Interview on Digital Production Buzz

So I told a white lie. I said this post would contain substantive content about a workflow. However, this news is too good not to post.

I will be interviewed live on Digital Production Buzz this Thursday July, 31 at 6:25 PM PST. 

Instead of writing about what I am going to talk about, I will let you tune in to the internet broadcast on Thursday...

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Posted by Justin on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 8:22 PM
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Who, What, Where, When, Why?

Now that I have written a (hopefully) informative post, I'd like to actually introduce myself and explain why I have started the blog. I promise that the next post will have substantive content.

Who the Heck Are You?
If you look around this site, you should get a fairly good idea of "who I am".  I live in MA. I love to shoot video, edit and program. I also have a new interest - writing articles.

Why Are You Posting Here And Not the Avid Website?
One question I have received is "Why are you doing this on your personal website instead of on the Avid site?"

I want to show you that I create articles as an Avid enthusiast; not just as an employee looking for a pay raise or a promotion (although those are nice as well). I'm not writing these posts during my normal work hours because during my normal hours I should do what I was hired to do - write code. I want to frame my blog in the context that I am a part of the Avid user base, just maybe with a slightly different perspective because of where I choose to hang out during the weekdays.

The other reason I choose to post on my site is that it is infinitely more interesting for me to go through the process of establishing my own presence on the internet rather than simply signing up for a blog account on someone else's site. I've never hosted a blog before, so I wouldn't want to deprive myself of the entire experience.

If I decide I would like to expand the focus of the blog, it will be much easier to do so through this site.

Why Are You Doing This At All?
I remember a few weeks after I started at Avid, I asked my group lead to explain the QuickTime/Avid workflow. I felt utterly confused and asked him the same question about five times during the same week. Asking the same question five times was not something I wanted to do as a new hire! While I don't have confusion about the workflows anymore, because I use them so often, I realized that other people might have the same confusion if it had never been explained to them. Now that I understand more about this industry and Avid products, I'd like to share the information with others.

Geez, You Write Like an Engineer But I'm an Editor!
First, I know that there has been some negative feedback about the first article I posted  but that feedback was not sent to me.  While you are free to direct your feedback in any forum you wish, it would be the most advantageous for everyone to direct it at me so that I can take any criticism into account when I write future articles.

Based on feedback I received, I don't think the writing style is as much of a problem as the background I assumed of the audience. The first article was intended solely to show a workflow. I purposely didn't write about what color space conversion is, what 601/709 means, and what fast import is. I thought doing so would take away from actually learning the steps of the workflow. I recognize that understanding the "whys" and not just "how" helps some people learn. I will try to be more attuned to this in the future, although I don't feel that I should have to define the term in every post in which I decide to use the term "709". I do think a post describing some of the "whys" of the QuickTime brightness workflow is in order.

Keep That Feedback Coming!
I've enjoyed receiving and responding to feedback on my first post. Based on the positive feedback, I plan on continuing with more posts.

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Categories: General
Posted by Justin on Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:02 PM
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Avid Editor Quicktime Work Flow For Proper Brightness Levels

There seems to be a decent amount of confusion about which settings should be selected when exporting a video as QuickTime and then importing the QuickTime movie into an Avid editor. In this article I will describe the proper settings for exporting video out of  a third party application such as Adobe After Effects using the Avid QuickTime DNxHD codec and then importing the QuickTime DNxHD movie into an editor. Four workflows are shown, one of which is invalid. This same workflow should hold true for all the Avid QuickTime codecs. It will not apply to non-Avid QuickTime codecs.


Exporting Source Material With RGB Levels

Source media with RGB levels.


If you start with source material with RGB levels (0-255), such as the image above, you should select the RGB button in the QuickTime export options shown below. This is because the option in the QuickTime dialog specifies the levels of the source material. However, it isn't a disaster if you don't select the RGB button.

Assume you export two movies. The first has RGB level source material and is exported with the RGB option selected. This is called The second movie has RGB level source material and is exported using the 709 option. This movie is called 


Select the RGB brightness option with RGB source material.


Importing Source Material With RGB Levels

When you import into the editor, select the 601/709 option to perform a quick import. Selecting the RGB button will bring the  video in at the correct levels, but it will be a slow import. It is OK to select the 601/709 button as the levels within the QuickTime movie were converted to 709 compliant levels when the RGB button was selected on export. Quick import copies the 709 compliant video data from the QuickTime movie to the editor. See the image below for the optimal setting when bringing this movie into the editor.


Select the 601/709 option for import of RGB source material.


If you look at the levels while in color correction mode, you can see that the darkest black is 16 and the brightest white is 235 as shown in the image below. The left side of the color picker represents the darkest black value and the right side of the color picker represents the brightest white value. The levels of the imported media are correct.


RGB source material imported into the editor.


When you import, you must select the RGB button in the editor import dialog as shown below. Selecting the 601/709 option will cause the video to come
in at RGB levels. 


Select the RGB button for import of RGB material exported with 709 option selected.


Exporting Source Material With 709 Levels


Source media with 709 compliant levels.

When you export source material that is already 709 level compliant, as shown above, the 709 button should be selected in the QuickTime dialog options as shown below. The RGB button should never be selected in this scenario, as this will not import into the editor with 709 compliant levels. Assume you export two movies. The first contains 709 level compliant source material and is exported using the 709 option. This movie is called The second movie contains 709 compliant source levels and is exported improperly using the RGB option. This movie is called


Select the 709 button for 709 compliant source material.


Importing Source Material With 709 Levels

Import using the 601/709 option. This is the only option that can be selected for proper import of this movie.

Now,  import No matter whether you select the RGB import option or the 601/709 option, the imported levels will be incorrect as shown below.


Media imported into the editor when 709 material is exported using the RGB option.


And That's The First Article!

I hope you found this article informative. If I receive positive feedback on this article, I would like to continue writing more articles about various Media Composer workflows.

Please feel free to email comments using the form at the top right or by emailing justin at kwancentral dot com. I can't guarantee that I will be able to respond to all questions.  

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Categories: Avid | Quicktime | Workflow
Posted by Justin on Saturday, July 12, 2008 8:08 AM
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