Regard to transcoding, no, it doesn't yield any quality gain when it comes to Adobe Suite. All you need to do is to set After Effects project to 32 bit or tick 'Maximum Bit Depth' checkbox in Premiere Pro sequence settings.
So as to monitor shift in pixels values however small, you can exploit, for example, the following technique:
- set After Effects project to 32 bit and linearise working space;
- drop both source footage and a transcoded one into the same composition and set Blending Mode of the upper layer to 'Difference'.
The artefacts amount and strength is your quality loss. With mathematically lossless transcoding you'll see pure black solid.
Apply any effects of your choise onto the source footage or even create whatever complex compositing work out of it. Copy and paste those effects onto the layer out of the transcoded footage or duplicate your complex composition and replace the source footage with the transcoded one within it, then test either layers with effects or compositions in 'Difference' mode.
You can start with the transcoded footage, if you want.
All the above doesn't mean that transcoding is completely obsolete workflow. Transcoding to a light, resource friendly codec may yield savings on render time, which may be dramatic in a complex multiple layer compositing.
Another potential advantage of transcoding AVCHD and AVC-I footage from the outset is faster time-line responsiveness -- an issue I raise constantly here (there are problems with the way PPro handles AVCHD and AVC-I footage), and which you would think would be of greater interest here, given the thousands of hours of DLSR footage being generated every day, but there it is.....
"Going to a 4:4:4 intermediate codec does have some benefits – in the transcode process, upsampling every frame to 4:4:4 means that your CPU doesn't have as much work to do, and may give you better performance on older systems, but there’s a huge time penalty in transcoding. And, it doesn't get you any “better color” than going native. Whether you upsample prior to editing or do it on-the-fly in Premiere Pro, the color info was already lost in the camera.
In fact, I could argue that Premiere Pro is the better solution for certain types of editing because we leave the color samples alone when possible. If the edit is re-encoded to a 4:2:0 format, Premiere Pro can use the original color samples and pass those along to the encoder in certain circumstances. Upsampling and downsampling can cause errors, since the encoder can’t tell the difference between the original color samples and the rebuilt, averaged ones.
I’m not trying to knock intermediate codecs – there are some very valid reasons why certain people need them in their pipeline. But, for people just editing in the Adobe Production Premium suite, they won’t magically add more color data, and may waste you a lot of time. Take advantage of the native editing in Premiere Pro, and you’ll like what you see."
Thanks for replies. I'm assuming as I read elsewhere that when exporting out to send for color grading that a DPX file is the best, or are there other means that may have benefits over DPX?
Also once the colorist is done with the grading, do they simply export an XML (Assuming that the editor had all the same software on their system used to apply grade) or in the case where thats not possible, how then do they export out the footage to send back tot he editor?
Best workflow is to give the Colorist Source Footage.