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Old October 25th, 2009, 08:14 PM   #1
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The Nano Flash and ProRes

Sorry for taking any discussion of the nano flash back a year or so.

We shoot with Sony EX3's, edit XDCAM EX natively in FCP, and color correct with Color. All this works very well, however, as (comparatively) inexpensive as this setup is, the quality isn't quite as good as I'd like - it can always be better... So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Reading the many posts on this forum most people seem to be very impressed with the Nano, at least I am from reading the posts. I'm old school, nothing is better than uncompressed 10-bit and like I-frame editing, I dislike the long renders or having to [conform] the XDCam timeline in FCP, quite honestly I'm not sure how to evaluate all of this?

Because we color correct so much, obviously 4:2:2 would be a great improvement but wouldn't there be a noticeable difference between 8-bit and 10-bit? Dan, will the Nano ever be 10-bit or does that require too much bandwidth?

Can the Nano record directly into ProRes? If not do you think it will in the future? Do think it needs to or is there an easy way to convert the footage from the Nano to ProRes?

Sorry for being vague about what I'm looking for. I like the input I get from this forum and find that sometimes if I just say what I'm thinking smarter people than me chime in and correct my approach to defining my problem. You know, give me an attitude adjustment...

Anyway I'm excited to find anything that can improve on our workflow or image quality and this little recorder seems to do both. I'd love to hear from people using it and what difference its making relative to workflow and quality.

Thanks everyone.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 10:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding View Post
I dislike the long renders or having to [conform] the XDCam timeline in FCP, quite honestly I'm not sure how to evaluate all of this?
The best way to get rid of the conform part of rendering and the restructure of the long GOP is by setting your FCP sequence's compressor to Pro Res. This should give you a green preview render when you drop the clips in but will not require a render to playback. Basically from the first render after you've dropped in the clip you are rendering in Pro Res which is what you want. This of course makes all renders after this much faster and less necessary depending on your system specs.

When you go to Color you will again be working with the source material (long GOP) but of course when you render out of Color I'm sure you will pick whatever flavor codec works best for you.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 06:48 AM   #3
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If you really want to go direct to ProRes the AJA KiPro may be a better option for you. Personally I think CD's design is more versatile, working across a range of NLE's, but if you want to lock into FCP and ProRes, the KiPro already does that.
Others have speculated that FCP will eventually fully support XDCam's MXF format.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 07:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding View Post
I'm old school, nothing is better than uncompressed 10-bit and like I-frame editing, I dislike the long renders or having to [conform] the XDCam timeline in FCP, quite honestly I'm not sure how to evaluate all of this?
With the nanoFlash you can choose I-Frame at 220 Mbps (or less) and Long-GOP at 50/100/140 and 160 Mbps.

Our Full Raster Long-GOP edits very well in Final Cut Pro. If you choose our 100 Mbps Long-GOP, you will come to appreciate the much smaller file sizes.



Quote:
Because we color correct so much, obviously 4:2:2 would be a great improvement but wouldn't there be a noticeable difference between 8-bit and 10-bit? Dan, will the Nano ever be 10-bit or does that require too much bandwidth?
Well, we are 8-bit, so my opinion is suspect, but I do not think you will see a noticeable difference. There is a lot of points and counter-points to the 8-bit vs. 10-Bit argument.

I can tell you that everyone seems to be very pleased with our 100 Mbps Long-GOP and 220 Mbps I-Frame Only footage. No one complains about our footage.

I can also tell you that 10-bit has an advantage if you purposely shoot without white balancing. If you shoot with the colors way off, then 10-bits will help you.

On the other hand, if you follow normal shooting techniques, then the above execption does not apply.

Quote:
Can the Nano record directly into ProRes? If not do you think it will in the future? Do think it needs to or is there an easy way to convert the footage from the Nano to ProRes?
No, we create native Quicktime files (.MOV), for Final Cut Pro, which can easily be dragged and dropped into a timeline. We do not create ProRes files. Yes, you can transcode our footage into ProRes, but this is not necessary.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #5
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I really do not understand why so much emphasis is put on colour correction I rarely use it, unless I stuff up a white balance in which case that is just bad workmanship. I use my filters all the time to give me the look I want optically, which looks far better than some FX and colour correction that is created in post. Creating background blurs is easy drop in heaps of ND a lot quicker and better looking than doing it in post which tends to really push the codec.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #6
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I really do not understand why so much emphasis is put on colour correction I rarely use it, unless I stuff up a white balance in which case that is just bad workmanship. I use my filters all the time to give me the look I want optically, which looks far better than some FX and colour correction that is created in post. Creating background blurs is easy drop in heaps of ND a lot quicker and better looking than doing it in post which tends to really push the codec.
I consider color correction essential to the process. Some filters are crucial and should be done during the shoot, like polarizers and correcting a light issue. I think most DPs would prefer to go into post with a well shot blank slate though. I prefer not to make too many irreversible decisions at the time of shoot.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lance Librandi View Post
I really do not understand why so much emphasis is put on colour correction I rarely use it, unless I stuff up a white balance in which case that is just bad workmanship. I use my filters all the time to give me the look I want optically, which looks far better than some FX and colour correction that is created in post. Creating background blurs is easy drop in heaps of ND a lot quicker and better looking than doing it in post which tends to really push the codec.
Color Correction is nothing related with FXs, blurring backgrounds or cheap ticks.
Your camera rushes are like a raw diamond. Is to you let it like that or make it shine.
I used to hate CC because I couldn't understand it.
Now probably is my most rewarding activity at work.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #8
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If you shoot with the camera setup to give a specfic look it ca often be very hard to change that look in post. The trend to have deep, crushed blacks for example are impossible to recover or work with in post whether you shoot 10 bit or 8 bit onceits gone it's gone. This is where for example the EX cinegammas come in to play. Not only do they give high dynamic range but they also slightly stretch the darker parts of the picture giving you more to work with in post. The down side is that the cinegamma settings give a picture that is very flat and uninteresting if you don't grade. The difference between 8 bit and 10 bit certainly exists but the most important thing is to have the cleanest images you can get with as little noise or other artefacts as possible. It is noise and artefacts that will limit what you can do with you footage in most cases, not whether it is 10 bit or 8 bit. It must also be considered that for the same efficiency (and thus performance) a 10 bit codec needs to have a nitrate 30% higher than 8 bit.
Certainly NanoFlash footage is very robust. If your going to use it with EX1s or EX3s then it is going to be camera noise that limits how much you can push the footage in the grade. I think it will surprise you what you can do with NanoFlash footage.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #9
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Hi Alister,
I agree with you and in some situations you have no option but to colour correct. I still believe that too much emphasis is put on colour correction and that's a matter of personal taste. I always carry my kit of six filters, make that seven I just added my IR filter today. Alister thanks to your posts on EX cinegammas and profiles I am now really starting to explore the EX3 and the wide range of options we have during acquisition along with the high quality recording produced by the NanoFlash.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 05:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
Yes, you can transcode our footage into ProRes, but this is not necessary.
It is in Media 100 though. No XDCAM native codec. Doesn't take too long to import.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #11
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The one thing I always stress is that there is no "right way" or "wrong way" to shoot and post produce a program. The best way to shoot is the way that works for your workflow. If you choose to create your look in camera then that is perfectly fine, indeed many productions don't have the time for extensive post production work.

The key is to understand the ramifications of the different ways of working so that you can make informed and approprite decisions BEFORE you start shooting. Once you start shooting you are then locked in to your chosen workflow and a poor choice could be costly.
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