encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

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Marc Wielage

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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Dec 15, 2023 3:51 am

Uli Plank wrote:We also tested 10 generations of H.264, and the tenth looked like a video effect filter from the eighties.

Yeah, H.264 is awful. It's sobering to realize that a 4K 2-hour movie as uncompressed DPX files would be about 9TB; on ProRes 444XQ it would be about 850GB (roughly a 10:1 ratio). On 422HQ, it'd be about 571GB, and then about 90GB on H.264 (100Mbps). I think Netflix maxes out at 16Mbps, and that's a massive amount of compression compared to the mastering formats out there. Even a 2-hour theatrical DCP is maybe about 500GB.

I guess maybe we should differentiate between "destructively lossy" compression and "visually-lossless" compression, because not all compression is bad. If we're talking about music videos and commercials I don't think that ProRes 444 or DNxHR 444 are bad at all, and I think they'll work fine in 10 years.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Dec 15, 2023 4:52 am

H.265 is very flexible, you can encode in 4:2:2 with 10 bit (and more), I-frame only and at high data rates.
But I doubt that for comparable quality and generation resilience you will land at lower data rates than with ProRes.
GOP encoding is very efficient for distribution, but since every single frame between the I-frames has to be reconstructed every time, you have to accept generation loss.
No, an iGPU is not enough, and you can't use HEVC 10 bit 4:2:2 in the free version.

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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Dec 15, 2023 4:56 am

Thanks for the summary of the state of the art, Marc.

We are the lucky ones who work every day with lossless and visually lossless material knowing the truth that the day we can share that experience with any part of the world is on a far distant horizon seemingly out of reach; we are a mass of victims of the seductively inexpensive introduction of digital technology that replaced an analogue technology that was increasingly expensive and gradually elite.

Yet the tools of the digital technology grow ever most costly and perhaps the film elite have been replaced with the lossless elite because we are unable to share the best of our work. Yesterday’s masses for more than a century could enjoy a visually lossless social experience watching film play at a cinema from copies a few generations old, at least before the film degraded in a few decades.

There’s no going back and our lossless and visually lossless creations don’t degrade from use. However there is the flaw that in another hundred years, cosmic rays will destroy our digital archives and the equipment that played our digital work will no longer function.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Dec 15, 2023 12:48 pm

Why not lossless JPEG2000? That's the best so far.

- No GOP
- Best compression efficiency
- MXF container that "protects" your file sequence with a checksum
- Lot of metadatas available
- Meeting IMF standards such as App#2e or App#4.
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostFri Dec 15, 2023 6:34 pm

I made ProRes 444XQ masters (flat) of a recent video. I haven’t exported to Vimeo. These screenshots are ungraded shown by QuickTime Player on my Mac Pro 2019 on the Apple Pro Display XDR monitor currently using the ST2084 reference profile.


The HD master 1.93 GB without any scaling
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 10.14.44 AM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 10.14.44 AM.png (687.93 KiB) Viewed 1662 times


The UHD master cropped from a 4K DCI source centre crop no resizing no scaling
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 1.24.05 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 1.24.05 PM.png (663.31 KiB) Viewed 1642 times


The UHD master 3.38 GB created using the Super Scale 2x Enhanced upscale of HD window with 0.100 sharpening
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 10.12.32 AM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 10.12.32 AM.png (717.34 KiB) Viewed 1662 times



On my computer I admit the upscaled image saved to the UHD master appears to have slightly better detail when I examining the appearance of the guitar strings or the guitar tuning knobs and other areas. So I don’t agree the Super Scale 2x Enhanced image is a bad thing. But I don’t see how to illustrate that for you any better in images; if you had the actual master files to download, you could see for yourself, but I’m not using a file service to share my files since the clients control the usage.


The UHD from 4K source with no scaling produces an image that looks virtually identical in quality to the Super Scale 2x Enhanced version above. the scaling may add slightly more sharpness as part of the algorithm, but anywhere there’s a minute improvement over the 2x Enhanced version, it doesn’t seem worth the three times greater storage requirement. I actually thought the 2x Enhanced has the edge surprisingly.

The HD master without upscaling looks good too and that’s what I’m going to use for my masters in order to reduce storage space; realistically I may never use these masters. I could generate masters in 4K or UHD but it won’t save me storage space. All these differences that may be noticed while pixel peeking a still image extracted from a video with subjects constantly in motion are probably lost when watching the motion video and likely lost after uploading those videos or during the process of viewing those videos from a streaming service.

In conclusion, I recommend storing 2K ProRes 4444XQ masters and if there’s any need to use the HD masters to generate new 4K video, then apply the Super Scale 2x Enhanced feature in Resolve.

Thank you for your comments in this thread. As an independent shooter of music videos and theatrical performances, I’m satisfied HD masters will suffice. So far I have kept all the raw footage for narrative film work and hope to do the same for a short documentary.
Last edited by rick.lang on Fri Dec 15, 2023 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostFri Dec 15, 2023 11:03 pm

Here are sample methods to create three candidate masters uploaded to Vimeo in ProRes 4444XQ.

2K window to 2K master no scaling:
https://vimeo.com/895109994/5ea3656db0



UHD window to 4K UHD master no scaling:
https://vimeo.com/895113444/0f3acff1d0



HD window to UHD master with Super Scale 2x Enhanced: applied in ProRes:
https://vimeo.com/895117684/4d7962696f


Hope this is what you were looking for and these samples are helpful to you, Uli.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSat Dec 16, 2023 11:38 am

You should not upscale any master for archival purpose because the algorithms will improve in the future.

By the way, if you want to avoid any destroy by cosmic rays, you might consider BDXL medias. However, the limit is 128 GB per disc only.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSat Dec 16, 2023 12:54 pm

Lucius Snow wrote:You should not upscale any master for archival purpose because the algorithms will improve in the future.


I don't think that was his intention. He made these for comparison of IQ.
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostSat Dec 16, 2023 5:25 pm

Lucius Snow wrote:You should not upscale any master for archival purpose because the algorithms will improve in the future.

By the way, if you want to avoid any destroy by cosmic rays, you might consider BDXL medias. However, the limit is 128 GB per disc only.
My recommendation as stated in my previous note was to use 2K ProRes 4444XQ so we’re in agreement.

The quality comparison among the three options I posted illustrate the high quality that results from Super Scale 2x Enhanced as compared to 4K without scaling. I agree the scaling can only get better, but the current 2x Enhanced option is quite effective.

Perhaps its effectiveness is in part because I’m using the Gaussian routines for scaling set at the top of the Project Settings / Image Scaling page. Previously I experimented with all the Image Scaling options that default to Sharper and concluded Gaussian produced the best over all results with very mild sharpening (0.100) applied to the 2x Enhanced settings.

I’ve put hours of work into getting the best out of the image scaling so others can give it a try with my settings as a starting point at least. The Enhanced routines are a step up from what I suspect most people associate with the evils of scaling. I’m glad Uli wanted to see the comparison because it did reassure me I was safe in going with 2K masters to save space while using 2x Enhanced scaling if I ever need to rework a grade or produce another video from the archived material.

I did pretend that I no longer had my raw source and created a video from the master just to see how it worked. It was good to see all the audio tracks separately saved by the master, but my multi-track video is reduced to one video track with all edits preserved but I don’t see any option to save multiple video tracks with edits and positions indicated the way you can have all audio tracks. I find it a bit disappointing but the benefit of only one video track does mean significantly less storage is required.

If one looks up Master in the Resolve manual it includes practically everything in one simple step, but that doesn’t meet my need to reduce storage by deleting raw material. So the ProRes 4444XQ option is very good but not quite perfect.

I’d like the option to generate multiple video tracks on the Deliver page with ‘recovery’ of all video edits as the default by setting a new metadata field to indicate the portions of the clips that are Active or Selected or Visible/Hidden or whatever term BMD wishes to use.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSat Dec 16, 2023 5:35 pm

VMFXBV wrote:
pixel-challenged wrote:
How is DNxHR 444 (12-bit) compared to DNxHR HQX (for image quality)? I'm assuming it is better?


It depends on your source material. If you record uncompressed then DNxHR 444 12bit would preserve most of the quality.

If you record anything compressed (like you said in MP4 which is a container, and I'm assuming H264/H265) then it won't matter since the source is already a lower quality / more compressed than both of these so you won't lose anything.

The idea with a master file is to preserve quality, but if you already record compressed then your master file is already in the best codec. The one you used while recording.

You cannot add quality by re-encoding to a higher class codec, you can only go down in quality or maintain it. So either record uncompressed or in any of these industrial codecs like ProRes or DNxHR.

If you intend to archive just the edits then any codec that has at least the same bitrate and color information as the master will do.

For example if you record H264 4:2:0 8bit there is no point to transcode to DNxHR 444 when DNxHR HQ 8bit will suffice.

And if you plan to keep ALL the recordings then there is no point of transcoding to DNxHR HQ 8 bit either since transcoding H264 to DNxHR will only maintain quality.

So if you plan on having masters of good quality, look into recording at such quality using uncompressed or ProRes / DNxHR codecs.


Well stated.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSun Dec 17, 2023 5:49 am

Lucius Snow wrote:By the way, if you want to avoid any destroy by cosmic rays, you might consider BDXL medias. However, the limit is 128 GB per disc only.

That assumes that players will survive well into the future -- and there's no guarantee of that. I can think of a lot of video formats where the tapes and discs survive, but it's getting almost impossible to find a working machine today.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSun Dec 17, 2023 11:52 am

Marc Wielage wrote:
Lucius Snow wrote:By the way, if you want to avoid any destroy by cosmic rays, you might consider BDXL medias. However, the limit is 128 GB per disc only.

That assumes that players will survive well into the future -- and there's no guarantee of that. I can think of a lot of video formats where the tapes and discs survive, but it's getting almost impossible to find a working machine today.

That's true but it would be easier to rebuild a $70 consumer player than a professional tape machine.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSun Dec 17, 2023 11:55 am

I'm not sure if this is a myth or if NASA really can't read some data tapes from the flights to the moon any more, due to lack of players.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSun Dec 17, 2023 11:58 am

By the way, I wonder if a LTO tape in a faraday cage would survive. And with which thickness?

I use to tell my clients to keep their LTO in a bank vault. I refuse to store them.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostSun Dec 17, 2023 3:59 pm

Uli Plank wrote:I'm not sure if this is a myth or if NASA really can't read some data tapes from the flights to the moon any more, due to lack of players.


Most likely a myth. In the gov world finding old stuff is the norm. In the consumer space is harder to find old stuff because nobody really cares.

But as an example, in the CPU world, old CPUs like the now Zen1 architecture are still being made as spare parts and replacements for systems that are vital and cannot be updated. Same goes for much much older CPUs.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 1:07 am

rick.lang wrote:I made ProRes 444XQ masters (flat) of a recent video. I haven’t exported to Vimeo. These screenshots are ungraded shown by QuickTime Player on my Mac Pro 2019 on the Apple Pro Display XDR monitor currently using the ST2084 reference profile.


The HD master 1.93 GB without any scaling
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 10.14.44 AM.png


The UHD master cropped from a 4K DCI source centre crop no resizing no scaling
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 1.24.05 PM.png


The UHD master 3.38 GB created using the Super Scale 2x Enhanced upscale of HD window with 0.100 sharpening
Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 10.12.32 AM.png



On my computer I admit the upscaled image saved to the UHD master appears to have slightly better detail when I examining the appearance of the guitar strings or the guitar tuning knobs and other areas. So I don’t agree the Super Scale 2x Enhanced image is a bad thing. But I don’t see how to illustrate that for you any better in images; if you had the actual master files to download, you could see for yourself, but I’m not using a file service to share my files since the clients control the usage.


The UHD from 4K source with no scaling produces an image that looks virtually identical in quality to the Super Scale 2x Enhanced version above. the scaling may add slightly more sharpness as part of the algorithm, but anywhere there’s a minute improvement over the 2x Enhanced version, it doesn’t seem worth the three times greater storage requirement. I actually thought the 2x Enhanced has the edge surprisingly.

The HD master without upscaling looks good too and that’s what I’m going to use for my masters in order to reduce storage space; realistically I may never use these masters. I could generate masters in 4K or UHD but it won’t save me storage space. All these differences that may be noticed while pixel peeking a still image extracted from a video with subjects constantly in motion are probably lost when watching the motion video and likely lost after uploading those videos or during the process of viewing those videos from a streaming service.

In conclusion, I recommend storing 2K ProRes 4444XQ masters and if there’s any need to use the HD masters to generate new 4K video, then apply the Super Scale 2x Enhanced feature in Resolve.

Thank you for your comments in this thread. As an independent shooter of music videos and theatrical performances, I’m satisfied HD masters will suffice. So far I have kept all the raw footage for narrative film work and hope to do the same for a short documentary.


I can make the argument that 5 years form now you will have to delivery 8k and starting from 4k master archived and do a 2x super scale will yield a better result than a HD -> 4x super scale


If you want to preserve for the future, you should not throw away details that you have for the sake of space.

Granted, nobody has unlimited space, but LTO are relatively cheap by TB….
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 3:01 am

Sounds good, Walter. I haven’t started this process yet so always time to think more about quality than space. I think I should test some more. Hope to get back to you soon but I’m on shoots the next two days. Decision time after January 2, 2024 client meeting.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 3:50 am

waltervolpatto wrote:I can make the argument that 5 years form now you will have to delivery 8k and starting from 4k master archived and do a 2x super scale will yield a better result than a HD -> 4x super scale


If you want to preserve for the future, you should not throw away details that you have for the sake of space.

Granted, nobody has unlimited space, but LTO are relatively cheap by TB….


Yes, LTO tapes make for very effective storage especially as the tape capacity grows. The possible problem for me is that cost of entry and the cost of keeping up with future generations.

If I purchased a LTO 9, with the release of LTO 10 imminent, I understand LTO 10 could continue to read LTO 9 tapes. Does anyone know how many generations back the latest generation of machine (LTO 9) will continue to read?

I may not have properly understood a table I saw that appeared to claim very limited support of older generation tapes (beyond the previous generation). I had the understanding that LTO 7 would read LTO 6 tapes, but LTO 8 would not. If that is correct, LTO users are forced to upgrade every other generation since a tape backup 3 generations old is no longer supported if the machine that wrote the tape has failed. Great that tape will last decades, but not so great if you find you can’t read them less than a decade later.

A less expensive point of entry for the tape deck would be LTO 7, but will LTO 10 and so on continue to read those older formatted tapes?
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 6:42 pm

As far as I can remember, every new reader can do at least 2 previous iterations. And you will have the reader/writer you buy fo this endeavor for a long time.
Something changed now:
Quote:
LTO drive generations 1-7 are able to read tapes from two generations prior and are able to write to tapes from the prior generation.

LTO-8 drives can read and write to LTO-7 and LTO-8 media, including
LTO-7 Type M.

LTO-9 drives can read and write to LTO-8 and LTO-9 media only.


Lots of people out there use drives, mechanical or SSD and they are not realizing the 10 years form now there will be a lot of “I cannot read this drive/is corrupted/i’m finished/end of the world” scenarios, try to read something from the past and you will see.

Some of the movies that where archived back in the earlier 2000s are not available anymore in the digital form because of this issue.

So, archivists in town use LTO, store it for as long as you can read it, then pass it to the next generation of LTO and re-validate the archive. (10 years or so… I don't remember the exact number that was told to me)

It is relatively cheap to do two LTO tapes for each source and store it in different places just in case one fails (mirror of data)
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 8:47 pm

Thanks again, Walter and Marc. Appreciate your help. I’ll look into acquiring an LTO 9 but in ten years, I’ll probably be six feet under and not thinking about masters!

I’ll let the client know the archive tapes should be transferred to the most recent version every ten years if I am gone. I have a suspicion that the life goes well beyond ten years but I like to play it safe.

I have roughly 14 TB of RAID5 raw storage for that client’s music videos and it’s growing at about 6-8 TB per year now. Right now I use an 18 TB (almost full) spinning hard drive as my backup and I’m not going to keep buying hard disks if tape is more reliable and less expensive.
Last edited by rick.lang on Wed Dec 20, 2023 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 9:05 pm

LTO tapes last 30 years if you store them between 18 and 25 Degrees Celcius, and away from humidity.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Dec 19, 2023 9:24 pm

Thanks!
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostWed Dec 20, 2023 12:11 am

Larry Jordan’s webinar 322 on all things LTO is very helpful for those, like me, feeling a little clueless. Larry seems to be the Carl Sagan of media. Thankfully we still have him.

Larry mentions he has about 150 TB of media, but he also can’t find the money to buy something like this…

LTO9 Thunderbolt 3 not top of the line:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1704636-REG

Yes, LTO7 may be cheaper but not a lot cheaper and requires many more tapes. You can see the pricing profile for LTO:
make higher capacity and higher performance drives and it will use half the number of the older smaller tapes that cost more in total than if you bought a later model if you need a lot of tapes.

The costs of a drive vary greatly by how you get that data to the tape as the higher end drives include large SSDs to feed the data transfer. The one above just uses a SATA 3.5” hard disk. I don’t need transfer speed since it’s going to copy a long time anyway to get this setup for a 16-20TB library that will grow.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostWed Dec 20, 2023 2:23 pm

rick.lang wrote:Sounds good, Walter. I haven’t started this process yet so always time to think more about quality than space. I think I should test some more. Hope to get back to you soon but I’m on shoots the next two days. Decision time after January 2, 2024 client meeting.


I did further testing to generate the song excerpt in 8K from my 4K sample masters. The first 8K master was achieved by applying Super Scale 2x Enhanced to the master of actual captured 4K footage. The second 8K master was created from a 4K master that previously had applied 2x Enhanced to actual captured 2K footage.

The results are fairly close, but the first 8K master did show better detail and simply looked better than the second 8K master.

This finding supports the argument to create masters that are full resolution rather than my earlier conclusion I could save space by creating smaller resolution masters that would be expanded in the future to the larger resolution whether it be 4K today or 8K in five years. It’s going to 8K in the future that strengthens the argument to save full resolution today.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostTue Feb 20, 2024 5:34 pm

So I've been using the following encode settings for encoding/rendering masters:

MXF OP1A
DNxHR 444 10-bit

I find the colours in the resultant videos to be overly saturated for some reason. I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong, or if it's some technical reason related to the way the information is being stored and played back.

I'm opening the renders in VLC, if it matters.

Some help would be appreciated.
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostTue Feb 20, 2024 5:44 pm

When creating your masters from your original captured media, did you set the rendering flag to flat? When I view my flat (ungraded) files in DaVinci Resolve, they’re very unsaturated.

I do this with the assumption that if I ever needed to remaster or re-create a video in the future, I would redo the grade and resolution to meet the future needs that prompted doing a remaster.

I’d recommend you save your masters in 12bit if that’s the way your original media was captured.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Feb 23, 2024 9:13 pm

rick.lang wrote:When creating your masters from your original captured media, did you set the rendering flag to flat? When I view my flat (ungraded) files in DaVinci Resolve, they’re very unsaturated.

I do this with the assumption that if I ever needed to remaster or re-create a video in the future, I would redo the grade and resolution to meet the future needs that prompted doing a remaster.

I’d recommend you save your masters in 12bit if that’s the way your original media was captured.
I don't know what "rendering flag" is. Can you please clarify?

The original media is 8-bit (gaming footage/screen captures), so wouldn't 10-bit be more than adequate?
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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostFri Feb 23, 2024 10:01 pm

If your original media is only 8-bit, there may not be any advantage in storing 10-bit, but no harm in doing that.

Apologies for the unclear reference.

On the Deliver page / Video / Advanced Settings / Enable Flat Pass:
then select the dropdown Always On.

I also do not select the prompt directly below that: Disable sizing and blanking output.

You may also want your master to retain your isolated audio tracks.
On the Deliver page / Audio /
select Export Audio,
select Render one track per channel,
select Render as discrete audio tracks.

For the Ouptut Track1
select the dropdown All Timeline Tracks.
Rick Lang
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pixel-challenged

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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Feb 23, 2024 10:25 pm

rick.lang wrote:If your original media is only 8-bit, there may not be any advantage in storing 10-bit, but no harm in doing that.

Apologies for the unclear reference.

On the Deliver page / Video / Advanced Settings / Enable Flat Pass:
then select the dropdown Always On.

I also do not select the prompt directly below that: Disable sizing and blanking output.

You may also want your master to retain your isolated audio tracks.
On the Deliver page / Audio /
select Export Audio,
select Render one track per channel,
select Render as discrete audio tracks.

For the Ouptut Track1
select the dropdown All Timeline Tracks.
Thank you.

However, even with flat pass enabled, it does not seem to change the visuals for me. Everything just seems a bit "different" in the master file (more contrasty/brighter overall), at least to me.

Perhaps I should start a new thread regarding this, with screenshots to show what is happening?

EDIT: When I take a "snapshot" of the VLC video file, things appear fine in the PNG image that is outputted. This leads me to believe that it has to do with how VLC is handling the file and playing it.

I'm going to start a new thread. Link below:

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=197113
Last edited by pixel-challenged on Fri Feb 23, 2024 11:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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rick.lang

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encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no object)

PostFri Feb 23, 2024 10:43 pm

Are you sure your original media was encoded for Film? Did you have a LUT applied (baked in) to your media? If it was Video, you can’t make it truly flat. Flat in your master means no colouring and grading in post, just the original codec colour which should be Film mode.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Feb 23, 2024 11:20 pm

rick.lang wrote:Are you sure your original media was encoded for Film? Did you have a LUT applied (baked in) to your media? If it was Video, you can’t make it truly flat. Flat in your master means no colouring and grading in post, just the original codec colour which should be Film mode.
My original media is PC gaming footage (direct screen capture).

I made a new thread for the topic, as I thought it would be more appropriate. See thread below:

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=197113

And thank you for your input thus far, it is appreciated.
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Re: encoding a lossless master file (filesize being no objec

PostFri Feb 23, 2024 11:25 pm

That gaming footage original media will have lots of ’baked in’ colour, I suspect what output you’re getting for your master just reflects that intense input from the game. You do have the option of grading the footage with more subtle and muted colours, but 8-bit colour isn’t easy to work with if you want to do that.
Rick Lang
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