4k workflow for archiving

Explorer ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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Hi everyone, this is my first post, so it will probably end up a little longer since I'll add a little background about myself. I used to do a lot of video editing back in the days of mastering out to BetaSP. I had a career change in 2001 and have not done anything related to video editing since then... now I'm getting back into it and am quickly realizing how much things have changed. I just purchased a new NLE (windows) and would like to start off right with a proper work flow. I'm shooting with a DJI Mavic Air2 and a Panasonic UX90. Right off the bat, I'm seeing that the 4K clips are just absolutely massive - too much really. I would like to be able to shoot footage in 4K, bring it into my system, and encode it (or would that be transcode?) with a codec which would allow me to archive a compressed version of the footage with a much smaller size (I'm hoping for 10x smaller if possible) while keeping the quality ...and by that I mean, what the eye can see on, say a 70" 4K TV. I know you probably need to know my intended use to answer the question... to which I would say, it could end up in various forms in future projects.... but for me, a good benchmark would be,,, if you put the compressed version next to the original footage, you would be hard pressed to see any difference in quality on a 4k  70" LCD TV. I think I would be comfortable with that.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

~Andrew   

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Enthusiast ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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HandBrake is a free program for Mac and PC.  It greatly reduces the video size without any noticeable loss of quality.

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Explorer ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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Thanks for the answer.

Do you think using handbrake would be a better solution than running the footage through the Media Encoder in Premiere with a different codec? Again, I'm not looking for a one-off solution, but rather looking to set up a work flow in the best way with regards to to archiving 4k footage with smaller file sizes and minimal loss of noticeable quality.

Are there any Adobe engineers that could weigh in?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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quote

I would like to be able to shoot footage in 4K, bring it into my system, and encode it (or would that be transcode?) with a codec which would allow me to archive a compressed version of the footage with a much smaller size


By @Andrew_in_JensenBeach

 

Mind you that the cameras you have record to a compressed format to begin with. Transcoding that material to a lower bitrate and compressing it once again to an archive that will be used later will decrease quality in the final output since the final output will be compressed once again. Video files are large, buy more storage is a better longterm solution. 🙂

 

If we go back to the BetaSP days, you would probably never have accepted to archive that material to Windows Media files back in the days due to the quality loss.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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Averdhal,

I agree. The orignal Drone's video is highly compressed but still offers good quality. Andrew should instead invest in a better editing PC.

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Explorer ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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Hi Averdahl,

Thanks for your answer. For sure... using Windows Media files compared to BetaSP would be unacceptable... there would be a big difference in quality and the Windows Media files would fall apart quickly upon enlargement. What I'm looking for is something that is smaller and also compares quality wise to the original clip ..... I've done lots of experimenting with the new system and I've actually created what I'm talking about, but I don't know what I did.

    I have an original 4k file that is 2:21 in length and 1.7GB in size... now I have a copy of the same exact clip and the copy is only 176MB in size (approx. 1/10th as the original). I'm viewing both on a 34" high def monitor (WQHD 3440x1440). When I play these full screen, I can not see any difference in quality. Both are pristine.

When I right click>> properties for both clips, everything is identical except for the file size and the data rate. I was hoping to find the codec so I could try and re-create what I did, but I don't see that. Looking at the properties, both are .MP4, both are 3840x2160, both are 29.97fps, both are time 2:21 in length ...again the only difference I can see is in the data rate and in the file size. I must have somehow encoded it and come up with this beautiful copy that is 1/10th the size.... I just wish I knew what I did so that I could re-create it. 

I would love to re-create this and compare both on a 70" screen ....if there was visually no difference in quality, I would have my answer. I'm just not sure what to do to re-create it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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You probably want to be using HEVC as your codec. (Note that in a professional situation I wouldn't necessarily recommend archiving this way, but you are prioritizing file size over anything else.) HEVC/H265 will get you better quality at lower bitrates than H264. It's really going to be up to you where you want to draw the line of how much is too much. As others have stated, you're adding generations of loss to your media, and if you have future plans for your footage there are future generations of loss for it ahead. (Also, HEVC will perform like gargage in editing software, but you could always make proxies when you go to work with it.)  

 

Bitrate is ultimately the one thing you need to experiment with. We could figure out what your bitrate was on the file that you liked just by doing a little bit of math.

 

File size = Bitrate * Time

 

With the numbers you gave I'm getting about 10Mbps bitrate. (That's ...... very low for 4k. But if it's serving your purposes that's entirely up to you.)

 

I'll say that I fall into the category of: buy more storage. Why bother purchasing the equipment that you bought if you are just going to massacre the files you get out of it?

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Explorer ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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Thanks Phillip and everyone for your answers... you guys are gurus and I appreciate all answers as I learn a little more from each one. Yes, for sure... I don't want to start off with a bad workflow or archive in a way that creates bad quality.... I just thought if there was a method of archiving 4k material that would for the most part, preserve the quality of the original (not for cinema screens,,, but for web and tv viewing) ....I was interested to hear what people were doing. When I saw the quality of the 2nd version of the clip I made, I was really surprised because it was only 10% of the size of the original and it looked indistinguishable from the original on a 34" high def monitor ....I guess I thought I was on to something. Maybe on a larger screen, a difference in quality would become apparent. It sounds like the concensus is to plan on archiving original clips as they are and plan on getting more storage when I hit the ceiling. I have 2 TB internal for video ....not a huge amount, but I'm not doing anything long form either ....probably real estate vids and things like that. I'll likely get another 6 or 10 TB external drive and use that for finished projects, and archived footage ...and just use the internal 2 TB drive for active projects. As far as power, I think I'll be ok ... I'm running with an Intel i9 10900k (10core)@3.70 GhZ (Turbo 5.3 GhZ) with a GeoForce RTX 3060Ti Graphics card,

a 2 TB Internal SSD Drive and 64 gigs RAM (DDR4 3200) 

Hopefully I'll be ok with that.... I got as much as I could afford,,, but of course now I'm kicking myself for not blowing the past budget and springing for 128 gigs RAM  ....LOL

Thanks again!

~Andrew

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021

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Unless you start getting into some serious After Effects work, you'll do just fine with 64GB of RAM. You'll likely never touch that with editing alone.  

 

Do keep in mind that video codecs have a huge impact on performance, and what you're getting off of your DJI products are going to be tough to edit with natively, so a proxy workflow that uses an intermediate codec like ProRes Proxy is going to help a lot. 

 

I do think that you may just need to calibrate to the file sizes that some of these newer, higher res products are shooting. Fortunately, storage prices tend to be on par with those increases in file size demands, so it's not too brutal to buy multiple TB drives. It's the cost of entry for doing video work, and if you're working professionally it's just something you'll need to continue to budget for. Back in the day it was film, tapes, etc. Now it's hard drives.

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Explorer ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Thanks again for the advice...

I'll just plan on archiving with the native files & using proxies when I edit.

Cheers!

~Andrew

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 16, 2021 May 16, 2021

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As far as reducing the fils size to save disk space you can get a 2TB Seagate HD for $49.99. Mechanical hard drives are inexpensive and they are more than fast enough to edit 4K H.264. 4K Pro Res, BRAW and R3D files not so much.

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Explorer ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Thanks.... 

...yeah I'll probably get something like that for now ...and then a bit down the road get a G-Technology 10TB drive or something like that. You guys are right,,, it's really not all that expensive.

Best,

~Andrew

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