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Old October 30th, 2007, 08:35 PM   #1
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possible to transcode HDV to intermediate codec after capture?

I am working on my first large HDV project (in CS3) and haven't had too many problems so far, but there are a number of reasons why I wish I'd captured with an intermediate codec. Is it possible to transcode HDV files in my project to in intermediate codec after the fact without losing subclip ties? If so, what product is best suited for this purpose? Is there one included in the software (like the way Avid Xpress Studio comes with DNxHD)?

Thanks.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 10:33 PM   #2
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My recommendation would be Cineform's AspectHD. It can batch convert all of your clips to their higher performance and quality codec. The one problem I forsee is that the extension will change from mpeg to avi between the files, so Premiere may not propogate the change automatically if you swap the contents of your source folder, and you will have to manually relink each clip/subclip in the project window. I would estimate 5-10sec each, so <100clips: fine, more than that: not so fun.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:35 AM   #3
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Stu, I use AspectHD and theCineform codec also.

However, one alternative I can suggest is TMPGEnc 4, which has a nice batch-encode option, and can transcode .m2t HDV clips to any avi format you have a codec for (e.g. huffyuv, which produces large files, but is essentially lossless - and free).

You'll have to manually relink your main clips (but not their subclips).
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Old October 31st, 2007, 09:24 AM   #4
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Mike and Graham,

Thanks for your replies. I thought you might recommend Aspect HD, but I'm curious about TMPGEnc 4 as well. I'm on a limited budget at TMPGEnc is much less expensive, which is attractive, but the you-get-what-you-pay-for principal has me a little wary of it. If you don't mind, let me describe exactly what I'm wanting to do and ask if you'd please give me feedback on the two products based on your experience.

I'm editing a documentary shot on HDV 1080/60i with a Canon HX A1. I set up an HDV project in CS3 (which I have fully updated to 3.1) on a Windows Core2 Duo and captured the footage as native HDV via firewire. I have roughly 25 hours worth of footage that I captured in large master clips, from which I have been spending a lot of time making subclips for editing. What I want to do is transcode the HDV files to an HD codec without having to recreate the subclips, hopefully just relinking the master clips.

In your experience, will both Aspect HD and TMPGEnc do this? What about the image quality with TMPGEnc? Is there a quality problem associated with the much cheaper price?

I'm going to download the trial of each and run some tests, but I'd like your feedback all the same. Thanks,

Stu
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Old October 31st, 2007, 09:56 AM   #5
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Stu, By 'subclips' I assume you mean virtual clips that you are creating within PPro - in other words you set various start and end points within the master clip and drag those subclips onto your timeline. So the only physical files that exist on your hard drive are the large master clips? If so, then yes you can simply relink the master clips and all your subclips will be recreated within PPro.

With regard to the transcoding, what you need is an application that can (1) open the raw 'transport stream mpeg2' files that the camera has transfered to your hard drive, (2) can re-save the files in avi format, and that (ideally) (3) can do this in batch mode to save you time.

The big advantage with Cineform is that in addition to 1, 2 and 3 it provides an excellent near-lossless wavelet codec that you can use while saving your avi, and that it also subsequently provides accelerated rendering, realtime transitions, etc when you subsequently work on those files within Premiere.

In comparison, TMPGEnc just provides 1, 2 and 3. You have to supply your own codec (or save uncompressed). For example, you could use the free huffyuv codec - like cineform it is nearlossless, but the files are considerably bigger (about 50% of uncompressed). In terms of quality .... the quality you will get from Cineform vs. TMPGEnc plus huffyuv will be essentially the same. However the subsequent editing experience with huffyuv codec files in PPro3 will be somewhat sluggish and consequently less enjoyable than with Cineform. That's why I switched once I had saved enough pennies.

In fact, there are completely freeware options to do what you want, if you have more time than money. You can use remuxts to convert .mt2 to .mpg and then transcode the .mpg to huffyuv.avi using Virtualdubmod. I have done this and it works fine, although there is no batch mode so you have to manually transcode each file.

Alternatively, I've seen several people recommend MPEGStreamclip which will directly convert .m2t to avi. I have not used it myself (indeed it may have a batch mode - not sure).

Hope that helps - if you have any trouble googlinng these programs I can provide links.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:12 AM   #6
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What I would like to know is why Premiere Pro's "Interpret Footage" is not similar to After Effects' where it is intelligent enough to guess the 3:2 pulldown, or give you the option of applying 1 of 5 (or so) different phases.

Couldn't they have put the same "interpret footage" engine in Premiere Pro CS3?
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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:13 AM   #7
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Although. Has anyone played with "Interpret Footage Rules.txt" ? Because hasn't there got to be some way that we can hard code the pulldown removal into this text file w/ the correct phase and do it natively in Premiere Pro CS3?
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:17 PM   #8
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HUFF will probably require over 8x the storage of Cineform (assuming 2:1 compression) and at 25 hours, that means 750GB or 6TB. Cineform also has the advantage of much better performance, and many realtime effects with AspectHD.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:28 PM   #9
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Interesting. The verdict seems to be Aspect HD. Now I just have to scrape up the cash.

What about Black Magic Intensity? Has anyone used that? Can you transcode with it, or do you have to capture in that codec? (Neither my camera nor my deck have HDMI out.)

Stu
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:42 PM   #10
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Yeah don't get me wrong. I love Cineform as much as the next guy. And I bought a license for Aspect HD about 3 weeks ago.

But I'm still puzzled as to why native support can't be achieved using the interpret footage coding through the text file, or why the Adobe team can't easily update PR to give the same sophisticated interpretation options that exist in After Effects' menu.

There's an excellent tutorial on Lynda.com about pulldown and CS3 and how easily it can be detected and removed in AE. But Interpret Rules apply to both AE and PR, you just have to know how to set them I think.

The only thing is that in PR it doesn't give you a nice GUI, you'd have to create a rules TXT file, which I don't know much about.

I'd like to have the option of natively editing in MPEG-2 for some tasks, and Cineform for others. I've tried TMPEG and that works, but now I'm trying to skip using even that.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:57 PM   #11
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You guys clearly know more about this than I do, but I'm still wondering why PPro doesn't come with a built-in intermediate codec for HDV work. I was planning to use Avid Xpress Studio for this project originally but found it really buggy working with HDV. But, to it's credit, Avid Xpress comes with the DNxHD codec, and it's a simple matter to transcode either your source clips or your timeline.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 01:04 PM   #12
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You know, I just re-read this thread and I think I confused what this thread was actually about. All the junk I was just talking about was more to do with pulldown removal to edit 24p and not really on topic with the discussion as to whether it's best to edit in the native format or with an intermediate codec. So... sorry about that.

But I must say the big motivator for me (originally) to move towards Aspect HD was because it properly extracted a 24p signal from a 60i signal (Sony V1U, Canon HV20, etc.) My main interest wasn't even so much about the advantages of using an intermediate codec.

However. Those advantages became VERY clear VERY quick as soon as I tried the trial of Aspect HD.

If you have Premiere Pro, there's no reason not to try the amazing full-featured 14-day trial from www.cineform.com

You'll probably love it, and you'll probably buy it. Because it's hard to go back to editing natively after you see how smooth and quick it is to work with.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 01:08 PM   #13
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Stu, I agree with you 100% on what you're saying actually.

Sony Vegas kinda already works with Cineform as its HDV-support backbone. Avid does DNxHD which is a very good & sophisticated codec (used it and love it), FCP uses ProRes now, but Adobe haven't developed anything for themselves which I find quite peculiar.

I actually think it's because Cineform is so popular and great that they haven't bothered to develop an intermediate codec. From what I've heard, even Adobe are recommending people to buy Aspect HD if they're unhappy with Adobe's native support.

I guess what I was trying to say earlier is that even though it's a big disadvantage to edit natively and not transcode to another codec, for certain tasks it's beneficial...if only Premiere Pro could absolve the other problems regarding frame-rate support and proper extraction.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #14
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Hi Stu,

I did this a year ago with CS2. I think you should do a test first to see if it works for you with subclips. Take one of your HDV files and render it out as DV (probably 720x480 widescreen 1.2; 29.97).

Go back into your project and possibly use save as to create a test project. Then in your test project Highlight the Source HDV video file and right click and choose > Make Offline. (keep files on disk) This takes the HDV file offline. Highlight it again and then choose link media and choose your dv file. This will swap them. You can change them back at any time, but may involve a big render.

What I've done before is I created a project with the same aspect ratio and frame rate in DV and then when I was finished I created a new project with the same HD settings for frame rate and aspect ratio and imported the entire DV project into the HD project. Took the DV files offline and replaced them with the full HD files. Render took a long time and export to avi crashed on some stuff, but export to image sequence worked well and AE rendered out the image sequence to avi.

Hope that helps.

tup
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Old November 5th, 2007, 11:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Irving View Post
Stu, I agree with you 100% on what you're saying actually.

Sony Vegas kinda already works with Cineform as its HDV-support backbone. Avid does DNxHD which is a very good & sophisticated codec (used it and love it), FCP uses ProRes now, but Adobe haven't developed anything for themselves which I find quite peculiar.

I actually think it's because Cineform is so popular and great that they haven't bothered to develop an intermediate codec. From what I've heard, even Adobe are recommending people to buy Aspect HD if they're unhappy with Adobe's native support.

I guess what I was trying to say earlier is that even though it's a big disadvantage to edit natively and not transcode to another codec, for certain tasks it's beneficial...if only Premiere Pro could absolve the other problems regarding frame-rate support and proper extraction.
Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5.1 included the Cineform Intermediate codec, as the only way to edit HDV footage. It was removed when they added native HDV editing, as it was redundant I assume. Cineform has its advantages, but Adobe can edit HDV fine without it, it is just slower. Adobe doesn't offer an intermediate codec for any other solution, DV, DVCProHD, etc. On the otherhand, it is a very open design, that allows other codecs to be used if you get them elsewhere.
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