Transfering Your Timeline From Avid Media Composer 5.5 to Premiere CS5.5

Here is a video tutorial showing how to get your sequence out of Avid Media Composer 5.5 to Premiere CS5.5 using your original media, not QT Reference files that link back to your DNxHD files.

I hope this helps!

A few notes:

DNxHD is a fine codec, but the only 10bit flavor as of this writing is the highest DNxHD setting (DNxHD has different names depending on frame rate, etc).  ProRes, ProResHQ are 10bit. Also, ProRes is wrapped in .mov, so most other programs like After Effects and Davinci Resolve recognize these media files.  Also, you can bring in your raw camera files if they’re are .mov files into your special fx programs and color correction programs.

Enjoy and let me know if there is anything that can be improved along the way in order to make the process simpler!  Let’s help out the community.

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STOP WAITING FOR RED TO DEMOCRATIZE FILMMAKING… IT’S ALREADY HAPPENED

Everyone is up in arms these days over the announcement of RED not targeting the prosumer crowd and the Scarlet being more expensive. I think we all need to take a step back here and realize what’s going on.

First off, what RED has done so far is amazing. The RED ONE simply is an amazing camera and at an even more amazing price. We all had hopes that the Scarlet would be THE camera to democratize filmmaking so any teenage kid with a rich daddy or someone saving their hard earned pennies could afford a tool that is truly (for pixel peepers) on par with Hollywood equipment. Stop right there, it was a nice fantasy…

See, there’s a reason equipment costs so much. RED, even with the price increase, seems like they’re not even charging for the R&D of their products. Cameras like this usually cost at least $60K. I mean, a camera that records RAW, 5K (or even 3K), and a 2/3″ sensor. Name one camera that does that for under $10K let alone for under $60K. In fact, is there even another camera out there that records 3K or 5K that we can afford without selling our house and our first born? We should STILL, even at this price point, be grateful RED is even letting us have this equipment for that price. It really is a gift.

Look, I’m not a RED fanboy, as I’ve frankly grown sick of hearing people talk about what they’re working on. That’s not to say that I hate the company, because I don’t – they’re doing amazing things. What I’m saying is that I’m sick of hearing people talk about buying a camera that isn’t finalized when they don’t even have a script to shoot yet. For me, I’ll worry about the camera after it ships.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be mad. If anything, maybe you should be mad that RED said something but didn’t “deliver” but then again, they ALWAYS had the disclaimer, “Things are subject to change. Count on it.”

Guys, filmmaking has been democratized basically since the DVX or before that. DVX films won best film and best cinematography awards at numerous prestigious film festivals around the country. Those who couldn’t afford to buy the DVX could always rent one. Nowadays, we have cameras like the T2i that can do 24p, basically 35mm sensor size, all for about $800. $800. Someone in highschool can afford that on a part time job if they were willing to save their money for a few months. It’s not the camera holding you back anymore, it’s you or your script.

Don’t worry about the compression, etc, on an HDSLR or other decent cams because if you learn to shoot correctly with your tool, your audience is most likely not going to notice or even care. Put your energy into making a good movie.

Over the summer, I shot a commercial with a total budget of $30K. I could have bought a RED with that money, but I didn’t. I couldn’t justify spending that money because most likely, it may never get paid back. As a business owner, I need my equipment to pay for itself rather quickly in order to profit. What’s my point? My point is…

We all want our backyard videos to look as good as possible, but don’t be mad at RED because you can no longer afford the Scarlet. Use what you can afford because most likely, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, if you can’t afford to use a certain piece of equipment on set, then most likely you/your project doesn’t need it.

Stop waiting for RED to democratize filmmaking. That’s an excuse to not film something. Look at the tools we have now. It has already happened. Now stop waiting, go out there, and create something because the filmmaking world is moving ahead without you… and you don’t want to be left behind.

Speaking of creating… here’s my latest short film (end shameless plug)

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DORITOS COMMERCIAL “NICE CRUNCH” NOW ON YOUTUBE IN 1080p

Hi all. Just a quick update that our DORITOS COMMERCIAL “NICE CRUNCH” is now up on YouTube in 1080p. Check it out below or WATCH IT ON YOUTUBE to see it in High-Def.

I really am proud of what my actors did here. It has been said many times before and I’ll say it again… if you cast something well, 50% of your job as a director is done for you.

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A LITTLE MORE EDGE

I got a request for more information on our workflow for the HARDCORE EDGE commercial in a forum, so here is a modified version of my answer.

The sequence settings inside FCP were the NTSC 24p setting. We shot on the Canon 7D but the spot was going to be an SD spot so we originally had the comp as Widescreen Anamorphic 720×480 24p. The main network it was airing on wanted it in 4:3 so we switched. This caused a little issue with the graphics.

Here’s the process:

First, we shot on the 7D so everything was tapeless. We shot the spot in less than one day. We had to extend out our greenscreen from 20 ft long to over 30 ft long in order for the actress to be able to walk the distance the ad agency wanted in each environment. On set we used AE CS5 & Premiere CS5 to check out the perspective and see how the effects were coming out. We did not transcode to a different format. We simply used the h.264 files straight out of the camera.

This proved valuable, as we would be able to put together a rough composite and see how the effects were turning out all without wasting time transcoding.

We dedicated approximately 30 minutes between each of the 4 setups to test the takes that we got. That was more than enough time because of the “speediness” that the CS5 suite provided us. Also, to put it in perspective, the actors hit MASSIVE traffic (there was a HUGE accident) and they arrived approximately 2.5 hours late, still needing to change and do makeup, we still broke for lunch for an hour, and we still finished just 30 minutes behind our NORMAL schedule. We work quickly and efficiently, so having the CS5 suite in our edit suite in the back fit right in with our quick work ethic. We hate waiting. I feel it is true – waiting kills creativity.

So when we went into post, we used Adobe Media Encoder to transcode the h.264 Quicktimes into ProRes files. This was so much faster (even without a CUDA card) than doing it in Compressor or FCP. Next, I brought everything into AE CS5 and started on the FX and just building the piece. The AE comp was 720×480 Anamorphic Widescreen. The footage was Square Pixel, 1920×1080 24p.

Once the FX were done, I brought the final rendered piece (rendered out at 23.976, 720×480 Anamorphic Widescreen – more on this later – codec was ProRes4444) into FCP. The timeline settings in FCP were NTSC 24p Anamorphic Widescreen). Here’s where some trouble started. The default codec for rendered files in this sequence is NTSC DV 24p. We did a little bit of basic text animation at the beginning and end inside FCP, as well as adding the music and voiceover. Now, because the sequence settings in FCP were NTSC DV, Final Cut used the DV codec for the timeline preview files. FCP seems to use the preview files to output your final export. This caused a huge degradation in the quality of the text phrases that come up. Even without using the preview files, it still didn’t stretch the 720×480 Anamorphic image with as good a quality as Premiere. We still saw lots of artifacting and jaggies in the text. I switched the sequence codec to ProRes but still got jagged edges on the text.

I tried Premiere CS5 with better results. A lot more acceptable, but we were still looking for better quality. So what I ended up doing was going back to After Effects, creating a new 720×480 4:3 comp and nesting the 720×480 Anamorphic comp inside that one (FIT TO COMP WIDTH- which auto-letterboxed). This provided us with beautiful lettering, no jaggies, etc. After Effects handled it perfectly, while Premiere was a good second, and FCP a horrible 3rd. This makes me wonder about what’s going on inside FCP and the “stretching” algorithm or quality. It also makes me wonder what other bad things are going on under the hood.

So once I had the 4:3 version, I imported that into Premiere and finished the spot in Premiere CS5. The majority of the work was done in FCP, but the final finishing with great quality was done in Premiere (with the help of AE for the 4:3 conversion.)

That’s basically it. If I forgot anything or anyone has any questions, I’d be glad to answer them!

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HARDCORE EDGE TV COMMERCIAL & BEHIND THE SCENES

HARDCORE EDGE – NEW TV COMMERCIAL

We just finished up post on a commercial called HARDCORE EDGE. The commercial’s concept was from the ad agency. My company, TRIPLE E PRODUCTIONS, was brought in to execute the idea. You can view the commercial below as well as the BEHIND THE SCENES. The BEHIND THE SCENES is pretty cool, as it reveals some of the tricks we used to accomplish the concept behind the spot. Enjoy!

Directed by Paul Del Vecchio

Produced by Elke Blasi & Paul Del Vecchio

Editing, VFX, Graphics, & Color by Triple E Productions

HARDCORE EDGE TV COMMERCIAL

BEHIND THE SCENES – HARDCORE EDGE

Any questions, feel free to leave a comment!

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PANASONIC ANNOUNCES NEW 4/3″ VIDEO CINEMA CAMERA

There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a direct result of the DSLR HD market. It’s good to see someone stepping forward. Hopefully the rolling shutter artifacts such as skewing, etc, are minimal. Hopefully this comes in around $5k-$6K or cheaper, as that would really fit well in the market. This could be the cam that people who dislike DSLRs might flock to. Especially for onboard audio.

Interchangeable lenses don’t hurt either.

Then again, Scarlet is supposed to be right around the corner… we shall see…

Release date is “end of 2010” putting it behind the Scarlet release date (as of today, April 11, 2010).

MY OPINION ON A 4/3″ SENSOR

Honestly, no, I don’t think the sensor is too small. I’ve had the chance to use a Panasonic GH1 and it’s a pretty good size, especially if you plan on using this badboy without a focus puller. Yeah the 5D sensor is bigger, but I think it’s TOO big. You get real world shallow DOF at f5.6. Anything wider than that and the DOF is INSANELY SHALLOW for movement. Try it, you’ll see. Even the 7D, practically the same size “sensor” they use in Hollywood, has it’s challenges. I’d say about f2.8 or f3.5 are as low as you’d want to go on the 7D with it’s sensor size (unless it’s a special shot) but in most real world situations, 2.8 or 3.5 give you plenty shallow DOF. And that’s at 25mm. At 50mm, f5.6, your DOF is insanely shallow on a 7D. Even that might not be usable, depending on the shot.

To sum it up, if you’re worried that a 4/3″ sensor isn’t big enough, it’s plenty big enough for shallow DOF. And if you need it more shallow, it’s got interchangeable lenses so put on a faster lens and/or zoom in. You should have plenty shallow DOF to work with.

Here’s the PRESS RELEASE from Panny’s site.

PANASONIC INTRODUCES AG-AF100,

4/3” PROFESSIONAL HIGH-DEFINITION CAMCORDER

* Premier AVCCAM Video Camera Combines 4/3” Sensor with Superior Video Quality, Professional Audio Inputs, Variable Frame Rates, SDXC Card Technology *

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 11, 2010) – Panasonic Solutions Company today announced a game-changing AVCCAM HD camcorder, the AG-AF100, the first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder optimized for high-definition video recording. Scheduled to ship by the end of 2010, the AG-AF100 will set a new benchmark for digital cinematography.

Targeted at the video and film production communities, the AF100 delivers the shallow depth of field and wider field of view of a large imager, with the flexibility and cost advantages of use with a growing line of professional quality, industry standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. The full 1080 and 720 production camera offers superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

The design of the AF100’s micro 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a less expensive camera body.  Equipped with an interchangeable lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes.

“Designed in consultation with the filmmaking community, the AF100 eclipses the video performance of other cameras in this price range,” said Joe Facchini, Vice President of Sales & Product Management, Media & Production Services, Panasonic Solutions Company.  “Ideal for film schools and independent filmmakers, this affordable, digital cinematography camera employs an advanced professional AVC/ H.264 Hi Profile AVCHD codec compatible with a wide range of editing tools and affordable players.”

The AF100 incorporates a 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager. The camcorder records 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) in AVCHD’s highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable.

The AF100 maximizes the potential of its high-resolution imager with built-in ND filtering and dramatically reduced video aliasing. Standard professional interfaces include HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0. The AF100 features two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3.

This newest Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder is the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support.  (SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB up to 2TB). With two SD slots, the AF100 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode

The AG-AF100 will be available by the end of 2010. Panasonic will support the AF100 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).

About Panasonic Solutions Company

Panasonic Solutions Company empowers people whose jobs depend on reliable technology. Panasonic Solutions delivers collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for customers in government, healthcare, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises. Products and services within the company’s portfolio include Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computing solutions, projectors, professional displays (including both plasma and LCD), and HD video acquisition and production solutions. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic is known for the reliability and longevity of its products. Panasonic Solutions Company is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, which is the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

All brand and company/product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Information on Panasonic Solutions Company’s full line of products can be obtained by calling 877- 803-8492 or at www.panasonic.com/business-solutions.

Avid Media Composer 5 New Features Video

Here is a video of Avid Media Composer 5’s new features.

http://www.postmagazine.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=VideoLibrary&mod=Video+Library&mid=F9CF6647706A4F6896011A63F395F460&tier=3&id=4064F6EF357E4271A40E44773EC52A4E

No doubt that they’re now listening to editors and trying to attract some Final Cut Pro editors.

AMA

The AMA features look great. I wonder what type of performance we’ll get from editing native R3D 4K files though. As for HDSLRs, I’d still rather convert to DNxHD for finishing / color correction. I just wouldn’t want to keep it in h.264 format. Hate LONG GOP.

TIMELINE MANIPULATION

Looks interesting. Basically, it automatically changes the mode depending on where your cursor is in the timeline. Pretty cool, but I think I would keep the timeline the way it is or maybe just enable some of the segment mode options. I wonder if you can snap to the playhead, but I doubt it. That’s what A LOT of Final Cut editors do but as I said IN MY LAST POST, you can’t snap to the playhead in MC4. You have to set an in or out point. Either way, interesting feature.

MXO2 MINI SUPPORT

This is what I’ve been waiting for. Previously, you had to have your HD monitor hooked up to the video card (or if you had 2 monitors and an HD display, you need 2 video cards) to trick Avid into thinking it’s the secondary monitor in order to get fullscreen playback. And even then, tearing in fast moving video was an issue (however minor it is). Now, we have a CHEAP monitoring solution in the MXO2 Mini ($500 for the non-MAXX) version. This is great, but I’d like to see support for AJA, BLACKMAGIC, and the rest of the MXO2 family. This is only the beginning and hopefully we’ll see that support later. But the MXO2 Mini is a good pick for starters. This is the beginning of a new era for Avid I think. We’re finally getting a cheaper solution for monitoring.

Full-Quality HD-RGB Processing

Hey, better quality finishing in Avid Media Composer? Sign me up!

RED ROCKET SUPPORT

There’s a rumor flying around on Twitter that it’s supposed to have RED ROCKET support! Another plus!

Here’s a detailed description of the key features of Avid Media Composer 5 from Avid’s website.

Work Directly with RED Using the Newly Improved AMA
With Media Composer 5, AMA (Avid Media Access) has been completely reengineered, so you can work natively with more file-based media formats now and in the future. With the new and improved AMA, you can speed up RED workflows by directly accessing RED files (.R3D) in Media Composer without having to prepare them through MetaFuze (all footage is scaled to HD frame size). Plus, you have access to its full metadata and color management data too.

Edit QuickTime Formats Natively
Get native access to all popular QuickTime formats, with full access to clip metadata. Thanks to AMA, you can natively access and edit any movie that can be played in Apple’s QuickTime Player (including Apple ProRes and .mov files captured by Canon 5D and 7D cameras) right in Media Composer — no transcoding, rewrapping, or logging and transferring required.

Drag and Drop Video and Audio to Edit
Get comfortable — with Media Composer 5, you can truly edit the way you like. In addition to the standard way of editing, you can also now directly manipulate elements in the timeline to edit video and audio. Drag and drop clips anywhere you want on the timeline to rearrange sequences. And grab a clip’s in or out point and drag to trim a scene, dialog, or music.

Get Full-Quality HD-RGB Processing
Keep those finishing jobs in house, and deliver the highest quality color and effects work, with support for full-quality 4:4:4 HD-RGB color space processing in Media Composer. With the higher resolution detail, you can perform color correction, keying, and effects work with greater precision and ease. And if you have a Nitris DX-based system, you can digitize, process, monitor, and output (output in Symphony systems only) projects in HD-RGB, using the two HD SDI connections to handle the high-bandwidth resolutions.

Monitor Video Externally through Matrox MXO2 Mini
If you don’t have a Nitris DX- or Mojo DX-based system, Media Composer 5 opens the door to third-party workflows, enabling you to monitor video externally using the Matrox MXO2 Mini interface, which is available for Mac and Windows systems. When paired with Media Composer software, MXO2 Mini becomes a dedicated, high-quality monitor-only solution for file-based or workgroup production, so you can view your video work in real time without any major expense.

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