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DPX vs EXR for VFX work


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Hello. I recently shot a film with alexa sxt on arriraw format and a great deal of the footage involves VFX. Now what is the best format to give for VFX work after base grading?  Is it DPX or EXR because the cg company is insisting on DPX output but I heard EXR is a superior format because it retains a lot more detail. Can anyone explain the difference between the two formats and will it make a difference in the final grading stage? Thanks in advance 🙂

 

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EXR can technically retain more detail because it has the option of 32 bit color.  DPX only goes to 16bit.  But in the vast majority of cases 32 bit is unnecessary and 16 bit is more than adequate.  EXR can also hold multiple channels, but again that is not useful when delivering plain footage. I've found that DPX is often used for footage, while EXR is more common for animations and renders.

 

Maybe their workflow is dependent on DPX files (some programs can be tricky or not even work with EXR).  Maybe they don't want to store extraneous 32 bit color data.  Supposedly some programs (Nuke is an example I've found) work much faster with DPX than EXR (but I don't have personal experience with that).  There could be a lot of reasons, but ultimately it probably comes down to this:  That is their workflow and deviating from it can cost more time, money, and headaches than trying to accommodate formats they aren't used to for truly imperceptible quality improvements.

 

Are they giving you more specs to match, or did they only specify DPX files?  If they're requesting 16 bit, DPX should be perfectly adequate.  

 

 

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I think 16bit RGB DPX is good for almost anything, remember that is 16bits per color channel.

No film scanner I know of scans to EXR so if your doing a film scan it would already be a DPX to EXR conversion.

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47 minutes ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I think 16bit RGB DPX is good for almost anything, remember that is 16bits per color channel.

No film scanner I know of scans to EXR so if your doing a film scan it would already be a DPX to EXR conversion.

We're implementing it on our 70mm scanner, kind of just because we get it for free with some of the libraries we're coding with, so why not? But if we add HDR to the scanner (which will likely happen in a few months), it'll be nice to have a 32bit container to put it in . I can't even comprehend what working with 14k files like that is going to entail, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!

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13 minutes ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

I can't even comprehend what working with 14k files like that is going to entail, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!

Very fast storage! EEEK! 

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