HDV Editing Processs (Widescreen DVD output) at DVinfo.net

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Old August 22nd, 2004, 03:19 PM   #1
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HDV Editing Processs (Widescreen DVD output)

For those thinking about getting into HDV production, here is a rundown of the entire editing process that we use (for widescreen DVD output) along with the software:

Software
----
Capture/Conversion - Cineform HD-Link (ConnectHD)
Editing - Sony Vegas 4
Chroma-Noise Reduction - VirtualDub
MPEG-2 Encoding - Canopus ProCoder
DVD Authoring - Adobe Encore

1) Use HD-Link to capture M2T files from HD-10 - these files are roughly 19Mbps

2) Convert M2T files to Cineform HD AVIs using HDLink (ConnectHD) - these files are roughly 40 Mbps, but they very greatly in size based on scene complexity

3) Edit in Vegas

4) Render the final edit out to a Cineform HD AVI (final.avi) file - the rendering time varies greatly based on transitions, effects, etc.

5) Run the final.avi file through VirtualDub (using the Chroma Noise and Temporal Smoother filters). On our Athlon XP 2000+ machine this process runs at 4fps. We typically name this file something like final-corrected.avi. The output of this process is again a Cineform HD AVI file.

6) Use ProCoder to encode the MPEG2 file for the DVD. We use the Mastering Quality, 16:9, progressive scan, 8 Mbps settings. Basically the maximum quality settings for a DVD. Warning, this will only fit about an hour on a DVD, if you want more lower the bitrate. ProCoder is fast, this runs at about 6 fps on our Athlon XP 2000 machine. The output from ProCoder is hard to beat for DVDs. The final DVD output file is final_DVD.mpg.

7) Pull the final_DVD.mpg file into Adobe Encore, put together your DVD layout, and burn a DVD.

The results are pretty amazing, even when blown up to large screens. We have a place to play our DVDs on a 100" home theater screen nearby (480p), and it simply blows away anything we have seen shot on a DV camera (although we haven't seen any XL2 16:9 30p footage on it yet).

I think two of the factors that really help things include:

1) The footage is never interlaced at any point in the chain.

2) All the editing is done in a high bitrate / low compression format. The Cineform HD AVI format is an awesome editing format, a perfect compromise between file size, quality, and editing performance.

I hope this helps anyone thinking about getting into video production using HDV.

Regards,

Ben Buie
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 03:32 PM   #2
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I do not really understand why you take all this pain to end up on a DVD in standard mpeg2. Why not staying on HD by recording on the camera or on a D-VHS. If your concern is the distribution, try to encode wmv9-HD, it is pretty amazing how much you can fit on a 4Gb DVD.
For sure, playing on a 480p screen does not require HD, but just for once , try to display on an HD capable projector (the cheap sony HS20 for example) if you really want eyes-popping reactions.
For not so deep pocket people, the mainconcept HD plugin for premiere allows you to edit mpeg2-ts, not as fast as the cineform one, but for a quarter of the price. and it does not require conversion of files. If you just cut some scenes and add few transitions, this is fast enough.
The way i use:
from the HD-1 to the PC (with a free utility called DVHScap) or directly to the d-VHS for saving all rushes to a big d-VHS tape.
editing to premiere with the mainconcept codec.
using virtualdub if needed.
then back to cam or D-VHS or encoding in wmv9HD from premiere.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 11:22 PM   #3
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Well, a lot of our paying clients need the final in regular DVD format. That isn't changing for a while. At least we can tell them with confidence that we are maximizing the quality (for the budget) of the current DVD format.

We have used a laptop to play our HD originals on an HD projector, and obviously the results were amazing. However, the 480p results are very impessive as well, it is good to know we can squeeze so much quality out of SD.

I too long for the day when everyone has an HD-DVD player, we would love not to downconvert. I agree that even the Windows Media HD format produces great results.

For us ConnectHD (from Cineform, $500) has been worth every penny. Besides the huge increase in editing speed, there is virtually no generation loss using the Cineform HD AVI format. MPEG2 in general is not a great editing format for various technical reasons.

However, it is good to hear you are having such great success with the tools that come with the camera. All that matters is that you are happy with the results and that you have a system that works for you.

Maybe Cineform can work out a deal with JVC and/or Sony and get ConnectHD bundled with the next HDV camcorder that comes out, then we would all be happy! :)
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