Which is "harder" to process?

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neavissa

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Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Jan 12, 2020 5:53 pm

Hi,

My computer is having a hard time playing back GoPro files, not to mention the lousy performance when trying to move the "slider" (no idea what it is really called), in the timeline. And when I say lousy, I really mean terrible. Anyhow. What I have done in the past is use 5DtoRGB to "convert" the GoPro files to ProRes LT. After doing that, I was able to playback AND move the slider around all day long, without any issues! Super smooth!

My guess to why the ProRes files playback smoothly, even though they are now 4 times the size of the original files, is that they are not as "compressed" as the GoPro files. Correct? Less compressed means less decoding DURING playback, Correct? If this is the case, wouldn't a RAW file, which is not compressed at all (at least from my understanding) be way easier on your system than a compressed file?

The reason I ask is, some videos on YouTube "measure" the power of a video editing PC, based on how good it can playback RAW files??? But if RAW is not compressed, shouldn't it be easier on your system?

Thanks

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neavissa

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Jan 12, 2020 5:59 pm

I posted this 5 minutes ago and they are "supposedly" 186 views already? I doubt that, ha ha. Anyhow...
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Cary Knoop

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Jan 12, 2020 6:06 pm

neavissa wrote:My guess to why the ProRes files playback smoothly, even though they are now 4 times the size of the original files, is that they are not as "compressed" as the GoPro files. Correct? Less compressed means less decoding DURING playback, Correct?

While it is true that Prores is faster at decoding frames the real performance increase has to do with the fact that Prores does not do inter-frame compression, unlike the CODEC that GoPro uses. Interframe-compression dramatically increases NLE seek time.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Jan 12, 2020 6:24 pm

neavissa wrote:My guess to why the ProRes files playback smoothly, even though they are now 4 times the size of the original files, is that they are not as "compressed" as the GoPro files. Correct? Less compressed means less decoding DURING playback, Correct? If this is the case, wouldn't a RAW file, which is not compressed at all (at least from my understanding) be way easier on your system than a compressed file?

The reason I ask is, some videos on YouTube "measure" the power of a video editing PC, based on how good it can playback RAW files??? But if RAW is not compressed, shouldn't it be easier on your system?


All about correct. Also intermediate codecs are I frame only as Cary said, which has huge impact on seeking.
RAW can be demanding or not, depending on camera. RED RAW is very demanding as it's JPEG2000 compressed. BM RAW is not as decompression is fairly fast. Arri RAW even less as it's uncompressed. Regardless of camera provider RAW also needs debayering which adds to resources need, but in this case it's GPU, not CPU.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 3:16 am

My opinion is that Long-GOP H.264 material, like GoPro files, are bad for post. They're bad because of the heavy compression, the 8-bit color bit depth, and the lack of real timecode. You're a lot better off using a better camera with more bits, and one that uses a less-compressed recording format.

The workflow I normally give clients for DSLRs also applies to GoPro:

1) organize all the files by shoot date and camera card number, so each file folder would be A1_03112019, A2_03112019 [and so on]

2) add a unique prefix to the heads of every file to create easy-to-understand file names (like "A1_03112019_C0001," "A1_03112019_C0002," etc.)

3) transcode all of these Long-GOP H.264/H.265 files to a high-quality codec like ProRes 422HQ or DNxHR, and keep the file names and folder structure exactly the same

4) archive the original files somewhere safe, just in case

5) do the entire edit with the transcoded files and consider them "the new masters"

6) now, when you do the conform in Resolve, every file will have a unique file name and even though the camera timecodes will still start at 00:00:00:00, there will be no conflicts because of the file names

7) it helps greatly to have the editor create a reference file that has visible timecode and filenames for source files, as well as record timecode for the project itself.

This is a proven workflow that can work. I'm not a fan at all of productions using cheap cameras that have no internal jam-sync timecode, because inevitably there's also other problems like exposure issues, sound problems, and other things that basically come with the territory. But I get that not everybody can use an Alexa or a Red camera, and sometimes you have to just deal with what's there.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 11:12 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:RED RAW is very demanding as it's JPEG2000 compressed. BM RAW is not as decompression is fairly fast.


RED RAW is not so demanding, since you can decode every second, fourth, eighth pixel and so on for much faster decoding. That's only possible with a wavelet codec. While BRAW is pretty fast, you can't improve it on a weaker machine in the same way.
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Hendrik Proosa

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 12:02 pm

Braw has very similar half, quarter etc res decode ability and it is faster when using them. I use this decoder feature in my braw player so not pulling it from thin air. Braw is based on dct but as dct is also based on encoding wave functions, depending on implementation it is also possible to decode with skipping some frequencies.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 2:51 pm

That's great!
Unfortunately, BM doesn't seem to have this implemented yet, since I see far less of a speed advantage with partial decoding when comparing BRAW with RED RAW.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 4:18 pm

Uli Plank wrote:That's great!
Unfortunately, BM doesn't seem to have this implemented yet, since I see far less of a speed advantage with partial decoding when comparing BRAW with RED RAW.

It might depend on whether decode is done on cpu or gpu... I only used cpu decode currently because I haven't yet had time to make gpu decoder path work properly. With cpu decode speed difference is in the order of resolution change, half-res plays back I'd say at least 2x faster and so on.
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Jim Simon

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm

Many RAW formats are compressed, so they will require some horsepower from the CPU to play well. Further, RAW formats usually require the system to debayer the image, which also requires some good horsepower from the GPU.
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Cary Knoop

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 4:51 pm

Hendrik Proosa wrote:Braw is based on dct but as dct is also based on encoding wave functions, depending on implementation it is also possible to decode with skipping some frequencies.

Do you have some actual examples of CODECs that do that?
I thought pretty much all DCT based encoding is block-based.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 4:54 pm

Uli Plank wrote:
Andrew Kolakowski wrote:RED RAW is very demanding as it's JPEG2000 compressed. BM RAW is not as decompression is fairly fast.


RED RAW is not so demanding, since you can decode every second, fourth, eighth pixel and so on for much faster decoding. That's only possible with a wavelet codec. While BRAW is pretty fast, you can't improve it on a weaker machine in the same way.


Yes, but overall it's very demanding format. Once you get to export you will "feel it" :)
Partial resolution decoding is also possible with DCT based codecs, although it's more difficult to implement. For codecs like h264/5 it will be crazy difficult (or practically impossible) I assume, so nothing has it implemented. Some DCT based codecs have it implemented, eg. BRAW, ProRes.
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Frank Engel

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 7:16 pm

neavissa wrote:Correct? Less compressed means less decoding DURING playback, Correct?


Not really. Depends more on the specific codec. During the compression process the algorithm will have the added confusion of trying to figure out what data it can discard, etc. - but when decompressing for playback those decisions were already made so no longer a factor. As the size of each frame in the end is going to be similar regardless of how highly compressed the original was, depending on the codec, something that is more highly compressed has less data to churn through and could process more quickly than something that is less compressed and retained more detail.

You also have the I/O constraint to consider. If your storage device has 50 units of bandwidth and a RAW file uses 40 then trying to play two at once will be an exercise in skipped frames, while with a prores file that uses (just tossing random numbers out there) 10 units the storage may be able to keep up with 4-5 files at a time.

Then there is the added non-trivial process of debayering which comes into play with RAW (at least with true RAW formats) which was already done by the camera before storing it as a prores file.

There are many factors that come into play here.
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Dan Sherman

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 7:33 pm

Marc Wielage wrote:My opinion is that Long-GOP H.264 material, like GoPro files, are bad for post. They're bad because of the heavy compression, the 8-bit color bit depth, and the lack of real timecode. You're a lot better off using a better camera with more bits, and one that uses a less-compressed recording format.


Marc some time a go pro is the appropriate camera for the job at hand. For example this show has a budget of about 3 million USD an episode.

Take a look at the season 4 trailer you will see a lot of go pros, and other action cameras.


They use Arri's as well, but obviously not for shots that have space or hazard constraints.


Id also add that h.264 can be lossless, all-i, 444, and 16 bit if you want it to be.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 7:56 pm

I'm pretty sure they transcode it all to a different codec for post.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 7:57 pm

Cary Knoop wrote:
Hendrik Proosa wrote:Braw is based on dct but as dct is also based on encoding wave functions, depending on implementation it is also possible to decode with skipping some frequencies.

Do you have some actual examples of CODECs that do that?
I thought pretty much all DCT based encoding is block-based.

Not sure how prores handles the decoding, afaik there is no subresolution decoding there. So I guess braw is one of the few that does it in some way (what the exact mechanism is, I don't know). Wavelet encoding is also block based, just the block is usually same size as the image. But it could also be smaller, just as DCT could be donr on whole image, not macroblocks. There is nothing that forces specific block size on either of them. Problem with macroblocks is rather how the coefficients are stored in memory: with full image the lower-resolution data for whole image is naturally packed together, with macroblocks it usually is not. But again, it is not some inherent property of encoding algorithm but rather an implementation detail.
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Cary Knoop

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 10:58 pm

I see, thanks!
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 11:09 pm

Hendrik Proosa wrote:
Cary Knoop wrote:
Hendrik Proosa wrote:Braw is based on dct but as dct is also based on encoding wave functions, depending on implementation it is also possible to decode with skipping some frequencies.

Do you have some actual examples of CODECs that do that?
I thought pretty much all DCT based encoding is block-based.

Not sure how prores handles the decoding, afaik there is no subresolution decoding there.


There is. As far as I know it's in reference Apple decoder and very possible that Resolve uses it as well (at least on Mac). It's also described in ProRes WhitePaper (page 21).
Try testing 8K ProRes file in project set to HD (there need to be big resolution difference between file and project) with Optimised Decoding turned on and off in Resolve main preferences. You will see how much you can gain. Very possible that with option turned on Resolve decodes ProRes at half resolution.

Been told that for intermediate codecs its not crazy hard to do partial resolution decoding for DCT based codes, but for complex it can be almost impossible.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 13, 2020 11:11 pm

Uli Plank wrote:I'm pretty sure they transcode it all to a different codec for post.

Some big places normalise everything to DPX or EXR (which hits them hard storage wise).
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 6:00 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:
Uli Plank wrote:I'm pretty sure they transcode it all to a different codec for post.

Some big places normalise everything to DPX or EXR (which hits them hard storage wise).


Seems like an utter waste of time. Honestly, if your are working on projects with that kind of budget, you should have the hardware and workflow, that lets your work directly with any codec given to you.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 10:01 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:There is. As far as I know it's in reference Apple decoder and very possible that Resolve uses it as well (at least on Mac). It's also described in ProRes WhitePaper (page 21).

Right you are, good to know.

Dan Sherman wrote:Seems like an utter waste of time. Honestly, if your are working on projects with that kind of budget, you should have the hardware and workflow, that lets your work directly with any codec given to you.

Transcoding all the incoming stuff to some well rounded intermediate has its advantages, especially when there is data exchange going on with vfx or whoever. You can inject all the metadata you want to those files and do all kind of other tricks. Pulling data from SAN or other central storage simultaneously by many multiple users probably also starts to favor frame sequences over container formats. Whether you can use any and all codecs directly doesn't always mean you should.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 10:09 am

Dan Sherman wrote:
Andrew Kolakowski wrote:
Uli Plank wrote:I'm pretty sure they transcode it all to a different codec for post.

Some big places normalise everything to DPX or EXR (which hits them hard storage wise).


Seems like an utter waste of time. Honestly, if your are working on projects with that kind of budget, you should have the hardware and workflow, that lets your work directly with any codec given to you.


I had similar thoughts, but it's not so obvious.
If you work with RAW and 5 different apps ( we are talking about big places) then not every app handles it exactly the same. You may end up with differences and this is 1 of the reasons why they normalize. DPX or EXR is more robust- there are definitely less possible issues.
You loose time for conversion only once and then you have good performance in every app (their apps like DPX etc). Machines not need to be crazy powerful and we are talking about eg. 20 workstations not 1. Don't assume that big places have unlimited budget. Even if there is a good money it goes quickly on such a big projects.
Files need to go through virus checks anyway (which is slow).
It's still debatable and at the end choice of particular studio.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 11:05 am

Dan Sherman wrote:Marc some time a go pro is the appropriate camera for the job at hand. For example this show has a budget of about 3 million USD an episode.

Tell me how a Blackmagic Pocket camera would be worse. It's got manual gain, it shoots real 23.98, it can provide real timecode, it can use real lenses, and it can record BM Raw or real Apple ProRes 422HQ. I see only negatives with the GoPro.

The two biggest drawbacks I can see for the Pocket Camera is that a) it costs more money, b) it's heavier, and c) it eats up batteries... though you can at least solve the latter problem with an external battery pack. I think people have used GoPros for so long, they get deluded into thinking this is the only way they can go, or that it's ideal for all situations. About the only situation I think would be food for a GoPro would be if it's going off a cliff and is going to break, but you can still retrieve the card. You can sacrifice a $295 camera as long as the recording is worthwhile.

On real network shows, I've seen them use Canon 5D's as disposable "crash" cameras, and that can work, too... except that it's still 8-bit H.264 files (unless something has changed recently). I've done tons and tons and tons of projects with GoPros, and they are a mighty pain in the ass to deal with because the footage is just so ugly.

Dan Sherman wrote:Id also add that h.264 can be lossless, all-i, 444, and 16 bit if you want it to be.

It can be, but not with the GoPros. There are good forms of H.264, like Sony's XAVC, which can be intraframe and works very well. We've had no problem with that on the better Sony cameras, but they're a lot bigger and more costly than the GoPros.

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:Some big places normalise everything to DPX or EXR (which hits them hard storage wise).

For quick-turnaround stuff, I think ProRes 422 or 422HQ can work as an intermediate format for cheap cameras. You do have to keep an eye on the transcoding to make sure there's no Full/Video Data Level issues and stuff like that, but beyond that ProRes 422 is a pretty small, efficient format. And as mentioned elsewhere, you can also insert lots and lots of metadata, which is extremely helpful for big workflows spread across multiple people.

It is true on massive big-budget features, they can and will go to all-DPX or EXR for the entire color and VFX workflow, but I don't see this happening often for modest projects or fast-turnaround TV shows like reality or documentary.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 11:41 am

TV will be always so compressed at the end, so ProResHQ may easily do as well.
Mentioned projects quite often ended on cinema screen, so in this case ProResHQ may be to big compromise (XQ would be better choice if anything).
You can still have problems even with ProRes with different apps (specially when things needs to be color critical) and its YUV nature is not really friendly for apps which work in RGB. DPX is plain and you can easily have robust pipe.
All down to someones choice, but the bigger place the simpler and more robust pipe you need. There are so many juniors working there and they in most cases don't think, just press button as shown.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 1:08 pm

Marc Wielage wrote:Tell me how a Blackmagic Pocket camera would be worse. It's got manual gain, it shoots real 23.98, it can provide real timecode, it can use real lenses, and it can record BM Raw or real Apple ProRes 422HQ. I see only negatives with the GoPro.

The two biggest drawbacks I can see for the Pocket Camera is that a) it costs more money, b) it's heavier, and c) it eats up batteries... though you can at least solve the latter problem with an external battery pack. I think people have used GoPros for so long, they get deluded into thinking this is the only way they can go, or that it's ideal for all situations. About the only situation I think would be food for a GoPro would be if it's going off a cliff and is going to break, but you can still retrieve the card. You can sacrifice a $295 camera as long as the recording is worthwhile.

On real network shows, I've seen them use Canon 5D's as disposable "crash" cameras, and that can work, too... except that it's still 8-bit H.264 files (unless something has changed recently). I've done tons and tons and tons of projects with GoPros, and they are a mighty pain in the ass to deal with because the footage is just so ugly.


As I mentioned, they use multiple makes of cameras, for example they use Arri's a lot as well. The go pros are better in a few cases.

They are small and less intrusive. In a show like this, they are inevitably going to end up in a shot, so anything that minimizes the distraction is important. They use the Panasonic GH or Sony A7 series a lot for in car shots when they can afford the extra space. From what I have read they usually have 4 to 6 cameras inside the car, that need to run and film all day, while not ruining shots. or getting in the way of the host/driver/talent.

The gopros are way more tolerant of abuse. I'm assuming you haven't seen the show, or know of its 20 season run predecessor called top gear, because if you did you would know they abuse the crap out gear.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 3:11 pm

Marc Wielage wrote:
Dan Sherman wrote:Marc some time a go pro is the appropriate camera for the job at hand. For example this show has a budget of about 3 million USD an episode.

Tell me how a Blackmagic Pocket camera would be worse. It's got manual gain, it shoots real 23.98, it can provide real timecode, it can use real lenses, and it can record BM Raw or real Apple ProRes 422HQ. I see only negatives with the GoPro.


Current GoPro models have built-in image stabilization and are immersible to shallow depths without a cage (I see lots of boats in those pictures...). There are quite a few options available to mount them to vehicles, helmets, musical instruments, and just about anything else you can come up with. They are small and light enough to be mounted to just about anything anywhere.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 3:55 pm

Frank Engel wrote:
Marc Wielage wrote:
Dan Sherman wrote:Marc some time a go pro is the appropriate camera for the job at hand. For example this show has a budget of about 3 million USD an episode.

Tell me how a Blackmagic Pocket camera would be worse. It's got manual gain, it shoots real 23.98, it can provide real timecode, it can use real lenses, and it can record BM Raw or real Apple ProRes 422HQ. I see only negatives with the GoPro.


Current GoPro models have built-in image stabilization and are immersible to shallow depths without a cage (I see lots of boats in those pictures...). There are quite a few options available to mount them to vehicles, helmets, musical instruments, and just about anything else you can come up with. They are small and light enough to be mounted to just about anything anywhere.


Timecode Systems even makes a dedicated timecode generator for them.
https://www.timecodesystems.com/syncbac-pro/
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 5:09 pm

Dan Sherman wrote:h.264 can be lossless, all-i, 444, and 16 bit


It never is coming out of a camera, though. :cry:
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 7:45 pm

Jim Simon wrote:
Dan Sherman wrote:h.264 can be lossless, all-i, 444, and 16 bit


It never is coming out of a camera, though. :cry:


That's not the codecs fault. Blame the camera manufacture, not the codec.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 8:25 pm

Dan Sherman wrote:Blame the camera manufacture


I do.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 11:00 pm

There are camera which do I frame h264/5.
Canon just announced 1D X Mark III has quite rich video spec.
They even done white paper about it this time (Canon must be desperate):

https://downloads.canon.com/nw/camera/p ... _Paper.pdf

They have quite high bitrate video recording modes as for still camera.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostWed Jan 15, 2020 1:17 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:There are camera which do I frame h264/5.
Canon just announced 1D X Mark III has quite rich video spec.
They even done white paper about it this time (Canon must be desperate):

https://downloads.canon.com/nw/camera/p ... _Paper.pdf

They have quite high bitrate video recording modes as for still camera.


The Panasonic GH5 has had it for a while as well (mid 2017), its one of the things that made it so popular.

Image

Anamorphic mode as well.
Image
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostWed Jan 15, 2020 2:57 am

Dan Sherman wrote:The gopros are way more tolerant of abuse. I'm assuming you haven't seen the show, or know of its 20 season run predecessor called top gear, because if you did you would know they abuse the crap out gear.

I have seen the show and like it very much. But my points are still valid: a small 10-bit camera like the Blackmagic Pocket wouldn't take up that much more room than a GoPro and it would provide better pictures. Since they're spending $8 million an episode, I would think $2K per camera would be pretty trivial:

https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/a852454/a ... rand-tour/

As I often say: You ask a question, I give you an answer, which is just an opinion based on experience. One of the problems with asking for free advice on the internet is that sometimes, the answers you get may not be what you expected or hoped for. But it doesn't make the advice any less true.

The o.p. asked why highly-compressed H.264 material is hard to process -- I explained why and gave them a potential solution. It's still good advice, and I'd give it to anybody, whether they pay me or not. My opinion is that the GoPros are sh!tty toy cameras and tough for post, and there are better (albeit more costly) choices out there. I don't have a problem with them being used for YouTube videos or school kids or amateurs playing around with skateboards. I do think it's sad when a huge $8 million-per-episode Amazon show uses cheap cameras, because there are better choices out there that will help their production and post crews. I don't get paid by GoPro, Blackmagic, or anybody else -- I just work as a colorist and occasional post supervisor, and have done so for 40 years. I always try to tell post people the truth, whether they want to hear it or not.
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Dan Sherman

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostWed Jan 15, 2020 3:03 am

Marc Wielage wrote:
Dan Sherman wrote:The gopros are way more tolerant of abuse. I'm assuming you haven't seen the show, or know of its 20 season run predecessor called top gear, because if you did you would know they abuse the crap out gear.

I have seen the show and like it very much. But my points are still valid: a small 10-bit camera like the Blackmagic Pocket wouldn't take up that much more room than a GoPro and it would provide better pictures. Since they're spending $8 million an episode, I would think $2K per camera would be pretty trivial:


For sure the BPC would provide better footage, but I don't think it could handle anywhere close to the abuse a gopro could.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostWed Jan 15, 2020 9:27 am

Dan Sherman wrote:
Andrew Kolakowski wrote:There are camera which do I frame h264/5.
Canon just announced 1D X Mark III has quite rich video spec.
They even done white paper about it this time (Canon must be desperate):

https://downloads.canon.com/nw/camera/p ... _Paper.pdf

They have quite high bitrate video recording modes as for still camera.


The Panasonic GH5 has had it for a while as well (mid 2017), its one of the things that made it so popular.


I know, but Canon uses high bitrate+gives you 5.5K RAW for video inside camera. I thought I mention it.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostWed Jan 15, 2020 9:49 pm

Tell me how a Blackmagic Pocket camera would be worse. It's got manual gain, it shoots real 23.98, it can provide real timecode, it can use real lenses, and it can record BM Raw or real Apple ProRes 422HQ. I see only negatives with the GoPro.


Marc's technical comments about the weaknesses of the GoPro codec is spot on and I fully agree, from a post production Point of View. I too hate grading GoPro video. However on this forum Marc's comments about the matter of simply using larger hardware with better codecs, comes across as a little bit arrogant sounding. I'm sure that was not his intent.

There are times where as a cameraman that the choice of Codec is not my first and only concern when deciding which camera to use.

Right now I am filming a Skiiing video, and find that having two GoPros and a handful of batteries and a GoPro skipole mount with me in my coat pocket is a way better choice. It is much less bulky and much more practical than hauling my BMPCC4K, a cage, handle, the lens, external battery module, gimbal or monopod and the backpack to haul it all while on the ski slopes.

I can get darn near the same image with the GoPro gear, UHD 4K 60fps internal digital stabilization on a ski pole acting as a monopod and in good lighting its a useable image. In this harsh filming environment, the sheer bulk and awkwardness of hauling my larger and "better" cameras are too much a physical PITA when dealing with ski chair lifts, while skiiing from filming site to site, when climbing thru 3 foot thick powder snow to get that perfect angle.,etc. In a given day I can get 10 good shots of the skiers doing jumps with the Gopro kit, but using a larger rig, such bulkier hardware would slow me down considerably. In these extreme filming environments the choice of the GoPro camera as the platform shows its benefits from a practicality perspective and I use Marcs transcoding flow for such. I just wish that these action cameras will someday get better 10-12 bit codecs and less compression.. it will happen eventually.

Or.. when I'm filming my Underwater gigs, often such projects require me to travel very light. I often will fly small planes to remote locations, or drive rough roads into remote locations, where weight and size constraints of my luggage are a real world factor. Sometimes I have to physically haul a housing from the shore into the water... my body can only take so much bulk. You try wearing a drysuit, 40 lbs of weights, a 50 lb scuba tank, dive gear, AND a 50 lb camera housing the size of a Chevy engine. I used to do it and it ruined my back. Resulted in surgery and no diving for a year. So... It is sometimes not practical to lug about the Red in the larger underwater housing, plus the huge protective box that it takes to ship it just so that I can film using the best codec. Lets not forget to mention airline baggage fees or weight and size embargoes on some of these out of the farway locations.

Rather than deal with the perfect camera and its bulk, often times I opt for my inferior GH4/5 housed in a smaller Nauticam housing. I can pack an entire Gh5 underwater rig into a regulation size airline carry on sized bag;, the camera, lights, dome port, everything into one carry on size bag. There are also the sheer physics of diving at 150 feet with a smaller housing which is is much more practical and safer than hauling around underwater a larger sized housing. I'm talking here about physical exertion at depth, carbon dioxide build up in the lungs, which can lead to death. Little things like that.

So yes.. the GoPros, and smaller cameras and their ugly 8 bit codecs are a joke and a pain in post, and I too loathe grading and editing compressed media too; but sometimes there are other more important factors to consider besides the camera's codec if I want to get the necessary shots.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostThu Jan 16, 2020 1:25 am

MikeMeagher wrote:Marc's technical comments about the weaknesses of the GoPro codec is spot on and I fully agree, from a post production Point of View. I too hate grading GoPro video. However on this forum Marc's comments about the matter of simply using larger hardware with better codecs, comes across as a little bit arrogant sounding. I'm sure that was not his intent.

No, but I do get weary in post when people dump a ton of awful H.264 material in our laps and expect us to turn this s*** into shinola. And it's just not going to happen. I don't care how great the cinematographer is, it's very hard to overcome a $10 lens in a $300 box recording highly-compressed files, especially while fighting automatic gain, fixed color temperature, no focus control, aliasing, noise, rolling shutter issues, and the same problems you get in any cheap camera.

I think there are better alternatives. If they get you better pictures and don't cost that much more than a GoPro, they're much wiser choices. Note that I'm not asking them to grab a Red 8K Monstro and put it in a giant plastic box and jump off a ski lift. I'm just asking for a camera with better recording formats, 10-bit color, no auto gain, and better quality. And there are some good choices out there that will do this (including the BMD Pocket).

I don't have a problem with no-budget projects using GoPros where it's just kids on YouTube and students and stuff like that. If nothing else, it's a place for them to learn technique, how to move the camera, how to edit, and all that stuff... maybe a step above home movies. But know up front that -- as this thread title says -- this H.264 Long-GOP material will be hard to process and will stress out a lot of computer systems running Resolve. Pros should be aware of the alternatives out there and understand that often when they make bad decisions, it rolls downhill into post* and creates lots of headaches and unnecessary effort in order to "save" this footage.

BTW, speaking of skiing, I worked for the great Warren Miller (along with several other colorists) for more than 10 years, working on dozens of his wonderful ski and sports videos in post in the 1990s and early 2000s. All of those projects were shot on 16mm negative and looked dynamite, and Miller himself was a joy to work with. You gotta wonder: how did Miller get such amazing shots with a 15-pound 16mm camera, plus batteries, plus film stock? Somehow, he found a way, and got worldwide recognition, made a great living, and got scores of awards. I think any professional today could find a way to carry something like a BMD Pocket Camera and cards and batteries, which are a fraction of that size and weight, and make far better pictures than the GoPro.

But shoot what you want. I won't try to stop you. People ask for an opinion: I gave them an opinion, based on many decades of experience. If you don't like it, move on to the next guy and use what you think is right.

* yes, this is a ski reference.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostThu Jan 16, 2020 8:37 pm

MikeMeagher wrote:
Tell me how a Blackmagic Pocket camera would be worse. It's got manual gain, it shoots real 23.98, it can provide real timecode, it can use real lenses, and it can record BM Raw or real Apple ProRes 422HQ. I see only negatives with the GoPro.


Marc's technical comments about the weaknesses of the GoPro codec is spot on and I fully agree, from a post production Point of View. I too hate grading GoPro video. However on this forum Marc's comments about the matter of simply using larger hardware with better codecs, comes across as a little bit arrogant sounding. I'm sure that was not his intent.



It's not GoPro codec (there isn't really such a thing), it's just h264. It's what it's. For cameras like GoPro it's really only way to store UHD etc. videos at those restrictions (storage, size, price, etc.)
If you have budget there are other options and they are adequately more expensive.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostFri Jan 17, 2020 5:48 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:It's not GoPro codec (there isn't really such a thing), it's just h264. It's what it's. For cameras like GoPro it's really only way to store UHD etc. videos at those restrictions (storage, size, price, etc.) If you have budget there are other options and they are adequately more expensive.

Yes, exactly. In truth, even a Canon EOS-5D will have a better lens and won't have autogain, so even that is a step up. Though a 5D is by no means a good camera for filmmaking (all things being equal).
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostMon Jan 20, 2020 11:07 am

Hey,

Interested topic here... Actually I think you guys don't write about specifically the same thing...
My opinion is 60% Marc's one, 40% else I daresay :)
I had this project including 3 gopros (+ 3 high end Sony cams) and well, I finally had shared opinions about this kind of projects.

1/ What's obvious : if you can shoot with something else, shoot with something else. No doubt at all.
The tiny hardware involved will probably turn into pain at a certain stage of the post, moreover most likely near the beginning...

2/ On the other hand, yes, the specific accessories make the gopro easy to stick on cars, snowboards/ski, underwater stuff, ...

My conclusion is that I avoid taking gopro footage as "main views" in any projects, but it can be very handy to add gopro footage in some situations.
And anyway, I'll transcode into ProRes 422 whatever comes from gopros, with sometimes other first changes at this transcoding step.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSat Feb 22, 2020 11:37 pm

1. My apologies for not replying sooner... I totally forgot about me posting this question.

2. WOW! I appreciate all the input!

3. I haven't even read all the replies yet, just wanted to say thanks before I "forget" again, ha ha.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSat Feb 22, 2020 11:41 pm

Marc Wielage wrote:You're a lot better off using a better camera with more bits, and one that uses a less-compressed recording format.


Such as? What "other" camera am I supposed to strap to the top of my helmet, if not a GoPro?

transcode all of these Long-GOP H.264/H.265 files to a high-quality codec like ProRes 422HQ or DNxHR, and keep the file names and folder structure exactly the same


What do you use to transcode all your files? In the past I used 5DtoRGB and it worked great. Now for some reason 5DtoRGB does not work anymore on my computer...

Thanks.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 12:43 am

I am almost done reading the entire thread, but before I continue, I just thought of one thing...

I have a dual XEON E5-2620, 64Gb RAM, 2 SSD in RAID 2 for OS, 4 HDD in RAID 5 for storage and one GTX 780 TI running Windows 10. How come my computer CANNOT handle GoPro files, but my Phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 10+) CAN!? This makes no sense. On top of that, I just got a GoPro MAX and I have ZERO issues editing those files on my phone, but of course, CANNOT do that on my PC without first converting the files to CINEFORM, so DaVince Resolve can even read them...!?

Sure, my PC is now 6 years old, buck when I got it, I did the ppbm7 test, if anyone remembers those, and I scored 22nd! So it cannot be that bad... but is my phone that much more powerful? I doubt that...

Thanks.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 1:38 am

Your phone has a hardware decoder for the GoPro footage, your PC doesn't. Your PC will fly with Cineform and your phone isn't even capable of showing it.
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 1:39 am

You beat me to it!
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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 2:08 am

neavissa wrote:I have a dual XEON E5-2620, 64Gb RAM, 2 SSD in RAID 2 for OS, 4 HDD in RAID 5 for storage and one GTX 780 TI running Windows 10. How come my computer CANNOT handle GoPro files, but my Phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 10+) CAN!?

Watching long GOP H.264/H.265 sequentially, as in watching a video, is not the same as having it loaded in an NLE while seeking and editing.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Which is "harder" to process?

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 2:14 am

neavissa wrote:I have a dual XEON E5-2620, 64Gb RAM, 2 SSD in RAID 2 for OS, 4 HDD in RAID 5 for storage and one GTX 780 TI running Windows 10. How come my computer CANNOT handle GoPro files, but my Phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 10+) CAN!? This makes no sense. On top of that, I just got a GoPro MAX and I have ZERO issues editing those files on my phone, but of course, CANNOT do that on my PC without first converting the files to CINEFORM, so DaVince Resolve can even read them...!?

Hate Dot 264 is bad for post, in general. Convert it to DNxHD or something like that, and you should have no problem. Bear in mind that H.264 was originally intended as a delivery format, not for further editing or color or processing.
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