere for work yet, but in my tests, no issues.

                                                               

                                                              As for SD, we still have 1 or 2 clients who delivery SD!  It is insane, and even for those who do HD, we'll still often deiliver SD to DG because it is probably cheaper for us to do the downconvert than for them.  I would have to agree, standards are probably getting further away than closer.  I wish there would be some kind of organization in our industry in terms of standards.  For example, a diagram that gets sent out about just what makes a super legal, sure we all know legal specs, but then some clients tell you to make them tiny because...well they don't care, then other clients make them take up half the screen because they are paranoid.  Haha.

                                                               

                                                              Anyway, yes we have majorly digressed.  Going back to Premiere, I do agree with Jon that it has all of the great tools in place to deal with full on offline and online workflows.  Just needs a bit of finessing in certain areas.  I hope it gets there!

                                                              • 28. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                shooternz Community Member

                                                                Continuing to digress for the moment..but (re legal supers / graphic safe)

                                                                 

                                                                Can you tell me what is "safe" area for 16:9 where you are? 

                                                                 

                                                                What Title Safe setting in PPRO do you use?

                                                                 

                                                                I am doing homework as part of a process here in New Zealand to get our 'Standard" changed with NZ broadcasters... so it better matches international standards.  eg BBC, Australia...

                                                                 

                                                                Currently it is SD Safe Title!  We are pushing for 14:9.

                                                                • 29. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                  apelike_22 Community Member

                                                                  No worries!  Because of SD versioning, we have to go by 4x3 title safe boundaries on our 16x9 deliveries.  Premiere won't show this to you natively, but I pop over to AE for all legal anyway, and the action/title safe guides there have 4x3 safe indicators as well.  Graphics are a different story.  Sometimes we get separate versions for SD vs. HD.  If it's just HD title/action safe the clients are worried about, PPro's built-in overlays work just fine.  Otherwise you can import a still with the boundaries delineated and turn it on/off as needed.  Or pop over to AE (my preferred option since it's better at GFX handling anyway).

                                                                   

                                                                  As far as what that nets out to in terms of pixel locations, I don't know.  It's just the defaults in the indicators.  If you send me your e-mail, I can send you a frame with solids indicating our safe areas for 16x9 and 4x3 within a 1920x1080 frame.

                                                                   

                                                                  If it helps at all, the general standard I've seen used in most shops for font/size on legal is Helvetica Neue Condensed, with the size set to 18.  From there, the clients will usually tweak it down.  One of the things I love about AE - and Smoke can't do this, btw), is that I can make a solid exactly as tall as the number of scan lines I'm shooting for.  A solid with a setting of 18 pixels on the y axis is 18 scan lines, for example.  From there, I can just line that up with the location of the legal and make sure I'm sized correctly.  It's incredibly handy.  I'll also do this to find out how many scan lines I'm at after the clients tweak the legal down to microscopic levels.  In Smoke or Flame the artists I've worked with will have a TIFF showing different lines of text, each representing a different scan line count.  It gets the job done, but I think the method in AE is sexier, and it's one less file to manage.

                                                                   

                                                                  How about this internet thing!  Collaborating across hemispheres!  Let me know if you ever need help on a project in NZ.  I've always wanted to go

                                                                  • 30. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                    reToolednet Community Member

                                                                    Same here, 4x3 or centercut safe, even on a 16x9 picture.  We always ship spots that way, pretty much 0 exceptions.  Meaning all main action and supers will be in that 4x3 safe zone.

                                                                     

                                                                    I have images with guides I can use in Premiere or any other program that doens't natively have them.

                                                                    • 31. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                      J. Simon Community Member

                                                                      Without picture lock...you are in an inefficient and non cost effective,  endless loop. 

                                                                       

                                                                      Amen, brother!

                                                                       

                                                                      Still, that is the reality a lot of corporate editors face.  (And yes, the 'invoice' is open until editing is done.  And if - when? - they come back for more changes, it generates another invoice.)

                                                                      • 32. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                        J. Simon Community Member
                                                                        The answer to your needs Jim ... is more powerful CC tools in Premiere it self. eg. Speedgrade inside PPRO.

                                                                         

                                                                        Here, here!  (Dynamic Link would be fine, too.)

                                                                        • 33. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                          adobeseco87

                                                                          Hi there,

                                                                           

                                                                          I stumbled across your thread as I've just ended up in a bit of a situation and I'm trying to decide my next best course of action. Here's my situation:

                                                                           

                                                                          I'm making a short film. I'm a low budget film maker, so I'm doing all the Post Production myself. This is my first film shooting with RED. Because of this, my plan was to Edit in PP, I have like 3 or 4 FX shots I did in AE, and I planned on doing color in Speedgrade. I was going to export an EDL and utilize the full capacity of the raw files in Speedgrade. My issue is though, that I have not done this process in the past on a film, just small tests. My PP project is filled with time remaps, scales, motion (animated camera shake), etc. Upon finally getting into Speedgrade, I realized that none of this data carried over. So now I have to figure out a good work around or solution to my problem. I do not have Resolve or other Color Grading specific software. I don't have money for other software either, so I'd like to stay in the Adobe family.

                                                                           

                                                                          My options (as I see them, you may have a different or better option):

                                                                           

                                                                          Color in Premiere: I know the simplest path would be to color in Premiere. I have used this in the past on web stuff and had good results, but with this film I want to get the highest quality I can get. I have both Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista (which I use for secondaries mostly) which I have utilized in the past, but I don't know if they will take advantage of the RED raw data. I know that I can actually do a lot with the metadata right in premiere by using source settings on the clip itself, so I know that's an option, and if I combine that with further enhancements from MB Looks, I may be able to take advantage of the RED footage. Or is there possibly another utility or plug in that I can use to do color right in PP that has more sophistication?

                                                                           

                                                                          Color in After Effects: Another path would be to do color in AE. It would be a little more troublesome than Premiere, dealing with all the layers and stuff. But I do digital animation and sometimes VFX work, so I know AE like the back of my hand. I know that if I needed to I could start to create adjustment layers for every clip and get an extremely high level of control over my final product. AE has the Color Finesse 3 effect that resembles most Color Grading software workflows. The biggest thing I'd miss would be some of the presets already built into Speedgrade that apply like a LUT or Bleach Bypass or something. But I guess I can use MB Looks on a separate Adj Layer to utilize some of those effects. Currently, I'm leaning towards working out of AE. Unless you feel that I can get a similar level of sophistication out of PP using the RED source settings and MB Looks and Colorista, since that would be a simpler process (probably).

                                                                           

                                                                          Color in Speedgrade: If there was some work around to get my clips into Speedgrade with the scale and motion information, and preferably time remapping information, then I would like to try that. I don't want to use the send to speedgrade option because it renders out a DPX sequence, and then I feel like I lose out on the advantages of having the RED raw files. And I read some of the above comments, and see that some people might go through and remove time effects, etc, and reapply all the motion, scale, time, effects after all over again. And if it was just the time effects, I probably would, but I did a lot of artificial camera shake, and I feel the effort it would take to redo all that is greater than the extra inconvenience of working out of After Effects. Next time I know, and can prepare appropriately for Speedgrade, but for this time, it's not looking like the best option.

                                                                           

                                                                          Anyway, I'm sorry for the giant response, but I'm just trying to think of what the best option would be, and I don't know as much about the specifics of each program when it comes to Color Grading and their effectiveness on a professional level. This is also my first film using RED raw data, I've mostly worked on 5D footage, or digital animation, which is all cyber data. I really appreciate any advice or insight that anyone has for me.

                                                                           

                                                                          Thank you very much

                                                                          David

                                                                          • 34. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                            reToolednet Community Member

                                                                            David,

                                                                             

                                                                            I'm not trying to plug my own product here, but basically it is exactly

                                                                            what you are looking for. You can check out the product page here:

                                                                             

                                                                            http://www.retooled.net/?page_id=784_blank

                                                                             

                                                                            and blog posts here

                                                                            http://www.retooled.net/?p=1153

                                                                             

                                                                            and here:

                                                                            http://www.retooled.net/?p=1177

                                                                             

                                                                            For my money, it is 100% better to NOT have speedgrade take in that

                                                                            information. I say this because, from my own experience, when is an edit

                                                                            actually locked. So if you wind up having to tweak your edit you'll have

                                                                            to deal with rerender out your whole film or trying to edit in speed

                                                                            grade, a nightmare.

                                                                             

                                                                            With this tool, you can render your color corrected clips, preferably

                                                                            with some handles, out of speedgrade. Do your best to maintain the

                                                                            original file name, I forget the export option and how you do that, but

                                                                            its easy enough. Then you also want to make sure you maintain the

                                                                            timecode and render each sot as separate quicktime files. You can use

                                                                            something like proresHQ.

                                                                             

                                                                            Then you export an xml of your cut from your Premiere timeline, bring

                                                                            that into our app, relink retooled, point it to your new media from

                                                                            speedgrade and it saves out an xml referencing the new media.

                                                                             

                                                                            Import into Premiere, and all of your speed, scale, position data will

                                                                            come back through in that xml (just not effects as PP doesn't support that).

                                                                             

                                                                            You're done.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                              reToolednet Community Member

                                                                              Oh, you could also do the same workflow if you color correct in AE. See

                                                                              those blog posts for info on that.

                                                                               

                                                                              That said, speedgrade is definitely more suited for color correction

                                                                              than AE. It will also playback a lot more smoothly.

                                                                              • 36. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                                J. Simon Community Member

                                                                                There's a really nice feature coming in PP that allows you to apply your SpeedGrade LUTs and .look files right in the PP sequence.  If you can wait a month or so, it might serve your needs.

                                                                                 

                                                                                http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-at-nab-2013/adobe-premiere-pro-lumetri-deep-color-engine/

                                                                                • 37. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                                  reToolednet Community Member

                                                                                  Jim is right, we have a video about that on our site as well. The only

                                                                                  problem is for a film, it can be very manual to have to bring the grade

                                                                                  for each shot back into premiere. If its a short film it may be workable.

                                                                                  • 38. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                                    J. Simon Community Member

                                                                                    It probably is more workable for a grade, where you apply a specific look to an entire range of clips, rather than color correcting, where each clip may need unique adjustments.

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Still, it's a start...and a very welcome one.

                                                                                    • 39. Re: Start to Finish in Premiere CS6
                                                                                      apelike_22 Community Member

                                                                                      Hi there David,

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Thanks very much for getting in touch and hopefully I can give you some useful info to help in your decision making process.  I haven't encountered your specific issue and workflow, so take everything I have to say with a grain or three of salt.  Specifically, I haven't trid to do final color for a project using either Premiere or SpeedGrade.  I've used MB Looks in After Effects on some personal projects and was happy with the results I got given the short turnaround time.  That said, the projects I'm most familiar with are colored by a vendor and then conformed on my end in Premiere.  I've done minor color tweaks in Premiere, AE and Resolve, but haven't gotten too much into SpeedGrade other than just playing around in it.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      With that in mind, I have a couple considerations based on your e-mail.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      You have adjustment layers in Premiere and could use your MB Looks and/or Colorista directly in PP the same as you'd do in AE, so I don't see the point in using AE here unless there are significant differences in the performance of the apps.  The tech in Looks and Colorista is very cool and will take advantage of the data you've collected in the .R3D files.  If you're comfortable in that software and are happy with your results, I'd stop right there.  What looks good looks good, no matter how you got there.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      One of the limitations you've imposed on yourself seems to be using the .R3D files at all times and making sure all that data is in play at every stage of post.  Do you have an anticipated final format?  Do you expect to be scanning to film and projecting in a movie theater?  Even if that's your expected output format, don't worry about data loss going to DPX.  That's an industry standard format for the highest of the high end feature film work.  Most of the VFX you see on features shot on RED Epics are not using the .R3D files.  They're using DPX files generated from the .R3Ds.  Ditto for nearly every commercial you see on the Super Bowl and all your favorite TV shows.  So if you want to get into Speedgrade and have it generate the DPXs that may (I haven't done it so I'm not sure) bake in your effects, don't sweat it.  Those DPXs will give you plenty of range to work with in color.  They chose that as the format to bake to for a very good reason.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      You'd need to look at the files with a vectorscope to notice any difference.  Also, keep in mind that when RED first came out, professional grading software didn't work with it natively and everything that was shot with that camera and finished for broadcast or cinema required that the .R3Ds be transcoded to something else prior to grading.  You really don't lose anything by going to DPX is basically my point here.  Tons of data is tons of data, no matter what the file extension is.  Purists will crucify me for this, but I've been next to top shelf directors looking at ARRI RAW from an Alexa on set on one $30k calibrated monitor and the ProRes 4444 output from the same camera on another, and they've forgotten which was which.  It's easy to go down a rabbit hole with all the file types and codecs and so forth and completely forget about using the single most important tool in the entire business - your eyes.  There are specific tasks where that stuff can wind up mattering quite a lot, but for most projects it's overkill.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Lastly, the workflow I'm accustomed to in commercials involves getting the footage graded prior to final VFX being added in.  If you're happy with where all your VFX are at, you could duplicate your hero edit, pull out all the effects work so you only have the ungraded plates to work with and send that as an EDL over to Speedgrade if you'd rather use that than the Magic Bullet products.  Once that work is done, render out DPXs or Quicktimes of your graded selects and conform with Josh's reLink application (for movie files) or by manually overcutting your footage (for image sequences) and re-applying your effects work.  The advantage this workflow gives you is that your effects are still "live" so to speak.  Once your footage is graded, it's not unusual for details to emerge that effect your comps.  Having the base plates, not the VFX work, graded will give you the flexibility of making tweaks without having to go back to color.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Hope there's something useful in all of this.  Congrats on the project and I wish you loads of success with it! 


                                                                                      Best,

                                                                                      Jon

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