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Old June 6th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #1
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Batch Processing of RAW photos

I'm interested in doing RAW timelapse photography and would like to be able to tweak the colors with powerful tools to get a unique look.

I see two methods: to batch process the RAW photos into 16-bit per color TIFFs, put the sequence on the Vegas or After Effects (CS3) timeline and edit away, or to do the initial grading in RAW, after which I could use 16bbc or 8bbc TIFFs, depending on if I wanted to fine tune afterwards. I'll stick with uncompressed (and proxies) for this job until the final render, simply because I can. ;)

I don't own Photoshop CS4. Hopefully, there's a cheaper, but similarly powerful, tool for the job. Canon's DPP software doesn't have the range of color correction tools that I'd like, and I haven't yet found the batch processing controls.

So, three questions:
1) How do I batch process RAW stills to 16bbc TIFFs using the available Canon software?
2) Are there better tools for batch conversion to 16bbc TIFFs?
3) Are there inexpensive tools that would let me color correct RAW photos and save the TIFFs in a batch?

Any other workflow tips for this kind of work are also appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old June 6th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #2
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Adobe Lightroom is the RAW processor of choice; it does pretty much everything a photographer needs without Photoshop's extras. I don't think it handles 5D files yet [I may be wrong], but that doesn't matter. Just convert to DNG first, which you should do for archive purposes anyway.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Jeremy,

That begs the question: what should I use to convert to DNG? It's not one of the options available in Canon's Digital Photo Professional.

I see that The 5D2 is indeed among the cameras supported by Camera Raw 5 and LightRoom 2, though these are not compatible with Photoshop CS3.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #4
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I have actually been doing some extensive work with HDR Timelapse recently and have found the Canon DPP software to be quite useful for color grading batches of images and then trimming them. The nice thing about the software is that you can actually save the adjustments to a file and then apply them to other images as well. Then I take the edited images and pull them into Quicktime Pro as an image sequence. Works like a charm every time.

Here is a quick example:
http://www.rpmproductions.info/videos/hdr_tl.mov
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Old June 6th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #5
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Jon

I was having this problem myself with Photoshop CS3 (5D RAW isn't supported)

But Adobe has this for freebie for Batch processing to Digital Negative and then work with it anywhere

Adobe - Digital Negative (DNG)
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Old June 6th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #6
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@Ryan - That looks fantastic! Care to share the details? I know I can save a profile, but I'm not sure how to apply it to a bunch of photos without a number of clicks per file. Also, which HDR process did you use? The sky and trees look fantastic together.

@John - Thanks for the tip. I've downloaded the converter and will give it a try...
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Old June 6th, 2009, 05:10 PM   #7
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Why not ingest the CR2 RAW files directly into AE? That's what I do. It cuts out the "middle man" of Photoshop. I bring the RAW files straight into AE using ACR, then do my renders straight off the RAWs. This results in stunning quality.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 05:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
@Ryan - That looks fantastic! Care to share the details? I know I can save a profile, but I'm not sure how to apply it to a bunch of photos without a number of clicks per file. Also, which HDR process did you use? The sky and trees look fantastic together.
Thanks Jon!

I used a +/-2 bracket for the AEBracketing. Made sure I shot in full manual to eliminate the possibility of any flickering. Used the batch processing of Photomatix Pro to combine the HDR images. After I had the Final HDR images I pulled them into DPP for some fine tuning.

Here is my process for DPP:
Color -
Open an image in the Edit Image Window
Make the desired adjustments.
Right click the image and select "copy recipe to clipboard".
Then go back to the main window and shift-select all the other images.
Right click one of them and "paste image to selected image".
This will apply the corrections you made to all of the photos.

Crop -
Select all the images in the main window.
Select "Tools" and then "start trimming tool".
In the trimming tool window select "custom" for the aspect ratio then insert 16.00 and 9.00, or whatever other desired aspect ratio.
Drag the crop box over desired area (don't worry if the dimensions are larger than 1920x1080, we'll take care of that later).
After area is selected, hit "Copy" and then "Apply All". Hit OK.

After all nescessary adjustments are made, hit "Batch Process" up in the top, right-hand corner of the main window.
In the batch settings window pick your save folder, select TIFF 16 bit, 72 dpi output res, resize to 1920x1080 (or whatever), and select the new name of the processed files. Just remember to make sure that they number sequentially so that QT will recognize them as an image sequence.
Click execute and wait:)

Hope this helps! I am really starting to like the Canon Software even though it is a little different from any other program I have used. I tried making these adjustments with recorded actions in PSCS4, but the cropping went all out of whack when I tried to automate the process. DPP worked flawlessly and was fairly quick also.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 06:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mueller View Post
I have actually been doing some extensive work with HDR Timelapse recently and have found the Canon DPP software to be quite useful for color grading batches of images and then trimming them. The nice thing about the software is that you can actually save the adjustments to a file and then apply them to other images as well. Then I take the edited images and pull them into Quicktime Pro as an image sequence. Works like a charm every time.

Here is a quick example:
http://www.rpmproductions.info/videos/hdr_tl.mov
Wow, Ryan that is really beautiful!
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Old June 6th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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Ryan, That looks great, some details of workflow please....

for all, Adobe CS3 will not work RAW for 5DMKII files... you have to go to CS4 ...

Lightroom 2 does support 5DMKII files...
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Old June 6th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #11
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Thomas,

I assume that you have AE CS4. I've got CS3 - and only at work - so the DNG process should get me going...

Ryan,

Thanks for the detailed explanation! The batch process with DPP wasn't intuitively obvious to me. One option, if you have the disc space, would be to render at full resolution from DPP, and use your editor to keyframe in some pans, tilts, and zooms as desired. I find that even subtle camera motion can make shots like yours even more dynamic.

Photomatix looks like a nice tool, and I see that buying the standalone version lets you download a Lightroom plugin for free. Nice!

I'm interested to see if it will be possible to do a nice composite of 5D2 greenscreen video of actors into HDR backgrounds and timelapses with reasonable quality. I figure that the key will be GREAT lighting, as well as trial and error with picture profiles to do as much heavy lifting as possible on the RAW side of the 14-bit/8-bit encoding divide. With good compositing tools, the result could be potentially stunning.

My inspiration has been Tarsem's "The Fall". He filmed all of that on-location with film. Well... 5D2 video is good, but it's not film good. However, 5D2 RAW is film good - especially if shot as HDR. (BTW, Tarsem's next film will be 100% greenscreen.)
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Old June 6th, 2009, 07:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Nicholl View Post
Adobe Lightroom is the RAW processor of choice; it does pretty much everything a photographer needs without Photoshop's extras. I don't think it handles 5D files yet [I may be wrong], but that doesn't matter. Just convert to DNG first, which you should do for archive purposes anyway.
Lightroom 2 does handle 5D .cr2 or .dng files, but does not support any video formats AFAIK (ie, .mov files).
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Old June 6th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #13
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Lightroom 2 does handle 5D .cr2 or .dng files, but does not support any video formats AFAIK (ie, .mov files).
This isn't a problem for my planned workflow as After Effects and Vegas can both import image sequences as video files. However, Vegas can't handle .CR2s, nor can AE CS3.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 11:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
One option, if you have the disc space, would be to render at full resolution from DPP, and use your editor to keyframe in some pans, tilts, and zooms as desired. I find that even subtle camera motion can make shots like yours even more dynamic.
You'd have to have one hell of a system to be able to utilize this workflow. I can't imagine that AE would react to well on my system if I tried to throw 21MP photos at it as an image sequence. I think the best way to get pans and tilts is still with a motorized system specifically designed for this purpose. I think that Tom's work over at Timescapes is one of the best examples of this. Timescapes Timelapse: Learning to Fly on Vimeo His stuff is absolutely amazing and not one bit of it is HDR.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
I'm interested to see if it will be possible to do a nice composite of 5D2 greenscreen video of actors into HDR backgrounds and timelapses with reasonable quality.
I am actually working on a project as we speak where I am keying talent in front of an HDR background. I think it is going to end up looking pretty good! I'll post a couple of clips as soon as I get them finished.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 11:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I am actually working on a project as we speak where I am keying talent in front of an HDR background. I think it is going to end up looking pretty good! I'll post a couple of clips as soon as I get them finished.
Please do. I look forward to seeing how this camera really keys.
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