Archive for the ‘transcode’ Category

Creating Dailies with DaVinci Resolve

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Adobe After Effects CS6: XDCAM-EX Readability Glitch (Solution: Reboot)

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

While editing an Adobe Premiere CS6 project based on XDCAM-EX footage (from an EX3), I thought I’d enhance the footage in After Effects (where more sophisticated enhancement effects than in Premiere are available).  Should be easy I thought, taking advantage of the CS6 suite’s Dynamic Link feature.

In Premiere, I selected the relevant clip and did [RightClick > Replace With After Effects Composition].  As expected, this opened After Effects, with the appropriate dynamic link to Premiere…


All I got on the Preview in After Effects, and indeed back in Premiere,  was Color Bars.  I assumed this indicated some kind of failure in After Effects.

Naively, I concluded that, on my system at least, After Effects CS6 could not read XDCAM-EX.  A brief web-search (further below) revealed user experiences and video convertor article-adverts implying that I was not alone with this problem.  But an Adobe blog entry suggested that no such problem existed in AE CS6 and some and Adobe documentation (pdf) said so explicitly.  For the moment then, I was confused…

Then I rebooted and tried again.  This time it worked.  I succeeded in making AE projects both by directly importing the footage (as mp4 files) in AE and via Dynamic Link from Premier.

The direct import dialog was slightly weird though: it claimed it was listing “All Acceptable Files” but these included not only [.mp4] files but also e.g. [.smi] files, which, when I selected one of these it complained: “…unsupported filetype or extension”.   Incidentally, the reason I tried it at all was that XDCAM-EX is a spanned format, where a single recording can be spanned/split/spread over multiple [.mp4] files. Furthermore, there can be an overlap of content from one [.mp4] to the next (in a span), so in principle (I haven’t tried it), simply placing one [.mp4] after another on the timeline would give rise to a (short) repetition at each transition (from one [.mp4] to the next).

But this is already over-long for a single blog-post, so I’ll deal with that issue in a separate post.


Adobe Premiere CS6: Nested Sequences: Slow Response to Play-Button (Re-buffering? Re-parsing?)

Thursday, February 21st, 2013


  • I had a Sequence  containing two video tracks, each having a pair of (associated) audio tracks.
    • Sequence Properties: 1080p, square pixels, 25 fps.
    • One track contained a single continuous clip of duration just over one hour[01:02:46:10].
      • Properties: 1080p, square pixels, 25 fps.
      • Format: Sony XDCAM-EX: MPEG2 @ 35 Mbps VBR: MPEG2HD35_1920_1080_MP@HL
    • The other track contained a number of discrete clips, intermittently spaced over that time.
      • Properties: 1080i, fat pixels (PAR=4/3), 25 fps (50 fields/sec), UFF.
      • Format: Sony Z1 HDV: MPEG2 @ 25Mbps CBR
  • This sequence, as it stood, played fine.
  • Then I nested that sequence (seqA)  inside another sequence (seqB).
    • Still played fine


  • Then I did some multicam “music video” edits, mostly near the end of the sequence
    • Now, when I hit the spacebar to play seqB, there is a delay of several seconds before playing actually begins.
  • If I try re-creating from scratch, by nesting seqA inside new seqC then seqC plays fine.
  • If I try copying the multicam-edited elements of seqB (the multicam edit-sequence) into new seqD (a new multicam edit-sequence) then the sluggish response to [Play] still occurs.
    • Doh!  I had hoped that would be a simple workaround..

Partial Workaround:

  • Following web-advice regarding a broadly-similar issue with multicamera sequences comprising spanned clips (e.g. AVCHD or Canon’s H264) , I tried transcoding the footage to GoPro-Cineform
    • Based on Adobe’s workaround-advice regarding broadly similar problems with long hence spanned AVCHD footage.  My footage is not AVCHD, but the main clip is Sony XDCAM-EX, which has some features (like spanning) in common with AVCHD.  Worth a shot!
      • On a 4-Core i7 PC with GPU, it encoded at about real-time, which in my case was about an hour.  CPU was only 25% i.e. equivalent to a single core
    • Replaced the relevant clip in seqA.
      • To my delight, the clip-markers (in that clip in seqA) were retained/applied in that replacement footage.
  • However, the sluggish [Play]-start remained, though possibly shortened, from about 6 seconds to 4 seconds.

Further Workaround:

  • Duplicate seqA
  • Nest it in a separate multicam sequence (seqE)
  • Do multicam edits on further segments of the event in that (seqE)
    • Intend later to nest/sequence usable bits of each multicam edit-sequence in a Master sequence.
  • Where there’s a will, there’s a workaround…
    • Still, I expect better of Adobe…
    • I lost about 3 hours to this (including web-searching, waiting transcoding and general experimentation).

Further gripes:

  •  God it’s clunky!
    • Every time I stop multicam-preview to tweak the multicam cut timings, then return to multicam editing, I have to remember to activate the multicam monitor, not the timeline (where the tweaks are done).  Unfortunately my reflex is simply to hit the spacebar.  It is a nuisance to have to fight that reflex…
    • Every time I stop multicam-preview, it leaves a cut at the final position of the playhead.  Not useful and simply clutters the timeline, distracting from real cuts.
    • Zoom [+] only affects the Timeline, not the multicam monitor.  As a result, I tend to set the playhead position using the timeline.  Doh! must remember to click (activate) back to the multicam monitor once more…
    • Ranged (duration not zero) markers are great but adjusting their right-hand end can be tricky, since this can change the playhead and/or timeline-display.  Things snatch and interact that shouldn’t (I feel).
    • Sony Vegas is far better in these respects, though not in some others, so I’m sticking with Adobe…
  • Unexpected Preview-Rendering is happening…!?  How come?
    • In principle, that shouldn’t be happening?   I have a state-of -the-art (4-core i7 & GPU) laptop specifically for CS6, no effects applied, just cutting between two cameras, some plain dissolves (between segments of the multicam sequence) – but surely the Mercury Engine should take them in its stride?  (or can’t it cope yet with multicam?).


    rvideo: Ruby video transcoding library

    Sunday, January 8th, 2012


      • <<Ruby is…A dynamic, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. It has an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write.>>
      • Ruby is also totally free. Not only free of charge, but also free to use, copy, modify, and distribute.
      • My MacBook has a copy of it, at [/usr/bin/ruby].  No idea if it came with Mac OS or an application, but it’s there.
      • rvideo
        • Ruby video transcoding library
        • RVideo is a Ruby library inspects and processes video and audio files by providing an interface to free Unix tools like ffmpeg.
      • Demonstration of usage
        • A few examples:
          • file = => “#{APP_ROOT}/files/input.mp4”)
          • file = => @existing_response)
          • file = => “#{APP_ROOT}/files/input.mp4”,
          •   :ffmpeg_binary => “#{APP_ROOT}/bin/ffmpeg”)
          • file.fps        # => “29.97”
          • file.duration   # => “00:05:23.4”
      • To transcode a video, initialize a Transcoder object.
        • transcoder =
      • Then pass a command and valid options to the execute method.
        • recipe = “ffmpeg -i $input_file$ -ar 22050 -ab 64 -f flv -r 29.97 -s”
        • recipe += ” $resolution$ -y $output_file$”
        • recipe += “\nflvtool2 -U $output_file$”
        • begin
        •   transcoder.execute(recipe, {:input_file => “/path/to/input.mp4”,
        •     :output_file => “/path/to/output.flv”, :resolution => “640×360”})
        •   rescue TranscoderError => e
        •   puts “Unable to transcode file: #{e.class} – #{e.message}”
        • end
      • If the job succeeds, you can access the metadata of the input and output files with:
        • transcoder.original     # RVideo::Inspector object
        • transcoder.processed    # RVideo::Inspector object
      • Even if the file is processed, it may still have problems. RVideo will populate an errors array if the duration of the processed video differs from the duration of the original video, or if the processed file is unreadable.

    XDCAM-EX to ProRes: How

    Saturday, December 10th, 2011

    I have a Sony XDCAM-EX clip at 1280x720p25 to be transcoded to ProRes, so it can be used as source for iMovie (for another user on another machine).

    In principle it should be very simple: go on Mac, use Compressor to transcode the XDCAM footage to ProRes.  But as usual, things are pernickety…


    • First tried dragging the XDCAM [.mp4] file into compressor.
      • Not recognised.
      • Likewise the BPAV folder.
    • Next, I transcoded the XDCAM footage to “MXF for NLEs” format, using the Mac version of Sony Clip Browser
      • Not recognised.
    •  Next, opened the XDCAM Transfer app.
      • In this app, open the XDCAM’s BPAV folder.
      • The footage displays OK but how do I export it to a QuickTime [MOV] file?
      • Looks like I can’t.  It only offers to export to an [MP4] file.
      • Instead, I guess I’ll have to open it from FCP.
    • FCP
      • I opened a random existing FCP project.
      • The footage is 720p but the project/sequence settings are arbitrary (unknown to me)
      • FCP: File > Import > Sony XDCAM…
      • It imported to somewhere … but where?
      • FCP Browser: file > RightClick > Reveal in Finder
      • It was at [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_Media/_Projects/2010-05-30 (Esp) Alison Doggies/020 Source/Sony XDCAM Transfer/SxS_01]
    • File System:
      • In other words, at whatever destination was last used by some app – presumably XDCAM Transfer or possibly FCP
      • The destination path was in fact specified in XDCAM Transfer, under its Menu: [XDCAM Transfer > Preferences > Import]
      • Moved the file instead to [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_Media/_Projects/2009-11-22 (JRM) Lady of the Silver Wheel]
    • Compressor:
      • Open it in Compressor
        • Drag it to the “job-strip” (my term) in Compresor.
      • Compressor displays data about that clip (e.g. 1280×720, 25 fps)
      • Select jobstrip settings:
        • Select Setting
          • Settings: Apple > Formats > QuickTime > Apple Pro
            • Name: Apple ProRes 422
            • Description: Apple ProRes 422 with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame rate
        • Apply (Drag) Setting to Jobstrip
      • Destination
        • Leave destination unspecified.  Then it will be the same folder as Source.
      • Processing (transcoding) of this footage (1280x720p25) took about 3 minutes (on MacBook Pro 2009).
      • Result was not that much bigger than the original:
        • Originally recorded [.MP4] file: 1.19 GB
        • Rewrapped [.MOV] from XDCAM Transfer: 1.14 GB
        • ProRes [.MOV] from Compressor: 1.97 GB

    Training: Den Lennie’s “Music Video” Experience

    Thursday, October 27th, 2011

    I attended, working on one of the camera units.  Had a great time, learnt lots, at all sorts of levels.  Even how to make good use of the Movie Slate application on my iPhone!  Link:

    NLE Handling of 10-Bit Recordings

    Friday, September 23rd, 2011

    There exist various HD-SDI device to record 10-Bit 422 video data.  10 bits is useful for shallow gradients especially when expanded (steeper contrast curve) by grading, while 422 gives better detail, that can matter when pixels are big (e.g. when close to a big screen or when digital zoom employed in post).  In any case, such recorders tend to compress less than on-board camera systems, or in some cases not at all, improving the quality.  But to what extent can the various NLEs cope with this?  From my web searches it seems that the answer is “sometimes”.  For example some NLEs will accept 10-bit only in their own favourite formats, otherwise they discard two bits, interpreting the footage as 8-bit.  One might (naively) have thought the way to be sure was to experiment – but there is plenty of room for confusion when doing experiments, for example Avid’s color correction tool allegedly only displays to 8-bit resolution even when it is importing/processing/exporting at 10-bit.  Other “loopholes” may exist, like it seems (if I understand it correctly) that if you AMA or import 10-bit ProRes then Avid only sees 8-bit, implying one needs instead to transcode ProRes->DNxHD externally (e.g. via MPEG StreamClip?) and import that.  But even that might not be possible, as one post suggested DNxHD 10-bit encoding could only work from Avid, not external apps.   Furthermore, whereas all ProRes formats handle 10-bit, for DNxHD, only formats with an “x” suffix do; the only one I know of is DNxHD 220x.  There exist further subtleties/loopholes/pitfalls, hence more research to be done on this… and I’ll tread very carefully…


    Avid MC: Bundled Tools & Apps: Their Purpose

    Thursday, September 8th, 2011

    When you purchase Avid Media Composer, you also get a set of other applications, whose purpose (at least to the newbie) is not immediately obvious.  So I did some investigation and produced a summary of them, as below.  I have no experience of actually using them, I just trawled ReadMe files and (mostly) the web.  Here are my (interim) conclusions:

    • Avid TransferManager – Is e.g. for uploading to a Playback Server []
    • AMA – the camera-specific AMA Plugins (e.g. for Sony XDCAM) are no longer bundled with MC, you have to download and install them separately. []
    • Avid MetaSync automates the inclusion of metadata (expressed in suitable XML formats) into Avid editing systems, including synchronisation with video and audio. The metadata can be anything from subtitles / closed captioning to synchronized entertainments such as lightshows or simulator rides.   []
    • Avid MetaFuze’s primary, if not only purpose is to prep files for Media Composer use – an “outboard importer”.  Avid’s article at summarises it nicely.  Though bundled with Media Composer, it is also available free. That means for example that preprocessing work (e.g. generation of burnt-timecode proxies and online files) can be generated (e.g. in DNxHD) by anyone whether or not they have an Avid system.  Potentially then a great option for breaking up work into collaborative / parallel workflows. []
    • Sorenson Squeeze – a well-known compressor/encoder, bundled as part of Avid Media Composer (MC) but also an independent product in its own right. Avid MC5.5 specifies version v6.04 but further updates are available from Sorenson itself.  There is a free-to-Avid-users update from v6.x to v6.5.  The latest version is v7.0 (with CUDA).  Presumably these later versions are officially unsupported by Avid (but how much does that matter in practice?). []
    • Avid EDL Manager imports and exports EDL (in various flavours) – from/to a bin (e.g. thumbnails storyboard layout?) (or a Sequence or MXF file?).  It can be run stand-alone or from within Avid.  EDLs are somewhat of a hangover from the past, so it’s unlikely to be of much use in my case, but worth knowing about as an option, and as such still features in other people’s current workflows. []
    • Avid Film Scribe generates Cut Lists and Change Lists (used in transfer from video edit to film edit) in more contemporary formats than EDL, e.g. XML formats involved in VFX / DPX workflows (? I am on very unfamiliar ground here ?).  It can generate such formats from a Sequence and also it can be used to translate between some formats.[]
    • Avid Log Exchange (ALE) is an Avid log file format that has become a de facto standard in the post industry. It is a text-based metadata exchange format used in applications from telecine to standalone logging applications, and is supported by many NLEs.  The ALE format is based on a Comma or Tab -delimited file format. []
    • Avid After Effects EMP is (not a disruptive elctronic weapon but) an Avid-supplied plugin for Adobe After Effects allowing that application to use a DNA family video output box such as Mojo (“ordinaire”) or Nitris to provide External Monitor Preview (EMP) on a monitor.  Helpful in order to make use of that Avid box for the Adobe After Effects application, both for convenience and consistency.  Unfortunately it does not work with the more recent DX family, such as the Mojo DX box. []
    • The Avid DNA Diags application is for diagnostics on DNA family e.g. Mojo “ordinaire” (not DX) []
    • The Avid Quicktime Codecs extend QuickTime for encoding and decoding to/from Avid codecs such as DNxHD.  Essentially they add such formats to QuickTime on your system.  The LE codecs are “Light Edition” – only needed on systems where Avid is not already installed.   []
    • Avid Media Log is a standalone app supplied with Avid systems enabling assistants on non-Avid machines to select and log raw (as opposed to RAW) footage in a manner that can easily be transferred into an Avid session/system elsewhere, where the result appears as an Avid Project.  Apparently, Media Log is much like the digitize tool on Media Composer.  But I’ve never used that either… It can output e.g. to ALE (explained below) and hence e.g to other NLEs.  []
    • Misc “Avid Downloads” (?) Looking at  my Avid Downloads page, there is a much larger list of items than I expected, and suspect that many of them are not relevant.  For example, what is Avid Deko?  It’s listed on my Avid Downloads page, though I don’t know if I would be able to activate it, or whether it would be worth the trouble.  It’s listed as Deko 2200.  So I googled and YouTubed about it…  Impression: that version (2200) is very obsolete. []
    • On my web “travels”, I discovered a great article entitled “The Avid Ecosystem” at [], listing many of the resources for the Avid world: links, tutorials, filters, applications, training…
    • It’s helpful to see some of the above items in the context of illustrative workflows, e.g.:

    Cineform Free Codec for H264 Cameras (eg GoPro or DSLR)

    Sunday, August 21st, 2011
      • David Newman of cineform just announced that cineform codec will be free for canon users.
      • Their 3d tool for the GoPro 3d system is getting re-released to be compatible with all cameras, from what I gather. It’s already free, though: — and for free, for any H.264 .mp4 footage, you can:
        • • Transcoding to GoPro CineForm codec
        • • Frame-rate adjust for slow motion
        • • Exposure
        • • Contrast
        • • Saturation
        • • Color Temperature
        • • Image flip rotation
        • • Frame Resize (Up-res/Down-res)
        • • Cropping and zoom
      • So if you take your 5d/7d/whatever footage and convert to .mp4 you can then convert to cineform using this free tool already.
      • Recently, it was announced that GoPro had acquired Cineform, and would be utilizing their tech in a 3D camera. We dropped by the Cineform booth at NAB 2011 to talk to David Newman about this change for Cineform, and how that affects their pro users.
      • (Video, interspersed with sponsor adverts: Interview with David Newman about GoPro/Cineform future plans and the free Cineform codec for GoPro that is also usable by Canon DSLR users)
      • The GoPro CineForm Studio is FREE to download.
      • Software is only available for Windows XP, Vista and 7 and Mac Snow Leopard 10.6.3 – 10.6.8. See complete list of System Requirements.
      • To use the 3D convergence features of this software, all imported files must be created with a GoPro camera.
      • The following features will work with any H.264 compressed .mp4 file created with most other cameras however GoPro does not guarantee compatibility:
        • Transcoding to GoPro CineForm codec
        • Frame-rate adjust for slow motion
        • Exposure
        • Contrast
        • Saturation
        • Color Temperature
        • Image flip rotation
        • Frame Resize (Up-res/Down-res)
        • Cropping and zoom
      • I successfully downloaded both Windows and Mac versions, in each case once I had entered my details.

    Avid MC 5: Standalone Transcoders to Avid Formats

    Sunday, August 21st, 2011

    These are standalone tools I have seen (on web) others using to transcode from various formats into Avid formats such as DNxHD.  Of course, that’s also achievable from within Media Composer (e.g. by its Consolidate/Transcode feature), but a stand-alone tool encourages parallel, and hence possibly collaborative, workflows in post-production.

    Avid Workflows with AMA & Offline/Online Combined

    Saturday, August 20th, 2011
      • AMA and Media Management – Media Composer Cutting Edge
        • Suppose you start with a Project having a Sequence of clips from a Bin, these clips directly linked (via AMA) to original media-recordings in a camera’s native format.
        • “There are still going to be times when you want to integrate that media in your local or shared AVid storage”.
        • This can be done easily via the Consolidate and Transcode features:
          • Sequence: RightClick > Consolidate/Transcode
          • Consolidate/Transcode:
            • I THINK BUT UNSURE:
              • Select Consolidate if you just want the camera’s native format re-wrapped in MXF
              • Select Transcode if you want it transcoded e.g. into DNxHD
              • In both cases, you end up with a new sequence, of clips which are now:
                • On the Avid Media storage (MXF).  Better performance (?), better media management (by Avid) and ability to do some things that AMA can’t, such as multi-camera.
                • Only the subsets (of original footage) needed by the sequence (plus handles).  Saves disk space.
            • Settings:
              • “Video and audio on same drive”: YES
              • Select required target drive
              • Define Handle Length (e.g. two seconds’ worth of frames).
                • (Implies that Consolidate will only ingest the subsets of clips actually referenced in the Sequence)
              • “Create new sequence”: YES
              • “Delete original media files when done”: NO
              • “Skip media files already open on the target drive”: YES
                • (Thinks: what if they already exist on some other drive (that’s connected) ?)
              • “Relink selected clips to target drive before skipping”: YES
            • Click “go-button” (labelled Consolidate or Transcode).
        • If at any subsequent stage you want to re-edit:
          • Re-mount the original camera volumes (e.g. disk drive/drives).
          • Re-link your sequence to them (via AMA ?).
          • {Subsequently, presumably re- Consolidate or Transcode }
            • {Presumably if all you did was add something, the only action performed will be the Consolidate/Transcode of that very addition}
            • {What if existing clips are trimmed (up or down) in the sequence?  Will the corresponding existing Consolidate/Transcode product be appended/reduced/replaced as necessary (is AVid “clever” about all this?  Or will a new one co-exist alongside the old one (which then just wastes space) ? }
            • {Does an Avid-managed file act like an object, i.e. exists so long as something (bin or sequence) points at it, otherwise is deleted by some “garbage collection” ?}
        • ReLink is also handy for Offline-Online conversion.  Example:
          • A remote cameraman delivers (e.g. via DigiDelivery) a set of XDCAM-HD Proxies.
          • Editor receives proxies and Imports them into Avid.
            • No AMA used here.
          • Some time later the Online files arrive (e.g. by physical delivery of disks).
          • Avid’s ReLink function matches the offline proxy sequence, frame-for-frame, with the newly-avaiable HD footage.

    Avid MetaFuze – Description & Role

    Saturday, August 13th, 2011

    MetaFuze’s primary, if not only purpose is to prep files for Media Composer use – an “outboard importer”.  Though bundled with Media Composer, it is also available free, from (which redirects to  That means for example that preprocessing work (e.g. generation of burnt-timecode proxies and online files) can be generated (e.g. in DNxHD from an arbitrary source) by anyone whether or not they have an Avid system (apart from this app, and the free Avid codecs.  Potentially then a great option for breaking up work into collaborative / parallel workflows.


    Avid Media Composer: Offline-Online Basic Instructions

    Monday, August 8th, 2011

    Paraphrasing as of 8 August 2011:

    • Offline-online workflow
      • You can either edit directly from as-recorded files or transcode them to Avid media for a smoother and faster editing experience. Here is a short step-by-step explanation of a Media Composer-based workflow.
    • Step 1. Access/import recorded files via AMA (Avid Media Access).
      • Camera clips will open inside Media Composer bins, complete with camera metadata.
    • Step 2. In the case of Raw data, it is possible to change the levels/gamma/exposure/balance of the file by altering the camera raw data, then open the Source Settings for each clip and adjust the video.
    • Step 3. Adjust the clip framing by opening the bin Reformat column and set the option for each clip (center cut, letterboxed, etc.).
      • Remember that RED clips may have a 2:1 aspect ratio, but your Avid sequence will be either HD 16:9 or SD 16:9 / 4:3.
    • Step 4. Set the Media Creation render tab to a video resolution of DNxHD36, and in the case of Raw data, with a Debayer quality of “quarter”.
      • Since the objective is a good rough cut – not “finishing” – this quality settings is more than adequate for editing and screening your creative edits.
    • Step 5. Transcode all source clips. This process runs at close to real-time on a fast machine. When transcoding is done, close all AMA bins and do not use them during the edit. You’ll edit with the transcoded media only.
    • Step 6. Edit as normal until you get an approved, “locked” picture.
    • Step 7. Now it’s time to switch to “finishing”. Move or hide all Avid media (the transcoded DNxHD36 clips) by taking them out of the Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder(s) on your media hard drive(s). You could also delete them, but it’s safer not to do that unless you really have to. Best to simply move them into a relabeled folder. Once you’ve done this, your edited sequence will appear with all media off-line.
    • Step 8. Open the AMA bins (with the originally recorded files) and relink the edited sequence to the AMA clips. Make sure the “Allow relinking of imported/AMA clips by Source File name” is NOT checked in the Relink dialogue window. When relinking is completed, the sequence will be repopulated with AMA media, which will be the native, camera-recorded files.
      • In the case of Raw data, if you want to change the raw color data at this point, you will need to change each source clip and then refresh the sequence to update the color for clips that appear within the timeline.
    • Step 9. Change the Media Creation settings to a higher video resolution (such as DNxHD 175 X) and in the case of Raw data, a Debayer quality of “full”.
    • Step 10. Consolidate/transcode your sequence.
      • This will create new Avid media clips at full quality that are only the length of the clips as they appear in the cut, plus handles. Since a transcode using a “full” Debayer setting will be EXTREMELY SLOW, make sure you set very short handle lengths. (Note: If you have a Red Rocket card installed, Avid supports hardware-assisted rendering to accelerate the transcoding of RED media.)
    • Step 11. Finish all effects and color grading within the NLE as you normally would.

    Sony Vegas: Compression Formats for Digital Intermediates

    Monday, August 8th, 2011

    Compression formats for Digital Intermediates when using Sony Vegas:

      • Cineform for highest quality (smart-renderable)
        • Cineform (is great for transfer) between After Effects and Vegas.
      • MXF for almost the same quality at a fraction of the size.
        • MXF previews beautifully off small bus-powered USB 2 drives.
      • Quicktime .mov with png compression for anything with a transparent alpha layer.
      • Quicktime .mov with Avid DNxHD codec for Handbrake encoding intermediary and for working with the FCP world.

    Details (again from the above link) about use of MXF:

    • The big thing with MXF is to make sure that you use it interlaced even (if) you are using progressive footage.  …set it using one of the interlaced templates but set the deinterlace method to none.
      • The reason this is important is that Vegas will only smart-render .mxf footage flagged as interlaced. If you set the MXF render properties to progressive, it won’t smart-render. If you set the properties to interlaced and select either blend fields or interpolate, it will screw up resizes and renders to other formats.
    • MXF with a smart-render is very cool. The format looks wonderful and no damage is done as you smart-render sections into a final piece.
      • MXF without a smart-render isn’t really good enough. MXF will not hold up to successive rerenders like Cineform or a lossless codec.

    Convert [.flv] to [.mp4]

    Monday, December 27th, 2010

    How convert a [.flv] file to a [.mp4] file?

    ffmpeg to transcode XDCAM-EX [.mp4] files to QT-DNxHD

    Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

    It is possible to use the open-source ffmpeg to transcode XDCAM-EX files to other formats, such as DNxHD.Information from as of 2010-12-23:

    •  ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vcodec dnxhd -b 60Mb -acodec copy
      • 60Mbit is a 720p bitrate.
    • This is a good ffmpeg for pro users help site:
    • This is the command line I got from Baptiste who is developing the DNxHD stuff in ffmpeg.
      • Progressive:
        • fmpeg -i inputfile.mp4 -vcodec dnxhd -b 185Mb -acodec pcm_s16le
      • Interlaced: (The difference is the -flags +ildct)
        • ffmpeg -i inputfile.mp4 -vcodec dnxhd -b 185Mb -flags +ildct -acodec pcm_s16le
    • And this is a link to a DNxHD white paper:
    • We are thinking of using 36Mbit DNxHD but all people we talk to say to use 185Mbit or maybe 120Mbit and that 36Mbit is for offline.
    • But if you don’t have a problem using allot of GB on disc then go for Max Mbit for the specific resolution and framerate you use:
      • 1080p/25 DNxHD 185 1920 x 1080 8bit 25fps = -b 185Mb
      • 720p/50 DNxHD 175 1280 x 720 8bit 50fps = -b 90Mb
      • 1080i/50 DNxHD 185 1920 x 1080 8bit 25fps = -b 185Mb
    • More settings for other framerates:
      • http://www.itbroadcastanddigitalcine…#Encoding_VC-3
        • Had many commandlines and DNxHD settings, though sadly none for 1080p50 (as I require).
        • …and link is dead – as of 2016-08-18

    Information from

    •  FFmpeg is now providing Avid DNxHD (SMPTE VC-3) encoding and decoding features

    QuickTime 10 – Warning

    Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

    Based on other people’s experiences, I am always wary of new versions of QuickTime.  I haven’t tried this one, and don’t intend to.  Some evidence of potential problems:

    • [,260877,261037#msg-261037]
      • Problem:
        • … when I exported my sequence using the Prores Codec, … it changed the colour of my sequence, adding a reddish hue/ saturation to it.
        • On my search round the web there seems to be quite a few people with this issue, but is there any fix for it ?
      • Likely cause:
        • QT 10 (QT X) is the worse thing Apple has unleashed to the Apple audience. It is NOT ready for release…and why it is on these systems…really only for consumers, but still…not ready.
      • A proposed fix (if QT X has already been installed):
        • Look in your UTILITIES folder for QT 7. Move that into the APPLICATIONS folder. Right-click on QTX and COMPRESS it. Then trash the app. This way you still have it, but it won’t be available as an application, and any QT file will default open with QT7.
          • This “hack” was advised by Apple to Shane Ross.  Pretty credible then…
        • Alternatively, use the Get Info dialog to set all QuickTime movies to open with QuickTime 7 Player
          • (although for some reason if you set a WMV to open in QuickTime Player 7, Flip4Mac keeps changing it back to QT X).

    Mpeg StreamClip to Transcode

    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010


    • (Mac or Win): Mpeg StreamClip
      • For the purposes of this explanation, it is version 1.2.
      • It is a stand-alone executable, no “installation” required.
    • Mpeg StreamClip:
      • List > Batch List > Add Files
        • (select file
        • Click the [To Batch] button
      • Select [Export to QuickTime]
        • Say NO to [Join all the files] and [Fix timecode breaks]
        • Specify a destination folder
      • [Movie Exporter] dialog
        • Slide Quality up to 100%
          • Why would anyone want anything less than 100%  What’s the cost / tradeoff involved here?  File size or execution time?
        • Select the required codec.
        • If source footage is progressive then deselect [Interlaced Scaling]
        • Click the [To Batch] button
      • [Batch List] dialog
        • Confirm the displayed list of files to transcode
        • Click the [Go] button.