NOTE: The issue of missing volume automation & fades is now fixed in Vordio 4.2.2.

The recent Yosemite 10.10.3 update seems to have affected Vordio on my machine.

It is not longer converting Volume automation for FCP X but other features still seem fine.

I am still not sure if this problem is confined to my machine only and hopefully it is. I have had other quirky problems with some other apps too.

I am currently looking into how to resolve this issue in case it does affect other customers.

Please let me know if this has affected you. Thanks for your patience.

When exporting a compressed video from Final Cut X and uploading to Vimeo the result for me looks quite bad. The exact same happens using Compressor.

What I see is that the highlights become lowered, making it darker, and the blacks become raised, uncrushing them, making them brighter and noisier. There is also a slight red shift. Not a good look.

I have seen some people calling this the ‘gamma problem’. So at first I tried to use a gamma filter in compressor to adjust it. However, I found that this also produces an unsatisfactory result, no matter what settings I tried. It did get brighter but also became slightly washed out looking. Not a good look either.

This has been annoying me for ages but I finally had enough and was determined to investigate in more detail. I hoped that if I understood what was being mistranslated, I might be able to find a better solution. Something was definitely getting mistranslated.

It turns out that unlike still images on the internet, which are properly colour managed all the way through the various stages in the pipeline, the situation with video on the internet is still a real mess.

Each target encoder and then player may interpret things quite differently and make mistakes, even if your source material is correct. Vimeo re-encodes videos when you upload, then their player plays that encoding not yours.

So I began comparing footage in different players and using a colour meter to assess in what way they really were different.

Initially I was trying new settings and then uploading to vimeo but this was a painfully slow method of testing new methods. I had to find a quicker way of doing it.

I was not really making much progress and about to give up, when by a beautiful coincidence, I discovered that VLC on a mac also made exactly the same translation errors that Vimeo did. This was incredible news because now I could speed up my search massively. I could try new settings to see if they worked in seconds without waiting for an upload.

I spent some time looking at video encodings and my hypothesis became that this was not a ‘gamma problem’ at all, but rather caused by different colour spaces using differing value ranges for brightness. Some use a range of 0-255 for black to white and some a range of 16-235.

I became suspicious that at some stage in the pipeline the wrong range was being used for a translation, resulting in the damaged highlights and lowlights.

This gave me hope that I might be able to somehow fool the pipeline into giving a correct result by actually feeding it the wrong input! I just had to discover what created the exact reverse of the problem. I could then mangle the input so that a later translation error would correct it back again to something more like the original.

When problems are strange and non standard like this one, tools like Compressor often don’t give enough options to play with, so I used a less friendly but much more powerful command line tool called ffmpeg which has a lot more options.

I tweaked colour translation parameters over and over again by trial and error until I found a combination that produced a closer result to my original master video when played in VLC.

When I stumbled on the ‘correct’ settings, I got a result with much more accurate brightness range. The original problem was that my videos became darker, noisier and redder. Now I had something which seemed to give a correct brightness range but also had a slight green shift.

However for me this was still a big improvement as the thing that annoyed me most was the destruction of the video’s dynamic range.

So what was the trick in the end? It was to add a video filter in the compression pipeline before the compression stage so that it remaps the colours between standards bt601 and smpte240m. This is very strange as HD should be bt709.

So here is how I encoded a video using ffmpeg for more accurate brightness on vimeo. It does produce a slight green shift but it also seems less obvious than the darker/red shift I was getting before. There may be better settings that are even more accurate but these are the best that I have found so far. Let me know on twitter if this works for you.

Try more options. You may get lucky. Let me know if you do. The reverse trick may work if your videos have the inverse problem of being too bright and washed out. I have seen people complain about that with different pipelines.

The critical parameter to play with is -vf colormatrix=bt601:smpte240m which means filter video to remap the colour matrix.

ffmpeg -i Original.mov -vf colormatrix=bt601:smpte240m -c:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 18 -maxrate 10000k -bufsize 1500k -c:a libfdk_aac -b:a 320k Compressed.mkv

Vordio 4.2.1 includes an important fix for volume levels & keyframes.

Download the update here.

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Vordio 4.2+ now supports XML from 2 more video editing programs – Premiere & Final Cut 7.

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Vordio 4.2 includes new features. Download the update here.

XML support added for Premiere & Final Cut 7. Multicam is not yet supported for these but an update is coming soon.

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Reconform now supports ‘locking’ of a piece of newly added audio to a piece of old audio so it moves along with it during a reconform. You ‘lock’ a piece of audio using the reaper ‘group’ function. Audio that has been successfully moved using the lock feature will be coloured purple. The example below moved with the green audio above it.

reconform-audio-locking

The next release Vordio 4.2 will include basic experimental support for XMEML which is an XML format that can be exported by Premiere & Final Cut 7.

Initially it will not be as fully featured (and maybe not as robust) as the FCP X support which has had a much longer time to mature, having been tested on hundreds of real world film & TV projects.

new-feature

Please bear in mind that at this time, Vordio only runs on a Mac. It was initially Mac only because FCP X is a mac only application and Macs have a very different file system to Windows. As Vordio needs to copy and transcode project media, this makes it difficult to make a single version that runs well on both Mac and Windows. They would need to be separated.

However, as Premiere and Lightworks both run on windows, releasing a windows version of Vordio will soon become relevant. Once the XMEML support appears to be solid enough for real world use I will make a version for windows.

I would appreciate receiving as many test cases as possible. If you have XML exports from real projects in Premiere & FCP 7 you can send then please do.

I have kindly been donated a complex full length feature film, edited in Premiere, with over a million lines of XML for initial testing, and all seems to be going well.

feature-film-all

feature-film-closeup

Vordio 4.1.1 makes the new reconform workflow feature even easier. There are two basic scenarios.

To get a download link for the update use the download page.

* If you are reconforming a Reaper project sent to you from another machine to be reconformed, which you will then send back, select remote use. This will create a new directory in same place as FCPXML, much like convert does.

* If you are reconforming a Reaper project on the same machine and will work on it locally, then select local. This will put the generated files in the same folder as the Reaper project, saving a step of copying files.

local-remote-reconform

Vordio 4.1 contains an awesomely powerful new workflow feature as well as some subtler improvements. It is now ready for download here.

NOTE: 4.1.1 update has an easier reconform workflow.

* Reconform Reaper audio projects to a later version of an FCP X edit.

* Better UI with drag and drop.

* Related items are now grouped.

* Item colour-coding: If they share the same media they will be the same colour. This makes it easy to spot which items probably require similar sound treatment.

guide41-07a

vordio-colours

Reconformed project with a new scene added. Orange = New. Blue = Unchanged. Green = Moved.

scene-added

Say goodbye to edit lock. Well, to be honest, it seems to be a practice nobody really wants to stick to any more.

Vordio 4.1 has a very powerful new feature that will allow the visual and sound editors to work in parallel much more easily.

Vordio is able to ‘re-conform’ a previously translated sound project to conform to a later version of the visual edit.

The re-conform process is completely non destructive, to avoid wasting any work already done by the sound editor, such as automation changes, fades, effects etc.

It creates a copy of the project and only changes the relative positions of audio items. It also adds any new media that wasn’t present in the previous edit.

Vordio will colour code any changes in the re-conformed project, so the sound editor can quickly scan by eye to see what the visual editor actually changed/moved. This makes it easy to identify the items where some sound attention will be required again.

reconform-colors

Blue = Audio unmoved and unchanged (no change)
Green = Audio moved, no edge modified (duration unchanged)
Yellow = Audio edge modified (duration changed)
Orange = Audio is new (didn’t exist in previous edit)
Red = Audio can’t be re-conformed (doesn’t exist in new edit)

Below is a re-conformed Reaper project where the FCPX editor added new material in the middle. New material is injected into the project at the top and coloured orange.

scene-added

Below is a re-conformed Reaper project where the FCPX editor removed material in the middle. Obsolete material is marked in red and muted so it doesn’t play.

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If you are silly enough to accidentally re-conform a project against the same edit you get lots of lovely blue. No changes!

reconform-no-changes

To reconform a project with Vordio, you must drop both the new FCPXML export and the previous sound edit RPP file onto the UI.

There are two basic scenarios for re-conform. Make sure you use the correct one for your purposes.

1) Local – The Reaper sound edit is being performed on the same machine as the FCP X edit. In this case it makes sense to put any transcoded files directly into the existing sound edit folder.

2) Remote – The Reaper sound edit is being performed on a different machine than the FCP X edit. In this case a folder is created with the differences which can then be transported to the sound editor’s machine. The sound editor should then copy and paste the new files in this folder into their existing sound edit folder.

local-remote-reconform

More info coming soon..

Vordio 4.0 is now available for download. A lot has changed and there are some great new features.

NOTE: Vordio is no longer released as separate Free and Pro apps. To upgrade you now order a license file which is then imported into Vordio. This removes the 5 minute project length limit that is in the free download. Previous Vordio Pro owners can get a 50% discount on a license.

New features:

* Reaper project grid & snapping now set to frames.

* Audio component automation now translated, not only clip automation. If an audio component has automation that will override it’s clip automation.

* Mute regions are also now translated.

Audio component automation with mute regions

audio-component-automation-fcpx

audio-component-automation-reaper

The clip automation (below) was ignored because both audio components (above) had their own automation.

clip-automation-fcpx