14 Replies Latest reply: May 5, 2013 1:21 PM by matty1980
matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi there,


I wanted to get your thoughts on exporting from FCP. I have a short film that is due to be graded soon by a colourist and then will be mastered by a posthouse in London via Clipster.


In the past when I've edited music video and documentaries for broadcast, I've either made an image sequence for them or given them the entire project on a drive and they work their magic from that.


I'm in discussions with them at the moment, because originally they wanted DPX files and now they are just asking for just a Pro Res HQ file. My concerns with this is whenever I have exported any project via FCP to Pro Res HQ, I seem to find differences in quality between the three methods -


1) Exporting Quicktime self contained (from a Pro Res HQ timeline)

2) Exporting from Quicktime Conversion

3) Exporting via Compressor 


The self contained version should theoretically be the best version, but as I say in the past I have often thought the compressor export was better, and sometimes it looks like the colours are slightly different too.


I just wanted to see if anyone has had same experiences and also what sort of files they usually export to posthouses for something that aims to be broadcast? - Image sequences/Pro Res HQ/Uncompressed 10bit/DPX etc etc??


I'm facing similar turnoil at moment in the edit, I have a free trial of a programme for two weeks to erradicate some flicker on some 16mm footage which was transferred to Pro Res HQ. So I'm applying the filters, exporting from FCP and then reimporting the clips back into FCP so that when the trial runs out I still have clips that have sorted out the flicker problem.


I'm working in a Pro Res HQ timeline, and just wondering if ultimately the best way to do this is export as Uncompressed 10bit file and then convert to Pro Res HQ through Streamclip and then use these files as the corrected masters. Thoughts??


Thanks in advance,




PS - If you do export a ProResHQ sequence via Compressor and you are working with Pro Res 422 HQ files - I take it you turn off the option to enable 4:4:4 chroma filtering?

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.6), 3.33 Ghz 6-Core Intel Xeon
  • Shane Ross Level 8 Level 8 (42,580 points)

    If your sequence settings are ProRes HQ, then when you export a ProRes HQ as a Quicktime, self contained...ZERO quality change is happening. It's a straight digital copy...no recompression.  The other two options you mention recompress.


    Unless you have a broadcast monitor to view all of these outputs on, you cannot properly judge the quality. A computer dispay and Quicktime are NOT accurate. Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Only exporting Quicktimes by all methods, and then using AJA or Blackmagic or Matrox IO cards, and their playout software playing to an HD broadcast monitor...and comparing that to what FCP is exporting to the same...can you have any clue as to what it really looks like.

  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,340 points)

    well...  I usually can't resist an opportunity to challenge Shane.   The one question that's not definitely answered is "what format are your original source files?"  If they're not ProResHQ, you might have some loss.


    Also, when I've output a film as a single file from fcp for grading, the post house has usually requested an xml file so that they don't have to manually enter all the edit points.  You might want to check with your post house on this, particularly if you're paying by the hour.

  • matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I use a Matrox box Shane.. a LCD TV with their color calibration tool to get quite close to broadcast. Sorry I should have mentioned that.


    Must be my eyesight then, but I've had prores videos exported in past via Compressor rather than self-contained that have looked better. But thanks for that clarification.


    I'm just waiting on a compressor export and going to compare that one with the self-contained export and see if I can see any difference this time around. I certainly have felt in some videos the colours looked more what I was working with in the edit via the compressor route to ProResHQ, but again must be my eyesight. As I say, usually with projects for broadcast I've made image sequences or given them the entire project, this time around with them asking for HQ I was just wanting to make sure I am giving them the best option to put into their clipster.


    I thought they would have preferred an Uncompresed 10bit export, but as you say if the best I'm getting from the sequence is a self-contained file then that should suffice..... thanks Shane

  • Shane Ross Level 8 Level 8 (42,580 points)

    I like when you challenge me.


    His sequence settings are ProRes HQ...I assumed the source was too.


    But assuming makes an a-s-s out of U and ME.

  • matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thankyou for your response Michael, we shot on 16 and 8mm abnd everything was converted to Pro Res HQ, so that's what I'm working with mate. I'll check with them regarding an XML file, good call thanks....

  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,340 points)

    well you made the correct assumption on this one...

  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,340 points)

    I'd be a little concerned about the "flicker flixer" filter.  You might talk to the post house and see what they've got available.  

  • matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had tried everything to get rid of it (it's not so much flicker it's pulsing - a known problem with a particular old 16mm camera) I've managed to eradicate it with Furnacecore's FCP plugin, but the trial only lasts a short time so I need to export all the clips with the filter and reimport them and replace in the edit.

  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,340 points)

    what do you mean by pulsing?  a change in exposure whose rhythm or cadence is constant?  Might be a simple fix for the post house.

  • matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I can't really describe it very well, but main thing is this plugin eradicates it. The film has blown all my cash, so I'm looking to pull in a favour and get a freelance colourist to grade and then the posthouse will master the final film. So it's important to try get rid of the problem now in case the colourist can't get rid of it with his software.

  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,340 points)

    as a safety measure, I'd output without the filter as a backup.  You hopefully be looking at it on a better monitor and you may suddenly see something you're not happy with. 

  • matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'll do that Michael, thankyou for the advice.

  • Jim Cookman Level 7 Level 7 (23,435 points)

    Here's another wrench in the works for you.  If you've got dissolves between radically different looking scenes, you might want to make A&B rolls.  Trying to color correct across a dissolve can sometimes be very tricky.

  • matty1980 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    That's a good idea thanks Jim!