What is ProRes?

More and more we’re starting to see ProRes popping up as an acquisition format. The codec has had popularity from 3rd parties like AJA, Blackmagic Design, and Atomos for a few years now. But then we started seeing it natively in cameras from the likes of Arri and Blackmagic. Now even the big old digital camera brands, Sony and Panasonic, have started adding it into their cameras. So what exactly is ProRes and why is it in everything.

ProRes is a format that was invented by Apple. It debuted in 2007 with Final Cut Pro 6. At the time Final Cut was starting to gain some very serious headway into ultra high end post production. But there was one glaring issue: no mastering format of their own. The big intermediate codecs of the day were Avid DNx and CineForm. Apple decided they need to have their own solution. Hence ProRes was born. ProRes is an all Intra-Frame, minimum 10-bit, minimum 4:2:2 codec. But then a funny thing started happening. Camera manufacturers started using more internal compression to compensate for the large amounts of data that H.D. created. We started getting these really great cameras at very reasonable prices but they used low quality internal recording codecs. Companies like Panasonic and Sony wanted to protect their high-end cameras by reserving their best formats for the higher-end market.

Enter AJA with the Ki-Pro. The Ki-Pro recorded ProRes to SSDs from an HD-SDI input. The original Ki-Pro was designed more as a studio ProRes deck. Something to put into a rack or an edit desk. But AJA had the idea to market it as a mobile device as well. People loved the idea but weren’t thrilled about the form factor. Next came the Ki-Pro Mini. The Mini was perfectly designed to mount onto the back of a tape-based camera and instantly turn it into a non-linear tapeless ProRes camera. Then the products starting popping out more. Blackmagic Design, Atomos, and others began putting their own spin on mobile ProRes recording. Both Avid and Adobe began to support it natively. At this time  Atomos released their first recorder in 2011. Around the same time Arri began shipping the Alexa camera with internal ProRes recording. The Alexa set a new standard for 1080p digital cinema cameras. And it showed the benefits of recording in a ready-to-edit format as appose to RED and their everything-RAW approach. Soon ProRes was synonymous with high quality codec. Blackmagic Design released several cameras with internal ProRes recording. If you purchased a Canon Cinema EOS camera there was a good change you hooked an external ProRes recorder to it. And now we have Panasonic putting ProRes in their new 4K VairCam and Sony, after 2 years of pressure, putting ProRes into the F5 & F55 cinema cameras.

There are several flavors of ProRes. As previously mentioned all ProRes formats are Intra-Frame and all are a minimum of 10-bit 4:2:2. ProRes Proxy is 35mbps, 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame. ProRes LT is a 100mbps 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame format. ProRes is runs at 150mbps, 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame. ProRes HQ delivers 220mbps, 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame. Finally ProRes 4444 is a 330mbps, 4:4:4, 12-bit, Intra-Frame codec. All of these bit rates are based on 30 frame per second recording. If you were to record 60 frames per second you would need to double the mbps. ProRes HQ and ProRes 4444 are capable of recording 4K resolution. If you were to shoot in 4K you would multiply these data rates by a factor of 4x. There fore, at 4K ProRes HQ, 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame, would run around 900mbps. And PreRes 4444 at 4K,  4:4:4, 12-bit, Intra-Frame, would be over 1200mbps. These are crazy-high data rates that really just show that ProRes as near limitless. Between ProRes’ limitless nature, high image quality, and extremely consistent cross platform behavior it’s no wonder we’re seeing larger adoption then ever before. It’s the closest thing to a universal high-end video format there has ever been. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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AJA Io 4K Now Shipping

Do you already have, or are you planning on getting, one of those shinny new Mac Pro cylinders? Allow us to introduce you to the best companion for your cylinder that you could ask for, the AJA Io 4K. This is an absolutely amazing video interface device all made possible via Thunderbolt 2 connection. Whether you’re working in an SDI-based workflow, an HDMI workflow or both, Io 4K has you covered with a complete set of full-sized connections for video and audio as well as a dedicated down-conversion output, Reference, LTC and RS-422 control, making Io 4K the choice for working professionals. Thunderbolt 2 connectivity provides maximum throughput on set or in the studio. Dual Thunderbolt ports allow additional devices to be connected on the same Thunderbolt bus for complete flexibility. Order your Io 4K from Professional Video today. Visit AJA in person at their booth at the Cascade Mt. Video Show on February 26th. Register for the show now. Post by Eric C. Petrie


Final Cut Pro 10.1 Released

Apple has announced a major update to Final Cut Pro X coinciding with release of the new Mac Pro. Version 10.1 enhances the softwares support with 4K among a host of other significant updates. The program is now optimized to work with the dual AMD FirePro graphics chips found in the new Mac Pro, increasing performance for playback and rendering. The 4K additions include titles, graphics and generators, as well as monitoring up to 4K via Thunderbolt 2 or HDMI on compatible devices. Here’s a full list of the updates found in 10.1

– Optimized playback and rendering using dual GPUs in the new Mac Pro :

– Video monitoring up to 4K via Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI on select Mac computers

– 4K content including titles, transitions, and generators

– Libraries allow you to gather multiple events and projects within a single bundle

– Easily open and close individual libraries to load just the material you need

– Option to import camera media to locations inside or outside of a library

– Automatically back up libraries to a user-specified drive or network location

– Project Snapshots let you quickly capture the project state for fast versioning

– Audio fade handles on individual audio channels in the timeline

– Add precise retime speeds by entering them numerically in the timeline

– Non-rippling retime option

– One step Replace and retime

– Custom project frame sizes

– Through edits displayed on all clip types

– Join Through Edit command removes bladed cuts to clips in the timeline

– Detach audio with Multicam clips in the timeline to manipulate audio and video separately

– Make video- or audio-only edits into the timeline with Multicam Clips as sources

– Blade and move audio in J- and L-cuts

– Ability to roll audio with J- and L-cut splits open

– Option to hide the Event browser to gain more screen space for viewing

– Native support for .MTS and .MT2S files from AVCHD cameras

– Used media indicators on source clips

– Improved performance with large projects

– Improved performance when modifying or adding keywords to many clips at once

– Easily move, copy, and paste multiple keyframes

– Option for the linear animation with Ken Burns effect

– Improved image stabilization with InertiaCam and Tripod mode

– Import photos from iOS devices

– Proxy and playback quality controls accessible in Viewer menu

– Support for portrait/landscape metadata in still images

– Effects parameters, fonts, and text size included in XML metadata

– Improved support for growing media and edit while ingest

– API for custom Share operations using third-party software

– FxPlug 3 with custom plug-in interfaces and dual-GPU support

– Share directly to YouTube at 4K resolution

Final Cut Pro 10 has been on the market for over two and a half years now. It’s been updated over 10 times in that span. Final Cut Pro remains a very popular choice amongst professional editors, particularly one-man-band operations.


A “Real World” Perspective On Blackmagic Pocket

The Blackmagic series of cameras, the Cinema, Pocket, and Production, have put no wrinkles in the camera world. Some people see them as creating a revolutionary and disruptive force that will push large manufactures to adapt. The video in this link is produced by Dave Dugdale. His website is called Learning DSLR Video. He is a self-proclaimed “advanced amateur”. His video on the Blackmagic Pocket is an interesting watch because he takes a very “every-man” approach to the camera with out getting overly analytical or technical.

The video primary focuses on the pros and cons when compared to shooting a 5DmkIII. But he also does some slight comparison to the Red Epic. There’s a few points to keep in mind. First, almost everything he says about the Pocket is equally applicable to the other Blackmagic cameras as they all run the same menu software. Second, even though he’s using the 5DmkIII, almost everything he says could be applied to any DSLR.

The basic summary of the video is that the Blackmagic cameras have huge downsides that need to be considered but there is a high potential upside. He talks about how he’s not a professional colorist and has yet to undergo any color training and because of this he was only able to get the image quality to match or exceed his 5D about 50% of the time. But when he was able to nail the color correction he could clearly exceed the 5D image quality. Other problems, his focus was off a fair amount because of the poor quality of the LCD combined with virtually no focus assist features. You can’t reformat cards in the camera so if you forget to format before the shoot you’re outta luck. You can’t delete files in the camera so you better not have any bad takes. The battery only lasts 45 minutes, he recomends buying 5-7 of them. At $40 each that’s $280 of batteries. The camera has a high frequency audio issue when using the internal mic.  There are no assignable buttons, nor any button control for ISO or white balance. Because ISO and white balance are menu driven you can’t be shooting and in real-time adjust those settings to see if they are correct. You have to dive into the menu, adjust, go back to the camera, and hope you got it right. There is no audio gain meters, the camera doesn’t display how much recording time is left on the card, and when you power off a lot of your settings are lost and returned to defaults. Watch the video here. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Wrap Up “Out of Order Tour” Post Production Workshop

We had a great time supporting the “Out of Order Tour” with Ross Hockrow. Ross lead the group on a journey of discovery of why we edit the way we do. We learned editing theory, editing mechanics and how to gauge what works and what doesn’t. Plus we gave away some sweet Canon lens look-alike coffee mugs to some lucky audience members. Post by Eric C. Petrie


Out of Order Tou With Ross Hockrow & Pro Video

Professional Video is extremely excited to be the Canon Cinema EOS sponsor of Ross Hockrow’s “Out of Order Tour”. The “Out of Order Tour” teaches how to create captivating films through the editing process by focusing on two key concepts The first is the use of “out of order” storytelling techniques. The second is how to make decisions about where pieces go. Designed for the intermediate filmmaker, this workshop shows you how to unlock the full potential of your footage by utilizing the principles of story structure, narrative bases, shot selection, pacing, and the psychological effects of shot placement.

As Ross has said, ” Editing has the power to transform substandard footage into an intriguing and captivating story. But great cinematography can never overcome bad editing”

The tour comes through Seattle on Sunday, October 6th and through Portland on Tuesday October 8th. We’ll be there with the full Canon cinema camera line-up, cinema lenses, and cinema accessories. Plus we’re giving away sweet prizes for customers that stop by and say hi. If you are still needing to buy tickets use our special promo code and get a $15 discount. The promo code is OOOPROVT . Post by Eric C. Petrie


Get Familiar with Changes in Premiere Pro CC Quickly

When you upgrade to the latest version of your favorite NLE, it can get pretty frustrating not being able to move as quickly or efficiently as you did before simply because you’re not as familiar with it as you might like to be. I had this experience recently while cutting together a fresh version of my cinematography reel in Premiere Pro CC, and quite frankly it made me a little angry that simple functions weren’t working as they had previously. However, I found an excellent tutorial that has everything you’ll ever need to know about the new features in Premiere.

So, I went to add a transition to a video track with my nifty keyboard shortcut, and low and behold, the transition ended up somewhere entirely different from where I wanted it. A couple of tries and ctrl z’s later, I realized that the new version of Premiere emphasizes clip selection over where the playhead is when adding transitions.

It got me thinking, how well do I really know the new version of Premiere?

Continue readingWatch the video.  Post by Eric C. Petrie

Sony Announces PMW-1000 XDCam Deck

For our customers who work in broadcast and post production this should be a bit of interesting equipment news. Sony has announced the PMW-1000 XDCam SxS deck. The compact, affordable PMW-1000 SxS memory recording deck has two SxSExpressCard memory card slots providing a wide variety of HD and SD recordings and playback, including 50 Mbps XDCAM HD422. The half-rack size recorder has SD / HD-SDI interfaces and Gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-T) interfaces for non-linear network operations, as well as an RS-422 interface and jog/shuttle control to allow “linear like” ingest and editing.

Non-linear production has gradually taken over most of the industry, and the role of a recording deck has less emphasis in non-linear environments. However, “linear-like” operation is still required especially by the broadcasters. The PMW-1000 drives enhanced XDCAM HD422 workflow with tape-like operation including linear ingest with RS-422 control and linear editing (as player) with jog/shuttle control. This similar operability to tape-based devices brings familiarity to operators accustomed to them. The VTR-like jog/shuttle dial and RS-422 control also come into play when ingesting is done in baseband through an ingest controller at broadcast stations where a content server may be in operation. The PMW-1000 also provides outstanding MPEG HD422 picture quality as well as high quality eight channel (HD-SDI) 24-bit audio recording capability, all packed in a compact sized deck.

The PMW-1000 also supports 100 Mbps XAVC (1080/29.97p/25p/23.98p/59.94i/50i)* recordings on SxS media and allows easy XAVC HD playback and monitoring, making it an ideal recorder/player to work with the PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 CineAlta cameras. It also allows high-speed recorded content from both cameras to be played back in slow motion. However, 4K is not supported. The PMW-1000 is scheduled to ship this summer. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Basic Color Correction Tips for Final Cut Pro

If you’re thinking of exploring FCPX heres an intro article on basic color correction in the polarizing software.

“Color correction—also known as color grading or color timing—is the process of altering the brightness and color values of an image or video. While many of today’s modern video cameras (and still cameras that shoot video) can produce great-looking shots automatically, sometimes you’ll still want to manipulate the color in post.”

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Post by Eric C. Petrie