FrameFlex Continued

There is quite an interesting FrameFlex thread evolving on the Avid Community Forums. It seems that there is still some confusion as to what FrameFlex is intended to do and expected behavior in the current version (7.0.3). To me, the parameters available are no better than what you would find in the standard resize effect as all you an affect is the XY pixel extraction and position. The only benefit of FrameFlex is its ability to access the full resolution of the camera’s original files when working with larger than HD sizes resulting in a better quality image than a scaling operation from an HD proxy. That’s it.

What is confusing, and what I was addressing in my previous blog entry on FrameFlex  is that the user needs to be aware that there is a quality difference when using FrameFlex on the source clip and when using it on an event in the timeline when doing a transcode. As long as the clip is dynamically linked to the camera original via AMA, what you see in the timeline is the extraction from the source file. Any operations done on an event in the timeline is combined with any that were done on the source clip.

One might use the source side FrameFlex to correct a boom mike in the shot for example, leading to more “corrective” use on the entire clip, as it does not allow for keyframes. Using FrameFlex in the timeline is for more creative needs as you are choosing the framing, moves, zooms and such in the context of the story and events before and after the event being affected. A different span from the same clip in another event can have different settings.  What you cannot do is save off a FrameFlex effect and apply to other clips as you with every other effect. Or the ability to have “relational” FrameFlex the same way color correction has for creative reframing on same shots in the timeline. Maybe in a future release. 

The important issue is that all this works great as long as the clips are dynamically linked.  But since this assumes greater than HD sources, performance is often an issue with AMA linked clips. So most users will highlight the sequence and perform a transcode to their finishing resolution as it is documented in many AMA workflows.

This is where the quality issue comes into play; The transcode dialog box allows the transcode process to “bake in” either the Image or Color Transforms as part of the operation, but it does not include any of the FrameFlex parameters used in the timeline - only what has been applied to the source. What is needed is the additional option allowing the user to include timeline FrameFlex as part of the transcoding process from a sequence. This way, all .new sources for that timeline are baked in with the expect quality an extraction offers from the larger resolution images.

As it stands, the resulting source clips are transcoded to 1920×1080 from whatever the original resolution might have been. If FrameFlex was used on the source, it will be applied. But all other effects on the timeline include timeline FrameFlex will be a scaled from the 1920 x 1080 image.

If you want to maintain the quality that FrameFlex offers when using it in the timeline, you must render the timeline or do a video midown, and not transcode the sequence. 

One of the comments in the Avid Forum suggested using AvidFX, but it too suffers from the fact that all effects can only use the output of the FrameFlex effect when dynamically linked which is 1920 x 1080. So doing the same effect in AvidFX has no difference in quality than using the 3DWarp as seen here. Click on image for original 1920 x 1080 exported frame from a 4K UHD frame size via a Media Composer timeline:

AvidFX

avidfx.png

FrameFlex render from the timeline (not transcoded)

frameflex2.png

The thread on the Avid Community Forum raises other issues users have come across that you might want to be aware of when using FrameFlex. If you understand what it’s currently capable of, you can create higher quality extractions as long as you don’t need to rotate the image. AAF roundtrip with FrameFlex is another area where users need to be careful, and I will document a Resolve AAF roundtrip in a future blog that allows FrameFlex parameters to remain relevant for any last changes needed in the finishing process.

 Update: Rotate has been added to FrameFlex with Media Composer 8.4. 

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