9 Replies Latest reply on May 10, 2013 5:50 AM by Pierre Devereux

    A new workflow question

    Pierre Devereux Level 2

      Hi,

       

      Here I am again, presenting another dilemma to the forum in the hope of getting some clarity from those in the know!

       

      I would like to start by stating (as I have before) that the After Effects fourm might not be the best place for this question, but it is the only place I know to start with - all the help I have received here over the past year makes me want to post all my questions here.. (Ill keep the "Why is the sky blue type questions for google though!)

       

      Ok, Here we go.

       

      We are now shooting on a Red Scarlet. All footage is being shot at 4K resolution - Mostly for post movement and zooming options, and the rest, for the options it gives in post - planned or not. We are running 4 machines at the office, 2 MAC's and 2 PC's. The PC I work on has the best specs, the second PC matches the first, with the exception of the screen card which is one version behind (and which is not supported by CS6). The two MAC's are not worth mentioning now

       

      I am trying to figure out the best workflow, starting at R3D RAWfootage, down the line to MXF OP1a deliverables. An easy question I am sure!

       

      I am aware that there is a lot to still work out, but I need to get the starting questions sorted, and thats where I hope the forum can assist. We had a DIT come to the office for a day to give advice, and he ran us through a great workflow, however, I am not sure it is best suited for what we are trying to do - am I correct in saying that no workflow is universal, almost every project may require tweaks on its specific workflow? Here is the one suggested to us:

       

      1) Shoot 4K R3D RAW

      2) Open in RedCineX and transcode to HD Editorials files (quicktime, Avid DNxHD codec, Debayer set to (screenshot below))

      Capture.JPG

      3) Import into Premier and perform first cut edit (offlines) - save EDL from this cut

      4) Import EDL into RedCineX and export new masters from original R3D RAW files as OpenEXR or DPX sequences.

      5) Import new masters back into Premier dynamic link to After Effects to complete composits (effects etc)

      6) Media encoder to export various final renders

       

      In the above workflow, the last two steps were added by me, as the workflow stopped at step 4. This looks great, but because of our project needs, I am not sure how to get this to work. Keeping in mind, almost all shots have green screen miniature characters and they require retiming with twixtor and stabalizing etc for the addition of the Lip Synch tool we use. I am also really not sure how to work with EDL files, or even what they are used for - I realize this is a big gap in my lnowledge, but there we go - I hate to admit that I dont even understand timecode, or what exactly it would be needed for. I am starting to get to grips with it, and so far understand that timecode is important for being able to recover from data loss of footage - and getting quickly back to the point where the loss occured by knowing what part of what clip to recover. I am also concerned, that exporting these lower resolution intermediated wont help us, as they come out at 1920X1080, so even in the rough edit, I cant do the post moves we want to. By looking at this, I need to work on all shots at 4K resolution - So the work between Premier and After Effects starts getting blurry here. Which do I do first, cut in Premier, with rough keying and rough cropping to allow the layers to all be visible and then go to After Effects for cleaning up, Or do i start in after effects, Key, retime and then go to premier for the cut. The problem with this approach, is I then have no way of knowing which parts of the clip to extract and retime, as I have not seen the edit to know how well the layers will interact.

       

      Whew, I am getting myself in a bundle here, and I am hoping that I am uneccesarily complicating everything!

       

      I have been running this through from many angles, and watching many videos on Red Workflows etc, and come up with the following (and then my questions and concerns about it afterwards). Lets set the scene - 2 Characters, one background set. 6 second clip. Background seen, Character one and two come into shot from each side of the screen and move to the centre - full body shot.(2 sec). Characters meet in the middle and camera zooms to closer shot of heads (done with manipulating the 4K images) 1 sec. zooom back out to original shot (1 sec). Both characters move to the right and camera pans along background to follow them (1 sec) Movement done by manipulating 4K background plate. Now this is a simple scene, and I am using it to test a workfow that will make sense. Characters are shot against green screen, set is shot with locked off camera, shot with the post movement in mind. Each footage clip is a full ten second shot to allow for selection of best movement.

       

      1) Shoot 4K R3D RAW

      2) Open in RedCineX and trancode to highly compressed 4096X2160 intermediate codec (still to figure out which one)

      3) I originally thought to open in Prelude and ingest only selected part of the footage, but it has been pointed out to me that we need to see the characters interactingto know what parts of the 10 second clip we would need (and I was just starting to get to know prelude!)

      4) Open editorial clips in Premier and perform a rough edit. Rough cropping and keying and retiming with twixtor (as needed) to see characters interact against background.

      5) Replace with an After Effects comp with dynamic link. Perform keying, retiming (as needed) and any other effects (including lip synch and facial manipulations with Liquify tool)

      6) Back in Premier, confirm that scene is reacting and looking as expected.

      7) In After Effects, import original R3D RAW footage and simply replace the video layers as needed. This way, we have been able to perform most of the work, with reasonable performance from the PC.

      8) Re Key (I assume this would be needed if the footage is replaced) but all other manipulations should remain intact?

      9) Collect project save, save premier project and send them on to colour team to be graded.

       

      Does this even make sense?

       

      Say I do the following

       

      1) Shoot 4K R3D RAW

      2) Open in RedCineX, perform a light grade, correcting ISO and exposure to get a flat look accross all three pieces of footage for the scene.

      3) Transcode and export as a DPX or OpenExr sequence and never look back to the R3D RAW. Will the image sequence still contain enough original image information to be of use to the colourist? Will the light grade be burned in with the sequence?

      4) Use new masters and follow the steps above to complete the scene.

       

      I apologize for the extremely long post, if nothing else, I hope it provided a laugh for a few (thinking, Poor chap...he has NO IDEA!). I also apologize for placing this in the AE forum, but there we go.

       

      Any advice would be appreciated, any thoughts as well. Just in closing, I did get this clip day before yesterday http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-after-effects-cs6/editing-with-red-adobe-premiere-pro-edit -up-to-5k-with-ease/ And it was great, I tested out using 4K RAW throughout the workflow, and it does work when the resolution is dropped, however, due to the precision of the face manipulations, I dont think it is a viable solution with the hardware we have.

       

      Well, there you have it, the ramblings of the mad man end here for the day - thank you for taking the time to read them..

       

      Pierre

        • 1. Re: A new workflow question
          Pierre Devereux Level 2

          Hi,

           

          Since I brushed on the PC specs, here are the forum required details:

           

          • CS6 Version 11.0.2.12.
          • Last updated about a week ago, so I asume there is a new one out
          • PC1 Windows 7 Version 6.1 build 7601 service pack 1 64bit
          • PC2 Windows 8 (urgh)
          • MAC1 and MAC 2 OSX 10.8.3
          • PC1 and PC2 Intel Core i7-3370 3.4GHZ 8 Cores, 32GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570, 1 Internal C Drive Adobe Apps installed on it, 1 External USB3 connected 2TB Spinning disk.
          • PC2 has a NVIDIA Ge Force GTX 560 Ti GPU

          Ill leave it at that, as most work will be done on the PC I use.

           

           

           

          Pierre

          • 2. Re: A new workflow question
            Fuzzy Barsik Level 4

            As an option to concider: I'd start with a test whether you need proxies for your rough cuts in PrPro at all. Keep in mind that for motion check you don't need to set your Playback Resolution to Full. With Ultra Key applied onto R3D footages I don't have any issues with real time playback on a less powerful machine with Playback Resolution set to 1/4. That's without rendering preview, i.e. with a red bar.

             

            Then I'd bring those cuts into After Effects via Dynamic Link. All that with original R3Ds.

             

            Since I don't fully understand your interrelations with colorists, the rest of the workflow is not quite clear to me...

             

            P.S. Your external USB3 drive may appear to be a bottleneck. I'd also run PPBM Benchmark tests and contact Harm Millaard.

            • 3. Re: A new workflow question
              Pierre Devereux Level 2

              Hi Fuzzy,

               

              good to hear from you!

               

              Thanks for the advice, I will run the benchmark test and look into contacting Harm as suggested.

               

              As far as the rest of the workflow....

               

              Um, at this point, I am the colour guy. - and the camera guy, and the lighting chap, and the Adobe boy (and I can make a serious cup of coffee too). My biggest concern is the after effects work - it is pretty intensive in this project. Almost every shot gets Keyed, retimed with twixtor, and then facial manipulations done with liquify, and a moving mouth added with lip synch. Each of these steps adds a level of processing, and I am not sure how our machines will handle doing this on R3D RAW, and since the facials and mouth movements are so critical and specific, I am a bit loathe to do this at a lower resolution - I am busy testing doing it on a proxy that is nicely compressed, but still offers enough detail to be worthwhile.

               

              I started on a possible workflow after my post yesterday, so that I cold compare any replies to what I have come up with - I like to see if I can figure it out alongside the experts!

               

              My other big concern was losing info from R3D. This is where the colourist part comes in - if I do a light look on the R3D RAW, and export to, say, OpenEXR, is that still good enough for colour work to be done, or must we keep access to the original R3D files?

               

              Anyway, as I say, I am busy woth a workflow test, and if you would like to see it, once I am done testing, Ill post the steps in this message. that way, if I have made a truly idiotic choice, I hope you will point it out to me!

               

              Have a great day - and weekend......

               

              Pierre

              • 4. Re: A new workflow question
                Fuzzy Barsik Level 4
                and I can make a serious cup of coffee too

                Same here. And I can also take care of desalinating wetsuits and underwater gear on ascending

                since the facials and mouth movements are so critical and specific, I am a bit loathe to do this at a lower resolution

                Not sure you have to be too precise with rough cuts in PrPro, about which I was talking. And I'm not sure you need to do all your work in AE in full resolution as well. Check out this Rick's workflow description - I think it's perfect.

                 

                When you bring your rough cuts into AE, things become much easier: you can transcode just what you need exactly, from a certain In to a certain Out point of your original R3D.

                 

                Do not hesitate to precompose a layer, which requires time consuming effect, render the precomp with effects applied into a production codec of your choice and set this full res intermediate as a proxy for the precomp.

                I am busy testing doing it on a proxy that is nicely compressed, but still offers enough detail to be worthwhile

                Not sure if it's the right direction. For precise work you'd sooner transcode to a full res production codec. You need a 'resource friendly' rather than 'nicely compressed'. However, that's right, you need to find optimal 'quality/file size/render time' ratio.

                 

                For my rig UT Video, TGA, DPX, OpenEXR, take similar time to render. JPEG 2000 renders 1.3 and PNG 2.25 times slower. All of them provide similar quality. Open EXR 32-bit allows to get completely identical pixels values: in 32-bit linearised working space an upper layer set to 'Difference' against original footage results in pure black solid with no a single artifact. That's obviously at the expense of the file size.

                 

                JPEG 2000 provides smallest file size, whereas for PNG it's up to 1.3 times larger, and for TGA and DPX - up to 3.7 times.

                My other big concern was losing info from R3D. This is where the colourist part comes in - if I do a light look on the R3D RAW, and export to, say, OpenEXR, is that still good enough for colour work to be done, or must we keep access to the original R3D files?

                Although you lose some data, transcoding to a production codec does provide enough data for colour grading. However, I'd like that you clarify on which model of labour division you tend to concentrate: whether at some point of your project life cycle you're going to specialise on coffee making and hire external colorists to do the rest or keep doing all the job in-house.

                • 5. Re: A new workflow question
                  Pierre Devereux Level 2

                  Hi Fuzzy,

                   

                  Thanks for the replies.

                   

                  Yeah, at this point I am discussing the merits of even doing a rough cut before we start AE work. Since the shot can contain several seperate green screen characters, and a set, and the shot is generally a complete "move" - ie walk from left to right, or a head move, or a hand wave etc. So I think it might actually be a better idea for the editor to watch the clips directly after recording, select the best take and allow me to process them in AE - perform a rough comped, complete shot. then I can send these shots into premier, and through small retiming changes, we should be able to get the timing right - it should have been possible in After Effects to already make sure the characters are relating and responsing to each other correctly. We need to figure out if Premier or AE is the correct platform to choose the in and out points required for the scene.

                   

                  I have answered this message before looking at Rick's workflow, so I might change my tune after reading it!

                   

                  I was actually investigating using Prelude to create subclips of the in and out points needed - but it was decided that the full clip should go to Premier and edited to a rough cut there. As I said, we are still discussing this.

                   

                  What is a nice full res prodiction codec? H264? I know the proper answer to that question is... What are you trying to do? - well, I am trying to get a easy to process proxy that will allow me to retime, manipulate pixels and add plugins without overtaxing the system with a 4k R3D image. (I need to mention that I want to keep the footage - regardless of the codec used - at 4096x2160 so that I can test the post pans and zooms).

                   

                  And for the first season of our show, I think I will focus on doing all the jobs in house. As soon as we sell (), We will expand the staff compliment. Till then , Ill farm out the coffee work to the boss!

                   

                  Pierre

                  • 6. Re: A new workflow question
                    Fuzzy Barsik Level 4
                    What is a nice full res prodiction codec? H264?

                    NO WAY !!! H.264 is a delivery and a resource hungry codec!

                    Test DPX, TGA, PNG, JPEG 2000. ProRes for a Mac. For 1080 or 720 on a PC - DNxHD as well, but DNxHD is literally for 1080 and 720 only.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: A new workflow question
                      Pierre Devereux Level 2

                      Hi,

                       

                      Thanks. I will take my test R3D file now and use media encoder to pull the same section to each of those and see whats what.

                       

                      "Same here. And I can also take care of desalinating wetsuits and underwater gear on ascending "

                       

                      I looked up "Desalinating wetsuits" on google - good stuff - with that and previous posts youve made, I assume much underwater shooting is what you do?

                       

                      I read Rick's workflow, nice and "to the point" - Ill give it a go. I think once we start shooting proper, and I get some footage to work on, that was shot with a purpose in mind, Ill also be able to tweak the workflow better to suite our needs.

                       

                      Cheers,

                       

                      Pierre

                      • 8. Re: A new workflow question
                        Pierre Devereux Level 2

                        Hi,

                         

                        I am busy trabscoding a 2 second section from a 10 second R3D clip in media encoder as suggested for testing. I used Prelude to select the in and out points, opened the clip in Premier and queued from there to media encoder. All four files to encode, took just over a minute. I was able to find all the codecs and settings, except for JPEG 2000 - I am not familiar with that one, or if I am, maybe I didnt know thats what it was called?

                         

                        How to I go about transcoding to JPEG 2000?

                         

                        Pierre

                        • 9. Re: A new workflow question
                          Pierre Devereux Level 2

                          Hi,

                           

                          In the meantime....

                           

                          File sizes for the tests:

                           

                          File types.JPG

                           

                          And the quality difference is imperceivable at the level I want to work. Now, I can use one of these as a piece of proxy footage to do the facial and mouth manipulations, then at the pre-final stage, just replace the footage with the original RAW.

                           

                          Thanks

                           

                          Pierre