Category Archives: HD

Upres a Sequence Multiple Times

This explanation comes by way of Ian Differ, and is useful if you’re cutting on Avid in HD and need to upres an updated version of a sequence you’ve already upres-ed once. For example, if you are working in DNxHD 36 and want to preview a feature film in DNxHD 115, make changes to it and then preview it again, here’s a deceptively simple way to do that.

Note: If you’re on a Unity, I’ve found it helpful to unmount all of my workspaces except for a dedicated one or two that I create specifically to hold higher-res media. This helps you verify that all of the clips in your sequence are linked to the higher-res media and aren’t still pointing at lower-res material.

Doing Your First Upres

Decompose settings

First up-res Decompose settings

  1. Decompose: The first time you want to prepare a sequence for upresing, start by copying the sequence into another bin, selecting it and then choosing Decompose from the Clip menu. (NB: I usually strip off all the Audio tracks before I do this.) Since this is the first time you’re doing this upres, you should have some handles set so that you can change your sequence later and be able to use most of the higher-resolution media you’re about to capture (reusing media being the point of this article!). I’ve selected ‘Captured clips only’ in the screen shot to the right, since Quicktimes are so easily re-imported in their entirety that I probably wouldn’t bother with decomposing them at all.
  2. Capture: Once you’ve got your decomposed sequence, open the Capture tool, select your intended higher resolution (DNxHD 115 or higher), and Batch Capture all of the decomposed clips in your new resolution.
  3. Put it all back together: Once your batch capture is complete, all of the clips in your sequence that originated from tape should be back online. If you’re on a Unity, you can now remount your other volumes, and watch as your Quicktime-based clips come back online as well. If you stripped out audio prior to decomposing, take your original sequence, splice your audio tracks into your decomposed sequence, and you should be good to go.

Doing Your Second Upres

Second up-res Decompose settings

Second up-res Decompose settings

Okay, so now you’re at the point where you’ve probably screened your first preview with high-res media, made some changes as a result, and are preparing to do a second preview screening. You know that you have all this high-res media online, and you’d prefer to reuse as much of it as possible, so now it’s time to go through the process again. If you’re on a Unity, unmount every workspace except the ones containing your higher-resolution media. Then,

  1. Decompose with 0 frame handles: Since you already have your high-res decomposed media online, this time when you decompose you want to make sure to reuse as much of it as possible. You do this by Decomposing with 0 frame handles. If you were to decompose with 48 frame handles again, you would find that even clips that had only been slid by one frame would not relink, since Avid needs to relink the whole clip including handles, even if the range of the clip that exists in the cut is still within the handles of the originally-decomposed media. So by specifying 0 frame handles on your decompose, minor edits will still relink.
  2. Capture remaining clips: New shots, extensively trimmed clips, or basically whatever does not relink will need to be re-captured, but this should be a far smaller task than it was the first time around. When finished, bring your other workspaces online again, splice in your audio, and you should be good to go.

N.B.: In your Timeline’s Fast Menu, you can set your Clip Text to include Clip Resolutions. This is a good way to double-check that your media is at 115 or whatever your higher resolution setting is supposed to be.

Importing 24fps Quicktimes Into 23.976 Projects

Here’s a neat little console command to tell Avid to ignore the frame rate of any imported Quicktime. You would need this command if, for example, you’re cutting in 23.976 but your vfx house insists on delivering 24.000 fps QTs. This would also work in the reverse, if someone delivers you 23.976fps Quicktimes and you need them to be 24.000fps.

Open the console and type in this command:

ignoreqtrate true

To turn it off, just substitute ‘false’ for ‘true’.

This works particularly well in the 24/23.976 situation since there are actually the same number of frames in both types of Quicktimes, they just play at slightly different speeds. So by telling Avid to ignore the frame rate of the Quicktime, you can prevent Avid from trying to interpolate frames to convert 23.98 to 24, since it shouldn’t be doing that anyway.

Pros and Cons of Cutting in HD

Hellboy 2 was a first for me in terms of cutting in HD. All of the other projects I’ve cut or worked on have edited in either NTSC or PAL, and so this was my first run through the process of organizing an editorial and post-production process involving HD. Overall, it worked very well. The editor enjoyed working with much higher-quality footage, the sound department loved mixing to higher-quality reels, and having that extra definition gave us assistant editors more flexibility across the board for how and at what quality we would turn materials over to the people who needed them.

That said, after a year of working in HD, there are some big limitations that got in the way, many of them from Day 1. I will go into them in detail, but I think I can sum them up by saying that the HD workflow was obviously not intended to be used for cutting film, and I hope that we soon move back to cutting with 4:3 material, hopefully in 1k or even 2k.