3 Replies Latest reply: Jan 13, 2010 7:40 AM by Nicholas Stokes
SLovett Level 1 (0 points)

Has anybody figured out a workflow for ProRes 444? I'm about to dive in, but would appreciate a heads up if this just isn't going to work.


Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.2), FinalCut Server 1.5.1
  • Nicholas Stokes Level 2 (490 points)
    Your question is really really vague. What are you looking to do exactly? Can you explain your ideal workflow i.e. acquisition, offline, review & approval, online, finishing?

    How many servers and workstations you have?
    How you intend to leverage custom metadata embedded in Tapeless formats?
    How you intend to leverage custom metadata that can be created in Final Cut Server?
    What automated workflow i.e. transcoding and such you wish to configure?

    After answering the above I think I can make some strong and experienced suggestions.

    Hope this helps.

    Nick Stokes
    XPlatform Consulting
  • SLovett Level 1 (0 points)
    Sorry Nick,

    Having reread this it was a ridiculously ambiguous post, I apologize for my vagueness. I have a small production company. FCS 1.5.1 runs on a 8-Core MacPro 2.8 with a direct attached RAID 6 array and LTO4 for backup (BRU). There are Win2k8 servers for file serving and storage, two MacPro edit stations, one of which is better for grading, Two MacBook Pro laptops that DIT and Edit, and two desktop PC's that DIT and edit. Probably more to the point is that it’s only one or two people generally touch the project so there are not a lot of hand offs.

    While our work is a mix of formats, we generally do our own acquisition via our RED One, and Sony EX series cameras.

    In both cases my objective is to keep the original camera generated files, the BPAV's and R3D's, render a proxy for offline edit, and then be able to relink to the original files for finishing and do so in an organized manner.

    As our library grows, it would also be of significant benefit to be able to easily search our own"stock footage"for use in other projects. But the number one thing I’m looking to accomplish is to keep all the various bits and bobs organized during the project, and for subsequent archival to LTO.

    I’ll utilize RED footage in my example as it’s the more complicated of the two:

    Our typical workflow is:
    R3D-> Offline Proxy: The exact codec settings depend on the editor but generally this is ProRes LT or HQ at 720p or 1080p.
    (FCS won't work for this, we use RedAlert, RedCine-X, ClipFinder, RedRushes, etc.)
    Offline Proxy (now edited) exported from FCP as XML
    FCP XML -> R3D re-link to the original R3D’s
    Here is where my question is centered, the next step is to generate an appropriate file for export for grading / finishing, up till now we’ve been going to DPX or settling for ProResHQ, what I’d like to do is change the next step to take advantage of ProRes444, but to my understanding FCS doesn’t support 444, at least now it supports images sequences so it goes from essentially useless to me to perhaps useful.
    R3D-> 2K ProRes444 (for ingest into Color)
    Reconform the ProRes444 to the edit
    Import the reconformed XML into FCP
    FCP -> Send to Color and finish the color timing
    Color -> FCP for final finish

    I’ve left out a few things but that’s a good proxy for what I do. I’ve owned FCS for quite some time but we haven’t bother to deploy because after futzing with it, it really didn’t do much for us. It’s not a good fit for proxy generation for example.

    The XDCAM-EX is simpler, but also involves original camera files and a log and transfer for editing and sometimes a transcode to a deeper color space for grading.

    FCS might now have value as it now can deal with DPX’s and if I can use it for asset management that would certainly help.

    By asset management I mean:
    Master Directory
    FCP Project file
    /Original Camera Files
    /Low Res Offline Proxy Files
    /Hi Res Proxy-Finish files
    /Other crap (art work etc.)

    Where this is searchable, the various directories are accessible in FCP on the workstations.

    How’s that for a long winded answer

    All the best,

  • Nicholas Stokes Level 2 (490 points)
    So first thing.

    After you're done with log and transfer, and have configure Final Cut Server (FCSvr) to create ProRes 444 and ProRes Proxy version of you clips you can for example create disk images of the BRAV's or R3D's folder and then catalogue them as assets in Final Cut Server and then immediately archive them to tape. The will essentially archive the original cartridges, but give you a searchable reference to find them later within FCSvr


    Using FCSvr as an asset catalog to track all your stock footage, for use in future projects is the core of what Final Cut Server provides. You can very easily create and add custom metadata to assets, and asset groups which allow you to quickly search for content. Also there is tremendous amount of embedded metadata that can be stored in Quicktime files that all that are digitize via log and transfer.

    For the RED camera you can use FCSvr to search again the follow fields

    Digital Gain Blue
    Digital Gain Green
    Digital Gain Red
    Local Time
    Start Edge Timecode
    Monitor Color Space
    Exposure Compensation
    Camera ID
    Reel ID

    just to like a few. Same deal with P2.

    You stated that FCSvr wont work for creating your offline ProRes LT or HQ files and that you are you the Red suite of utilities, but I am not sure why FCSvr can't handle these transcode for you. And with it's Check-in and Check Out Edit Proxy workflow relinking to the orginal Apple ProRes 444 file happens automatically. Now if you are grading the original R3D's using other tools and that's why you deal with the Final Cut Pro (FCP xml I get that. But my point is that there is a work that can work with ProRes 444 and lower flavors of ProRes and does automatic relinking.

    Next FCSvr 1.5 and FCP 7.0 both Apple ProRes 444 codec, so if you have a previous version that may be causing you some pain.

    As far as support for image sequences (DPX,Cineon, Phantom) and such again with Final Cut Server you can have a nice ProRes444 to ProResProxy workflow

    Well I am sure if this response help as all, hopefully is does.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.


    Nick Stokes
    XPlatform Consulting