To transcode – or not to transcode?
There are a lot of misconceptions about transcoding, and discussions on transcoding show up in forums and groups quite often. In an attempt to bring some facts and practical advice on the table, I did a test.
The Myth I’m busting: Transcoding your 8-bit source material to 10-bit will magically make it more robust, so you can do heavy color grading in Premiere with better results.
I added some heavy contrast adjustment in RGB Curves to an 8-bit H.264 DSLR footage (from a Canon EOS 7D camera). I also added the same adjustment to a 10-bit DNxHD (DNX HQX) transcoded copy of the file. Here are the results.
Result of transcoding test
I also tried Cineform 10-bit and ProRes 422 HQ. They all show the same problem. The 10-bit copy has more banding and blocking than the original.
Conclusion: You should not transcode to 10-bit to get better results after color grading
I was asked to be a guest blogger on ProVideo Coalition, and you can read the whole article, learn why it’s a bad idea to transcode, and watch more video examples on their site.