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Alexa - direct to edit - truth or misconception?
April 2, 2012
8:35 am

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April 2, 2012
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Hi guys! Steve, it's been a long time! How are you?

Greetings from the capital of Arri – Munich. I'm working at a rental house here and one of our draft horses is the Arri Alexa- next to the Red Epic.
Many clients shy away from the Epic because they have one sentence from Arri in mind: Direct to edit.
Today I got a request for a feature movie production and these guys want to shoot on Alexa 4:4:4 Log C. Sounds like a good decision but when asking why they never ever thought of shooting on an Epic the final arguement is: “With the Alexa I can edit right away on my Avid. Direct to edit!”
Have I lost track of the technical evolution? Is an online edit with 4:4:4 for a feature length without any transcoding possible today?
Concerning data rate I think this comes pretty close to a native edit of R3D files.
Or is it all so much better in the world of Avid which I personally don't really know much about. But linking in AMA follows a transcode I guess.

Direct to edit.

April 3, 2012
1:10 am
Los Angeles

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June 23, 2010
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Hey Matthias,


First of all, welcome to TechMediaPlanet!

I am sure that Steve will respond shortly but I just wanted to chime in real quick in regards to Alexa footage being “Direct to Edit”. While I won’t speak directly to the AVID workflow, I can tell you that on the FCP side, it really is direct to edit. I teach a master class at the UCLA School of Film and Television, and I had my students shoot the ALEXA in Log C, ProRes4444, they then literally just imported (not converted, or re-wrappered) the footage into FCP, we then applied a plug-in called “LUT BUDDY“, to apply a LUT to all the footage so that you are editing a linear image, and that was it. The project was cut, sent to final color correction, and done.

Yes, ProRes4444 required that we cut on ESata drives, but that is pretty common today. The difference with RED footage, is that if you use the Proxy Files, they are pointing to the original 5K (EPIC) or 4K (Scarlet) files, and are quite taxing on your editorial system aside from the data rate. So the usual workflow is to transcode your R3Ds to ProRes and edit from there. In that sense the RED system is not “Direct to Edit”. More like “Direct to Transcode then to Edit then to re-conform”.





April 4, 2012
5:32 am

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April 2, 2012
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Hey Suny,

thanks for your reply.
I assume that the Final Cut side has the advantage to handle ProRes files properly right from the beginning.
All the transcoding to MXF for Avid like it was recommended by different sides seems to be inevitable. A guy from Avid told me this was no problem in Media Composer 6.0 (as well as R3Ds) but I heard quite other stories of editors that don't have a marketing departement teaching them what to say.
And it's a feature length movie, 90 minutes plus. So the amount of material that has to be carried through the editing process without any advantage might get really big. I wonder what machines support that.

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