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Old July 9th, 2005, 02:16 PM   #1
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Aspect HD 3.2 now available.

We where originally going to wait for the next major camera release for an Aspect HD update, yet the addition of Redrock Micro's M2 lens adaptor support has brought this new version out earlier. There are many upgrades, so the update is worth getting for every HDV user.

Aspect HD version 3.2 offers:
* Unique support for Redrock Micro's innovative "M2" Depth of Field lens adapter, through a field dominance aware 180 degree rotation filter that is added during capture.
* Codec upgrades for even high quality awhile LOWERING the bit rate for some video material. Basically some Prospect HD codec upgrades have made their way into Aspect HD.
* Improved 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 upconversion during capture -- color saturated images look even better than before. Increasing the preceived chroma detail.
* Improve scaling algorithms for HD to SD conversion. A must for high quality DVD exports.
* Plus many other minor upgrades from x64 support to non-expiring decoder licenses.

All this over the large feature increase within Aspect HD 3.1.

Please visit www.cineform.com for details.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #2
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Already downloaded and playing around with it.

Now I'm curious - if I captured some CF24 stuff and did pull-down removal and everything with AHD 3.1 - will there be a signficant enough improvement in the image quality with the new 4:2:2 upsampling for me to bother re-capturing the footage (I foolishly deleted the *.m2t's to free up disk space for something else - the files were captured "large")?

Other curiousities - is there a link to procedures with Premiere Pro for the software-down-convert to SD resolution options? I looked around through the "export movie" and "media encoder" options, and didn't notice any pre-sets screaming out "USE ME!!" So I imagine it's all built-in and automatic?

In particular, I'm curious if these new down-conversion encoders are capable of outputting properly scaled 4:4:4 SD with all the fields intact and what-not? It's my hope to render all DVDs from uncompressed 4:4:4 SD masters - though admittedly Cineform compressed 4:2:2 masters would be plenty good considering the DVD format itself. I've got a method for doing this via After Effects, but I'd be grinning ear to ear if you guys just simplified the process.

Thanks for the update!

-Steve
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Old July 9th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #3
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Hi Steve,

If you happy with the image quality of AHD 3.1 (which I think you are) then there would be no purpose to recapture. The difference for the new 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 is mostly visible at the edge of deeply saturated objects -- like red on a green background. It is worth the enhancement for future captures.

The new scaler is automatic. It now uses the interlace vs progressive flags stored with the CineForm AVI file and compares that with the current project settings and the desired output format -- choise a scaling algorithm as appropriate. Going from CineForm AVI (4:2:2) to DVD will upconvert to 4:4:4 then scale that to 4:4:4 SD, preserving fields and reversing field dominances as needed (for HDV to SD fields go form top field first to bottom field first.) You should create your own presets for DVD MPEG creation as none of Adobe's are any good. However there is no need to export uncompressed as 4:4:4 internal processing is being used with correct field handling. It is now very simple.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 07:30 PM   #4
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By Jove! They've done it!

I just tested out the HD -> SD scaling implmentation on a short clip. In my previous experience Premiere Pro didn't handle the fields well at all but this time was different. I got a few unexpected results - which I thought I'd report here.

First off, I thought I'd test a still frame export. File->Export->Frame. I changed the resolution to 720x480 with a PA of 1.2. This exporter didn't give me any field options, so I just thought I'd see what came out. Lo and behold, this wasn't changed from my previous experiences, and the frame came out with blended fields.

This scared, me, until I decided to Export->Movie. This time, I set 720x480 PA 1.2 and rendered out a Windows Bitmap sequence. Importing it into After Effects for a closer look, and hurrah! It was interlaced! Clearly Cineform had worked their magic once again! In order to check the field order, I made a 59.94 fps composition and set AE to deinterlace. The frames were upper-field first. I noted however, the bitmap sequence rendering options in premiere, the "Keyframe and Rendering" menu was disabled, and greyed to "Lower Field First". How odd that the output file was Upper.

I now went to try this out with video, duplicating the Bitmap Sequence procedure, but this time selecting a Microsoft AVI wrapper and rendering an uncompressed 4:4:4 movie file. This time I had field options... So I changed them and rendered two files: one "Lower Field First" and the other out "Upper Field First". Again importing into AE I noted that the "Lower" file was in fact Upper, while the "Upper" was Lower.

I'm not sure if this is a bug or not - and I firmly believe anyone looking to compress stuff or render things should do these kinds of tests on their own. I'd appreciate it if someone else could test this out and confirm it. At any rate:

THE GOOD NEWS:
Cineform has now implemented a scaler in AspectHD/Premiere that handles HDV fields properly, and is capable of exporting 4:4:4 uncompressed SD from HDV source material painlessly... and it can flip the fields if you so choose. This is the first time I've been able to do this in one step. Awesome.

-Steve
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Old July 11th, 2005, 09:26 PM   #5
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David,

I sent a trouble ticket into Cineform today after I exported an HDV project to DVD, which your team was very quick to respond. Thank you.

Basically, it's works great until you do any kind of transition on the timeline. During the transition, the field dominance is reversed and, unfortunately, makes the process described here useless unless you render the entire thing out to a Cineform AVI, then export the new AVI again.

Normally this isn't a big deal but with something longer than about 15 minutes it takes a lot of time. Hopefully we will see a bug fix soon.

I'm also wondering about the status of fixing the bug with the Z1U that prevents AspectHD and Premiere from batch capturing if the timecode begins with anything other than 00:00:00:00. I've had a lot of contact with your tech support since NAB, they've admitted it's a bug but I've never heard anything back. This bug has made it very difficult to use one of the Z1's extra features: pre-settable timecode.

Thanks for any updates you can give.....

Stacy
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:03 AM   #6
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It seems there is a bug in the Adobe Media Encoder which we have had some trouble working around. Now that I know the bug exists will do a minor patch to Aspect (hopefully tomorrow) so the upper/lower selection in export movie is the correct way around. Sadly, this Adobe Media Encoder bug will require an Adobe fix. I have reported this to Adobe; hopefully they can offer a technical workaround so we can implement it. Looking into the workflow issue now.

The Z1's non-00:00 start time is technically not a bug; it is a feature that hasn't been implemented. Sony camera doesn't support seeking to a timecode -- it only supports seeking to a track number, so new code has to be developed to account for the missing camera control (AV/C control.) We have a future upgrade planned for this, but in the meantime start your tapes at zero.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #7
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Thanks, David.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #8
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There is a new Aspect HD 3.2 build now available - Aspect HD v3.2a. The only change effects SD exports directly from an HD timeline within Premiere Pro. If exporting to SD is important to your workflow we recommend you download the new version.

In this v3.2a release, we have fixed the field reversal issue Steve White
discovered when using Export Movie; thank you Steve for finding this so
quickly. The Export Movie feature is now fully working for any field
dominance, both progressive and de-interlaced outputs.

However, there is known bug within Premiere we ran across while doing this
work: when using the Adobe Media Encoder (AME), it does NOT fully work for
interlaced outputs that require a down conversion. This bug does not affect
progressive timelines like 720p30 and 1080p24/25/30 (CineFrame modes). For
interlaced timelines the AME gets the field order incorrect during
transitions. This is not an Aspect bug (same errors can be observed using
VFW modes), although we have spent many hours trying to work around it. So for interlaced timelines that require down scaling, there are a couple
workarounds:

1) use the de-interlace option within the AME. This will allow a high
quality progressive DVD or WM9 outputs, or

2) export to a CineForm AVI at your target resolution using "Export
Movie", then run the new file through the AME or directly in Encore DVD.
This will enable you to create high-quality interlaced DVDs or other export
formats.

We have discussed the bug with Adobe and we will be exploring a fix for
interlaced HD to SD exports in future Adobe updates.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 10:02 PM   #9
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Thanks for the update!

Quote:
1) use the de-interlace option within the AME. This will allow a high
quality progressive DVD or WM9 outputs, or
I'm curious - is there any literature or tests out there on the quality of this de-interlacing algorithm? I assume a lot of people leave it unchecked, and I've seen a lot of HDV-> 720p30 wmv files on the web that would benefit from its use. It's a little hard to do objective comparisons after something's been de-interlaced, down-rezzed and compressed.

I'll be rendering a friend's wedding to DVD within the next week or so, and want to throw a WM9 version on the ROM portion of the disk and retain as much quality as possible. Thankfully, the new Aspect release will make the SD DVD rendering much easier... but after compressing to an anamorphic 1440x1080i WMV file (12 minute video, 6 hours compressing) I noticed that media player didn't exactly handle the interlace well (i.e., it was supposed to be interlaced, but played it back at 30p - I think).

-Steve
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Old July 19th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #10
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SD output for DVD

David,

Can you make some recommendations for MPEG DVD preset settings, considering the Adobe ones you mentioned weren't very good? A good start would be high and low quality recommendations or general rules of thumb for short (0-15min), medium (15min-1hr), and long (1-2hr) video clips.

And if we haven't taken too much of your time already, our music composer (who is 1000miles away) works on a G5 and requires that we send Quicktime video. We just installed QT7Pro, and our initial run with the Sorensen3 encoder resulted in terrible quality. Do have any recommendations for encoding AHD to FTP-able Quicktime files using Sorensen and H.264?

Thanks,

Will
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Old July 19th, 2005, 04:55 PM   #11
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For DVD settings I nothing run at 8Mbit/s for anything less than 1hour. Longer projects may require a reduced bit-rate for a single layer DVD. CBR is fine for the high bit-rates (speeds up encoding.) Use VBR for lower bit-rates (don't go below 5Mb/s if you can help it.)

For QT settings maybe others can comment, I don't have much experience with exchanging video data with Macs.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #12
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Export from PPro to DVD

David,

First experience with direct export from PPro with AHD 3.1 to DVD; problem as follows.

I exported from PPro's timeline to MPEG-2 DVD file using Adobe's NTSC DV 16:9 setting, and the video came out squished vertically. When viewed, it's like 1.8 Academy instead of 16:9. There's horizontal black bars on top and bottom, and the video itself is looks stretched horizontally.

Do I have to choose 4:3 DVD output instead, or what's the correct setting?

Thanks.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #13
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Firstly you should upgrade to Aspect HD 3.2 when you can as that improves DVD output quality. Unfortunately it doesn't fix all the bugs in the Adobe Media Encoder (AME) -- for those we need Adobe to do a new release. The best way to work around the AME bugs is use "export movie" to create a DVD sized 720x480 (16x9) CineForm HD AVI file. Then use that file to convert to MPEG2 via the AME. Using this technique all the scale and field ordering is handled (correctly) by the CineForm components, so all the AME needs to is MPEG encoding. Creating your own presets will also help (just in case there is something wrong with the preset you used.)
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Old August 4th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Newman
create a DVD sized 720x480 (16x9) CineForm HD AVI file.
I only see a greyed-out "1440x1080 v 16:9" frame size on PPro Movie Export for Cineform HD 1.2.

How do you change the frame size to 720x480?
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Old August 4th, 2005, 08:05 PM   #15
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In the File menu select "Export Movie" then click on settings and change the "File Type" to "CineForm HD Export". In that mode you can set the output to 720x480 and 16:9.
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