Like many professional, Final-Cut-Pro, post-production facilities, the release of “Final Cut X” and Apple’s immediate “end-of-life-ing” of the program we had come to rely on and love, left us in a lurch. Upon Apple’s release, we found Final Cut X to be missing a slew of professional features and required learning a whole new interface and editing paradigm. This left us looking at two viable alternatives — AVID’s venerable Media Composer or Adobe’s re-worked Premiere Pro.
Many former Final Cut editors have switched to the latter, finding Premier’s interface and workflow a natural evolution away from Final Cut 7 (the official release from Apple before X). There are a ton of features to list in the latest edition of Premiere (Premiere Pro CC 2014), enough for an encyclopedia of Premiere blogs; however, perhaps one of the most important is Premiere’s “native” editing workflow.
A lot of the footage we’ve worked with lately has come from DSLR cameras. DSLR’s typically record to the highly compressed h.264 codec. This recording is usually 8bit, with a RGB color space of 4:2:0. A common Final Cut 7 (now called legacy) workflow with h.264 footage was to “transcode” the source footage out of the DSLR to a flavor of Apple’s “ProRes” codec. ProRes, is 10bit, and usually specified with a 4:2:2 color space. The rational for doing this was that editors would be putting this highly compressed 8bit, 4:2:0 footage into a larger 10bit, 4:2:2 workspace. And, in so doing, this step provided the editor with more room for video post-production operations like color grading and compositing. In reality, taking this up-resing step, editors were making unwieldy files, many times the size of the original, and not actually “creating” any true additional color information.
Adobe had long touted Premiere’s ability to work with footage natively, even mixing different codecs, video frame rates and video frame sizes. So, after researching about native transcoding and editing in Premiere, we took the plunge.
The following is an excerpt from “An Editors Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro” and the nature of the Premiere timeline: “Many editors believe you must transcode your media for color grading, but this is not accurate. The intermediate codecs that many are accustomed to using do not buy you any more dynamic range for color grading. Adobe Premiere Pro automatically up-samples media to 4:4:4 and 32-bit float upon import.”
On our most recent project, we worked with DSLR footage natively. It saved an enormous amount of drive space, hours of pre-transcoding, and when it came to really pushing the footage during color correction, the footage behaved just as well as the transcoded ProRes files we were accustomed to.
Go “native” on your next project! You’ll be glad you did!
Contact Capitola Media for all of your video post production needs in the San Francisco Bay Area.