Author Topic: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects  (Read 23323 times)

Frank7D

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Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« on: September 20, 2014, 05:42:26 AM »
Previously, step 1 of my workflow was converting my MLVs to DNGs.
Now, thanks to MLVFS (http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=13152.0), I can skip this step, which saves time and potentially space. Many thanks to dmilligan, ayshih, g3gg0 and anyone else who contributed to its development so far, and to SteveScout for his "Smart Import 2.jsx" After Effects script.

Before describing my workflow, I'll tell you what I'm working with so you can get an idea of how applicable this information may be to you.
OS: Windows Vista 64bit
Software: Adobe Production Premium CS5 (Premiere, After Effects)
Media:  MLV with sound

The overview is:
You "mount" MLV files to become virtual directories containing virtual DNGs (this is temporary and doesn't alter the MLV files).
You import the (virtual) DNG sequences into After Effects along with audio (if any) and render out files to edit with (either proxies or high-quality intermediates, your choice).

To use this workflow, you will need to install the Pismo File Mount Audit Package, as described by ayshih in the above link. This is quick and painless. Also, download and register mlvfs.dll, as described by ayshih. Note that MLVFS is still being developed, so keep an eye out for future possible improvements (or improve it yourself if you have the know-how and inclination).

Also, get the After Effects script "Smart Import 2.jsx" found here: http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=12422.msg119832#msg119832

Here's the workflow:

1. Put MLVs in a subfolder of the project folder (I name mine "vDNGs" for "Virtual DNGs").

2. Quick Mount them by right-clicking and choosing "Quick mount" (don't select spanned files, i.e. .M00, .M01 etc.). You can select multiple MLVs and do them all at once if you like. You can select just some of the MLVs if you don't want to process them all. Now you should have a virtual folder for each MLV, containing virtual DNGs (CDNGs, to be exact), which behave very much like actual DNGs. The virtual folders will be named the same as the MLVs were.

3. Make a new After Effects project.

4. Run "Smart Import 2.jsx" (File / Scripts / Smart Import 2.jsx). This is used to import the (virtual) DNG sequences and wav files (if any) and generate compositions and output modules for rendering (if desired). In the "Import" field, type or browse to your MLV directory ("vDNGs" in my case). Choose an Output Module and a File Name format and an Output location. Note that there is a default audio sync compensation which may or may not be needed for your video. Set it to "0" if you don't need it. When you have the script settings the way you want them, click the "Run" button at the very bottom.

5. Each sequence will open up in Adobe Camera Raw. Make any initial adjustments you want to white balance, exposure etc.

6. The ACR settings you used when opening the DNG sequences will have been saved to .MLD folders, which stick around even after you unmount the MLVs.

7. Unmount the MLV virtual folders when you're finished with them by right-clicking and choosing "Unmount". Note that they must be mounted for After Effects to recognize them.

This workflow might seem complicated or technical when you see it written out, but it's actually a breeze to use once it's set up. Let me know if anything doesn't work the way you expect it to, or if you have any other comments. Thanks!

surami

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2014, 10:47:11 AM »
Your batch scripts are very effective/useful, they speed up the workflow. Thanks!

I recommend it for everyone, it's not hard to setup.
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senzazn12

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2014, 06:39:21 PM »
Is there a way I could use MLVFS workflow with Lightroom instead of After Effects? Don't have After Effects installed.

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2014, 06:44:59 PM »
I've never used Lightroom, but if it requires the dngs to be writable than you can use the "Make_Writable.bat" file, and if it uses .xmp sidecars like Camera Raw does, than you can use the "Save_XMPs.bat" and "CopyBack_XMPs.bat" files.

ayshih

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 10:37:35 PM »
I just uploaded a new version of the DLL with a couple of small improvements.

3. Get rid of the IDX files that will appear in the MLV directory. You can delete them or move them. You need to do this or the After Effects script will get confused. I run the batch file "Save_IDXs.bat" to move them to another folder (named "IDXs" in my case) just in case they might be useful for something. If you don't use the script, be careful not to accidentally delete or move any spanned files that might be in the MLV directory.
For MLV files without sound, the IDX file will no longer be created.  Because of how the code is currently structured, MLV files with sound still need the IDX file.  There's no particular reason to save these files; they're generated on the fly whenever they're needed.

4. Make all the virtual DNGs writable. This is necessary in order to import them into After Effects. To do it manually means right-clicking on each virtual folder, which can be tedious if you have a lot of them. For a quick and easy alternative, run "Make_Writable.bat"
Read-only attributes are no longer set, so you can skip this step.  ACR somehow "knows" to use XMP sidecar files for the virtual DNGs, even when they are not read-only.  I'm not going to question it.
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Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 10:48:42 PM »
Thanks ayshih! I'll try it out when I get the chance.

Note to all: The "Smart Import 2.jsx" script isn't working for me with spanned files, though I could swear it was yesterday when I used it. It's giving me the same error messages I was getting before I starting removing the IDX files. I'm trying to track down the issue now. If anyone knows javascript and wants to take a crack at it, that would be great.

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2014, 08:00:13 AM »
So I figured out (kind of) what is happening with the "Smart Import 2.jsx" script. If I have more than one file with the same extension in the "vDNGs" folder, i.e. spanned files such as "M20-1636.M00", "M20-1658.M00" etc., the script thinks they belong to an image sequence, and complains about missing frames before just stopping because it is unable to import MLVs directly. The non-spanned files are fine, because the script sees them as folders. I need to figure out the rule it is using to determine what is an image sequence it should try to import.

In the meantime, don't use "Smart Import 2.jsx" with multiple spanned files that share the same extension (ones that are different, like .M00, .M01, .M02, will hopefully be fine).

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 08:36:34 AM »
I updated the workflow at the top with the latest info.

ayshih

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2014, 12:56:10 AM »
I've uploaded a new version of the DLL that now saves the XMP sidecar files to an associated .MLD directory.  Thus, you shouldn't need the scripts to save and restore the XMP files.  *However*, the existence of the .MLD directory may guarantee that the "Smart Import 2.jsx" script will fail.  Can you give the new DLL a try?
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Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 07:21:46 PM »
The latest version of mlvfs.dll has elimated two more steps in the workflow (thanks ayshih!); see changes in the first post.

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2014, 09:20:58 AM »
Figured out how to get the smart import 2 script to work with spanned files and, as a bonus, now the script ignores .IDX files so you don't need to delete them. See the orignal post for the solution.

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2014, 02:47:17 AM »
Added dmilligan's improvement to the "Smart Import 2" script modification (see OP). Also allowed for unmounted .MLVs, .IDX files, .XMPs and .INI files.

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2014, 05:58:41 PM »
SteveScout updated his "Smart Import 2" script, so the downloaded version will work fine now without being edited.

ayshih

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2014, 06:30:42 PM »
Heh, at this point, you may want to clean up the initial post since the majority of it is struck through!
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Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2014, 06:56:19 PM »
ayshih, good point; I updated the OP.

PaulHarwood856

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2016, 06:47:24 AM »
Hello everyone,

     Just figured I would let you know that Smart Import 2 in After Effects 2017 has an issue where changing Composition Frame Rate doesn't work. The Import Preference fps has to be changed in the After Effects Preferences in order for the composition to have the correct frame rate. Otherwise if you have 59.94 fps or 48 fps it can be comformed in a 23.976 fps timeline, which is something I don't want. I like to fine tune the extra frames later in Premiere Pro. Hope this helps!

- Paul Harwood

D_Odell

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2016, 09:45:33 AM »
Does this nice script exist for Davinci somehow? I don't think Davinchi uses scripts or am I wrong?
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PaulHarwood856

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2016, 12:18:27 AM »
Hey D_Odell,

     I'm not too familiar with Davinci Resolve, but I'm pretty sure this script is just for After Effects. Might be worth starting a new topic though!

- Paul Harwood

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2016, 07:44:28 PM »
Posting to be notified.

Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2016, 07:47:29 PM »
Test.

canneloni

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2016, 08:06:22 PM »
I have a strange "bug" when using After Effects and Camera Raw. When i change something with Camera Raw i.e. white balance, it only changes the first frame. What am i missing here? I've watched many tutorials but never saw anything like this. Can anyone help?

Thanks!
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Frank7D

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2016, 07:16:01 AM »
canneloni, I don't know. Are you opening the image sequence in After Effects and making the white balance change in the Camera Raw window that opens up there?

hyalinejim

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2016, 12:09:26 PM »
Maybe try right clicking on the DNG sequence in the Project window and select Reload Footage.

canneloni

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2016, 11:37:46 AM »
@Frank7D
Yes, thats exactly what i do. The Strange thing is, that it happens on my Laptop and on my pc, so im pretty sure there is some kind of mistake i'm making but i have no clue which one.
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PaulHarwood856

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Re: Workflow using MLVFS and After Effects
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2016, 01:05:29 AM »
Hey canneloni,

     This problem has been going on for quite some time. I called Adobe around a year ago, and apparently they still haven't fixed this. Premiere Pro supports 8 bit and 10 bit. After Effects supports 14 bit. What I suggest you do is use the Smart Import 2 script in After Effects by Frank7D. You will be able to open up Adobe Camera Raw for each dng sequence, and apply color grading. I suggest using Cinelog C by Andy600. This will give you a flat log profile which retains detail and dynamic range. Transcode in After Effects as ProRes 4444 XQ and when brought into Premiere Pro, apply an S Curve and Saturation to bring the flat image to REC 709. Hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any other questions.

- Paul Harwood