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VFX workflow

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VFX workflow

PostFri May 07, 2021 4:46 pm

Hey there. Could someone please ELI5 the edit to VFX workflow for me? This is indeed my first VFX rodeo and could just do with a very simple breakdown

I've got lots of short sequences that feature some shots that are being sent for VFX. I'm working with proxies in Premiere and the full-res files are 6K. I've got Resolve Studio to help deliver these files. My sequences have a lot of graphic elements on a seperate layer to my footage

A couple of specifics I'd love to know is, do I dupe my sequence that features VFX in to a 'TO VFX' bin? I know I need to export a reference file for the VFX artist. I imagine I'll need to clear my sequence of any clips/media that won't be sent to VFX, with only the clips that need VFX remaining. Do I need to supply an EDL?
I have a sequence that will have a VFX shot that is broken up by a reaction shot. I imagine I export my VFX shot that is broken up as individual shots, and provide the TC for both of them?
I do have a naming system and a spreadsheet ready to go - so that's something!
Sorry this is all basics 101. I'm doing this part for the first time and can't seem to find the right info.
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Bryan Ray

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Re: VFX workflow

PostMon May 10, 2021 3:27 pm

I don't have an experience on the edit side of things, but I can tell you what we usually get on the VFX end. This is from the perspective of an artist and pipeline dev, not a coordinator. It's entirely possible there are things that I'm forgetting about or interpreting incorrectly since I don't actually handle ingest directly.

We typically receive DPX plates that are pulled from the camera masters in the original color space. Occasionally we'll get EXRs that have already been linearized. This is most common when the production is using ACES. Along with these plates, we'll need information about that source color. Pass along information about whatever color conversion you're using. If you're just not sure, tell us what model of camera was used to shoot the plates; that will usually tell us what conversion to use. The final deliverables will be the same as whatever you send, but the correct color handling will usually help the review Quicktimes look right.

These plates will have a certain number of handles—frames from outside the edit that can permit small tweaks to the cut if necessary. 8 is typical, although 16 is also increasingly common. An edit that is in a particularly fluid state might have more. Usually we don't want to start VFX without picture lock in order to avoid wasted effort, but that isn't always practical.

We'll usually want two kinds of reference Quicktimes: a stringout of just the VFX plates, without handles, in order to verify the frames; and a cut reference that contains context for the scene, which ensures continuity with surrounding non-VFX shots. If possible, both of these should have original camera timecode burned in. That lets us compare the timecode in the cutref against the metadata in the frames to verify that we haven't introduced a shift. This is especially important if you've done any kind of retiming in the edit. The cutref may include any VFX temps or previz you've done to give us an idea of what you're expecting to see and the exact timing of things like explosions. The stringout should be sent to VFX vendors ahead of time for the purposes of bidding on the shots.

A CDL for each shot should be provided so that review Quicktimes can be dropped onto the cutref seamlessly for review. Having something resembling the final grade available in the comp also helps us to make sure that any color matching we do will be successful in the context of the edit, and not just on our own screens.

Also send the camera reports. Many VFX shots will require us to create a virtual camera identical to the original. To do that we need information about the camera body, to get its sensor dimensions, and the lens that was used. If a VFX supervisor was present on set, they'll probably have written down this information themselves, but it never hurts to be able to verify it against what the camera department recorded. In productions unaccustomed to VFX, it's typical for the reports to be useless to us, but at least if you send them with the rest of the package you won't get a request for them later on.

Check your bins to see if any VFX reference was shot—images of weird grids, reflective spheres, and balls on sticks. If you see something of the sort, we'll want it. Shots of color chip charts can be helpful, too, if they're present.

Finally, an EDL, which is a third touchstone for making sure we have the right frames, and it also lets us find which camera report entry goes with which shot.
Bryan Ray

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