View Full Version : Building a post production workflow

05-06-2007, 07:23 AM
i've just moved in to a new office with machine room and five edit suite....lovely But i'm building a post workflow. i have a red camera on order like any one with half a brain..But also already have 3 avid which i love, also got a few G5 with final cut...so has any one used automatic duck and is this a way i could use my avids as a offline solution with some kind of proxy file...as i know loads of great freelance avid editors and also feel more comfortable sat on a avid with a client behind me than final cut


Chris Swartz
05-06-2007, 07:12 PM
Well, first off we're going to need to know what you want to come out of the computer. Are you wanting 4k or just plain old 1080?

Basic workflow looks like this.

1. Shoot w/ Red Camera
2. Transcode Redcode Raw to something the Avid can manipulate (ie DNxHD)
3. Edit
4. Finnish to Tape, or
5. Export ALE or somekind of edl for 4k online. (ALE works for Scratch)
6. Output for Film or Digital file.

Should be no problem. We'll see how long it takes to transcode to DNxHD. But that's something an assistant can do. I'm sure eventually Avid will edit the Redcode natively or with proxies, but that'll have to wait till the camera actually gets out to a larger group of people.

Nice thing is if you're going to do an offline, then all you need is the Media Composer software. You don't need the Adrenaline w/ HD or Nitris box for an offline, you can use full screen playback on a secondary monitor for basic viewing. For that matter you could use Xpress for an offline, but you won't get as many DNxHD resolutions to play with. Now if you need 1080 output then you'll need a BOB or rental on another Media Composer.


Jeremy Newmark
05-07-2007, 04:02 PM
Automatic Duck should work just fine with a RED workflow going from avid to fcp. We've done a lot of work with offlining on MCA in dnxhd and finishing uncompressed on FCP using automatic duck. It is by far the easiest and fastest way to go from avid to fcp. You simply export your timeline out of avid and import it into fcp with automatic duck. All your effects and transitions are there and then you relink to the higher quality media. That's the basic jist of it, there are more specifics involved, but it is very simple and easy to work with.

best regards,


Lucas Wilson
05-07-2007, 06:26 PM
5. Export ALE or somekind of edl for 4k online. (ALE works for Scratch)

Just wanted to point out that an ALE-based workflow is almost exclusively for film, as ALE is meant to track Keycode.

For any RED-based project, an EDL is a better way to move timeline metadata from FCP/Avid -> SCRATCH.


05-13-2007, 05:04 PM
Hi ,

If you start with Avid MC , you can export your file in OMF format , then finish the work on a rental Autodesk Smoke/Lustre station (for best performance and quality) Or Avid DS . ALL editing work is preserved in one file . The only thing i ignore is how much $ it will cost when compared to scratch or other systems.

Regards .

05-15-2007, 01:53 AM
If it's of any use, I can highly recommend Automatic Duck export from FCP to AE. It's saved me a ton of work and avoided FCPs renderer completely.

Jeremy Torrie
05-18-2007, 07:54 AM
I'm very curious about the workflow -by way of example we too have 3 Avid's but we have a feature that was shot S16, transferred to HD SR and now I am ready to online, but the color timing has been a big question, and upgrading to Adrenaline BOB with Xcel card is more expensive that buying a brand new Mac with FCP and AJA I/O to online in HD. We already have a very nice Sony BVM-D20Uwith HD-SDi for external monitoring, but I have not been able to glean much info online about how scary (or not) it would be to take your EDL from Avid to FCP. If I can be convinced, I'm ready to order the FCP system, grade in Color and save some cash by not going to compressed 10 bit HD via Avid. Would love to hear some feedback.

Also, are there any items I should be aware of as far as expectance of functionality from FCP? I have heard that rendering for just about everything is required, and obviously I realize this would be the case with Color before having to output. I was considering getting Speedgrade and/or Assimilate to handle the grading side of things, which would only up the cost above and beyond...

I should also point out that I will be mastering to HD SR as well, and by going the Avid route (as proposed) this would have very little advantage technically and econimically.

Nik Manning
05-18-2007, 11:01 AM
Torrie I worked in an environment briefly that had 3 Mac editing rooms with client monitors, networked storage, and AJA cards. It work pretty well for them and the clients didn't care what they were editing on. I know for a fact you don't have to render for almost everything. I am on a Mac Pro 3ghz machine 2 x 3 ghz Dual-Core Intel Xeon with 2 gigs of Memory. Every effect that will work in realtime is in bold The question you need to ask yourself is what format will you be editing in? I assume this will be Pro Res 422 and if that is the case nobody here can tell you how difficult that is to edit as we haven't used it either. I do know that DVCPROHD cuts like butter in FCP. Since Apple made this codec for FCP I would assume the same.

As far as Color goes if you get the fastest Mac Pro with 4GB memory and the fastest Graphics card, a AJA ioHD, and Raided Storage I am sure you can get some realtime performance in 1080p24. All that will still be cheaper than any other professional color grading package. I am sure it would be mostly realtime in SD or 720p24. You have to realize most folks that will be editing won't have a $6000 Mac Pro so mileage will vary. Hope that helped.

Jeremy Torrie
05-18-2007, 12:33 PM
HD SR is not 720P...it is Sony's codec and it is 4:4:4 10 bit 1080/24P so it is very good quality, so no I will not be in Pro Res and not in a compressed resolution like DCVPro (I can edit fine in Avid with that codec and output for that matter).

I'm sure there are performance improvements -all I care about is can I edit in the format as described and output this 100 minute feature back to HD SR via HD-SDI? I assume so, but want to be sure. BTW, there are really no effects to be concerned about -only cuts, and the audio is being done at another facility.

IoHD is not available for awhile yet anyway, and it would be the equivalent of the Avid Adrenaline HD solution, albeit at a much lesser cost.

Also I haven't found the Color manual online yet, and want to know what it renders out to -10 bit 4:4:4? 4:2:2?

Nik Manning
05-18-2007, 02:34 PM
Well what I am saying is you can edit in Pro Res 4:2:2 then go back to 10 bit 4:4:4 1080p24 when you export to Color. Color grade in 10 bit 1080p24. Color does export 4:4:4 10 bit in 1080p24. If you are going back to film then yeah this workflow will give you the highest quality, but if not I would say in Pro Res 4:2:2 the whole way. On the Movie "Next" they shot Viper 1080p 4:4:4 and used avidDNxHD codec to edit http://www.studiodaily.com/main/technique/casestudies/8063.html
The movie Crank was finished in 4:2:2 1080p. And visual it held up well on the big screen.

Hope this helps.

Jeremy Torrie
05-18-2007, 03:02 PM
My understanding/interpretation of the article was that it was edited and viewed in HD, not output to film with DNXcel codecs. I would find that quite incredible to believe, especially when they can go back to the original tape via timecode (with the exception of S/FX) and recapture at full resolution. I don't believe a studio would allow them to deal with sub-2K resolution for a film print. But I could be wrong.

Nik Manning
05-18-2007, 04:04 PM
Okay to clarify it was the movie Crank that was finished in 4:2:2
on a DS Nitris.

BRIAN BERDAN: There was a grey area. We knew we were going to do a lot of split screens. And with an HDCAM-shot show, we knew we were going to finish electronically at 4:2:2. I wanted to work in a way that eventually translated from offline to online. I even hate to use the word online, because it sounds so video. That meant going with the Avid DS Nitris or the Symphony Nitris.

Did you test the image quality, too?

Just to see how things looked on the big screen. This was shot on HDCAM SR, which has 4:4:4 color space. We were concerned that the DS was only at 4:2:2, and we were curious how much resolution loss that was. So we conformed in both color spaces and went out to film and saw very little difference between the two. That meant we could use the DS Nitris without trying one of the new Bluefish cards. That workflow isn’t seamless. You have to hand-conform a lot of things because it’s frame-based instead of time-code based. So we were lucky we were happy with the look of the 4:2:2! There’s a little color fringing on intense red lights. Otherwise, it looked great. Having set up that workflow and tested it, we felt confident that anything we did in the offline would show up in the end.

05-18-2007, 04:55 PM
4:2:2 reduces quality somewhat if (and really only if) you have very saturated colors, like red lights and such. Notice that with JPEGs, they don't subsample the chroma until you hit a certain quality. At very high bitrates, chroma subsampling is inferior to DCT compression. The first is visually noticeable, light amounts of the second is not.

2- Anyways, it could be a moot point. It's not that expensive to get a FCP system with a beefy RAID. If you do other production work, the RAID will come in handy because you have a lot of space to play with (instead of sitting around carefully deleting files to make space for stuff).

3- I remember FCP/Final Touch being used to color grade some HDCAM SR material so it does work. This was at Frameblender in Toronto.

4- As far as the offline/online process goes, EDLs do work in FCP. As with any conform process, export a copy of your offline cut (with TC burns) to check that material comes in frame accurate and correctly. You may need to slip everything into sync, because sometimes things will come in a frame off (this happens on high-end stuff too).
Subtract composite the offline reference or do a picture in picture to eyeball sync.

Every effect that will work in realtime is in bold
In my experience, FCP's real-time is way overhyped in its marketing materials (but then again, Apple's marketing team is good). Only a handful of effects are full frame rate and full resolution, and of those you have to make sure you don't touch certain parameters. In the color corrector, performance drops significantly if you touch the softening. But you can get work done on it fine, just don't listen to Apple's marketing. The bolded stuff will play back without rendering (at reduced res or frame rate if your system can't handle it).

You'll likely be grading in Color and it is decent. You can get work done on it. Though again, it is not real-time if you start doing things in the ColorFX room, or if you want more than one gaussian blur (I think one is the limit, and for some reason their blur looks weird/boxy). With the money you save, you can spend on spending more time on your project or getting a talented operator (which will do good things for your final output quality).

Nick Shaw
05-18-2007, 05:46 PM
Don't forget Final Cut Pro is 8 bit only for any rendering in 4:4:4. Color is not though. But it does mean that even a disolve in a 10 bit RGB timeline gets truncated to 8 bit.

Disapointed Apple didn't sort that one out in FCP 6.

I've got my copy of Final Cut Studio 2, but since I'm in the middle of a job I need to wait a while to install it. Damn!

Simon Blackledge
05-19-2007, 02:11 AM
Installed here :-)

Problem I'm faced with at the moment is exporting 10bit clips from FCP as TGA sequences.. seem to get runcated as well.. as it seems to use QT. Which isn't reccomeded to go over 8bit with. :-/

And blackmagic codec has errors on import the orig movies into Shake at the moment :(

Chris Kenny
05-19-2007, 02:16 AM
Don't forget Final Cut Pro is 8 bit only for any rendering in 4:4:4.

This isn't strictly true. FCP is 8-bit in RGB mode. However, its "High-precision YUV" mode (which is 32-bit) is 4:4:4 (with a 4:4:4 codec, of course). YUV enables chroma sub-sampling, but it doesn't require it.

Simon Blackledge
05-19-2007, 03:49 AM
so which codec is best to use if working with 4:4:4 media? :-/ what settings in FCP6?



Chris Kenny
05-19-2007, 09:08 AM
As far as I know, FCP doesn't actually ship with any codecs that are 4:4:4 and that let you use high-precisiion YUV mode. However, Graeme has mentioned (http://www.reduser.net/forum/showpost.php?p=35361&postcount=46) REDCODE RGB should be able to do this.

Jeremy Torrie
05-19-2007, 09:09 AM
Hey Chris: I'd like to think I'm an intelligent guy, but I'm not sure what you mean by the above. Can I work and edit and output in 10 bit 4:4:4 -but only in YUV colorspace, or is it higher, or am I a little foggy? And what about other codecs in order to achieve this? It's not supposed to be this convoluted -is it?

Chris Kenny
05-19-2007, 09:40 AM
FCP can do YUV (well, technically YCbCr, but FCP calls it YUV in the interface) at color depths of 32 bits/channel, and all of Final Cut's own processing, including in YUV mode, is 4:4:4.

The catch is that in order to take advantage of this and actually end up with 4:4:4 data processed through Final Cut and stored back to disk at a deeper bit depth than 8 bits, you need a codec which is 4:4:4 and which presents YCbCr image data to Final Cut and which is itself better than 8-bit.

As far as I know, there presently is no such codec. However, based on what Graeme has said, it sounds like REDCODE RGB will be such a codec. We know it's 4:4:4, we know it's better-than 8-bits, and Graeme has mentioned (as in the post I linked to above) that it will be able to present itself as a YCbCr codec to Final Cut (by doing internal color space conversions).

As an added bonus, we know it's going to get RT support in an update to FCP 6 (though there's no word on exactly when that update will come), and it seems that you'll be able to mix REDCODE RAW and REDCODE RGB on the same timeline.

This should create a fairly compelling FCP workflow based around Red's codec, which I've tried to detail in more depth here (http://www.indie4k.com/archives/40) and here (http://www.indie4k.com/archives/42). (Rob Lohman has said those posts are pretty much accurate, though everything is subject to change, etc.)

Jonathan L. Bowen
05-19-2007, 06:21 PM
From what I understand if you want really professional performance you need 8 gigs of RAM on a Mac Pro. I mean, my Mac is two years old and I got 8 gigs of RAM on it, but now my problem is my processor just isn't up to date. I will probably get a new computer around the time my RED ships (that's not going to be cheap, ugg). My friend David is getting a Mac this next week with 8 gigs of RAM, dual 23" monitors (I use dual 20" monitors), etc. About $8,300. But still that's not too bad, and you can get hardware that accelerates the editing process... the rest of the members of my group went to the Final Cut Studio 2 seminars here in Los Angeles and they were explaining a lot of that. I'm not that technical though, so I really can't explain it back suffice to say I understand the basic concept.

I'm surprised anyone is worried what a client thinks of where you edit. I'm basically the opposite, though. If I do a project that I want to have available for my own tinkering later, I will not let it be done on Avid at all. Avid is not something I ever want to use again. Even Premiere would be better, but I do have Avid so I can at least use it if I want I guess. Don't know why I would want to do that, though. To make an Avid system competitive with a $10,000 Mac setup using FCP you'd need to spend about $50,000. No thanks. And in the end... you're still using Avid...

Nick Shaw
05-19-2007, 06:26 PM
Installed here :-)

Problem I'm faced with at the moment is exporting 10bit clips from FCP as TGA sequences.. seem to get runcated as well.. as it seems to use QT. Which isn't reccomeded to go over 8bit with. :-/

And blackmagic codec has errors on import the orig movies into Shake at the moment :(

Shake can be a bit flaky with Blackmagic clips. I often find the best thing to do is use the Blackmagic Framelink utility. Then Shake sees a 10-bit Blackmagic clip as a sequence of 16 bit DPX files, which it reads fine.

Nick Shaw
05-19-2007, 06:35 PM
This isn't strictly true. FCP is 8-bit in RGB mode. However, its "High-precision YUV" mode (which is 32-bit) is 4:4:4 (with a 4:4:4 codec, of course). YUV enables chroma sub-sampling, but it doesn't require it.

Yes indeed, FCP processes internally as 4:4:4, but I was talking about the workflow of RGB 4:4:4 to FCP via Blackmagic. Currently you can capture from HDCam SR to Blackmagic 4:4:4 RGB uncompressed, but you cannot process that in FCP as more than 8 bits.

The only workflow currently to maintain 10 bits is to only perform cuts in FCP. All captions, disolves, grading etc would need to be done in another app, like Shake, After FX or Color. You could then assemble the processed clips in FCP, and lay off 10 bit RGB to HDCam SR.

Perfectly possible, but you need to be very aware of the limitations, and make sure you don't do anything along the way which will truncate your data.

Once Red, and Graeme's clever trickery are available, this will be much less of an issue.

Jeremy Torrie
05-20-2007, 08:05 AM
I've seen there is an update to AJA & BM drivers. There's a lot of info in the manuals about understanding what is possible, how to capture, etc. but I'm more interested in how to achieve the highest quality, technically sound video master with output to HD SR. I don't understand why material captured via dual link 4:4:4 10 bit would not have the ability for real time playback such as a dissolve? Why would you have to take to another application -this seems weird to me, but perhaps I am not understanding. Certainly grading in Color I get -that you will have to render out the final grading back to FCP...speaking of, has anyone found the manual online yet?

Nick Shaw
05-20-2007, 02:28 PM
It's not a question of real-time playback. Whether real-time or rendered, any processing FCP does on an RGB timeline happens at 8-bit. What FCP calls 'high precision' (32-bit float processing) is only available for YUV timelines.

Graeme has a cheat for REDCODE which will trick FCP into processing it 32-bit. As far as I know, there is no way to do this for Blackmagic RGB media.

Jeremy Torrie
05-20-2007, 10:38 PM
Well then I guess we must pose the question to Graeme -when, and how?

Simon Blackledge
05-21-2007, 02:48 AM
So working off digibeta in BM 10bit uncompressed (yuv not the RGB) codec I'm safe to do dissolves?

Exporting a greenscreen in fcp to a series of tga's from the above clip looks fine untill you pull a key in Shake and then you can see the loss in the edges..

Would be good if there was a final list of do's n don'ts not just a million threads on problems! lol..


Nick Shaw
05-21-2007, 01:04 PM
But Digibeta is 4:2:2 anyway, so you're not gaining anything by converting that to 4:4:4. It is often a good idea to apply some chroma smoothing in Shake before pulling a key from Digi Beta material. There are plenty of Shake macros out there which do it, or you can make your own.

And yes, disolves in BM 10 bit YUV are fine. They get processed in 32-bit float.

Jeremy Torrie
05-22-2007, 02:31 PM
It looks like I will pull the trigger on a new FCP system with 6 TB storage dual quad core, and 8 GB RAM. The biggest things are the 10 bit 4:4:4 capture via Kona 3, processing and output, and Color. The cost savings are incredible, even with buying Automatic Duck to take my sequence from Avid to FCP.

I can get an entirely new system with monitors and storage and Color for the same price to get Andrenaline hardware with HD only. The fact that Red is actively wortking with Apple & FCP has also been a big consideration, and I've downloaded all the manuals, which are extremely in depth...I won't feel so nervous as a virgin to the software.

Jeremy Torrie
05-22-2007, 06:45 PM
Anybody care to comment about storage? I'm being told Ciprico Media Vault sustains 600/mbits/sec capable of 4K playback...I've also been quoted Sonnet with 309/mbits/sec. If I'm doing this online with HDSR 4;4;4 10 bit, will I need the greater throughput? Will titles require more than one video stream?

05-22-2007, 11:08 PM
I'm a big fan of having lots of fast storage regardless.

A- Your storage will always fill up. But if you have more space, you won't have to spend as much time deleting stuff (because you really need to think about what you're deleting, otherwise bad bad things will happen).

B- You might find yourself stabilizing or doing effects work on shots at 4K res... in which case the extra drive speed may come in handy.

2- You will likely render your titles, so you only need a stream there.

FCP isn't super intelligent though and will not watch out for things like the user putting the render scratch not on the RAID, fragmenting your drives (an issue if your RAID is almost full), etc. A minor thing to watch out for.

Rob Lohman
05-23-2007, 02:55 AM
Torrie: are you sure those numbers are in mbits and not MB's? A modern single drive should be able to do those speeds you mention.

Antoine Baumann
05-23-2007, 04:31 AM
Anybody care to comment about storage? I'm being told Ciprico Media Vault sustains 600/mbits/sec capable of 4K playback...I've also been quoted Sonnet with 309/mbits/sec. If I'm doing this online with HDSR 4;4;4 10 bit, will I need the greater throughput? Will titles require more than one video stream?

well first be carefull with sustains capacity that the manufacturer is advertising. Independant testing are far more reliable and close to real world.
Second, it depend on what kind of 4k you are talking about: 4k, RGB, 12 bit, even compressed with REDCODE RGB should need around 800Mbits/sec (or around 100MBytes/sec) for one stream (this is a speculation on compress ratio of the REDCODE RGB, as we don't know what it will be).

For HDCAM SR 10 bit, you will need up to 880Mbits/sec for one stream.

The MediaVault 4440 is an interesting product, but it is quite expensive:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/465799-REG/Ciprico_MV4FHSX1600S_MediaVault_4440_6_4TB_40x160G B_.html

I have been looking to product from G-Tech, ProMax, ATTO, Enhance and recently CalDigit.

The more you connect drive the more it should run fast, that is why if you want someting like the MediaVault 4440 you need at least 24 drives (the MediaVault 4440 has 40 2,5'' drives! and quad 4Gb connection...)

BTW, Rob, are you sure there is single drive that can sunstain 75MBytes/sec (600Mbits/sec)? If so, I would really like to know the brand and model, as I never heard of such speed for a single drive (think, a single drive that can sustain HDCAM SR 440...).


Jeremy Torrie
05-23-2007, 10:09 AM
Hey Red Folks: I see you guys are using G-Speed and endorsing it...do you have info about read/write capability for the G-SPEED FC? This looks like a good solution, and I'd really like to get your opinion.

Rob Lohman
05-24-2007, 03:35 AM
Antoine: I tend to divide mbits by 10 instead of 8 to allow a bit of overhead. SO I was thinking of 30 & 60 MB/s.

Haven't tested this myself, but was thinking of stuff like this:


Which comes pretty close. Obviously you want to have overhead instead of cutting it close, but I just wanted to indicate that the speeds mentioned aren't that high in my opinion.

Antoine Baumann
05-24-2007, 12:27 PM
Rob, I agree on the dividing by ten, and the test you linked are showing the performance you talk about. But still I don't buy it, I don't think a single drive will sunstain this speed, but I might be wrong. Do you have practical experience with those drives? If you tell me you know that these drives sunstains such speed in real world, I will believe you, but graphics out of benchmark test, I don't.

And then those drives are max 150GB, not so much. Raid turnkey manufacturer tend to use SATA drives because it has more capacity, but if you have the budget to build a big TB Raid array out of 150GB U320 discs, you might have a very high speed system.


Rob Lohman
05-25-2007, 03:31 AM
No, I don't have real-world experience with those drives. Hence my comment that you'll probably want at least two of those drives in a raid 0 setup. You never want to be on the edge of the sustainable drive speed.

The reason I mentioned all of this is that the raid array brought up earlier didn't sound that fast to me.

05-25-2007, 07:29 AM
No, I don't have real-world experience with those drives. Hence my comment that you'll probably want at least two of those drives in a raid 0 setup. You never want to be on the edge of the sustainable drive speed.

The reason I mentioned all of this is that the raid array brought up earlier didn't sound that fast to me.

I can say that I have some experience with disk arrays and at the moment I really can recommend Ciprico MediaVault. It's speed is very close to advertised and on my G5 with Atto dual channel FC card it comes to 560MB/s. With that we are able to work with 3-4 streams of uncompressed HD in realtime + several streams of sound. Of course, Aja Kona is also there to make this a bit more comfortable.
Also, I had some experience with SCSI drives and they are as fast as hell but very pricey and you will need a bunch of them to come close to speed of FC solution and a good RAID controller and power supply and that means a lots of money, too.

06-06-2007, 11:49 AM
i've gone for 4 16 bay fibre channel raids (proware) and seagate drives Avids,finalcut, after effects seem to be working great 2k files are playing fine plus HD uncompressed. i've done the maths and with the new 8 core mac's this should be a relatively cheap way of working with 4k

Jeremy Torrie
06-06-2007, 01:45 PM
I've decided to try the Sonnet 4TB solution for this project. I'll let you know how it goes.

BTW, I am running dual Samsung Syncmaster 245BW 24" widescreen monitors (1900x1200) and it is amazing real estate. We've also got a CP-BK200 coming from Tangent to help the grading process in Color.