GRADING: THERE AND BACK AGAIN
The best way to send a project to be graded and get it back afterwards can vary from project to project. If you have any questions about this after reading this please feel free to contact us so that we can make the process as easy as possible for all involved.
We prefer to grade the source footage (Camera Originals). To do this we reconstruct your edit by conforming it from an XML or AAF that links to the source footage and any VFX shots that are used or assets that need to be composited in the graded version. If this workflow is not possible we can use a clean “baked” high quality export. We will cut that down to individual shots.
When editing in resolve you can supply us with a copy of your project. Please make sure it only contains the timeline(s) that you need graded and that they are flattened as much as possible.
The final output will be a single clip with the same resolution and frame rate as the source unless requested otherwise. We can also deliver individual clips with 25 frames handles if the project was conformed from the source footage.
Reasons to opt for a baked export workflow:
Some of the things below may cause issues when conforming or are impossible to recreate identically:
- * The projects contains footage multiple frame rates
- * Sizing adjustments with curves
- * Speed effects, Especially speed ramps with curves
- * Effects plugins specific to your NLE
Please do not assume that everything that was done in the NLE can be recreated in the grading application. In case of long transitions, picture-in-pictures or superimposition effects it might be necessary to supply the shots in question separately.
Make sure that the self-contained video is WITHOUT tiles, graphics and anything else that should not be graded such as film burns. In case these elements have to be added at Captcha send them as an individual self-contained video with alpha.
Reasons to request individual clips for a round-trip workflow:
- * The edit is not yet fully locked
- * The edit has effects that can not be replicated in the grading application
- * The edit has transition effects that need the extra footage which is in the handles
MIGRATING AN EDIT
To migrate an edit one requires:
- 1. Original footage in the same folder structure
- 2. Edit file (.XML .AAF .EDL .ALE etc.)
To help fix issues where the translation was not automatically executed perfectly it helps to have:
- 3. Reference video (Self contained, low res, small. For comparison)
- 4. Translation File (describes what could not be translated)
For more information on EDL/XML workflow: Migration in Post
Information on preparing your edit for grading:
DEDICATED FOLDER AND PROJECT
The XML / AAF / EDL that you supply us with has to link the camera media on the disk. The easiest way to make sure this works is if you copy your project and link that to the original camera files.
Export a reference video of the flattened timeline as H.264 or ProRes. (ProRes LT or even proxy are sufficient). Make sure that it is the exact same length as the edit. If you are using sync markers be sure to include those as well.
Use Burn-in-timecode (BITC) and burn in reference to source file name and source timecode. You can also add remarks but we urge you to add them in the editor’s notes too so we can check them one by one.
The principle function of the reference video is to check the conform and solve potential problems.
EDL AND FLATTENING TIMELINES
To have as few issues during conforming it is necessary to make the timeline as simple as possible.
The timeline should be reduced to a single video track. Nested sequences and such should be unpacked. We also prefer to have the audio as a single mixdown clip. Instances in which you truly require more video tracks are for picture-in-picture compositions, superimpositions or especially long transitions. XML and AAF can handle multiple tracks. An EDL can only handle one track!
Depending on the NLE you can specify which video track to export as EDL or it might just use the top-most or bottom track. So please re-import the EDL to check it. Additionally you can check it in a text editor. You may have to create separate timelines for each track before you can export them as EDL. Please label these EDLs with the timeline name and a suffix for V1, V2 etc.
Please use the CMX3600 format if available. You can disable extra functions as long as the edits are maintained.
Why we ask for EDLs
An EDL is human readable and contains the source filename and timecode. This makes them especially useful for problem solving if the need arises.
If we work from a clean high-quality export we can use an EDL to place the cuts.
AAFs and XMLs are not capable of transmitting all the manipulations that are possible in your NLE. We always check the conforms but apreciate it if you mention the use of such manipulations in your editor’s notes so that we can recreate them by hand.
|Keyframed transfoms and speed changes using custom splines||Keyframed transfoms and speed changes using custom splines|
|Composit modes except overlay||Flip, Flop, Pitch and Yaw|
|Additive Dissolve||Freeze Frames|
|3D Warp effects are converted into Pan, Tilt, Zoom, and Rotate|
To properly and easily conform an AAF or XML it helps us to know if you edited on a timeline resolution other then 1920×1080. Also if you used proxies please inform us whether these are 1920×1080, at source resolution or specifically what else you used. Lastly we need to match the sizing setting you used. Please mention all this in your editor’s notes. Here is an overview of sizing settings per NLE.
|Premiere Pro||Final Cut||AVID MC||DaVinci Resolve|
|None||None||Use the source file’s resolution (AAF)||Center Crop with no resizing|
|Set to frame size|
|Scale to frame size||Fit (default)||Resize image to fit format raster||Scale entire image to fit|
|Fill||Scale full frame with crop|
|Image sized for current format|
|Crop/Pad for DV scan line difference|
|Do not resize smaller images|
|Use the current import resolution (AAF)|
|Ask per clip (AAF)|
|Stretch frame to all corners|
In italics is option 3 “Scale to frame size / Fit”. This will work best for most projects. This will create black bars when encountering footage that does not match the aspect ratio of the timeline. This works well when mixing multiple aspect ratio’s in a singel project. Option 4 “Fill / Scale full frame with crop” works best when creating vertical timelines with horizontal footage. For a 4×5 social, for instance, the full height of the 16×9 footage is used but the extra width extends beyond the frame.
Most importantly use editors notes to communicate anomalies and/or request specified with timecode. We also value information on cameras and possible LOG settings that were used. To communicate the right way to size the footage we urge you to mention the following in your editor’s notes:
- —- NLE and Sizing preset used
- —- Timeline resolution used (if other then 1920×1080) and proxy media resolution (if different to timeline resolution)
Also mention any manipulations that you may have used that were listed under “Limitations”
DELIVERING VIA FTP
In the event you cannot supply the Camera Originals on a dedicated disk and have to supply it via FTP you will need to make the project as small as possible before you do so. This means you will have to create a media managed version of your project and consolidate the camera originals on your end.