On June 27th, Director Jeremy Torrie & colorist and DI Artist Gary Jackemuk participated in a live webinar where they discussed the benefits and challenges of creating a 4K workflow for their film, Path of Souls, while adopting the latest technologies to finish the film remotely. Both presenters were available for the duration of the webinar and highlights from the “How we Make Movies” event were showcased.
Jeremy talked through some specific 4K workflow and logistical issues while Gary showed viewers exactly how he was able to work his magic. Attendees were also able to ask questions which both Jeremy and Gary fielded. To view the entire webinar, click here.
Time constraints kept the two from getting to every question, but all of those questions were recorded and both wanted a chance to answer all of them.
Below are the questions that came in during the live webinar along with their answers…
Is there anyway to use Adobe CC for 4K?
(Gary Jackemuk) – Since I don't have experience with finishing in Adobe specifically, I can't answer if there is a limit to the resolution. I prefer using Scratch since it's a complete finishing tool, from dailies to deliverables.
What did you guys use to capture proxies and how easily did those tie back to the raw files when you went to conform?
(GJ) – Jeremy sent me an EDL and the naming from the EDL matched exactly back to the original R3D files.
(Jeremy Torrie) – We generated proxies from RedCine-X. I worked with 175 DNxCel HD 10-bit files out put from there and then brought into the Avid. At the time the AMA feature did not work well in the Avid as far as performance of real-time playback so we made the decision to convert in RCX-Pro, a free software program from Red.
Did you monitor in 4K when you did your Finish in Scratch?
(GJ) – Monitoring was done at HD via SDI in Rec709 color space. It’s my belief that it’s more important to view an image in the correct calibrated color space than at 4K resolution. You can always preview the final in 1:1 mode using Scratch, but if you are previewing on a low cost 4K monitor that isn’t calibrated, then you are already starting off color grading wrong.
Which system is used by Jeremy to QC daily?
(JT) – We worked on a MacPro tower and processed all data backup via R3D Manager. The only time I had an issue with proxies was when I did a particularly large batch of files to render out from RedCine-X Pro and the Red Rocket card became very hot. This resulted in the odd clip having pink strobing –which you can see immediately if you scrub through the clip once inside Avid. At that point we would simply re-render the clip and replace it, which turned out fine. None of the original source clips had any issue.
Question to Gary…How you QC the color space in Post? Did you match same color space seen by Jeremy in the QC daily? Tks, Angelo
(GJ) – I color graded in Rec709, since my monitoring system is HD at present, and will be upgrading to 4K in the future. I matched my monitoring to Jeremy’s, which was also Rec709.
(JT) – I actually went back and processed a lot of my clips a 2nd time once I got into the edit since I wasn’t a real fan of what our DMT had set up as far as his one-light pass. Gary ended up with a QT file showing what my REC 709 ought to look like with the odd tweak here and there.
Question 1 – Best practices for proxy transcode naming when dealing with r3d files.
(GJ) – It is absolutely necessary to use the original name of the file as the transcoded file name. If possible, also keep the same directory structure as well.
(JT) – I never renamed anything. R3D Data Manager makes the copy and keeps the source file name. One of the interesting things you will see when you take the footage from RCX-Pro to the Avid is the file names are the same but when inside Avid they’re lower case rather than all caps. But with the conform the file names remain the same –just swapping out lower case proxies with the originals in caps.
Question 2 – Impressions on 4k finishing workflow using Adobe Premiere CC or CS6.
(GJ): Can’t comment on 4K finishing in Adobe because I don’t have any finishing experience in the packages.
(JT) – Same. What I do know is Red has been touting PC and Adobe workflows for awhile now, and that’s probably due to the fact PC’s are advancing whereas Macs remain in stasis until such time that a new tower comes out. There’s also a limiting factor with real estate inside a Mac Pro. Plus no USB3 on Macs either. Red is such a fast-moving company they’re most concerned with giving the user experience the least amount of headache, and if a PC is providing real-time playback then they will tell the world about it. I realize of course there’s supposed to be RT playback within FCP but I never found working on that platform to be very useful, so I guess I’m a bit of an Avid snob. But that’s based on having to generate dozens of QC’d programs for broadcast in both HD and SD with deadlines and so on…I learned the hard way that when the heat is on, you need a rock solid system because you simply cannot have excuses for your broadcaster.
Do you have any knowledge of Scratch Labs performance over Mac Book pro?
(GJ) – Not sure what is being asked here… Scratch Lab is a software package that will run on Windows 7 & Mac hardware. To answer any specifics regarding Scratch Lab running ON a Macbook Pro, would also need to know the specifications of the hardware.
(JT) – No experience with this as yet.
I'm a DP, Epic owner and have a home office Resolve suite – I've expanded into coloring and finishing the material I shoot. How do you suggest boutique setups QC DCP deliverables without buying a BARCO?
(GJ) – I took the completed DCP to a screening room, along with other tests, to verify my color science pipeline. There are also tools for DCP playback on Win7 to QC the encoding. I am unsure if there are tools on OSX since my studio is primarily Windows 7.
(JT) – This is outside my domain at the moment but we are eagerly awaiting the Red Projector, which is 4K capable and starts at $10,000. It’s a major step forward in the whole grading world. Plus Rocket-X is the new card designed to process 6K Dragon footage and it may drive the playback from Red Projector (nobody really knows for sure, but this is the prevailing wisdom). I’m guessing there will be a workflow coming in the next few months that will show the world how the home office can maintain a QC workflow along side the heavy iron finishing suites.
How much did you find yourself using HDRx? What environments was it most useful and how did it change the workflow for those shots (if at all)?
(GJ) – There were a few scenes that were either very flat lit or were shot directly into the sun. Both of these scenes I was able to use the HDRx layer to combine them to bring back or enhance the detail. Some scenes the “Magic Motion” setting was just used automatically and tweaked on a shot by shot and scene by scene basis. Shooting HDRx does DRAMATICALLY increase the processing and data storage for your project.
Gary, dont you need to have your walls painted black?
(GJ) – The walls are going to be painted to 18% grey in the near future. Most of the time, I am working in a very low light situation and work with both scopes from ScopeBox and the internal digital scopes available in Scratch. Although it’s optimal to be with 18% grey, I have not found any color shift using my color pipeline and color grading techniques.
For Gary – I am a D.I.T. and working on building the perfect “D.I.T. report” to pass to post-production with the digital negative. What do you feel are the most important things to include and what might I being missing or not thiniing of? –rob engle
(GJ) – I don’t believe there is a “perfect” report, since all productions are different and care about different information. Having flexibility to be able to produce any report in the manner that the client is requesting is more important, and with Scratch, you can access that information via XML.
Can Scratch do 3D 4K 60HFR?
(GJ) – Scratch doesn't have any resolution or playback limitation. Playback is dependent on the hardware configuration, especially the storage speed as well as the display technology. The playback is dependent on combination of the graphics card, storage array, CPU/Memory bus speed, display technology, etc. etc. This is something that the folks at Assimilate can answer in much more detail.
How did you see 4K? I did not see your 4K monitor.
(GJ) – Monitoring was done at HD for color grading via the plasma display. QC was done by viewing the image without scaling down to HD resolution (aka: 1:1 pixels). The next upgrade to the system may be a pure 4K monitor, unless Eizo wants to have me test one… : ) Or, I may opt for a HD monitor that can preview in P3 colorspace accurately.
Hi Jeremy and Gary. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us. Gary, what are the things you like most about working with 4K? Thanks.
(GJ) – 4K offers options… both for color grading as well as for delivering finals with the highest quality to multiple formats.
Red Rocket makes the workflow much better? Besides the 1/4 res
(GJ) – The Red Rocket card allows you to work at a higher resolution since it handles the debayering on the card rather than via the CPU. So, for speed purposes, it’s invaluable. But, you can achieve the same final quality without it using just software. If I have a choice, I would love to use a RedRocket or the new RedRocket X…. (Are you listening Red? : ) )
So really you are pointing to the 4K files but monitoring HD when you grade … Are you going to see all the details that will show up in the 4K image?Is the DP satisfied to work monitoring HD?
(GJ) – Yes, pointing to the 4K files and monitoring at HD. But, we have the option to monitor the 1:1 pixels to check details where needed. As long as the final rendering of the finished color grade is done using the full resolution, you will see all the details.
I have made two films on RED cameras. We use G-RAID drives to store our raw footage for our masters as well as our back-ups. What did you guys use and what do you think are the best drives to use for storing RED footage?
(GJ) – I use a RAID-5 system for storage, with swappable drive bays. The Globalstor system has a 10 bay RAID-5, but for offline storage of the files, I use a 4-bay RAID-5 from CineRAID. It’s fantastic quality and toolless design, and supports eSata and USB-3.0. As far as specific drives, most drives are very stable these days, my order of preference is Seagate, Hitachi, Western Digital. Since I am using them in a Raid-5 setup, I can always swap a drive when it goes bad. But ultimately, drives are not stable backups for long term storage. You need to have LTO backups since they have a much higher rate of long term stability.
What software are you using for those conversions? Can you use any software nl offline, and then going to which one?
(GJ) – Not sure what conversions your speaking of…. I believe that Jeremy used RedCineX to transcode from R3D files to Avid MXF media for editing. You can do the same transcoding inside of Scratch and write out Avid MXF or Quicktimes… depending on your offline editorial workflow.
Hi, I'm Francesco Rotunno creative director of Redeye Media a production company/postproduction located in Genoa italy. How many graphic cards does Scratch use? For 4k 3D?
(GJ) – Scratch only uses a single graphic card for all of the processing. I believe that the nVidia GTX 690 is the most powerful graphics card for Scratch at present, since it combines the power of two Kepler GPU’s on a single card.
What kind of raid?
(GJ) – My globalstor has a RAID-50 using an Areca controller. The CineRAID usb3.0 external raid is also RAID-5, but only 4 drives…. Each being 3TB.
I'm listening to you, but still unclear what you was using for color correction and specially for the conversion 2k to 4k, and all this conversions?
(GJ) – Scratch was used for all the color correction… the feature was color graded at 4K, but monitored at HD while color grading. Then for processing it was processed at 4K and downscaled to 2K and HD also using Scratch.
We are using an Areca Thunderbolt 8 bay raid for 4K and in FCP7 and it all plays fine
(GJ) – I have tested the Areca Thundberbolt raid and it’s a great piece of hardware!
What type of color grading monitor? Even in 4K?
(GJ) – The color grading is being monitored on a THX certified 42” plasma calibrated for Rec709. For previewing at 4K, the entire frame could not be viewed, only an HD portions of the full frame (1:1 pixels).
Did you run into any issues conforming from proxy files to the 4K files and moving to the finishing in Scratch? Did you use an EDL or does Scratch work directly with FCP or other editor files?
(GJ) – Jeremy edited with transcoded HD files and just provided me an EDL from his Avid system. The conform worked perfectly because during the transcoding from the original R3D material to Avid MXF, the original naming and metadata was preserved. Thus, when I went to conform back to the original camera material, it matched perfectly. Scratch does work with FCP XML files, but editors tend to not keep their material organized well inside of FCP. How well editorial keeps organized can result in 1 day of conform, or 5 days of conform…
How much coloring is done (luminance and chrominance levels) within Red Cinex before exporting to a dedicated colorist solution like Da Vinci?
(GJ) – The R3D files are original from the camera. The only settings that come across are the RMD files, but still only contain metadata. The only guide I was given from Jeremy was his offline which was done on his Avid in Rec709 color space, and was a color grade he liked, so the final color grade was done to reflect what he wanted but using the original files. Sometimes the RMD files got me close to the look he wanted, sometimes I had to rebuild the colorgrade without using the RMD.
What was it about the way that the transcodes were done that made them work seamlessly in the final conform?
(GJ) – Keeping the data well organized and maintaining all the original files names was the most important factor.
I recently did a 4k workshop at which we tested all the available cameras including Canon, Sony, Blackmagic, Alexa, Red shotting 3 stops over to 3stops under and I was impressed with the Canon 500 for colour and sharpness. It came out looking closest to Kodak Film look of all the brands straight out of the camera. Canon has really under-marketed their range of cine cameras. Shooting 4k is where it's at for me from now on:)
(GJ) – There are advantages for every format available… but also, how I would finish a 4K feature shot on Canon 500 or a BlackMagic camera would be much different than how I would finish a RED 4.
Is there a 4Kfor stereo 3D?
(GJ) – I believe that RED has a stereo rig that uses the Epic camera, but you would have to check with each specific camera company and their 3D partners (Like Pace or 3Ality)
What did you use to capture proxies during production and were you happy with that solution?
(GJ) – I believe that Jeremy used RedCineX for the generation of the HD files he used for editing and it’s a great solution for RED, but Scratch can be used with multiple cameras.
For non colorists like myself, where can I begin learning how to use Red Cine X to get an adequate image out?
(GJ) – I believe you would have to talk to RED about their training and their online forums for more details about RedCine X.
Were there any VFX and how did that factor into using 4K as an output?
(GJ) – There were a few shots where Adam’s character faded in and out of the scene… but the camera was locked off, so it was very easy to just do a simple dissolve between the two layers inside of Scratch, so the wasn’t any issue with 4K and I was quite impressed with how locked off the camera was for all 3 of those shots. For VFX, it really depends on what software will be used for the shots. Since I did the “VFX” in Scratch, I could use the original R3D files. But, if they needed to be done in After Effects or Nuke, although both software packages can read R3D files, there may be issues of lineup as well as delivery of 4K image sequences (or possibly Quicktimes). In this case, we had to have a 4K output, so if there were real VFX shots, we would have developed some workflow to maintain the resolution to match the non-VFX shots.