R3D Cameras are fantastic, flexible tools in a film maker’s arsenal and provide so much latitude when it comes to the final grade. However, some of the biggest issues with handling R3D footage comes from incorrectly importing or exporting it in the offline edit. This causes issues in the conform and adds time to complete the edit as the project hs to then go back to the offline editor to be corrected. Here is a quick reference for offline editors on the best workflow to minimise these issues
1. Do not transcode the media! If you transcode, you will lose all the precious timecode needed for Resolve and other grading software to match up the EDL/XML/AAF to the original footage. The timecode for the first two digits on RED footage is the time of day, such as 16:24:35. The Transcoded media will have a start time of 00:00:00.
2. Install the RED Plugin for Final Cut or your NLE of choice. This allows your software to correctly view and import the R3D footage. The link is available here: https://www.red.com/downloads?category=Software&release=final
3. Import the footage into your NLE, but ensure things like ‘Create Transcoded Media’ and ‘Create Proxy Media’ are unchecked. Also make sure that any ‘keyword from folders’ are unchecked.
4. The reason you do not want the first two options is because this edit will refer to those clips and not the source clips. The keyword or bin generation is also illadvised. RED cameras organise footage by date and and then the folder of the name of the clip which includes metadata and other files. This leads to the creation of many useless bin names or keywords.
5. Apple has a great guide on how to use RED footage in a Final Cut X workflow. https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/docs/RED_Workflows_with_Final_Cut_Pro_X.pdf
6. Exporting an XML is quite easy, as Resolve and Premiere/FCP X play nice with each other, however, it is always recommended that you remove any transitions, motion graphics, supers, compound clips and retimed compound clips from your edit. Some effects may not translate and EDLs also do not support compound clips. (Compound clips will often appear automatically when generating proxys. Another reason to avoid ticking the ‘Create Proxy Media’ button). Also, make sure your edit stays on one track. Otherwise software such as EDL-X will generate a seperate EDL for that track.
7. Always try and provide a high quality reference. A reference that is at least 1920 x 1080 if shot at higher resolutions, or the native resolution otherwise. This is ideally done as as single continuous file. As long as the previous steps are maintained, a H.264 here is fine.
Hopefully, this guide will help offline editors streamline the complete work flow and enable the best final product for the colourist to work with. The colour is so crucial in a RED RAW workflow and this leaves the most room for creative enhancement.