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My X5R Windows/Premiere Pro Workflow

Discussion in 'Zenmuse X5R' started by InterMurph, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. InterMurph

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    Edit: I have solved the problems that I whine about below: 1) USB problems, 2) Premiere Pro import problems.

    At this point, calling it a "workflow" is ridiculous, as there is simply no flow at all. What a pain.

    First, I couldn't even get the DNG files off the SSD; it would dismount after a few hundred frames. I solved that problem by upgrading my USB driver from the Gigabyte web site.

    So now I can import all of the footage, but incredibly slowly. According to the time stamps, I imported 30,493 DNG frames (totaling 230GB) in 2 hours and 6 minutes, or about 4 frames/second. My guess is that the driver upgrade turned my USB 3.0 port into a USB 2.0 port.

    The resulting DNG files could not be imported into Premiere Pro. I'm not sure who to be more pissed at; DJI, for writing to a format that the #1 editing software can't import, or Adobe, for creating the DNG standard, but not fully supporting it in their editing software. Damon Cooper said he was going to talk to the Premiere Pro product manager about getting this supported directly; it would be wonderful to get this fixed.

    Damon Cooper also mentioned that SlimRaw can be used to fix this problem. I purchased it and and put to work. It processed the footage at 33.0 frames/second, and saved 6% of the storage space. And the resulting DNG files are Premiere Pro compatible.

    Next up, importing the SlimRaw DNGs into Premiere Pro. Another pain; I can't simply point Premiere Pro to the SlimRaw output directory, and tell it to import all files it finds underneath. I have to import each subdirectory individually. Which sucks, because I wanted to start this process at bed time, and have it be done when I woke up. But I can only do one directory at a time!

    So I navigate to the first directory, click the first DNG file, and select the Image Sequence checkbox at the bottom of the dialog, as I do for importing time-lapse images from my camera. Except that I can't select it, as it is disabled. Why? I don't know; this is absolutely an image sequence, but this doesn't work.

    So instead I select all 1,464 DNG files from the first clip, and import them. And it is slow, despite the fact that I am importing them from a 1TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD, on a 6-core/12-thread 4.0GHz beast of a CPU. I mean, really slow. I don't know exactly how slow, because I don't have enough time to sit there and watch it. But it takes a long, long, long time; maybe an hour for a 3-minute clip.

    The import process isn't multi-threaded in Premiere Pro; one thread is pegged, but the rest are idle. And it's modal, so I can't look at one clip while I'm importing the next. Very frustrating.

    Eventually, I get the DNG files imported. I drag the first in a sequence onto a timeline, and I get to see the raw footage for the first time. As expected, it doesn't look great; low contrast, and not much saturation. But after a few minor adjustments in the Lumetri color panel, and the footage looks absolutely stunning.

    I was just wondering whether to look into an M600/Ronin MX to fly my Sony A7R II. But after seeing this footage, I'm not convinced that that combination could produce footage like this.

    I will post some in the next couple of days; when I do, I'll update this post.

    Wow.
     
    #1 InterMurph, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  2. InterMurph

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    My Premiere Pro import of 3,900 DNGs (2 minutes and 42 seconds of footage) just completed, after at least 55 minutes.
     
  3. InterMurph

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    Well, duh.

    It turns out that importing a bunch of DNG files via the Import command is not the right way to import them.

    The right way: open the Media Browser panel, click on a subdirectory, wait three seconds for PP to process the DNGs, then right-click the image, and select Import from the pop-up menu. Almost instantaneous.
     
  4. damoncooper

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    Sorry you had such a hassle.

    Got word today from the Premiere Eng Manager that the bug that prevents the DNGs from importing is fixed, and they're now working on getting the dark image problem fixed for base X5R DNGs.

    On the import part, just drill into the directory in Premiere's media browser window, right click on the first DNG in the directory (only one will show) and select import. Takes one or two seconds at most. Sounds like you are importing all the individual DNG files, which isn't what you want to do.
     
    #4 damoncooper, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  5. InterMurph

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    I eventually RTFMd my way to the media browser solution. Not only did it import in two seconds, but the playback was smooth, while my previous import method produced very choppy playback.

    So why the difference? Why is the standard import so completely different than the media browser import?

    And good news on the bug fix. Now I just need to fix my USB import speed.thanks!
     
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  6. Brendan

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    What's the downside of exporting from cinelight as CinemaDNG premiere compatible?

    I can drag these straight into premiere pro and it works? Am I missing something?
     
  7. InterMurph

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    There is no Cinelight for Windows. We have only the DJI Camera Exporter, which produces only DNG files that are not compatible with Premiere Pro.
     
  8. Brendan

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    Other question, how do you get around the dark DNG issue?
     
  9. InterMurph

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    I don't see a dark DNG issue. The exposure I see in the raw footage is slightly below what I see in the MP4 written to the MicroSD card, but it's not dark at all.
     
  10. Brendan

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    When I say dark, I mean almost black. The footage is fine in Cinelight and when opened as individual dng's in Photoshop
     
  11. Brendan

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    Hi Damon, what's the work around for the dark image bug? If I open the DNG in Photoshop it looks fine, but in premiere it's almost black?
     
  12. damoncooper

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    He's using SlimRaw with the Premiere compatible switch enabled which adds the missing WhiteLevel metadata tag to DNGs. That fixed the black DNG issue in Premiere.
     
  13. Brendan

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    Just bought SlimRaw and tried this, it hasn't worked, not sure what to do now. The image shows up fine in Photoshop, just not premiere pro. SlimRaw hasn't fixed this.
     
  14. damoncooper

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    What's your exact workflow and SlimRaw options? It's working for at least 4 folks.
     
  15. Brendan

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    1) open Cinelight
    2) export files from SSD as Adobe cinema DNG (not the premiere compatible option)
    3) open SlimRaw
    4) process lossless compression
    5) premerie compatible ticked
    6) process subfolders ticked
    7) open premiere pro cc 2015
    8) drag first DNG of a sequence to media browser
    9) sequence imports fine, but image is next to black
    10) open same image in Photoshop cc 2015
    11) image looks fine

    Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I just dropped $49US on SlimRaw and I still have the same problem
     
  16. Brendan

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    Tried exporting from Cinelight as Adobe cinema DNG premiere compatible also and get the same problem
     
  17. Richard Hurst

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  18. Brendan

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    for the X5R?
     
  19. Richard Hurst

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    Yes
     
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  20. Brendan

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    looks like i'm going to have to transcode to prores then for today's footage, unless there is a way I can export the stuff I shot today as cinema DNG into premiere pro.