Latest post Thu, Nov 5 2015 5:26 PM by gumbaedit. 3 replies.
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  • Thu, Nov 5 2015 1:55 PM

    C500 documentary AVID workflow

    Hi avid fans,

        I am in the process of planning my workflow for a feature length doc, mostly shot on a Canon C500 at 1080p 23.97 MXF files. There is a ton of footage but drive space for editing is budgeted and not a concern.

        I have edited before with Canon C500 footage and have done so, on shorter projects, simply by linking via AMA Link, and I have not had too many issues-which I see others have had here on this forum. I have simply created a mixdown at the end for export. But this is for shorter projects outputted t web, and with a long form doc I do not want to get into headaches like poor performance.

        It is important that this project maintain as much visual clarity and ability for quality color correction, so I would like to know more about the transcoding and consolidating options and any quality loss. The expectation for this documentary will be festivals and certainly the hope for a limited theatrical in select indie markets, as well as broadcast HD.

        In a past project I edited, I found the AVID DNxHD 175X to be ample quality for finishing a project of similar scope, and I was happy with the color work (422)- but that was a few years back and I do not want to be behind the technical curve here. I saw that project projected on a large screen- and I suspect that quality is acceptable for a doc feature, but would like confirmation. 

        This is a cinema verite doc, very much in the moment and following the action, so it need not be full on dramatic feature quality. 

         Am I best to transcode all this footage (UGH)- or consolodate? Or neither- and will I lose anything in the process. I ask here because things change quickly in tech and quality and I want the latest info possible. (yes I have checked numerous threads)

    Thanks experts!


  • Thu, Nov 5 2015 2:29 PM In reply to

    Re: C500 documentary AVID workflow

    Why aren't you recording at greater than HD if you want the option for 2K or 4K theatrical viewing?

    At HD you are limited to 4:2:2 50mps and that is your limiting factor. More importantly I think you are limited to 8 bit at that.

    So your source is you biggest limit. DNX175 is higher datarate and dnx175x 10 bit gaining you nothing from the 8 bit source.

    If your system can handle the 50mbps codec then I'd look at AMA linking and consolidating to make more manageable Avid media. If it struggles at that then Transcode and an offline online workflow may work better.


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  • Thu, Nov 5 2015 4:35 PM In reply to

    Re: C500 documentary AVID workflow

    Thanks Pat for your input.

    The C500 camera has no internal ability to record 2K or 4K, but rather requires an add on external recorder--- for this documentary the importance in production was speed and portability to capture the live action and the bulk of the external recorder was a concern, as was the extra storage issues of the 2K-and 4K options- as well as 2K only giving the slight image resolution increase-not worth the hit taken on speed, portability etc.--- The cameras slim profile in tight spaces was also important for this film- so bulkier 4k cinema cameras were also less appealing for this particular doc topic. The C300 and C500 are industry workhorses for docs, so we are in good company. Filming in HD does not negate a theatrical for a doc, in fact a filmmaker we know with two Oscar noms in the last few years for best doc has yet to film any of his theatrical docs above 1080p. This is particularly true for docs shot in a cinema verite' style, where immediacy and ease in production trump other concerns.


    Yes the sourse material is 422 and 8 bit .mxf canon files- they do input via AMA link and play beautifully within avid. I am still a little unclear why working with them isn't best because normally one thinks of any kind of file conversion as a quality loss- but I am reading that performance in DNxHD is better- wonding in what way?


    My system is pretty decent...

    3.5 Ghz Intel core i7

    24 GB 1600mhz DDR3



    It would be most helpful to me if you could talk me thru a few of the transcoding steps, and the pros and cons in contrast to the consolidation options... Not wanting to offline. 

    Thanks again Pat for sharing your expertise! I really appreciate it Pat!


  • Thu, Nov 5 2015 5:26 PM In reply to

    • gumbaedit
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 13 2005
    • Richmond, VA
    • Posts 527
    • Points 7,000

    Re: C500 documentary AVID workflow

    I believe, that since your working with the camera files, you have the option of AMA linking to them and then consolidating.  At that point, you are working with what is essentioally a copy of the camera originals, taking up the exact same space.


    When the time comes and you lock picture, you can then transcode just the files in your edit to a higher resolution to get the advantages of 10 bit.


    AMA linking that many files for an entire documentary could be a little unstable.

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