Avid to Daylight Roundtrip Workflow

Josh Petok Jan 19, 2016

  1. Josh Petok

    Josh Petok Original Member

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    At first, I dismissed Daylight as I thought it was only intended for dailies grading. Once I worked with it more, I realized it accomplished so much more than that. And when Filmlight released a free version of their Avid Baselight Editions Plugin (render only), I could see the potential of using it on my jobs.

    The majority of my sequences originate in Avid, and I wanted the flexibility reviewing with clients in Avid while grading in Daylight. Clients I work with have established workflows and staff that depend on Avid to deliver their projects.

    In this tutorial, I'll show you how to export an EDL and Quicktime out of Avid, slice it up and grade it in Daylight, generate the grade files (BLGs) associated with the clips, and link them back to the sequence in Avid. The result is a fully renderless workflow back to the Avid.

    Fully enabled versions of the software used in this tutorial are available:

    Avid Media Composer

    Filmlight Baselight Editions

    Filmlight Daylight

    * Note: thanks to Pepijn Klijs for noticing that "scale legal to full range" in the export window was on. It should be "keep at legal range"
     
  2. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

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    Great video, Josh. Demonstrates how elegant the BLG workflow is really well.
     
    Josh Petok likes this.
  3. Hey Josh,

    About the QT you exported; is there a special reason you had 'scale legal to full range' checkbox ticked? Is that necessary for the grades to appear correctly (similar) in both Daylight and Avid? I thought Avid is always working in video/legal levels internally so it would make more sense to me to actually have that ticked of than on.
     
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  4. Josh Petok

    Josh Petok Original Member

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    Good point! That's an error on my part. I'll note it.

     
    Pepijn Klijs likes this.
  5. Full/legal levels is something you need to watch out for to make sure your grades appear the same everywhere. For example, Avid decodes Alexa ProRes to legal range, but Baselight will expand the same file to full range when decoding it. Baselight's Truelight Colour Spaces system can handle the range scaling, but you need to make sure everything is set up correctly.

    It is currently a limitation in the free read-only Baselight for Avid that you can't access and change the settings if they have come across incorrectly. With Baselight for Nuke, you get some basic options within the Nuke UI to load a BLG, and set the input and output colour spaces. This is available even when running the free version. I believe something similar is planned for Baselight for Avid.
     
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  6. Having not used any of filmlights tools before what is the advantage of using Daylight rather than staying in Avid and using Baselight Editions?
     
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  7. Josh Petok

    Josh Petok Original Member

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    Grouping clips, gallery, cursors (for referencing a spot in the timeline), and noise reduction to name a few.
     
  8. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

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    With BLE, you're very siloed from shot to shot. Seeing any grade in the context of the entire timeline, while you are working in the plugin, is difficult. Your only real tool to compare one grade to another is a pretty rudimentary picture-in-picture option in the BLE preview window.

    Daylight's timeline options are a lot closer to what you would find in a full color corrector.
     
    Josh Petok likes this.
  9. Enjoyed the video Josh, thanks for posting it. Is there any reason you're exporting a Quicktime out of AVID and not an MXF? I stay away from Quicktimes exported out of Avid due to numerous gamma/levels issues over the years. The AMA MXF Export is the way I finish/export almost everything out of AVID these days so I don't have to worry about any of the Quicktime issues.
     
  10. Josh Petok

    Josh Petok Original Member

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    I can see why that would concern you. Recently, I haven't had any problems with Quicktime exports. Generally, my sequences have been transcoded to a finishing codec (usually DNxHD) and I export in the same format. It's always best to test the workflow before beginning any work, and if MXF files work out better for you, that makes sense.
     
  11. Martin / Chris /Josh /Anyone... I have a few questions!

    - What do you lose when Daylight is compared to Baselight One wih roughly the same horsepower?
    - Do you use transport with it, and if so how's that working? (i know color works increadbly well)
    - What spec machine is a decent middleground?
    - Anyone hackintoshing a z820?

    I'm looking at the ROI for a Daylight licence for gradeing TV movies and indie features, not DiT'n... most of the work is avid centic, and the lens/blg options are attractive

    but i'm pretty windoze centric, so hackintoshing a machine that exists and has the spec already might make sense, where buying a trashcan for this probbaly would not as i cannot charge any more for Daylight over Resolve or Nucoda, and none of my clients cares what the name of the gear i use is, so it's not a selling point, or anything i can upcharge for.
     

  12. Daylight is not Baselight. It does not have a timeline (per se), it does not have a stack (it does, but it's not obvious and it's not as navigable or as flexible). While it can do EDL conforms, it is not intended to build a final, renderable timeline. It is intended to do what it does, which is dailies work, one shot at a time. Many, if not most of its features are designed around organizing and managing individual shots, metadata, and sound sync. It is a Mac only product, so you can't really compare to a "Baselight One with roughly the same horsepower" because Baselight One does not run on that platform (at least not normally). So you're likely dealing with different GPUs, different processors, and a different bus architecture because the primary target for Daylight is the "trashcan" Mac, and the primary color processing target is Open CL, not Cuda. I seriously doubt that Filmlight would provide you with full support on a Hackintosh build.

    Color processing is not the only criteria for a DI system. Any time you try to make a product into something it's not, you wind up either disappointed, frustrated, or both. Personally, I'm not a fan of the "cut down product to sell it cheaper to a wider audience" approach. But that's not what Daylight is. It's a different product than Baselight, for a different purpose. So if you're thinking it's a "cheap Baselight", you're not looking at it honestly or accurately, unless you don't really require a true conform, and feel comfortable doing an entire show as individual shots, then putting them together in Avid, or working with a pre-conformed show.
     
    Marc Wielage likes this.
  13. Thanks Mike!

    No i really don't feel comfortable with that workflow, i tested it with BLE and decided it was not for me.. i need to play scenes in context, but i did see the scene roll though the cutpoints in Josh's tutorial.

    Considering that i often (usualy, mostly,nearly always) hide the timeline in Resolve, so i'm ok wiith postage stamps reflecting the timeline, the lack of a timeline in the UI not a huge isssue for me

    Conform would be done in MC anyway, as would be finishing, so the EDL conform again is not the hugest deal either.

    But CL only means at a minimum a hackintosh with R9's? i don't know much about the AMD videocard ecosystem

    Another attractive point is the mapping to the Artist Color is stunningly well thought out, and i happen to like that surface

    Thought it an option worth looking at... the reality is, in this market there's decent Resolve suites with a artist with long list of credits at the wheel and room rate is well under what i would have to charge to make the ROI on a BaselightOne with a Slate.

    And that day rate kinda of where i have to peg my day rate as there's no chance a producer will pay more for any piece of gear... but i might be able to get through a show faster and make a flat work to my advantage... but yea the producer's pay for a finished show, ya know 15 days @ $xxx per day = $xx,xxx - rinse and repeate several times a year....
     
  14. two further q's,
    - given a flatened Qt from MC to be used as a proxie, how do you sort out handles for NR and tracking through transitions?
    - how do stacks differ from Baselight or BLE, is this a significant issue in daliy use in a gradeing (not dailies) and BLG/Lens/MC workflow?
     
  15. and third question, BLE has no support for NR, but it does render it if used in Baselight or Daylight, how would a workflow with significant NR + gradeing proxies be handled? Send 2k444 to Daylight so you can see for real what you are doing? Seems to be the only thing that can't be tweaked in BLE, yet the thing most likely needing to be tweaked...
     

  16. Good questions. Since there is no stripview, I don't know what would happen if you bring in an EDL with a dissolve. In Baselight a dissolve strip is created. I don't know if Daylight does that invisibly because I've never really tried it (we use Daylight as a dailies program). My guess is that all cuts are treated as cuts, so you would have to account for that in the flattened element you export from Avid. And since there is no stripview, there is no sequence editing to speak of. So if you wanted to move a cut, or create a dissolve strip, that functionality is not in the program. You can split shots, or rejoin those that you've split, or you can run a scene detect, but that's about it.

    In terms of stacks, once again, there is no stripview. There is a "stack view," but it's not going to be immediately obvious as to what you did on any given layer, other than via a thumbnail and a matte display. You don't get the strip names unless you go to a different display (the pull down stack manager, much like in Editions). So there is not a lot of instant feedback, which can be an issue (for some, including me). Although you can do some compositing operations, just like Baselight, once again it's not nearly as obvious so it's difficult to manage. And copying partial stacks (lassoo the strips you want, copy, then smart paste) is either not possible or not obvious. There is multi paste, so you can update one version (or cursor) from another (this also allows mass attachment of BLG files).

    The lack of editing capability is a workflow killer for me. I don't know about others.
     
  17. Can the lens track be cut up to accommodate post-color editorial changes? You know, like swapping out one stock shot for another very different looking shot, or rippling the timeline.

    Considering the low cost of Resolve, are Daylight plus Baselight Media Composer plugin priced competitively? They cost five times as much.
     
  18. It's not a "lens track" as such. It is just the Baselight plugin applied to filler, and set into lens mode. You could have one instance of the lens for each clip if you really wanted to.

    Because this workflow is matching the BLG grades in the lens based on clip name and timecode, if you switch out a clip for a completely different clip, these won't match so you won't get the old grade applied to it.
     
  19. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

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    If you're using Resolve as your benchmark, nothing is priced competitively.
     
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  20. Josh Petok

    Josh Petok Original Member

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    This is true. Though I am not a FilmLight sales rep, consider this:

    Daylight $5k
    Editions $1k
    Slate $12k
    Avid $1300

    Total $19,300

    Resolve with Panel $30k

    Other benefits that you get along with it are a renderless workflow, which means savings on drive space, and ease of interoperability with clients on Avid. I recently did a music video for a client as a test and sending bins back and forth made life much easier (for both of us).

    These are early days with this workflow and would only work for certain cases. If Resolve makes the most sense, I completely understand that. I still use it on many jobs myself! ;) However, I think it's worth keeping an eye on FilmLight as their software progresses.
     

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