Workflow demo: Conversions

by - 2012/07/19 17 Comments Production

This will probably be the most boring video of the whole project, but maybe someone finds it interesting. It is a timelapse demonstration of how we convert the footage from the RAW Sony F65 footage into something more useful, which in our case is OpenEXR in ACES Color Workspace. For that first conversion we have to use the F65 Viewer from Sony, which only runs on Windows and OSX, and also is not the most pleasant software to work with. Anyway, once we have the ACES EXRs we convert them to rec709 linear with OpenColorIO, which is Blender’s native colorspace, and we stay there as long as we can.

The whole workflow is maybe not very elegant, but so far it works quite well.
We also have to deal with 3 different naming conventions, which is the camera’s naming of the clips, the shotnumbers used on set (seen on the clapperboard) and the shotnumbers that we use here in the studio. Therefore part of my job is to keep track of the framenumbers, shotnumbers, In-Points, Out-Points, foldersizes, and so on. I have to find out which shot is used in the edit, which part of the shot is used and how long it is, in order to export and convert only what’s necessary.

After the conversions are done, and linear HD proxies have been generated, we erase the ACES files. Because oftherwise we would run out of diskspace very soon. Each frame is 50MB.

(Visit for original F65 Raw and OpenEXR downloads)

  1. Romain says:

    Not so boring actually !!! ;)
    What’s the F65 RAW files color depth ? Will you convert RAW into EXR with ACES colorspace for color grading, or are you going to grade rec709 pictures ?
    By the way, the teaser is terrific !!! But why the first sequence looks over exposed ? It makes it look like old video…

  2. rasa says:

    O trabalho de vocês é fantástico

  3. dani says:

    I am also interested in the color space of the files.
    I also think every project has jobs like this, which involve lots of organising and not so much creative pleasure, but everyone knows that these jobs are very important.
    Somhow related: I think that QA specs are very important for any tested software, game… whatever.

    • Beauregard says:

      Yeah, I am in the spot on my short film where I have finished the rough edit and am now going through and writing out on paper each shot in order with its name, “frames from start”, “frames from end”, and “length” (that is all the sequencer says about each shot) It is not fun, but it is necessary in order to efficiently do the effects.

      • 3pointedit says:

        Wouldn’t an EDL or Edit Descision List be usefull for all that? Imagine getting an actual cut list from the VSE, with all those start-stop times included. I really thought that a script like this would have appeard for Mango/Tears. How much data entry occurs now? Such a pain to manually transfer frame starts from your offline cut to the compositor isn’t it?

        • J. says:

          The Sony software doesn’t support EDLs! (unlike RED’s software)
          Don’t know what they’ve been smoking at Sony, but the fact is that it can’t do any kind of batch conversion; every file has to be added manually, nor can it convert to Quicktime/avi/whatever for offline editing, only to uncompressed frames.
          Luckily there are wizards like Campbell to write conversion scripts!

          Funny to see that you’re converting such enormous 4K files on a laptop. Times have changed! :D

          • sebastian says:

            Yeah, the F65 software is pretty bad. I guess they are not focusing on that at all but want to get their specs into the commercial applications. Btw, the conversion itself happens on the server and is really quite slow. It’s just the export that happens on the laptop, and using Ethernet to write the EXRs onto the server is not so slow.

          • J. says:

            I mean converting from RAW to ACES EXR. (you call it exporting :D)
            What CPU is in the server actually?

            Yeah, I also think that the F65 Viewer is a kind of ”proof of concept”.

            Btw, I saw in the list of scripts in your video a script to sync audio to video. I guess this means filling in the timecode of the video to sync it up to Broadcast WAVs from the sound recordist? (which have the same timecode because everything was synced on set)

    • David Jordan says:

      Wow, this looks kinda painful. This unfun, non-creative sort of task should really be automated as much as possible so teams can focus on the creative aspects of filmmaking. It’s too bad dmedia isn’t ready to be handling this type of automation for the F65 camera. What sort of files are the originals that need converting?

  4. Nick P says:


  5. blendercomp says:

    It’s certainly been one of the most interesting videos thus far.
    What I didn’t really get is how the OpenColorIO is accessed/used in all this. It is accessible through Blender?
    If so would love to have a look at the batch-scripts.

  6. TFS says:

    Is the blender institute now promoting sex aids?

    That pink thing in the foreground with ‘xxx’ is a bit suggestive ;)

    • J. says:

      Please complain to the municipality of Amsterdam, because these things are all over the city!

  7. this looks really involving. how big are the files on average? before and after conversion? spec on the linux workshop!!??

  8. Tycho says:

    Hey ! Not boring video :) Even if its probably not the coolest one ! Just wondering when the all footage would be available at xiph ! Cause there is no more than on the previous post !

  9. Phil2.0 says:

    Sorry, but this pink stake stole my attention! :)
    Can you redo the timelapse without, pls? (kidding)