Mastering: Which format should I use for my source material?

Mastering: Which format should I use for my source material?


Basically we are able to read / process any digital Picture- or Videofootage.
However, the most secure and most reliable way is to start with still image sequences in .DPX, Cineon or .TIFF file format.

Also, several digital video codecs are accepted, altough most of them have their own peculiarities that can lead to unwanted or even unpredictable results. That´s why we tend to recommend the usage of Avid (e.g. DNxHD or Avid Meridien Uncompressed) or Apple Prores Series Codecs, with any other material it’s necessary to do some further tests to guarantee a smooth workflow.
Complex conversion or transcoding of formats can result in additional costs.

We are able to handle ArriRaw and RedRaw material, but we do not recommend using this format for delivery.


We accept sound files in .WAV or .AIF format, one file per channel. Files need to be named properly, e.g. when using 5.1 Surround: Left, Right, Center, Low Frequency Enhacement, Left Surround, Right Surround. Interleaved files are also accepted but need to have the right channel order (L,R,C,LFE,LS,RS). The sound files need to have exactly the same duration as the picture. We can also handle Protools project files. We strongly recommend using 5.1 or 7.1 mixing. If you deliver Stereo material we can do an upmix to 3.1 for you.

As a result of films being shot with 25 frames per second it gets more and more necessary to adjust the audiofootage to match these, as adjusting picture frame rates results in unacceptable loss of quality.

There are several ways to adjust the audiofootage:

1. Pitch the whole  material by -4%: Offers best quality with minimal effort.
The disadvantage lies in a slight change of tune that is not noticeable by the majority of the audience. Yet it may be a problem with a composed score. Also you might not be allowed to do this because of a copyright infringement concerning used licensed music.

2. Redo the whole mixing for 24 fps (either by your sound designer or by Digital Cinema Mastering): Best possible quality but high effort and cost. May be the only option with licensed music.

3. Pitch the whole material by -4% without Change in Tune by using special Protools Plugins: Good quality, works well for dialogs and effects, doesn’t work for music. May be a good compromise between cost and quality.

Accepted  Data carriers:

We accept the data on Harddrives (any file system). We recommend to use a fast interface like USB 3.0 or eSATA.

BluRays and DVDs are an option for smaller projects, we recommend to send 2 versions of every disc as these formats are not absolutely reliable.

HDCAM SR / Digibeta need to be imported in to an editing programme which might cause addtional costs.

35mm footage has to digitalised by a third party.


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