Native REDCODE Editing Workflow

It’s recommended that you use the RED ONE camera to shoot in 4K RAW. You ingest the REDCODE files using the RED QuickTime codec, and the media is converted to QuickTime files. (Technically, you are wrapping the R3D source media in a QuickTime wrapper, which provides compatible applications with the ability to access the native 4K source data at whatever resolution you choose.) You then perform an edit of your media with 2K sequence settings.

After the edit, you can send your media to Color, which can extract the full-resolution 4K data from one of these QuickTime-wrapped R3D source files. You use Color to grade the sequence and render it as DPX files, uncompressed HD files, or Apple ProRes files. You can also transfer the DPX files to a digital intermediate software finishing application or output the finished DPX files to film or to digital cinema files.

Figure. Diagram showing the five stages of the native REDCODE workflow: shooting, ingesting, editing (in native 4K format), color grading at 4K resolution, and outputting.

Important: Ingesting REDCODE files requires the RED QuickTime plug-in and the RED FCP Log and Transfer plug-in to be installed and selected when you ingest the REDCODE files. These items are available for download from the RED Digital Cinema Camera Company website at http://www.red.com/support.

Before ingesting the REDCODE files, you must configure the Log and Transfer window preferences. For more information, see Stage 2: Choosing the RED FCP Log and Transfer Plug-in for Transfer.

After ingesting your media, you can configure your sequence settings by dragging a REDCODE clip into a new, empty sequence. Final Cut Pro automatically conforms the sequence compression setting to the Apple ProRes 4444 codec, which is the appropriate rendering format for REDCODE media. After you ingest your REDCODE media and convert it to QuickTime files, you cannot render your media back to native REDCODE media because the REDCODE codec does not support encoding.

You edit the resulting REDCODE QuickTime files just as you would edit DV or uncompressed video. To facilitate editing REDCODE media, you should set your sequence settings to Unlimited RT and medium quality (to display the video at half its full dimensions).

The advantage of this workflow is that you can output from Final Cut Studio to DPX files or Apple ProRes 4444 files at 2K or 4K resolution, suitable for final processing by a digital intermediate finishing system. However, this workflow requires large amounts of disk space to hold the REDCODE and DPX files. In addition, you won’t have full real-time playback in Final Cut Pro and must use Unlimited RT.

Important: New methods for ingesting REDCODE files into Final Cut Pro are being developed on a regular basis. For more information about the latest workflows for working with REDCODE media, go to the RED Digital Cinema Camera Company website at http://www.red.com.

The native REDCODE workflow follows the standard process for ingesting file-based media using the Log and Transfer window.

Stage 1: Copying REDCODE Media Files to Your Computer

After shooting REDCODE media, connect the camera’s hard disk drive to your computer, or insert the CompactFlash card into a card reader connected to your computer. See the documentation that came with your RED ONE camera for more detailed information. Download your files to the hard disk storage device that you will access with Final Cut Pro. Be sure to also archive copies of your REDCODE media on a separate storage device for safekeeping.

Because REDCODE media can require large amounts of disk space, be sure to have adequate storage capacity available to hold your entire project. When recording 4K RAW at 24 fps, a 320 GB hard disk can record about 180 minutes of media. When recording 2K RAW at 24 fps, a 320 GB hard disk can hold about 720 minutes of media.

When downloading your REDCODE media files, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Copy the entire contents of the CompactFlash card or hard disk to a folder or disk image. Each folder or disk image you copy REDCODE media into must have a unique name, preferably one that clearly identifies the contents. After you copy REDCODE media into a folder, the folder will have one or more subfolders with an .RDM extension that contain the actual REDCODE media. During the log and transfer process, Final Cut Pro uses the name of the .RDM folder as the reel name for any source media file enclosed in that folder.

  • Because the reel name is a critical part of organizing a post-production project and crucial to any further use of the REDCODE media, it’s a good idea to rename the .RDM folder to something meaningful and easily identifiable for your workflow. For example, you could change the automatically generated folder name H046_100145.RDM to Day01_Scene05.RDM. The .RDM folder must have a unique name. Do not under any circumstances change the names of any folders or files inside the .RDM folder.

  • After you have ingested the media using the Log and Transfer window, do not change the name of the .RDM folder again, and do not change the name of any other file or folder. Doing so will jeopardize your ability to later reconform offline sequences to the original source media.

    Important: Make sure to name the .RDM folder before ingesting. Using the Reel field of the Log and Transfer window to enter new reel names for REDCODE media during ingest is not recommended.

  • Always copy the entire contents of each RED volume to an individually named folder or disk image. Do not combine the contents of several RED volumes into a single folder. For example, don’t make a folder called RED MEDIA and put all the .rdc and .profile items in it.

  • Do not nest folders of RED content within each other.

  • Do not place the contents of the RED volume in your Capture Scratch folder.

  • If you plan to output to film, be sure to follow these instructions:

    • Your base project frame rate should be either 23.98 or 24 fps. All media in a sequence should be REDCODE media. You cannot transfer mixed-format sequences for grading in the Color RED room.

    • Do not mix REDCODE volumes and media with folders of DPX images in the same folder structure.

Stage 2: Choosing the RED FCP Log and Transfer Plug-in for Transfer

To ingest the REDCODE files, you open the Log and Transfer window and choose the RED FCP Log and Transfer plug-in.

Make sure you have installed the RED QuickTime codec and the RED FCP Log and Transfer plug-in. These items are available for download from the RED Digital Cinema Camera Company website at http://www.red.com/support.

To choose the RED FCP Log and Transfer plug-in in the Log and Transfer window
  1. Mount the volumes that contain your REDCODE media.

  2. Open the Log and Transfer window, then choose Preferences from the Action pop-up menu (with a gear icon) in the upper-right corner of the Browse area.

  3. In the Import Preferences dialog, choose Native from the pop-up menu in the “Transcode to” column corresponding to the RED Digital Cinema REDCODE item in the list.

  4. Click OK.

For more information about using the Log and Transfer window, see “Overview of Transferring File-Based Media” and “About the Log and Transfer Window” in the Final Cut Pro 7 User Manual.

Stage 3: Transferring REDCODE Media

You can transfer REDCODE media to your scratch disk using the Log and Transfer window in Final Cut Pro. For more information about using the Log and Transfer window, see “Overview of Transferring File-Based Media” and “About the Log and Transfer Window” in the Final Cut Pro 7 User Manual.

After ingesting the REDCODE files, the working resolution of your ingested clips will be 2K, with either a resolution of 2048 x 1024 pixels and an aspect ratio of 2:1 or a resolution of 2048 x 1152 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Important: Although it is possible to copy REDCODE files directly to your scratch disk, Final Cut Pro won’t recognize these files. You must use the Log and Transfer window to transfer the REDCODE media.

Stage 4: Editing REDCODE Video

To edit REDCODE video, have Final Cut Pro automatically configure the sequence settings to Apple ProRes and use Unlimited RT in the Timeline for maximum responsiveness.

To configure a new sequence to support REDCODE media
  1. If you haven’t already done so, ingest a REDCODE media clip into a Final Cut Pro project. (See Stage 3: Transferring REDCODE Media.)

  2. Create a new sequence and open it.

  3. Drag the REDCODE clip into the Timeline.

  4. When the resulting dialog asks if you want to change the sequence settings to match the clip settings, click Yes.

    Final Cut Pro automatically configures the sequence to Apple ProRes 4444. This the most appropriate setting because REDCODE media uses 4:4:4 RGB color and Apple ProRes 4444 retains the full color with no chroma subsampling.

Note: Do not change the compressor setting to REDCODE, because encoding functionality is not supported by the REDCODE codec.

To set the Timeline to use Unlimited RT
  • Choose the following settings in the RT pop-up menu in the upper-left corner of the Final Cut Pro Timeline:

    • Unlimited RT

    • Playback Video Quality: Low or Medium

      Medium-quality playback shows video at half its full dimensions.

    • Playback Frame Rate: Full

After you’ve completed your edit, you have a range of finishing and output options. For more information, see Finishing and Outputting REDCODE Projects.