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Old September 26th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #1
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what is the best documentary format: interlaced or progressive?

Hi,

lately I found out that there are a lot of people doing their docs in the P mode or in F-mode in my canon case. I tought that interlaced was the way to go because of being more practical in post.( isnt it even possible to use some sort of 25f filter in post?)

and what about tweaking? I like some presets on my canon XHA1 wich I downloaded from this forum, but isnt it better to use the standard one with the same idea, being easyier in post?

grtz..

Last edited by Terwingen Niels; September 26th, 2008 at 03:28 PM.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #2
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i'd be interested in the suggestions in this thread as well. I just got my xh-a1 last week and the first project i'd like to work on is a short film which is actually a mockumentary. I'm planning on editing in FCE 3.5 HD.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #3
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I'm shooting everything 24F (I'm in NTSCland) with my XH A1. I've shot with it on two different documentaries that have played theatrically and on cable. There is no problem with FCP in editing HDV in the progressive modes. Sony Vegas also handles it OK. Avid, however, does not. Progressive 24 (or in your case 25) frames per second looks more "filmic" to people. My primary reason for doing it is that there are no pesky interlace artifacts to deal with when exporting for DVD or web useage.

In FCP I capture with the HDV 1080P24 setting, edit in the corresponding 23.98 timeline, export as full size HDV, then convert in Compressor to whatever format I need to deliver.

Everybody I know who does documentary or narrative work is shooting progressive. The only interlace things I've shot in the past two years were for a corporation; but everything I shoot for my corporate clients is 24f.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 05:53 PM   #4
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I'm just starting out but I'll be trying interlaced because of a chat I had with DP Ben Allen.

We were talking about the different formats and he explained that people were used to seeing 24p in drama (an expectation of fiction) and interlaced in news/doco (an expectation of reality).

While a progressive image might look better does it give the viewer the sub-conscious expectation that this is not 'as' real

I hear in China they don't have this problem because the majority arn't used to the film image

just a thought to promote discussion
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Old September 26th, 2008, 07:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Mailath View Post
I'm just starting out but I'll be trying interlaced because of a chat I had with DP Ben Allen.

We were talking about the different formats and he explained that people were used to seeing 24p in drama (an expectation of fiction) and interlaced in news/doco (an expectation of reality).

While a progressive image might look better does it give the viewer the sub-conscious expectation that this is not 'as' real

I hear in China they don't have this problem because the majority arn't used to the film image

just a thought to promote discussion
60i looks like news because it looks like television, which can be just as unreal in it's own way. In a documentary, 60i looks real, but it also looks unprofessional, that is, if you want your movie to look like it was done by guerilla filmmakers on a shoestring budget and passion, shoot 60i/50i. If you want your movie to look like it had an actual budget (even if it didn't) shoot 24p/25p.

You'll notice that local news usually shoots in 60i on location, but the big nightly news shows shoot in 30p in the studio.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 08:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Boyko View Post
60i looks like news because it looks like television, which can be just as unreal in it's own way. In a documentary, 60i looks real, but it also looks unprofessional, that is, if you want your movie to look like it was done by guerilla filmmakers on a shoestring budget and passion, shoot 60i/50i. If you want your movie to look like it had an actual budget (even if it didn't) shoot 24p/25p.

You'll notice that local news usually shoots in 60i on location, but the big nightly news shows shoot in 30p in the studio.
60i unprofessional? I'll keep that in mind next time I rent a 700 series DigiBeta...

As someone who has shot interlaced footage in SD AND HD on 4 continents that has aired internationally as documentaries, interlaced has it's place and that place is broadcast in SD and broadcast in HD (1080i). Not everyone is making a "movie". Some of us make high end documentaries and those certainly can be interlaced...

30P in the studio? Never seen that in my days in TV studios.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 01:19 PM   #7
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thanks..

hi,

so shooting interlaced can give more artifacts exporting to dvd or web? are there more advantages/disadventages to using both formats? what about work in post, colorcorrecting, ..etc

grtz niels
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Old September 28th, 2008, 03:36 PM   #8
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My current workflow is shooting HDV at 720P60, so I have 60 PROGRESSIVE frames per second that migrates to SD at 60i VERY nicely while maintaining progressive for post or for the web.

Don't get me wrong: I love working in progressive, it's just inaccurate to say that interlaced footage is "amateur" when virtually every SD broadcast is interlaced and a goodly number of HD broadcasts are as well.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 06:51 PM   #9
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I agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
My current workflow is shooting HDV at 720P60, so I have 60 PROGRESSIVE frames per second that migrates to SD at 60i VERY nicely while maintaining progressive for post or for the web.

Don't get me wrong: I love working in progressive, it's just inaccurate to say that interlaced footage is "amateur" when virtually every SD broadcast is interlaced and a goodly number of HD broadcasts are as well.
I agree, there is nothing amateur about shooting interlaced. My 2008 associated press excellence in photography first place award is for a piece that was shot on interlaced video. To me it is simply an aesthetic choice. Progressive scanned images look more film like, and tend to be associated more with more careful camera placement and moves, and more careful lighting. Interlaced video does a good job handling motion though, and is great for doing fast paced things where there are lots of camera moves. To me interlaced also has more of a live, happening right now in your face immediacy that works well for some things, but not for others. The choice in which to shoot I think should come down to the aesthetic feel your trying to create with your images.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 04:54 AM   #10
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Why not mix it up alittle?
When I do interviews, I tend to use progressive, while when I am covering a event I tend to use 50i.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #11
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I don't disagree with Boudewijn on this, however, these forums are FULL of people asking "how do I mix formats" and "my quality sucks because I'm mixing formats" questions so I would encourage you work all these issues out BEFORE tackling a major production with money and reputation on the line.

What I like about 60P is that I have no interlacing or field order issues going to any of:
-1080i60 HD (top first field order)
-CCIR601 video (top first field order)
-NTSC DV (BOTTOM first field order)

whereas I need to be careful if I move back and forth between interlaced footage with differing field orders (THIS is where the developers of DV as a codec MESSED UP!)

Where MY issues begin is on international release to PAL/50Hz countries (something I personally haven't had to sweat yet - I've had stuff released there but the producer took care of all that). This is where 24P begins to REALLY shine from a LOGISTICAL standpoint.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #12
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Thank you, Shaun, for dismissing the rather strange notion
that interlaced is "amateurish".

Having said that, a short note to
Terwingen Niels (who lives across the pond):
I've been happily shooting interlaced
(1080i / resized in post to SD for delivery)
until... a few days ago!, when I found out
that my main customer (Swiss Public Broadcasting) in 2012
will be switching all its six channels to HD in the 720/50p flavor.
Other European brodcasters will do the same,
and it appears that 720/50p will be the de facto European HD standard.
So, there's stuff to ponder, here... (F25, for example, for us Canon A1 users?)

Anyhow, on the interlaced vs. progressive issue, an EBU paper
(http://www.ebu.ch/CMSimages/en/tec_d...tcm6-59454.pdf)
points out that (quote)
"As a rule of thumb, for interlaced production, it is better to use one high quality professional de-interlacer at the playout point, rather than placing the burden of de-interlacing on the many (and less effective) consumer devices in the home. An additional advantage is that broadcast encoders can operate moderately more efficiently in terms of bitrate requirements with progressive signals derived from interlaced than with interlaced HDTV." (unquote)
To me, that reads like "ok, if you have interlaced productions, we'll air them anyhow, and
we take care of the deinterlacing process" - which helps lowering my stress level.

We'll se..

Best

Vasco
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Old October 20th, 2009, 02:21 PM   #13
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Thank you!

GREAT information ...and THANKS Vasco for the 'heads up' on changes in the future. VERY, VERY useful for a new XH 1A owner :-)
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Old October 20th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #14
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Here's a thought, shoot the one you prefer the look of.

Seriously, people can argue the pros and cons of interlaced over progressive or progressive over interlaced but ultimately the decision should be yours, not what a bunch of people on the net think.

Oh, and BTW shoot progressive.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 06:42 PM   #15
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Shoot the format your end user/broadcaster wants. Careful consideration should always be given to your work flow and final delivery before the camera is ever turned on. Finally 1080p or 1080i is the easiest to convert or downconvert to other formats.
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