October 11, 2016 at 8:49AM

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Using Cineform as editing codec

Hello! So I recently had to edit a 4k project on my windows desktop and by the time it was done (hour and half worth of footage) my computer was getting pretty slow at responding. So then I started to look into various editing techniques such as working with proxies or converting footage. I like the idea of converting my footage to cineform codec to make editing and cross platform sharing easier. I just had a few questions on the workflow of doing this. I've seen multiple discussions on converting the footage once all editing is done but I would like to convert all footage BEFORE any editing is done to take the load of the computer. Any information would help! How do you guys go about this? Do you load all your 4k files into Gopro Studio to convert the files? Then are the files saved as a cineform codec and edited from there?? I am using Premiere Pro and all the other apps in Adobe Creative Cloud.

24 Comments

I do color correction ( no grading ) and audio correction on all my camera footage, and then export as Cineform 4:4:4 for editing. This means it takes a little longer before you can edit, but then everything matches as you edit, and your finished edit is ready for grading when you are done. ( not sure how I would handle this if I shot RAW footage )

October 11, 2016 at 8:57PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32656

Guy, I was hoping you would respond. You seem to have a lot of information on this workflow. So you bring your files into your project panel, color correct and audio correct then export to what? Your external HD? Then you reopen the project in premiere with the cineform files? Then what do you do with the original files? Store them on a HD as well?

October 12, 2016 at 7:58AM

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>>>You seem to have a lot of information on this workflow.

I've been using the Cineform CODEC this way for the past 5 years. It's a great CODEC where the SAME files work on both Mac and PC computers.

>>>So you bring your files into your project panel, color correct and audio correct then export to what?

For most of my projects I use the following folder structure:

1- Project folder starting with the date and then name. This one is for October 12, 2016.

161012 Patient Interviews 6 Months of Treatment

2- Inside the project folder I place the following folders...

Cineform : for exported Cineform editing files.

Documents : any documents related to the project.

Master Edits : finished edits ready to be exported to the delivery platform.

Raw Media : native camera files and audio files. Contains an Audio-BackUp folder, as my Sound Forge audio edits are destructive edits, so I need to keep copies of the original audio recordings.

Support Media : any graphics created for the working edits. Titles, lower-thirds, credits, etc... I like to use PNG files with editable text, bit-map graphics, vector-graphics, alpha-channel effects built with the out of date but still very useful Adobe Fireworks 6 software.

Review Edits : Time-coded exports for clients to give feed-back on. Usually at 720p.

Storage : Place to put all of the project files that are out of date, or don't belong in any other folder.

Working Edits : Working files that will be used to build the master edits.

...After a shoot is over I copy all of the native camera files into the Raw Media folder, along with all of the audio recordings. I then place a duplicate of my audio recordings in an audio back-up folder.

Next I bring all of my media files into my editor ( Sony Vegas Pro ), make all of my image corrections, make all of my audio corrections, then sync the audio with my video, and finally export "working" editing files in Cineform format to the "Cineform" folder. If it's a lot of short shots, I might gang everything together and export one large Cineform file containing all of the short shots.

Then I start my edit, which includes building graphics and animations to be used in the finished video. Almost all of my work is educational and training, so most of my edits are less than 30 minutes long.

If I've promised the client a review copy ( or if the client wants to decide on what content stays in the finished video ), I will send them a "review" version which is time-coded and exported at 720p, so it's easy to download and the TC gives them a reference to describe exactly what parts of the video they like or don't like.

While I own a license for Premiere, I still do most of my editing in Sony Vegas Pro because I've got 15+ years experience with it and I love how their interface works.
( I do use the following Adobe products After Effects, LightRoom, Photoshop, Illustrator, and a lot of Fireworks )

I keep my Sony Vegas Pro project files in my "working" folder, which often has a "Storage" folder to keep out of date project files as my edits progress. ( I generate versions of my project files, so if something ever gets corrupted I won't lose much work, and I always start with the last project version when coming back to an edit )

I always keep original camera files in my "Raw Media" folder, and treat them like gold because everything else can be built from them.

When a job is done, I move all of it's files to an external "archive" drive using a SATA drive dock, and these external drives are stored in a safe place. ( I use drive cataloging software to keep track of which archive drive has what projects on it, so it's easy to find old projects )

This system may seem a little complicated, but I am very used to it, and it forces me to stay organized. ( I have seen many file nightmares when working at other people's places, so I do everything I can to avoid a giant mess of project files )

October 12, 2016 at 8:38PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32656

That is the most conveluded and conterproductive workflow I have ever heard of. Must be nice to be a salary employee and afford to waste so much time.

In 2008 this might have been an okay workflow, but today it shows how outdated you are. Good luck!

October 14, 2016 at 7:29PM

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...While I do produce video projects for government NGOs, I also produce independent commercial projects. When a project is finished the client will want a copy of all my working files in an organized file structure on an external hard-drive, which they are free to re-edit or simply archive for safe keeping. ( I charge for my time to archive the files and for the cost of the external drive )

In terms of my editing time, the color correction / audio correction and Cineform export usually takes less than 10 percent of my total editing time. Both color correction and audio correction is very fast. I learned to color correct by eye way back in the late 80's when I shot with 4x5 and 8x10 inch view-cameras. Color correction for digital photos and videos works the same way, just the tools you use are different. The slowest step of my correction process is the Cineform export itself.

There have been times when I've had to go back 3 or 4 years to re-cut a project or generate completely new video from old footage. So having everything organized and ready to be re-edited makes my life a lot easier.

October 15, 2016 at 12:28AM, Edited October 15, 12:29AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32656

Obviously organization is key, you are just waisting a lot of time. I would also bet that your folder structure just confuses the clients.

You need to find a simplified way to organize all that. I was always taught that if I died in the middle of a project, any editor should be able to take over the project without any explanation. With your complicated and useless workflow they would need a map.

You use too many folders to begin with, folders will cause things to get lost for other editors not used to your "workflow." You obviously work alone, when you are on a team you can't do what you're doing. You can't accompany every action on a team with a notepad explaining why.

Good luck Guy, I hope they allow you to continue waisting company time. I hope they don't realize any kid of out college could do your job faster, better, and for half the price.

October 15, 2016 at 10:12AM

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Also, if you knew how to shoot correctly you do not need to do so much color correction. I get my exposure and white balance correct in camera, this is what you are paid to do as a professional shooter. I rarely, if ever, have any shot I need to do pre-color correction for. My shots are balanced out of camera, because I am a professional shooter that gets it right in camera. I usually only have to do slight adjustments and then grade, all done after the edit is complete. You obviously have trouble getting footage right in camera, I would suggest a gray card to set everything right in camera. This along with learning how to use a waveform, saves time in post. Never go by eye, monitors are deceiving only trust a waveform. A lot of times I am shooting and it looks dark on the monitor, but I know I am exposing perfectly on my waveform. Boom I get to my computer and everything looks perfectly exposed and consistent. If you expose by eye, like I have seen many shooters like guy do, you will end up with a bunch of inconsistent shots. Just like guy. This is because our eyes naturally adjust to our surroundings. Something too dark, is automatically adjusted by our eyes to look normal. Something too green, and your eyes try to adjust to make it white. Be very careful with this, or you'll spend years pre color correcting your footage, like guy.

You cannot color grade or correct "by eye." This shows how clueless you are guy. Every monitor is different, your eyes will deceive you. Even a color calibrated $20k monitor can be a little off a week after calibration. The only way to be a professional colorist is by using scopes. If you just go by eye and don't use scopes you are a joke. Take a class or two, from a real colorist and they will say the same.

October 15, 2016 at 10:19AM, Edited October 15, 10:29AM

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Frank, if we are going to talk about workflows in general, what is your preferred workflow? As someone who is just starting to get serious with real projects, I like to hear how other people go about handling their projects and making the most of their time. Any suggestions are helpful to me so please share your views and let others share theirs as well. Thanks!

October 28, 2016 at 11:15AM

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Frank, post your suggestions! Be Constructive

October 15, 2016 at 6:56AM

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I hardly consider Guy's workflow is convoluted. I'd rather have too many properly labeled subfolders that keep things organized than a cluster fuck of files in a base directory.

While it will vary from project to project, depending on complexity, I would usually use a folder hierarchy like this:

Project Name (base directory)
Footage
- CAM A
- CAM B
- Audio (music and additional audio)
GFX
- Stills (readers/backgrounds)
- Templates (intro/lower-thirds, etc)
Sequences (for all my various sequences dealing with the project)
Output (for all renders, whether final or not)

Frank, I know you praise Lynda.com for their training videos. If you would watch the essential training of Premiere Pro CC 2015 or After Effects CC 2015, you'd see that many editors and motion graphics specialists still use these types of folder hierarchies. They are all clearly labeled, and anyone with half a brain could figure it out, whether they are editors or not.

Lastly, I'm sorry this did not contribute to the discussion regarding cineform. In my experience, unless I'm dealing with a relatively complex project, I haven't had the need the for an editing codec.

October 17, 2016 at 1:10PM

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Charles Duoto
Instructor & TV Production Crew
1085

Back before 2000? Wow, this explains why your techniques are so outdated.

I'll let you keep doing things backwards, by the way 2000 was almost 20 years ago Guy. You need scopes to properly color correct and grade, if you think otherwise you are absolutely wrong. At least your lucky to work for someone who is clueless. I work with directors who have very good eyes, if I don't use scopes they can tell.

October 15, 2016 at 6:23PM

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What exactly are you trying to get at here? How constructive is it to show up in the comments section on a site like this and start bitching at someone personally over their workflow, trying to chest thump? Are you just that bored or what? You sound like a tool.

October 15, 2016 at 7:41PM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
483

How constructive is it to show up, like guy always does, and spew baseless and false information. I am just stating the fact that his workflow is over 20 years old. If you haven't revisited your workflow in 20 years, something is seriously wrong.

At me company we are constantly re-evaluating our techniques and constantly learning. This allows us to push quality and content further each day. Why are you so quick to defend someone, like guy, who doesn't know anything and spreads bad information?

October 16, 2016 at 10:55AM, Edited October 16, 10:55AM

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Nothing about what he does is "20 years old". It's not my preferred workflow and I wouldn't use it but it's a perfectly acceptable one.

What company is this that you work for? Send us all a link. If you're doing such incredible things that it gives you the high ground to shit on someone with a lot of experience who takes an appreciable amount of their time to help out new people then surely it's a place we could all learn a lot from.

October 16, 2016 at 2:43PM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
483

Joshua don't worry, this guy loves to randomly join discussions with his priceless tips, bitching about his life and building up his ego. I suggest ignoring him.

October 17, 2016 at 2:04AM

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Marcin
81

I mention back before 2000, because this was when medium and large format photographers were using only film. Digital backs for these cameras were either non-existent or produced poor quality images compared to shooting with film.

This is when most advertising and magazine photographers shot transparency film because it produced the best quality image in magazine, posters, and billboards.

Transparency film was a b*tch to work with because every batch of film had a different color balance and you only had about 8 to 9 F-stops of dynamic range to work with, so good lighting and exact exposure were critical to get a great result. You also had to know how to read the color balance for every batch of film you shot with to get neutral color. ( most of the time you would stock up on one batch of film so that you could keep shooting with the same color filtration pack, and pro film had to be kept in the fridge to stop the color balance from changing )

So photographers shooting professional transparency film ( like Fuji RFP 50, Fuji RDP 100, Kodak Ektachrome 64, Kodak Ektachrome 100 ) had to learn how to color balance by eye.

When professional digital cameras started to replace film cameras ( after 2000 ), the same lighting and color balancing skills used for professional film could also be used with digital images, including digital video.

October 16, 2016 at 3:16PM, Edited October 16, 3:18PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32656

Very similar here. I love Vegas. I now also use the Cineform Codec and navigate between Vegas and Resolve 12.5.

October 16, 2016 at 8:32AM

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It's hard for me to know where to start, guy is so lost.

October 15, 2016 at 10:21AM, Edited October 15, 10:21AM

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Your criticism is cancerous

October 25, 2016 at 2:28PM

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Clark McCauley
Spaceman
2017

The best way to think about this is "Time is a resource, decide how to spend it." You are going to have the spend the time somewhere, so you need to decide what works best for you.

If you want to just jump in and work with the camera files, you can get to editing much faster. BUT, you can experience some lag if your system can't handle it, and you are going to have longer exports.

If you convert it upfront, it takes longer to get working but then you save time on the backend.

For example, if you are working on a project that is going to go through multiple iterations (i.e., lots of exporting), and you're going to be doing a lot of effects work with it then you will come out ahead timewise to convert it upfront.

If you are working on something somewhat short, or that is only going to be exported once or twice, or needs very few effects, you can get away with working with the camera files then.

I can't speak to Guy's workflow. It works for him and might for you. I personally prefer not do anything colorwise until after the edit. When I convert, I go straight from card to ProRes (Cineform in your case for Windows. Aside from compatibility they function about the same).

With Premiere's new Proxy workflow, you can sort of split the difference and have the proxies encode in the background while you get to work. Since 2015.5 I've taken to ingesting everything and letting it roll to proxies while I sort through and watch media. By the time I'm done it's either the end of the day and I let it finish overnight, or if it's a short project I can get cutting right when I'm done sorting.

October 15, 2016 at 7:48PM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
483

>>>I personally prefer not do anything colorwise until after the edit.

Yes, this is the traditional way most people edit. I know I'm not the norm when it comes to this. Keep in mind that I am not talking about grading, only getting a neutral color balance in all your shots.

I'm mostly shooting with 8-bit cameras that produce highly compressed files, so transcoding to Cineform makes editing faster for both playback and rendering.

I take the extra steps of getting a neutral color balance to my shots and syncing production quality audio because these steps are extremely fast. I use custom presets in Vegas so it's usually a couple of minutes to get a neutral color balance ( which includes contrast and exposure corrections ), and then about 3 - 5 minutes to process and sync all of the audio.

If the footage is shot in the same location with the same lighting then it's the same amount of time to correct 1 minute of video or 4 hours of video.

I know that there are many different white-balancing tools available when editing, but I prefer the results when I do it myself.

October 16, 2016 at 3:38PM, Edited October 16, 3:49PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32656

Yes I prefer to work with the original files but usually by the time i get to the end of a project the computer is pretty bogged down and moving slowly. This also ruins any chance to come back and make and edits when the computer is running that slow. Last night I tried converting my 4k files to cineform and once i tried pulling them into premiere it said the files were either incompatible or damaged. Not sure what I did wrong in the trans coding process.....

October 28, 2016 at 9:35AM

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This thread is about the Cineform editing CODEC that is mostly used to transcode and composit video. ( I think there are a few devices that can capture video using the Cineform CODEC, but they are kind of rare )

I would be interested in hearing how Frank uses the Cineform CODEC in his workflow, as I am always open to better ways of using production tools. ( and I know that what works for me might not work for someone else )

October 16, 2016 at 3:00PM, Edited October 16, 3:56PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32656

I suggest ignoring him, you only waste time with discussion with this guy - you'll see ;)

October 17, 2016 at 2:06AM, Edited October 17, 2:07AM

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Marcin
81

Frank, it's weird, it seems you have a personal vendetta against Guy?

October 17, 2016 at 8:25AM

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