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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old May 21st, 2006, 02:13 PM   #1
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Post production?

I've posted here many times in reference to a documentary, IN A NEW COUNTRY, that I've been shooting with the H1 (1080i). I've been editing on FCP on a G5 Quad with a Black Magic card and am very happy with the performance and the ability to view my edit on an HD monitor (really an off the shelf Panasonic HD TV purchased from Circuit City). I use a seperate Sony CRT for color correction. The film is nearly completed.

We have just received a post-production grant from WOMEN IN FILM (my partner and co-director is a woman) to prepare the completed 30 minute documentary for national broadcast on PBS (no presenting station yet, that's the next step). We've had three films on the prime-time schedule and two on regional in the last 4 years, so I'm very familiar with the rigors of broadcast standards.

What I'm not familiar with, since it is new to most of us, is prepping something shot and edited on HDV - to provide a DigiBeta master and an HD master. Although I've been making films for many years, I am not as sophisticated technically (relative to video in general and HD in particular) as many here seem to be.

My plan is to export the finished edit @ 0 ire with descrete dialog, FX and music tracks to an external firewire drive, rather than make an HDV tape master, and take that drive to the post house in SF for mastering - create the HD master and then an NTSC letter-box DigiBeta clone from that.

Does this seem like the best plan for this process in order to insure the best image? I will, of course, ask the post house as well, but would appreciate an opinion from you folks first.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 03:09 PM   #2
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So you edited in HDV, right? What's the HD broadcast format you need to master to?

It seems like you've got your bases covered, but if your edit has alot of cc and filtering going on, you might want to go get a 500GB firewire drive, change your HDV timeline to uncompressed and output a better quality QT master clip.

I only say this if you've got some MPEG2 artifacts from rendering GOP's, etc.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 03:39 PM   #3
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That's an option too, and I could do that.. may do it both ways just for insurance...
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Old May 21st, 2006, 04:48 PM   #4
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I would bet the Post House's opinions are more important than any of ours on the list because they know what systems they have. They might want your whole project with media and skip the export so they can go direct to HD from their own FCP system. Definitely worth asking them. The only thing they probably don't want to do is redigitize the originals which might be the best quality path but is potentially problematic with the HDV timecode. Some of the clients I have who have been using HDV as acquisition have been transferring to HDCAM before the edit so they have tapes they can redigitize properly and edit with digibeta clones. The HDV is only needed if there is a problem with the Dubs. Kind of an extra step but it fits in their workflow. Let us know what your Post House says
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Old May 21st, 2006, 05:43 PM   #5
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I certainly will let you know what I discover... If I was making a narrative, or even a high-end structured documentary I would consider the transfer step that you recommend.

This, however, is a relatively low budget documentary, and I figure any improvement from the last show I had on PBS (ACCIDENTAL HERO-Room 408, which originated in DVCAM) will be welcome - because, to be honest, ACCIDENTAL HERO looked damn good (although 4x3) projected on a huge screen in a 500 seat theater...

The problem that I foresee is that because HDV is a new acquisition medium that the post houses may not know as much as some people here, and, futher, they may not all want to deal with it - I went through that for a while when DV was new - they always wanted to Xfer everything to Betacam SP and do an analog on-line - glad those days are over -

and I'm limited to one choice because of the nature of the grant.. virtually everyone has FCP though, so it's just a matter of what they have to get out of the computer to HD I suppose...
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