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I'm afraid unless you start working in Premiere Pro so that you can make use of Dynamic Link there is no better way. You might of course consider doing all your work in an intermediate CoDec like ProRes to begin with to at least skip some conversions, but in the overall scheme of things it will still be clunky...
Interesting... Still clunky huh? I forgot to mention that this is CS4 still.
I have already edited the layout in Premier Pro, I'm just not sure about sending an entire 4 min sequence, with other filters and effects done in Premier, over to After Effects. You're right tho, I don't think there's a better way at present. I have a few ideas but even those need work. As you said tho Mylenium, I should probably use an intermediate codec, cause rendering back to .MXF takes forever!
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The best practice is to decide on a workflow before you start editing. If your project involves color correction and visual effects then you should not be thinking at all about using a highly compressed format at all. Like it or not your MXF files from the P2 system are highly compressed and not suitable for much beyond but cuts.
Here's what I'd do. Batch convert your original to a 10 bit codec. Apple Pro Rez, Black Magic, whatever. Do your editing, then export or use dynamic link to create the visual effects. Once the entire show is edited you can move on to final color correction. Color grading is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. That's why DaVinci Suites are booked every day of the week. Most of the time, for a narrative (movie) piece or documentary I'll render out the entire project as a new file, then color correct that file in After Effects splitting the layers as needed to make color correction easier. Usually I can use a nearly identical setting for every shot in a scene because the lighting and exposure should not change shot to shot. All color grading work is completed in a 32 bit project from 10bit transcoded or rendered material. I never color grade camera original unless it comes from an uncompressed or raw source.
I also never render a project back to a camera codec for archiving or re-compressing to DVD or BluRay. Sure, the files are smaller, but the quality suffers greatly. I haven't worked on a project in about 4 years that has been burned back to video tape of any kind.
So, in a nutshell, the best, most efficient workflow is to:
- Transcode the camera original footage to a 10 bit lossless or nearly lossless codec
- While you're editing export a few shots to start working out the "look" of your project.
- Export or use Dynamic Link for shots that need FFX and bring them straight back into the time line.
- Get the cut approved
- Send the cut out for sound mix
- Export (Render) the final cut to a 10 bit codec for color grading
- Color grade and render the final picture master
- Get the picture master approved
- Marry the sound mix and the picture master and render the final for distribution.
- Archive the transcoded footage, the final cut render, the color graded picture master, and the sound mix.
- Duplicate the final master twice. Put one digital copy in a safe, the other in a safety deposit box, and then use the third for duplication for distribution (DVD, Blu Ray, Internet, to TV Stations, for all other distribution of your product.
Sometimes this formula modified to fit a particular work flow, but I never color grade every shot then bring them back into the timeline for final edit and polish.
Thanks a million for the advice, Rick. I've done a little grading in(dare I say it?...) Apple's Color and the workflow is pretty good, not perfect but well enough for me to say that it is 50% more efficient and easier than the AE way in terms of keeping it on one system without the add-ons.
Looks great, Rick. I'll check the tutorials. Thanks.