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Old July 5th, 2006, 11:20 PM   #1
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Episode 3 is out!

Well, I didn't want to do this but it seems that Jonathan is way too modest to announce it himself :0 so...

[Roll drums]

2nd Unit is proud to announce the 3rd episode of the first season. This week Jonathan Ames shows us how to use Tiffen filters to enhance and manipulate High Definition footage shot with the JVC HD100.

Don't miss the additional article about Polarizers.

As usual, you can find the current episode at http://www.2nd-unit.tv

Enjoy!
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Old July 6th, 2006, 08:05 AM   #2
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Thanks Paolo but I think my part fell short. The story is great and the team did a great job over the long weekend but I just can't seem to get the compression right. It's muddy but the mesage is clearly there. We'll be working on that this week so thanks go out to Juoce and the people at VSM.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #3
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Old July 6th, 2006, 08:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Ames
Thanks Paolo but I think my part fell short. The story is great and the team did a great job over the long weekend but I just can't seem to get the compression right.
As I mentioned to you before, compression is a science of its own and it takes long hours of mind-numbing work to gain the right amount of expertise. Keep in mind that each codec has its own idiosyncharsies and being able to deliver acceptable footage in different formats is quite the challenge.

That's why, when it comes to a show like ours, I rather go for bigger files (and longer download times) than for quick streaming. Even with DSL/Cable we still have a pretty narrow window to deliver video that plays fast. Bump up the keyframes value and everything goes to hell.

I'll post my experiences soon. Don't feel bad. This is not TV, we can improve it, make it faster, better. We have the technology! We will re-post it in a couple of days :)
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Old July 6th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #5
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Filters and post

BTW, I just wanted to add something about filtration that can help. I hear a lot nowadays that we should do as much as possible in post, including diffusion and other effects that traditionally have been achieved optically.

We have to be carefull about this approach. It has uses in the right situation. Getting the "bleach bypass" look electronically instead of chemically is defintely an advantage. All the digital grading is great. You can warm up a scene or make it cool in post. Same for day-for-night.
You cannot polarize in post. You cannot get the "halo" effect on a water drop in post and even if you could you should ask you why. The cost of plugins sometimes is higher than filter and the time taken is much higher. I got some incredible reflections in my slomo test with water just by using a 1/2 diffusion with the right camera angle. I could not get that in post, no matter how hard I would try.

There is just something about how the light is affected by a diffusion filter and how it gets recorded that is unique. And the best of all is that you can easily verify it. Buy some filters, rent them, better yet, rent them with a matte box, I suggest the Chrosziel, and see it for yourself.

Just on a personal note, polarizers, 1/2 or 1/4 diffusion, NDs, graded NDs and maybe a star filter for that once-in-a-big-while-shot are unreplaceable tools that contribute a lot to that elusive "film look" that many of us are trying to acheive.
For everything else, Magic Bullet is your best friend :)
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #6
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Well I agree with the issue of the challenges of encoding and recognized that Episode 3 did not look the best it could, but I easily overlooked that because the information was indispensable. It is the content that matters most to me with 2nd Unit TV and I think Episode 3 was a keeper.

I have spent many days perfecting quicktime encoding of HDV for web and iPod delivery. As Paolo says, it is a science. It is also an art. If you need any help or suggestions for encoding high-quality, acceptable-sized files for Internet viewing, let me know. I'll share what I have learned.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #7
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Share away, Jeff and Paolo, Gurus in the Night. I'm certain everyojne is having issues here unless I'm the only 5-pack on the block;-) We're shooting Jody Efdred this weekend and I don't want him coming out like Episode 3.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:40 PM   #8
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All right here is what I found to be an acceptable compromise for QuickTime H.264 videos. This is what I used for Episode 2 of "2nd Unit" which is about 22 minutes long, shot at 29.97fps (30p). It created a 45Mb file that has some artifacts with colors that are defintely washed out, compared to the original, but none of the blurry regions that we see in Episode 3.

Frame rate: 29.97
Keyframe every: 90 frames
Bit rate: 240-260kbps
Optimized for: download
Streaming: fast start
Sound: AAC, mono, 44.1Khz, 40kbps
Size: 50%

Hope this helps
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Old July 6th, 2006, 06:06 PM   #9
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Okay, here's what I use for delivering H.264 QuickTime encodes for web and iPod delivery. I use FCStudio, so some of the terms may be slightly different than the Adobe set up.

H.264 for Web:

-I set a custom 16:9 format size of 400 x 225
-Key Frames: 24 with frame reordering
-Frame Rate: Current (which for my projects is 29.97, the same as 2nd Unit TV's)
-Quality: set at medium
-Set for multi-pass encoding, never single pass
-Date rate: between 300-500 kbits/sec (depends on the file size I want)
-Audio: IMA 4:1 at 24 kHz (could be higher but the difference when encoding just voice is not worth setting to 44.1. Also, the lower setting reduces the file size.)
-Optimized for download

Once encoded, open up in QuickTime Pro and deinterlace (this can make a big difference in the look and quality). Resave and upload to server.


For iPod Delivery:

This is a little more tricky because the iPod displays video in whole number macroblocks. This means that you will not get a true 16:9 ratio (1.77777778). Instead, it is a 1.6666667 ratio. If you want more details on this, let me know.

-I set a custom format size of 320 x 192
-Key Frames: 24 with frame reordering
-Frame Rate: Current (which for my projects is 29.97, the same as 2nd Unit TV's)
-Quality: set at medium
-Set for multi-pass encoding, never single pass
-Date rate: 500 kbits/sec
-Audio: AAC, stereo, 44.1kHz, target bit rate of 96 kbits/sec.

Once encoded, import into iTunes and add cover art then upload to your server after refreshing your iTunes RSS feed.

That's my secret recipe.
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