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Old October 21st, 2006, 05:25 PM   #1
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Big project. Problems. 11th hour. Help.

I finished a 55 minute video recently, and since the export, it has been at the authoring house getting compressed and encoded. I got a call on Thursday that there were MAJOR problems with it.

While it looked fine in FCP and the QT export, when it was burned to DVD, there was some horrible streaking on playback throughout the video (looked like a field dominance issue). They said that my 3:2 pull down was wrong and that it came out something like AA:BB:CD:EF...or something. I'm not too tech savvy, so I just took their word for it. In any case, there is definitely something wrong. When the DVD plays the video, in some places it looks like the screen is a flag being blown by a gentle wind.

They said that this was probably due to either a) the fact that I have both progressive and interlaced video inside (which is true) and that FCP wasn't able to create a correct 3:2 pulldown because of it, or b) that the Nattress software I used to make it look like film is doubling up the interlaced (or was it progressive?) video and that upon compression the video is getting distorted because it doesn't have the right number of horizontal lines. Of course I am probably screwing up the explanation, but I imagine that the people on here who know what's up, know what I'm talking about.

To fix this, they asked me to go back to all of the interlaced clips and take off the film filters. There are many problems with this:
1. I don't know which are interlaced and which aren't. The video has almost 1000 individual clips in it (it is a skate video), and it was shot by more than 20 different people. Most of the footage is likely, GL2, VX2000, and my own Z1 (which I downconverted all the video to DV before post), but there were so many other cameras involved (including a few clips from Europe and Australia that had been converted to NTSC). It would almost be impossible to figure it out, and even if I did, I imagine it could take months. (I need a good sample disc and DLT next week, so that we can make our premiere and holiday production).
2. If I change just the interlaced clips, and leave the adjacent progressive clips alone, they won't match the sections they are in anymore as each section is colored a specific way with the different filters. I can't even imagine trying to take one clip filmed on a GL2 with a Nattress film look filter on it and trying to match it to a VX2000 clip by using the native FCP effects.

So, since I was resistant to that idea, we tried printing the video to a DVPRO tape, hoping that the tape would have its own 3:2 pulldown and ignore the corrupted FCP one. Well, it seems to have worked in the short samples we generated. However, upon compression, there is still some very slight streaking here and there. The streaking happens most noticably when there is a quick horizontal pan or if someone or something comes vertically into frame. It doesn't look too bad...just angers someone like me who has spent so long on this project. Also, these new samples are with only 1 pass. Production will be 6 passes, which they say will actually make the video look better. I hope so, because despite this obstacle, I am still aiming for perfection.

I have seen that a couple of people on this board have had this "streaking" problem also, but it seems like all of them have video from one source in their project. Once they changed to a different field or made another adjustment throughout the project, all was well. However, I can't do that. So, I'd like to ask the gurus on here:
1. What would you say is causing the problem? Is it due to the mixing of progressive and interlaced clips, or of the film-look software, or some combination, or something else?
2. Will dumping the project to tape effectively create a new and proper 3:2 pulldown like we are hoping?
3. The full tape will be captured and compressed on Monday, so I might be able to see my check disc as early as Tuesday. If I am still experiencing problems, what can be done?
4. What can I do to prevent this problem in the future?

Thanks very much for reading. I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
Shane Coburn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 21st, 2006, 06:21 PM   #2
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Without seeing what's happening, there's a few things that could be going on.

Was the film effect tested on an NTSC monitor from the FCP timeline? This is your first check on settings.

Second, when you compress for DVD, you've got to make sure the field order is set correct. Some software "guesses" and guesses wrong. Often you have to manually set it to "lower".

Having both progressive, interlaced and film effected clips should not be an issue. There are plenty of "mixed media" DVDs out there.

Have you tried making a DVD yourself - with compressor, DVD studio or iMovie to check it works there?

Graeme
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Old October 21st, 2006, 07:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme Nattress
Without seeing what's happening, there's a few things that could be going on.

Was the film effect tested on an NTSC monitor from the FCP timeline? This is your first check on settings.

Second, when you compress for DVD, you've got to make sure the field order is set correct. Some software "guesses" and guesses wrong. Often you have to manually set it to "lower".

Having both progressive, interlaced and film effected clips should not be an issue. There are plenty of "mixed media" DVDs out there.

Have you tried making a DVD yourself - with compressor, DVD studio or iMovie to check it works there?

Graeme
Graeme -

Thanks for replying. I didn't contact you directly, because their concern about the film-look software didn't make much sense to me. It's just a filter, and I don't see how that would screw up the pulldown. In any case, I did want to explain what was explained to me in case it had some relevance.

As for your checklist, yes, I watched the video several times on an NTSC monitor as well as my TV, and it looked great. Every single clip in the main project has one of your filters on it, and for the most part I couldn't have been more pleased with their look. However, there is some "ghosting" in maybe 20% of the shots (mainly when I used the Green or Orange presets), but that is a different issue and doesn't bother me too much. I could have probably limited this by going in and customizing the tolerances of each clip, but I had to choose my battles with this project. All in all, I think the clips (even with the "ghosting") look better than the raw files. So all was good on both the monitor and the TV, as well as my QT export.

I didn't compress the DVD myself, the authoring house did. They initially tried whatever default field they use, but then when there were problems, they tried all of them. The project varied in look, but even the best of them still had the streaks.

I have not tried to make a DVD myself yet. This is chiefly because I really didn't think I would be able. I am running FCP 4.5 on a 1.15 Ghz G4 Powerbook and the 66GB project took 39 hours to export. (The time estimate for Compressor 1.0 was even longer, so I didn't bother with a MPEG-2) I figured the long leadtime was due to all of the effects, and I didn't see myself getting my own sample disc done before the authoring house. Do you think I should try this method anyway?

The other possibility here (considering the time it took to export) is that the front side bus on my computer is just too slow, and that the export was corrupted in process somehow. I did have an issue with the audio dropping out, but I just exported an .aiff file (took about 6 minutes), and copy/pasted it in to the exported video. Sync'd up great and looked great. However, might there have been some video problems on there that only the compression made visible?
Shane Coburn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 21st, 2006, 07:22 PM   #4
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Export can take a long time, but I'm confused as to why it's so so long.

If the project looked fine in your NTSC monitor while you're editing, and the export to disc you made was correct, then it's a screw up at the DVD place.

It's 11th hour, so drop me an email now and I'll work with you to figure it all out.

Graeme
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