Hi, I hope there's someone out there that can answer my question. I shoot in Dragon Frame with a DSLR and I've been editing in Sony Vegas.

I was wondering what's the best way or 'file type' to save the JPG sequences into footage.

In other words, I feel like like I need to render my animated scenes into short video files, so that I can edit them together into a longer movie. So what the best way to do that?

... or if you guys do it a different way I'd love to hear what that is?

-Jeff 

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Hey Jeff, good to see you're still doing stopmo. I saw your video on how you make hands and I really like your innovative approach. As for your question - all I can give is a tentative answer, somebody else can doubtless talk from experience. But I believe what you need to use is what's called an intermediate codec. There's one called Apple Intermediate, and a whole bunch called ProRes. I tried using one of the ProRes codecs to do exactly what you're talking about a while back, but when I tried to open the footage in Final Cut it couldn't work with it and gave me no indication of why. I have no idea why there are dozens of different ProRes codecs or what the differences are, but it would be nice if they would explain rather than just pile them all in and let you struggle with no information. In fact lately I find I spend a good deal of time shouting at my computer "Where's the INFORMATION???!!?!" And it really bugs me that these days everything is named with strings of numbers and meaningless letters rather than words. Words you can remember and work with, but strings of numbers and symbols are for computers, not people. Most industries seem to have lost any sense of humanism they had a couple of decades ago. 

Sorry for the no-help reply, I guess I needed to share my frustration in trying to do the same thing. 

Thanks for giving it a shot Strider. I know what you mean, everything seems to be named in 'secret codes' anymore. I'll try and research the 'ProRes codec' and see what I can come up with :)

Strider said:

Hey Jeff, good to see you're still doing stopmo. I saw your video on how you make hands and I really like your innovative approach. As for your question - all I can give is a tentative answer, somebody else can doubtless talk from experience. But I believe what you need to use is what's called an intermediate codec. There's one called Apple Intermediate, and a whole bunch called ProRes. I tried using one of the ProRes codecs to do exactly what you're talking about a while back, but when I tried to open the footage in Final Cut it couldn't work with it and gave me no indication of why. I have no idea why there are dozens of different ProRes codecs or what the differences are, but it would be nice if they would explain rather than just pile them all in and let you struggle with no information. In fact lately I find I spend a good deal of time shouting at my computer "Where's the INFORMATION???!!?!" And it really bugs me that these days everything is named with strings of numbers and meaningless letters rather than words. Words you can remember and work with, but strings of numbers and symbols are for computers, not people. Most industries seem to have lost any sense of humanism they had a couple of decades ago. 

Sorry for the no-help reply, I guess I needed to share my frustration in trying to do the same thing. 

I believe ProRes 422 is a good one. But you'd need to google or check the manual to see if Vegas can handle it. Or just try a super simple test - shoot something a few seconds long, encode it in one of the intermediate codecs and see if you can load it in and work with it. 

Actually, I think I found my answer... Reading through some of the other posts it looks like saving the image sequences as quicktime movies seems to be the way StopMo Nick does it.

I was just looking around the settings on Sony Vegas and there's a setting to render as a Quick Time 7, Uncompressed. I'll give that a try.

Yeah, sounds like that would be ideal. Thanks for posting about it, I'll keep that one in mind. 

If Uncompressed ends up being too large, I'll second Strider's recommendation of ProRes (assuming you're working on a Mac), or Avid DNxHD if you're on Windows.  ProRes should be available natively on Mac, and DNxHD is available for free download for both Mac and Windows.  The one drawback to DNxHD is that it does not yet support resolutions above 1920x1080; supposedly there's a 4K variant in the pipeline, but it's not available with the main Avid codec pack yet in any case.

I've actually had pretty good results converting the JPG or RAW sequence into a DPX sequence as well (which does not share DNxHD's resolution constraints); it's still an image sequence, but Premiere at least seems to be able to process it about as quickly as a high bitrate video file (provided you don't export an Alpha channel; for some reason that blows Premiere's mind).  I haven't used Vegas, though, so YMMV.

I would just keep them as jpeg sequences.  I don't know vegas, but you should be able to set the sequence frame rate in preferences before importing the sequence - or interpret the sequence after import. You actually have to import as a sequence, not the individual files.  The sequence will be just like a movie clip.  Edit away. 

That's assuming you didn't shoot significantly larger than your intended final output, and the editor can play them back smoothly.

I save each shot as a QT mov file, in Apple Pro-Res 422, at 1920 x 1080 HD.  That imports into Final Cut Pro 6 (and all my other programs), and seems to be able to play smoothly in real time on my 7 year old Mac Pro.  I was finding I couldn't play Uncompressed if it was longer than about 40 frames, without it stuttering, and I needed to see how my shots flowed together in the editor.  There is an Apple Pro Res 422 HQ that is slightly higher quality.

A couple of editing programs I've used in the past could import an image sequence quite easily, just like TV Paint, After Effects, and Lightwave 3d do, but Final Cut doesn't - it wants to treat each frame as a single still image - so I stick with QT movies for my edit.  Probably Vegas would work with image sequences, but I haven't ever used it so I can't be sure.

When I have to do some work in After Effects, I don't see the Pro-Res as an option when saving QT movies, so I go for Lossless.  (Which I presume means uncompressed, or as good as.)  That's often for greenscreen shots, and I might save my puppet with the background keyed out as 32 bit, RGB plus Alpha, so it keeps the transparent background.  That way I can lay it over the background later, or deliver it to someone else ready to be laid over their background.  I can do that exporting as QT movies, or as a PNG or Tiff sequence.  Usually the shot I export from AE is not the final, so it doesn't usually go into my editor without having been worked on and saved some more in another program.

I don't think my current equipment would play 4k, though I could still save a 4k master copy if I thought I would want that in the future.   You could also save an uncompressed master copy in a smaller size, but make a compressed version to edit with if your computer can't handle it.  

Another option to look into -- it looks like Vegas has integrated proxy file support.  That means you can work with super-high-bitrate files that probably would be a pain to edit directly, but your editor will automatically generate lower quality temporary files are easier to work with and just swap the originals back in when it's time to export.

Hi John, That's what I've been doing so far, just editing with the image sequances. It works fine, but I guess I was just worried about once I get more and more scenes stacked up. Whether vegas was going to be able to handle like 30 minutes of single frames ... if I actually get that far :)

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it.

-Jeff


John Lewis said:

I would just keep them as jpeg sequences.  I don't know vegas, but you should be able to set the sequence frame rate in preferences before importing the sequence - or interpret the sequence after import. You actually have to import as a sequence, not the individual files.  The sequence will be just like a movie clip.  Edit away. 

That's assuming you didn't shoot significantly larger than your intended final output, and the editor can play them back smoothly.

Thanks Nick, I tried the uncompressed Quick Time files, and they work in vegas. Thanks for the advice.

-Jeff

StopmoNick said:

I save each shot as a QT mov file, in Apple Pro-Res 422, at 1920 x 1080 HD.  That imports into Final Cut Pro 6 (and all my other programs), and seems to be able to play smoothly in real time on my 7 year old Mac Pro.  I was finding I couldn't play Uncompressed if it was longer than about 40 frames, without it stuttering, and I needed to see how my shots flowed together in the editor.  There is an Apple Pro Res 422 HQ that is slightly higher quality.

A couple of editing programs I've used in the past could import an image sequence quite easily, just like TV Paint, After Effects, and Lightwave 3d do, but Final Cut doesn't - it wants to treat each frame as a single still image - so I stick with QT movies for my edit.  Probably Vegas would work with image sequences, but I haven't ever used it so I can't be sure.

When I have to do some work in After Effects, I don't see the Pro-Res as an option when saving QT movies, so I go for Lossless.  (Which I presume means uncompressed, or as good as.)  That's often for greenscreen shots, and I might save my puppet with the background keyed out as 32 bit, RGB plus Alpha, so it keeps the transparent background.  That way I can lay it over the background later, or deliver it to someone else ready to be laid over their background.  I can do that exporting as QT movies, or as a PNG or Tiff sequence.  Usually the shot I export from AE is not the final, so it doesn't usually go into my editor without having been worked on and saved some more in another program.

I don't think my current equipment would play 4k, though I could still save a 4k master copy if I thought I would want that in the future.   You could also save an uncompressed master copy in a smaller size, but make a compressed version to edit with if your computer can't handle it.  


Thanks Thomas

-Jeff

Thomas Nicol said:

Another option to look into -- it looks like Vegas has integrated proxy file support.  That means you can work with super-high-bitrate files that probably would be a pain to edit directly, but your editor will automatically generate lower quality temporary files are easier to work with and just swap the originals back in when it's time to export.

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