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Old February 20th, 2010, 12:33 PM   #1
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Best Acquisition Format for Multi Platform Distribution?

I think I know the answer to this from reading all the wisdom here, but just want to check with all you experts:

We've been asked to produce a series of instructional videos for a client who plans to primarily distribute for viewing on the web. But they also want the material to have a second life on DVD, Blu-Ray and whatever other method might take over for viewing on a proper HDTV. Obviously we want to maintain the best quality possible through the process.

Our thought has been to shoot, edit and output in 30p for the web, and then re-encode as 60i for the disc formats, as IIRC discs do not support 30p. I can live with the judder of shooting 30p, but really don't want to go into 24p-land. Or should we just shoot 60i as we always do and not worry about resolution loss when deinterlacing to make faux 30p, as PC screens are usually a lot smaller than HDTVs anyway?

We are shooting with Z5s so we can do any 1080 format variant natively.

Does this make sense? Thanks everyone.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #2
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I think you already know the answer, Adam...but for what it's worth, multi-output targets seem to be done the very best from HDV by using intermediate codec solutions like Cineform. From there, you've got the bases loaded and can go any direction with your final output master.

You'll also get very nice quality output with downscaling due to bumping up to square pixel, and it transcodes in AE to PAL SD quite easily, yet still looks very nice.

If your project series doesn't include much post work, you could get fairly good output other ways, but the CF route sure does it for us and I doubt you'll find a superior solution for HDV mastering for multi-output types.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:01 PM   #3
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Yeah, but as it turns out (and you probably know this from my other posts) Cineform really isn't for me anymore, as we're doing multicam and not only is there no Cineform benefit, but nearly every Premiere crash I've ever had on multiple machines has stopped occurring since I stopped using Prospect, and Cineform disables too many Premiere features anyway. So that's out.

Besides, Cineform wouldn't address the interlacing/deinterlacing issue.

But thanks, appreciate the response.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 03:23 PM   #4
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What I said is still true, Adam. The CF intermediate workflow (let's face it, multicam in Premiere is not nice anyway) still has the best final output from HDV, like it or not. At least we still haven't found a better solution for the distribution scenario you described.

Not everyone has had the same bad experience with multicam editing with CF. Certainly we haven't. Who knows, maybe CS5 will give us back some of the best features of CF and help clear up the nightmares of the last year?

I still can't see much change for a better multi-output solution from HDV in the months to come, no matter what you chose from...unless you go to very high quality MPEG2 compression, using cams costing 6-7 times what most of us can afford. If you could, you'd have no need of CF, and you wouldn't be asking about output solutions here...
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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:47 PM   #5
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I understand what you're saying, but I guess my question wasn't clear... it was really more about shooting interlaced vs. progressive because web is prog and DVD doesn't support 30p. My question was only about whether it's better to shoot 30p and convert to 60i than the other way around.

Multicam in PPro is fine... no issues. There is no Cineform RT engine acceleration for multicam, never has been, never will be, according to Cineform. No external monitor timeline monitoring with NVidia cards. No MPEG export. All of which Premiere does natively but not with Cineform, and which Cineform has repeatedly said they're not going to address.

This isn't an anti-Cineform screed -- I still have it, like it and use it when appropriate. Using CF doesn't address my shooting question. I get that the CF intermediate makes nicer outputs (that's why I originally got it and used it), but that's not my concern. It is really about, all other things being equal, how do we shoot this puppy? There are really only three possible answers: a) shoot 30p, b) shoot 60i, or c) neither/it doesn't matter.

I'll just do some experimenting this weekend.

Thanks for your ideas.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 06:09 PM   #6
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Ok, for what it's worth, our team best bet up to this point, has been to shoot 60i and convert to 30p for editing and mastering, but that's definitely CF-centric. I guess mostly because it's given the best all around output so far.

Like everything in our business, there are tradeoffs no matter which way you turn, but we do all our DVD's as progressive too, and just let some older/cheaper/crummier DVD players play their "jerky-I'm-so-sorry" game. Most look very nice, no issues.

Since we're also looking at multi-output formats, we've got to keep our bases covered for just about every scenario you can image, so we're riding down the middle with our masters. Any progressive web stuff looks very nice indeed, and so far everything else is pretty decent too. If we start doing HD downloads, we've got those bases covered this way. I just can't see any benefit to 24p for no-cine stuff...at all. To each his own.

If you find a better way, let me know, I'm all ears. I've got a CS4 workstation rendering 7 hrs of multi-cam stuff right behind me, so I know your pain! Fortunately, we have our other 64 bit machines loaded with CS3, so all is not lost. I'd have already quit if all three were CS4 and we were just doing all CF stuff!

I'm just looking forward to another new workstation with CS5, full 64bit end-to-end, and some serious Cuda-powered editing normality. Then maybe the gap between creative ideas and output fulfillment won't be measured in hours, days or weeks, but in realtime, seconds or minutes.

I might even start liking editing again if that happens.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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I'd shoot 60i if I had a lot of fast moving subjects/footage and deal with the resolution loss. But if it's a typical instructional video with CG and talking heads, I'd shoot 30p as I think it's a better distribution "master" for web, DVD, and Blu-Ray. But honestly, I don't really think most end consumers would know the difference and wouldn't care if the job is well done.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 11:51 AM   #8
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Truly most people don't know and don't care.

We have BM's Intensity Pro in a little custom solution for some captures from HDV with HDMI outs, so our chroma stuff does better from capturing directly.

We've still found 60i converted to 30p (via CF) for post gives the very best all-around imaging, even (or especially) with fast motion. The motion blur is not a mess then and looks very nice with DVD's done as progressive. Interlace is not an issue with modern DVD players, nor is our progressive output. It looks quite good with any progressive type display systems.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 11:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Armour View Post
Ok, for what it's worth, our team best bet up to this point, has been to shoot 60i and convert to 30p for editing and mastering, ...
But if you're going to edit and master in 30p, why wouldn't you just shoot it that way if you could? I mean, this makes perfect sense if your cam is 60i only, but if you could shoot, edit and master all in the same format, why wouldn't you? Deinterlaced 60i is not the same as 30p, even with Cineform.

(BTW, I'm still on CS3, so multicam works just as well and looks just as good natively in Premiere as it does with Prospect, and renders lickety-split with fewer crashes, so no pain here. Yet.)
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 07:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
But if you're going to edit and master in 30p, why wouldn't you just shoot it that way if you could? I mean, this makes perfect sense if your cam is 60i only, but if you could shoot, edit and master all in the same format, why wouldn't you? Deinterlaced 60i is not the same as 30p, even with Cineform.
It was exactly because it gives superior motion results. It may be the CMOS's of our V1's, or whatever, but it was exactly because we had superior results WITH the 60i to 30p CF conversion. The jitter with shooting 30p on our V1's was totally unacceptable to us, and disappeared with the CF conversion. The extremely slight softness of the CF conversion was much better than the jitter of direct 30p recording. Might be Sony-centric with those particular cams, but no matter what, our conversion workflow worked very well.

As I stated before, the end results were equal or superior due to the way CF deals with the 60i in the conversion. You can see the results with our trailers on our website. (We have some high res trailers to put up there too, but haven't linked them yet, and some full HD 8 min previews).

You can see we have a fair amount of chroma, color grading, and VFX with the material, so our testing needed to find the best mix. 60i to 30p conversion with CF was better no matter if we did it with direct HDMI capture via our BM Intensity Pro, or post converted the compressed HDV material from tape. It still has much less jitter and looks better on any tested output systems, analog or digital.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 10:40 AM   #11
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Got it. Thanks for the clarification. Now much more to think about.

It always seemed to me that aside form the obvious jitter issues, converting 30p to 60i would by "definition" (pun intended) be a better conversion than the other way around, as you wouldn't have any data interpolation or loss -- each pair fields after conversion to 60i would be from an identical frame and no data would be thrown away at all -- only the jitter issues from having 30 rather than 60 pictures per second. But what I hear you saying is that the jitter itself could be a dealbreaker.

Thanks again for the input.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:24 PM   #12
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That's it. With CF's 30p from 60i, each frame seems to have better film-like blur for motion.

For talking heads and very little movement, either way is fine for any outputting device. It's those pesky motions that make jitter so bad. Most of our stuff has some kind of motion (crane, dolly, trucks, pans, tilts, steadicams) of some kind, so jitter is a constant and unacceptable problem.

For those doing very little motion stuff, it's a non-issue, but for some of us, it's the difference between night and day. Even doing 60i would be better than the jitter pits (slap my mouth!).
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Old March 4th, 2010, 07:32 PM   #13
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All good points. These will all be food-related, so while not too much huge motion overall, the closeups of whisking, chopping, flipping, etc may be problematic.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #14
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Adam,

I followed this discussion with interest; what was you final decision and how happy are you with it?

Thanks,
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #15
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We're still remodeling the kitchen studio so haven't shot any test footage yet. Probably in about a month or so. I'll post conclusions as soon as I figure anything out.
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