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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:17 PM   #1
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HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

Gents, I need your help, suggestions and advice once more.

About 2 months ago, I belatedly and finally entered the HDV world by purchasing a Canon XH-A1s which all in all Iím very pleased with. Due to time constraints, limited processing resources and the complexity of the project involved, it was only earlier this month that I submitted an HDV program to be aired on local access cable.

Well, it turns out that I was under the false impression that their fairly new server that feeds their broadcast system could handle MPEG-2 files with HDV content! Instead, itís very picky & not the case. Their head tech guru wrote me an e-mail stating that all they got was a black screen (which is embarrassing to all concerned) and that from now on I either submit a NTSC dvd spec 720 by 480 file or my program is off the air.

My Premier Pro project (only v3.2) concerned (currently on the timeline) is 1440 by 1080 shot in 60i with an FPS of 29.97. So now Iím required to downgrade it to SD & do my best to ensure that quality doesnít take a tremendous hit. The mission is to take this project direct from the timeline (itís finalized + fully edited) and make an MPEG-2 dvd spec file. Bottom-line, how is this best achieved & by what process/methodology or workflow?

My twin goals are to:

a) Preserve the aspect ratio since I take very tight shots, so a crop and resize probably would do more harm than good. What kind of an option is SD 16:9 over 4:3? What are the pros & cons of each? I donít want to unintentionally crop off part of a body part for example.

b) To the extent possible, maintain image/footage quality so that it remains watchable. Iím looking for a workflow that will retain quality within reason.

What approach and solution would you take if you were in my shoes?

Am sure others have traveled this route before and would appreciate all input and pointers to mull over and try to apply them not only to this project, but those in the future as well.

Thanks so much.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #2
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

I may be misunderstanding what you are trying to do here with PPro CS3, and I have not used CS3 for a couple of years, but I think you've got several choices.

Is the problem that the new server cannot read the files you provided (by a data DVD? FTP upload?). Could it read an HDV tape if you played your timeline out to tape? Or is this a matter of time contraints where they need an SD file coded for MPEG2-DVD? Can I assume that they do not want want an actual DVD file (*.vob) but rather an MPEG2-DVD file? Do they want it multiplexed (audio and video together in a single file) or not (video as *.m2v file, audio as *.wav file)?

Can the station accept widescreen (16:9) or do they need to have it conformed/cropped to 4:3?

Here are a couple of suggestions based on what I remember of CS3:

1. Export from the HDV timeline to Adobe Media Encoder and select MPEG2-DVD as the format for file(s). The transcode scales the footage and adjusts for differences in pixel shape. If the station wants a muxed file, use the "multiplexer" tab in AME and select "DVD." If not (i.e., they can work with separate m2v and wav file), select "none." For a Preset, select "NTSC High Quality." As best I recall, CS3/AME uses you project setting and does not give you a choice between 16:9 and 4:3 for interlaced video. So, if the station insists on a 4:3 file with no window boxing, go to the AME source tab window and click the "crop" button in the upper right to crop your HDV widescreen to a 4:3 proportion. (If you need to have the both edges of the widewscreen, you have to stay with letterboxing). Select 2 pass VBR. Render and copy the file(s) to disk or upload it or whatever you are doing for the station.

2. An alternative way of doing this is to open a new PPro project, using DV widescreen (if the station will accept widescreen) or 4:3 standard (if that is what they want). Use import to bring in your previous HDV project. When it has been imported into your bin and PPRo has finished with conforming, click on the project, select your edited HDV sequence, and drop it on your new timeline. If you need to get rid of the letterboxing and supply your show in a 4:3 format, you should enlarge the image in the timeline monitor by pulling handles on it in the timeline monitor window. If you sometimes need to shift to one side or the other to display something outside the 4:3 proportions, use keyframes and move the image. One nice thing about shooting HDV is that you can do this kind of digital zooming and panning without appreciable loss in image quality in the SD/DVD end-product. When you've done all of this, render your timeline. You've now got an SD version of it. Export using Adobe Media Encoder as above.

If you have Cineform installed with CS3, you've got some additional options which might yield better quality.

Again, I have to caution that I may not be remembering CS3 correctly. These things became easier to do in CS4 and CS5.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 11:21 PM   #3
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Pelley View Post
My twin goals are to:

a) Preserve the aspect ratio since I take very tight shots, so a crop and resize probably would do more harm than good. What kind of an option is SD 16:9 over 4:3? What are the pros & cons of each? I donít want to unintentionally crop off part of a body part for example.

b) To the extent possible, maintain image/footage quality so that it remains watchable. Iím looking for a workflow that will retain quality within reason.
A) Ask the station how they broadcast. Shoot to suit.

B)If you want to retain quality, then shoot 1080 30P...Not 1080 60i.
Your downconverts and crops will improve significantly...

I have my reservations as to delivery format...I've never heard of DVD spec being delivered to a station??
They require you hand them over DVD's of your footage??

What other types of formats/mediums will they accept??
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Old March 17th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #4
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Sorry Gents for the lateness of this reply and thanks for you probing questions, solutions offered and input thus far.

Peter: I'll answer you first:

I was told by the station manager that COMCAST would not give them enough bandwidth to air material with HDV content. Someone online on another forum said that they had yet to hear of a public access cable station that broadcast in HD or HDV.

I endeavored to find out what type of broadcast or video server they were using. It's one of Tightrope Systems products but do not know the exact model yet. Plan to call the manufacturer and independently determine what type of file it will or will not accept.

Also, the verdict is still out on whether DV wide-screen is a doable option as I have yet to receive an answer.

The station demands NTSC 720 x 480 material either:

a) As a stand-alone playable dvd (SD) or as an
b) MPEG-2 DVD compliant file submitted on dvd-5.

I had pondered about switching from 60i to 30p for a full length shoot but to be honest hadn't done so yet because I did not know what the results would be one way or the other. It seemed to me when I was experimenting in 30p it was very/overly sensitive to movement & had the potential for not being smooth.

For the uninitiated, what are the benefits in shooting in 30p vs 60i?

Actually, the A1s frame modes are limited to 60i, "30F" and "24F".

Jay, now it's your turn:

I'm wide open to as many workflow options as people have tried.

I do have Cineforms (entry level) Neoscene with HD Link but have used it very little.

What options would that path possibly yield?

Here are some ideas that may or may not make sense in whole or in part:

1) Export to tape and then re-import into CS3 which would yield an avi file instead of an collection of .m2t and .tiff files on the timeline.

2) Export the timeline ("movie") to Cineform or some other suitable intermediatory codec and then import that into CS3.

I was hoping that there would be some way to come up with an .avi that Premiere Pro wouldn't recognize as having HDV content or content derived from an HDV source file/material.

Last night I tried changing the project output from 108060i to DV 4:3 and 16:9 wide-screen. Unfortunately rendering is not one of CS3's strong-points and the deterioration in sharpness, definition and detail was very noticeable and not satisfactory even when set at the maximum possible rendering settings! There's got to be something better than this or some method, workflow or process that improves over a straight conversion to DV.

So accordingly, my question is this: in you professional opinion and experience, is the rendering quality/encoding engine improved at all from CS3 to CS5?

As previously stated above each submission has to be a dvd or a DVD compliant & multiplexed MPEG-2 file! No exceptions.

I was told that they can accept "a 16:9 letterbox in a 4:3 frame", NTSC wide-screen has not been confirmed or denied as of yet.

Thatís about all I can report to date.

Hope the above scenario can still be worked with and additional suggestions offered.

Thanks again.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 10:19 PM   #5
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

Alrighty..
If you're stuck with that format, so be it..Stick to 4:3 unless they can confirm 16:9...
As far as CS3 to CS5, don't expect any great changes in the downconvert...
Simply due to the fact that it takes serious horsepower to do a Bob deinterlace, separate fields, resize, and reweave to SD...Adobe never took seriously the downconvert issues of interlaced material..

Of course, shooting 30F mode relieves you of the headache, since it's a simple resize of a progressive image. Adobe does this correctly (with a small crop on the sides)...

But i digress. Shoot 30F if it's tripod, controlled, or normal conditions..If you're whip panning, filming sporting events, fast motion etc...., then stick to interlaced..

It's just that interlaced gives the "home video" look...I've gone down this road, and lost many hours. I hope this will save you the same hassle.

Good luck.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 02:00 AM   #6
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

Bruce:

I do not mean to sound rude or curmudgeonly, but there seems to be either some gaps in vocabulary here or some major confusion. You seem to think that the problem is how to get the SD broadcast/cablecast to display HD. Can't be done. You either have to give them SD material or they have to upgrade their system to transmit HD.

More specific comments and responses:

First, when they say they want "a 16:9 letterbox in a 4:3 frame" that means they will not accept a widescreen DVD or MPEG file. If they can accept a widescreen file (basically meaning that they will letterbox it themselves), the station/channel will tell you that. It is possible that the messages may be coming from or through a non-technical employee with no understanding, so you might follow up. (It would be easier for you to export to a widescreen DVD). Most likely, they being a thinly funded local access channel/station, they want you to letterbox it for them.

Second, since you said you had everything framed tightly, the easiest way to give them the letterbox is to call your HDV timeline up in a new 4:3 project. (In CS4 and 5, you can simply add a new 4:3 sequence to your existing project but, as best I can recall, CS3 makes you open a new project to use a different aspect ratio.) Then you either export to Encore or export an MPEG2-DVD file(s) as previously advised.

Third, I am puzzled by your complaint that down-rezzing your HDV timeline to a widescree or 4:3 video porduced less defintition, sharpness, etc. How good your video looks It has nothing to do with "avi" formats that fool PPro into making better pictures. Do the math. HDV is 1440 x 1080. SD is 720 x 480. Multiply those pairs of numbers and compare them. HDV has more than four times the pixels that SD has. Of course, your HD is going to look sharper and more detailed than the SD you have to deliver. In other words, you've got a five pound SD bag and twenty pounds of HD stuff. You cannot get all 20 pounds of stuff in that five pound bag.

Maybe I've missed something here. Are you, maybe, saying that the DVD from your downconverted HDV looks worse than the DVDs you used to make with SD footage? Have you checked your export and transcode settings? Can you tell us what you are using? Were you using two-pass VBR?

Fourth, I'm also curious how you delivered your programs in the past. Did you supply DVDs? Maybe you gave them "AVI" files by ftp upload or on portable hard drives? Or is the program short enough that you could fit an entire show on DVD or dual-layer DVD? If you were sending them your shows as avi files before, you can still do that. However, you have to do the down-rez for them.

Fifth, don't worry about Cineform. At this point, I think it will only confuse things for you and the station. If you were delivering your program as avi files, Cineform NeoScene did install an export format in CS3 which might give a higher quality avi file than the standard avi export. But, the file would be much larger (making it harder to deliver to the stattion/channel assuming they will accept avi files) and the station channel would have to download and install Cineform's free NeoPlayer (4mb for Macs, 20 mb for PCs). Sounds like way too much trouble at this point.

Sixth, I do not understand your statement "I was hoping that there would be some way to come up with an .avi that Premiere Pro wouldn't recognize as having HDV content or content derived from an HDV source file/material." Your problem is not PPro. Nor is it avi. If you've got an avi with 1920x1080 or 1440x1080 format, it is high def and nothing but. Doesn't matter whether you put it in an mpeg transport stream (*.mts) or an avi file, it is still high def. The station/channel wants 720x480. You have to give them that. Either you down-rez the video to SD or the station/channel does it. Apparently, they want you to do it.

Seventh, I see nothing to be gained from exporting to tape unless the station/channel can capture from HDV tape. For you to put the timeline out to tape and then bring it back in as HDV still gives you the same problem you started with.

Eighth, you asked: "in you professional opinion and experience, is the rendering quality/encoding engine improved at all from CS3 to CS5?" The answer is yes if you've got a computer running a 64-bit OS (Vista 64 or Win 7), a quad core processor, suitable amounts of RAM, and an MPE capable display card. For your rendering SD from HDV, the improvements may not be very large. (Again, we're back to having 20 pounds of stuff and a 5 pound bag to take it out to through the station).

Ninth, for info on progressive modes with the XHA1, see page 40 of the manual. Basically, the 30F is Canon's 30p mode. If you search these forums, you will find that there are strong opinions for and against using 30p for distribution on interlaced tv broadcasts. Some folks feel they get better down-res from HD to SD when shooting 30p HDV. Others feel they have problems adapting their shooting to avoid the kinds of motion issues you mentioned. Personally, I mainly used 30F mode on my XHA1 when shooting in low light. Also, I do mostly multi-cam shoots and most of my other cameras only shoot 1080i, anyway. You might try shooting a bit of segment in 30p and see if it renders to SD any better than the 1080i you have been shooting.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #7
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

Bruce,

For more information on scaling in CS5, check out this blog post . The scaling quality has improved in CS5, especially with interlaced material and a MPE capable GPU.


But if you would like higher quality scaling with a lower price tag (free) you should check out HD2SD and HCenc. Here's a video tutorial. I have CS5 and still use this method on many projects because it produces superior results.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 12:01 PM   #8
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

Bruce:

Mitch has given you a good suggestion if your issue with HD to SD is more than the apparent loss of resolution and detail. It has been awhile since I worked with any of those apps, and I cannot recall if they gave you options for letterboxing 16:9 HD to a 4:3 framed DVD or MPEG2-DVD file. You should research that point.

Your Cineform NeoScene is supposed to provide similar capabilities, I suggest you try that first. (I might mention that I started using Cineform (earlier versions) with CS3 because CS3's HDV captures came in with the the audio at 11 to 17 frames off from the video.This was a particular problem with HDV video from my XHA1. Capturing with Cineform avoided that problem. I also had good luck HDV Split, a free capture utility.)

I recall a couple of complicating steps when doing Cineform AVI exports from CS3. If you used Cineform to capture and convert your HDV footage to a Cineform avi for editing, I think you could send the 16:9 timeline to Encore and specify a 4:3 project in Encore. Encore would then letterbox or pan-scan-crop as you chose. (As I recall, the Cineform avi files converted to better looking video than Encore CS3's transcodes from HDV timelines.)

Alternatively, you could export your HDV timeline as a Cineform AVI file, import that as an asset into a 4:3 Encore timeline and burn the DVD. (Except for the 4:3 part, this was my preferred workflow for a time).

For exporting an MPEG2-DVD-compliant data file, it could be more complicated. As best I recall, neither PPro CS3 nor Adobe Media Encoder CS3 gave you the option to export a widescreen (16:9) timeline to a letterboxed 4:3 file. What I recall doing is exporting the widescreen timeline to a widescreen Cineform avi using the "I" frame only and high resolution options. Then, you would open a new 4:3 project in PPro CS3, into which you would import the just-exported Cineform avi file. This was simpler if you had used Cineform for the original tape capture, and your editing project was already working with a Cineform avi timeline. Then, you simply imported your 16:9 project into a new 4:3 project without the need for an intermediate export. That produced the letterboxing view which could then be exported to an MPEG2-DVD compliant file (muxed, if need be).

It has been a few years since I did this, so I hope I have the details right.

If you do not like the results of the Cineform-method, follow the suggestions on the links Mitch gave you and see if those work better.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 12:49 PM   #9
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Re: HDV Timeline Footage 2 DVD compliant MPEG-2

And, as if we had not already dumped a lot of information on Bruce, here are a couple of other references to check out on sharpening up your HD-SD downconversions:

Maximizing HD to SD Quality

That long-running long thread is focused on Vegas, but there is still a lot of good information about other tools that can be used.



HD to SD DVD – Best Methods | Creating Motion Graphics Blog | Blu-Ray DVD Authoring Menu | Precomposed

I believe that this print discussion covers some of the same ground as the video tutorial that Mitch cited.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #10
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Thanks to all have generously contributed their thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Please give me a few days to both digest & incorporate what has been said in these posts and I will report back.

Have a great weekend everyone!
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