Preferred Format on project setup having no effect on storage

Hi guys,

I have been looking at how I can lower the amount of data useage/framestore space when working.

I have always set my projects up as Uncompressed so thought I’d try Apple ProRes 4444 or 4444XQ instead to see if that lowered my data useage.

I set up 3 projects in the different preferred Formats. Imported a 6K clip but asked it to resize on import to 3K hoping that may change the file format stored inside the flame.

I then resized that clip to HD keeping the resize live but rendered, added a gap cc on a TL layer above, rendered that, hard committed on a layer above that, added a gap text layer above that and then hard committed above that.

I went to archive all 3 projects and all 3 were exactly the same size.

I was expecting to see them be progressively less in size from uncompressed down to 4444.

Am I misunderstanding how the preferred format option works?

Using Flame 2021.2.1 on Linux

Thougts or proper understanding of this option very welcome :+1:t2:

When Archiving, all media gets converted to Uncompressed. So yes - the archives will all be the same.

What does it look like when you go to Preferences > Storage > Volume Statistics?

You can upvote this feedback for Project Format Archiving:
FI-01367

Thanks Bryan,

Preferences > Storage > Volume Statistics looks identical on the projects and if I go to preferences storage and look at Video free they are also identical??? I’m seeing no gain anywhere from changing the preferred format option 🤷🏻

I will definitely look to upvote that feedback then. Just saving space on the framestore but not the archiving side seems a bit crazy to me (even though I’m not even seeing that), it’s the Archive storage that really bothers me and if when I archive out I need to have the same space for any used format, I’m not sure there is much point in having the lower quality options!

Thanks for the reply.

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Very interesting topic and not something that I’ve run up against yet. Thank you RichG for the testing!

It makes sense that archives are uncompressed as they must be pixel-perfect.

RichG, regarding “I’m not sure there is much point in having the lower quality options!”, the lower-quality options could allow you to have a smaller / faster / cheaper framestore using a compressed format while your archive destination is a slower drive that you can write to during downtime.

there is 0 need to cache anything uncompressed though, there is lossy and losless compression…

If you take your archive and just zip it (losless compression) you gain like what 2/3rds of size back?

So its not lower quality its just throw-away-redundant-stuff like lets say there is 90% black i your frame, do you need to save 12bit of zeros for each colorchannel in each pixel, nope!

Go try it, take a uncompressed completely black frame and zip it… its the same thing “losless” every pixel will be perfect.

Same thing goes for exr, there you can have lossy and losless options (zip piz are losless while dwaa dwab are lossy). Prores is lossy, dpx is uncompressed. There isnt a good losless integer format I can think of that is widely used.

Only reason uncompressed anything in video makes sense is for playback speed as uncompressed frames get read from disk to memory to video memory to your screen while compressed stuff needs to be uncompressed before, so you are trading cpu cycles for storage and memory bandwith.

In case of archiving though it should just dump everything as is into the archive - just copy it… red files copy, exrs… copy everything like ae does with the collect button. There is 0 need to blow up a prores444 from grading to 12bit uncompressed instead of just copying it.

Same goes for “cache media” just localize it… I dont need or want flame to transcode images around but hey thats me…

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Hi Chris,

I agree, “the lower-quality options could allow you to have a smaller / faster / cheaper framestore” but from my tests I saw no difference in framestore space, which was very confusing.

Flame seems to give me no benefit at all from switching from uncompressed to a compressed format.

Hi Finn,

This all makes a lot of sense, thanks for taking the time to write it. It is kinda why I wanted to look at working with a compressed preferred format.

My issue is that in my tests it seemed to make no difference at all to either framestore or archive space, which is wierd.

depends on the input also , if you have exrs on input it will always cache as exr… but for other stuff it should make a difference and you should see .mov instead of .raw or whatever in the framestore folders

Cheers Finn. I’ll investigate that a bit further when I get a chance.

Yes, it definitely affects your renders in flame, and cached media when you are working / on your storage (you can browse to your storage and see that it writes exrs or prores or whatever) . But as soon as you create an archive it will convert/archive everything to raw. No way around that I’m afraid. I hope in the future you can actually archive in the same format that you choose as your project.

I’ve been working entirely uncached for a while now and think it’s the way to go. There are definitely some issues I think flame could improve upon, but it’s got a lot of benefits. You can even (with a little more legwork than I’d like) make all your intermediates prores files for a very reasonable media footprint.

but if you work All-EXR, you can use a python script to auto-import all of your write notes back into flame once they finish rendering. Great for batch workflows and precomping.

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