Hi All. I am looking at getting a PC built for shooting stop motion and am trying to work out some things.
- I am shooting with a Canon EOS 750D
(may upgrade at some point in the future but this is a great little camera).
- Using Animashooter and OpenToonz software.
(may upgrade to Dragonframe in the future when and if I do some Arduino lego DIY mocon stuff.)
My question is in relation to file sizes, what frame size do you bring into the software from the camera? I am looking at mastering in HD, so I don’t need 4k - although I could edit in 4k and then render down to HD 1080p. This might make sense also as I’m going a bit of green screen compositing stuff into Blender etc.
I figure if the raw camera images are 12MP, 4K is 9MP and HD is 2MP, I certainly don’t need to be editing source footage which is 3 to 4 times the size I need and filling my storage 3 times as fast for no good reason?
Any thoughts, comments and advice welcome. With many thanks in advance.
I normally set the image size in the camera to Large, the full size, which would be the native resolution of the sensor. Ideally, in CR2 raw format, because you can make much bigger adjustments in brightness or colour temperature. (The images always looks brighter in Dragonframe on one computer, but when I put the images into After Effects on another they look darker. I've also had issues with an old PC monitor that looked brighter or darker when seen at different angles, and I would tilt it up to animate standing, then tilt it down to do post production, so it was constantly changing. So it's nice to be able to fix any stuff-ups.) But for some of my own projects I shoot in Large Fine Jpg, because those raw files do take some drive space. With my Canon 7d, that's 5184 x 3456, which as you say is huge when it is going to be edited in 1920 x 1080 HD. Even my older 40d shoots at 3888 wide. I looked it up, your 750d is even bigger at 6000 x 4000 pixels. But Raw only comes in that size. If you are not shooting Raw, the Medium/Fine Jpg option still gives you plenty of room to move. Even the Small is a good size, almost equal to the 3000 pixel width of my first DSLR. I would not recommend the 1920 x 1080 Small 2 option though - too many benefits in shooting oversize.
You could dump your raw files once you have a good 4k version I guess. Or once the project is finished, you might only want to keep an HD master.
There are a few reasons to keep the image larger for some processes. But 4k would probably be fine. First, I like to do my green screen keying at a higher resolution, so I'm not blurring two pixels together. There is already a border of mixed greenish pixels around the edge of the puppet to deal with, so I want it as clean as possible with the finest adjustments available to me. I do usually export from After effects at a smaller 3840 x 2160 "4k", so any wire removal and fix-ups can still be done at a higher resolution than the finished product. That way if there is a weird pixel or two where I erased the rig where it goes behind the puppet, the reduction to HD tends to make that disappear. Or if there was a camera bump and the image has moved a pixel or to, I can try to move it and I have much finer control than if it was only an HD image. And for some shots I want to do a post-production zoom or pan, so that is usually still enough room to go in and pan across and not lose any resolution. (And if the camera did move, and it can't be perfectly corrected, as it usually can't, adding a move in post will disguise that little bump so you don't see it.)
I do reduce to HD before I put the shots into my editing program - Final Cut Pro 6 on the old Mac Pro until last year, and now the excellent free version of Blackmagic's Da Vinci Resolve on my 2013 iMac. (It works on PC as well, and I see you are into free software.) I put them in a video format, usually Apple Pro Res QT .mov, for the editor, but do most of my other post work with image sequences.
I do some final colour grading in Da Vinci Resolve to match up the shots (it started as a pro colour grading app so it is very good at it), but any cropping, moves or working in layers have been done before that. Even the titles, although I'm sure most editors can do that very well. I use TV Paint Animation Pro for most of that, and some bits of actual 2d animation like painting in eye blinks or electrical zaps - probably that's where you use OpenToonz?
Correction - I export from AE at 3840 wide x 2560, because it is still a 3x2 ratio. I crop to 16:9 in TVP where I can draw a box and see what I am cropping out.
Not sure you would want to be editing in 4K, unless you are getting a super powerful water-cooled PC. The free version of Davinci Resolve will not handle 4K, although if you pay for the full version it can.
Having said that, it makes sense to originate your images in high resolution, as you could always go back and produce a 4K version later ( when your masterpiece has swept all the awards... let me dream on!!)
But the size of a RAW frame, from my 600D, is about 22MB, while a JPEG is only a fraction of that, so, yes, you fill up your hard drives really fast.
When I import I prefer to convert into PNG files, that are lossless but smaller than TIFFs, then edit the image sequences. This means one avoids re-rendering and losing quality.