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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old June 2nd, 2007, 06:51 PM   #1
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XH A1 and compression methods

Hi everyone,

First let me say I was torn on just what thread to post this in. I was going to post in the "HD/HDV editing solutions" but chose instead to post it here. My reason being is the fact that I have seen some really impressive short movies posted in this thread using the QuickTime format such as "The Letter" by Spencer Lum and "Temple of the Dog" as well as others.

I am impressed with the image quality they are able to obtain using the QuickTime format with relativley small file sizes. l would like to know the basic workflow from the point of capture on your hard drive, to the point of encoding your footage to a QuickTime file. My editing and special effects will not be nearly as robust as theirs are. My pupose will not be for streaming on the web, just play on a PC.

I use a PC. I have a Canon XH A1, Premiere Pro 1.51 and Canopus Pro coder 3 which has the ability to encode a QuickTime file with the H.264 codec. I noticed that when I opened up "movie info" the codec of choice seemed to be H.264 and a frame rate of 24.

The problem is that I am ending up with QuickTime files that are not even close to the image quality of what I am seeing here on this thread by those who have posted their Quicktime movies for download. I am new to the HDV world and feel like their has to be something very elementary I am missing in my own post production workflow. Probably the way I am compressing my footage from capture to ouptput. One hint is the fact that my QuickTime test files are only 8 seconds long, yet are 70 megs in size. With this size I also get stuttery playback, and I have a very respectable PC. I do need to use a frame rate of 29.97 per second.

My workflow is:
Capture my HDV footage in Premiere Pro using the built in Cineform intermediate format. Very little editing, I simply take my timeline and export it to Procoder 3 and make a QuickTime file. I also use H.264 codec in QuickTime. I have even downloaded the trial version of Cineform's Aspect HD, which has a better intermediate format with options for image quality. I still end up with a 8 second 70 meg clip of poor image quality. There does not seem to be important settings I can change in Procoder for data rates. I can only select different settings of spacial quality. I have used them all with no success. I have tried using different size settings like 960X540 and 1280X720 but no luck either. Short of changing to a Mac, I am willing to purchase different software and codecs If that is what it takes for better results. When I play the video straight out of the camera's "componet out", to my HD Sony monitor it looks superb.

As I said I am new to HD and I feel there something simple I am overlooking. If you have any suggestions I would be most apprecative.

Thanks in advance,

Mark
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 07:36 AM   #2
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My guess would be you are doing something wrong in Procoder as an 8 second clip at 70MBytes is not a distribution codec bit-rate. I would stop using Procoder for you testing, while eventually it might be better, you need start simplier. Use the Adobe Media Encoder from within Premiere, and if Quicktime H264 is not available (it is under PPro 2.0), try using Windows Media. For 1440x1080 set the bit-rate to around 8000 Mbs -- this will give you a 8MByte file for you 8 second clip, also try resizing the export to 1280x720 at 5000Mbs for even smaller files. This format, WMV-9, is similar to H264, both MPEG4 varients, and is well optimized on the PC. Once you get your images looking good in WMV-9 you can try Procoder again.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 08:05 AM   #3
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Thanks David,

Since I have downloaded the trial version of Cineform Aspect HD would it be advisable to use the HDlink outside of premiere as it seems rather straight forward. However, if so would you be able to suggest any settings to convert my Cineform intermediate format avi. file to QuickTime?
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 08:13 AM   #4
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Some like HDLink, some capture within Premiere Pro directly to a CineForm file, pretty much the same features are offered so it is your choice.

CineForm AVI can be converted to anything using most tools, so I have no recommendations. Try my suggestion in the last post, you might fine Premiere's export works fine for your needs.
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