Transcoded REDCODE Editing Workflow

When you ingest the REDCODE files for this workflow, you transcode the files to an Apple ProRes codec. For the best-quality media, use the Apple ProRes 4444 codec or the Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec. However, if you’re doing an offline edit or producing an EDL, and media quality for editing is not an issue, you can save disk space and bandwidth by editing with Apple ProRes 422, Apple ProRes 422 (LT), or even Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) files.

Figure. Diagram showing the four stages of the transcoding workflow: shooting, ingesting, editing (in an alternative format), and finishing.

The transcoded media results in self-contained QuickTime movies that you can edit in the Final Cut Pro Timeline. Note that transcoding REDCODE files to one of the Apple ProRes codecs can take an extended time because of the size and complexity of the REDCODE files.

Important: Transcoding 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 specify an Apple ProRes codec as the destination format in the Log and Transfer window preferences. For more information, see Stage 2: Choosing an Apple ProRes Codec for Transcoding.

You edit the transcoded files just as you would edit DV or uncompressed video. You can send the files to Color, grade them, and return the graded files to Final Cut Pro for further finishing. You can then output to tape or media file in any of the standard Final Cut Pro HD or SD video formats.

The disadvantage of this workflow is that you must grade the files that have been transcoded to an Apple ProRes codec; you cannot grade your native REDCODE media. Your native REDCODE media provides direct access to the original RAW camera data for specifically compatible applications.

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

Stage 1: Downloading 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.

Stage 2: Choosing an Apple ProRes Codec for Transcoding

Decoding native REDCODE media for playback requires a lot of processing power. To reduce the processing demands on your computer, you can use the Log and Transfer window to transcode your REDCODE media to the less processor-intensive Apple ProRes format. Your sequence settings then change to the default Apple ProRes settings appropriate to the ingested media.

To choose the destination codec for transcoded REDCODE media
  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, click the disclosure triangle beside “RED FCP Log and Transfer plugin” in the Source column, then select RED Digital Cinema REDCODE.

  4. Choose an Apple ProRes codec from the pop-up menu in the “Transcode to” column corresponding to the RED Digital Cinema REDCODE item in the list, then 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: Transcoding Your REDCODE Media

You transfer REDCODE media to your scratch disk using the Log and Transfer window in Final Cut Pro. During the transfer, your media will be transcoded to an Apple ProRes codec. 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 you ingest the REDCODE files, your ingested clips will have a working resolution in Final Cut Pro of either 2048 x 1024 (with a 2:1 aspect ratio) or 2048 x 1152 (with a 16:9 aspect ratio).

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 REDCODE media.

Stage 4: Editing Video Using Transcoded REDCODE Media

Editing video transcoded to an Apple ProRes codec is the same as editing other formats in Final Cut Pro. However, you need to make sure your scratch disk supports the data rate.

For more information about the data rates of the Apple ProRes codecs, see Working with Apple ProRes.

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