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Old July 7th, 2012, 07:16 PM   #1
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Suggestions for format to send to color grader

Seeking some advice on format to send a final cut project to a color grader we're now working with (not a pro house). We shot on an EX1 XDCAM EX 1080 25p.

My biggest priority is to not lose any quality going from the xdcam in the final cut timeline to whatever format the grade is in and then back to a format for burning to bluray and dvd. It's going through these stages that worries me about losing quality.

I think prores 422 is supposedly lossless but it’s an encode and then if you grade the prores and then render back to prores doesn’t that count for one more drop in quality? I rendered out a prores, an uncompressed file and then the xdcam which theoretically should have been raw output as the timeline is xdcam.

The prores is a much bigger file. XDCAM EX is around 35mbits and the resulting encode is 33,041 which sounds right. The prores is 178,676 bitrate so much higher. I did an uncompressed too and it was 830,976 which is huge. See attached screengrab with file details.
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Suggestions for format to send to color grader-encode-compare.jpg  

Last edited by Damian Heffernan; July 7th, 2012 at 07:20 PM. Reason: image fixed
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Old July 8th, 2012, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

any help? Advice?
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Old July 9th, 2012, 09:23 AM   #3
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damian Heffernan View Post
any help? Advice?
Generally you want something with at least 12-bit 4:2:2 color and 150mbps bitrate. What formats can the person doing the color grade handle natively?
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Old July 9th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #4
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

Ask the colorist what he or she wants. That's the only opinion that matters in this question.
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Old July 12th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #5
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

If your colorist can do the job with the Colorista II plugin you won't need to transcode anything. Just send the project and footage as is and let them color grade within FCP. Depending on how extensive your color grading needs to be, this may work fine. This is my favorite plugin! Very powerful... it certainly has some limitations vs a true-blue stand-along color grading solution, but it might be all you need.

Check out what it can do over at the Red Giant website... it's a pretty great little plug-in!
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Old July 12th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #6
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

If that won't work for you, we'll need to know what your colorist's application is before we can recommend anything... but most likely, you'll need to ask the colorist this question.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 01:22 AM   #7
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

as an update (and hopefully may be of help to others): I sent the output from FCP in my xdcam ex codec and she graded in Color innthat codec. she sent the files back as Color graded files and i opened in FCP (still in xdcam ex) and it all worked well. I shared from FCP to a bluray and it's maintained it's quality on the bluray - only its now graded :).
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Old October 24th, 2012, 08:04 AM   #8
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Re: Suggestions for format to send to color grader

Interesting... I didn't even realize that Color would output to XDCam...
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