I have recently purchased a 4k action camera and I wondered if anyone could help me understanding what my video editing workflow should be? I wont be doing anything major I just want to process them up nicely and get them looking their best. i have the entire Adobe CC creative suite on my workstation so I have access to media encoder, after effects and premiere etc...
I will be mainly shooting in 4k 100mbs XAVC S with a bit of 1080 120fps
I don't normally do any kind of video editing, being a photographer, so advice is welcome on tools etc... I should be using
It depends on what you mean by process them up nicely, are you looking to just trim heads tails and quickly throw transitions on or are you looking to put filters on your video and play around with Color correction?
If you are going to trim heads and tails and just quickly slap clips together I would see if you can natively import your XAVC files into Premier which you should be able to but sometimes camera makers like to put quirks in their settings that make things import poorly.
If you are looking to put filters on your video or color correct i would suggest playing around with the higher end editing codecs such as Prores, AVID DNxHD, Animation Codec, or DVCPro HD as they will have smaller gaps between Inter Frames which means less render time on the effects as the longer you go between Inter frames the more computations are needed for for each frame and the frames after the effect will also have to be rendered till the next Inter Frame.
not knowing your hardware there are some formats you will want to try and conform your footage to, you will do this by using Adobe media encoder to do the renders Avid DNx family of codecs are generally fairly decent in preserving quality here is the link to download the codec pack for free from them.
there is also ProRes which is created by apple but is generally treated as an industry standard to the point that Apple, Adobe and Avid all support working with it natively.
these formats will suck up a lot of space a ProRes file for instance on 1080i 59.97fps HQ settings will consume between 95 and 120 Gigs an hour depending on the how the VBR goes.
there are other MOV you can play around with like Animation but in general what you should play around with is finding a format that is a ultrahigh bit rate with low Inter frame distance that your system can render well.
Inter Frames codecs have a Key frame which is a reference frame and then the codec only notes the pixles that change. this is how most video rendering formats work.
I wouldn't worry about intermediate codecs too much when you are just starting out. Chances are the footage coming from the action cam is already quite compressed to begin with, so there won't be that much data to preserve by putting it into an intermediate format. Intermediates are really useful when working with RAW uncompressed footage, to preserve all that color info and make a file that is easily editable. That being said, PRORES is the industry standard, but is not very accessible to windows users. For me, in Premiere pro, I can edit and use PRORES files, but not render to PRORES.
On another note, im sure you want to look at that 120 fps footage in buttery smooth slomo, so I will recommend learning how to interpret the 120fps footage as 24fps or 30fps, which will slow it down 5x. Then you can play around with time remapping, which is a fun way to switch between real-time and slomo.
I edit in Premiere Pro and After Effects, but these techniques can be used in any NLE Cheers
If you are going to color correct then I find working with an Intermediate is useful as it helps keep the renders quick and quality of your video once you have found the Intermediate your system likes. I have not used CC or CC15 on a pc only 5.5 on my PC and this is the one thing that bugs me about adobe is that they do not keep their support for formats consistent from one version to the next as in cs 5.5 you can use prores files as 100% supported in media encoder exports.
honestly do not do my final export out of any NLE in a Intermediate format unless the client requests that. Just too much data in the intermediate codecs that you will not see unless it is going to a high end output devices such as High End cinema Projectors.
Having an intermediate is good for color correcting for sure, but it all depends on the quality going into the file. For example, my Gopro footage is already compressed H.264, which is already easy for Premiere to edit, and there is not that much headroom for grading anyway. If you are working with a much heavier codec such as AVCHD or a set of 12 bit RAW images, then the editor is going to take much longer to play and scrub through footage. In that case I would recommend an intermediate, because it will preserve most of that data, depending on how lossy the intermediate is, and it will make the edit much smoother.
Point is, for the OP, all this intermediate talk is only confusing to someone just getting their feet wet with editing, but it is interesting to keep in mind as your skills develop.
EDIT: Reading up on the XAVC S codec now, and it looks like a lot of people are actually using this as an intermediate, so I would mess around with some files and see how it performs before deciding to encode to something else
Well thats why they call it an intermediate, right? Mainly used for preserving data until the final export
You will generally find that Renders are quicker with intermediate formats than with h.264. H.264 is processor intensive format to render as opposed to a High quality Intermediate format which have closer together Key frames and lower compression ratios for the data than formats like H.264. Using ProRes 422 or another lower compression intermediate format Generally makes the render faster even going to a high compression format like h.264 because any time you color correct or add effects on to your footage it is going to have to be rendered and that means the processor has to uncompressed the data to do the calculations before it can then re-compress the data.
If you have slow hard drive an Intermediate format can be a challenge but a WD Black drive is definitely fast enough for 1080p Prores 422 HQ as I just ran a couple programs out to tape the other day that were in that format.
Thats a good point, I hadn't really thought of it that way, but you have to take into account the amount of time it takes to put it into ProRes or another codec to begin with. And I agree that using intermediates is good practice in general, especially when color grading, and if something needs to be encoded multiple times but in my use it really depends on what the footage is and the final delivery. most of it is just going to vimeo or youtube, so exporting to h.264 makes more sense
When I shoot time lapses and RAW video on my 5d 2 I use Cineform 444 for my intermediate, it's not completely lossless but does keep the file size down and makes for some smooth editing and exports
I normally find I am ingesting captured footage at the end of a shoot or the very next morning and letting Mpeg Stream clip or Compressor (Final cut office) do the file format conversion eats up the machine time that i then spend checking emails or heading out of the office to destress.
As you can start to see my prospective is from the professional realm of this type of work and not the creative/personal use side.