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Old July 29th, 2007, 09:22 AM   #1
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Downconverting From HDV to SD In FCP (Before Editing Begins)

i'm going to be buying an HDV camera (either the JVC HD100 or the Sony HVR-Z1U). for the time being, i have to edit in SD because my computer can't handle HD editing (dual G4 PowerMac). i know the sony can internally downsample the HDV footage to SD upon import, but and i know the JVC cannot. so if i purchase the JVC, can someone help me understand the process of downconverting from HD to SD in FCP (before editing begins)?

any help is greatly appreciated. thanks!
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Old July 29th, 2007, 04:15 PM   #2
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Hi Jon.

One way you could do it would be to use Compressor. Take your HD files into Compressor and output them as SD files. You wouldn't even have to open FCP to do the conversions.

Of course, it depends on what version of FCP you are using (FCP HD, FCP 5 or FCP 6).

If you are using anything less than FCP 5.1.2, you might not have all of the codecs for the JVC GY-HD100. If you only have FCP HD, I think it only has the HDV 720p30 codec (and not the HDV 720p24 or HDV 720p25 codecs, which were only released with FCP 5.1.2).

Compressor, which comes bundled for free with FCP, can only work with the codecs installed in your version of FCP (as far as I know). But if you are only intending to work with 30fps (or 29.97), then you will be fine with FCP HD on up. (Mind you, I am only going from memory when I say that FCP HD has HDV 720p30 installed, so it's best to check for yourself, if you are running on that version of FCP).

You can, of course, also downconvert using FCP itself. You could pull all of your HD clips into an HD timeline then export with the the export settings set to SD, or you could pull the HD clips into an SD timeline then export the SD timeline.

HOWEVER, if you are really only going to be working in 30 fps (and even if you have less than FCP 5.1.2), I believe that 720p30 capture is (generally speaking) very stable on FCP. 720p24 and 720p25 capture are an entirely different matter and these 2 framerates (24p and 25p) are where you will find the vast majority of posts concerning capturing problems, if you analyze all of these posts about capturing problems with JVC Pro HD cameras.

FCP has supported 720p30 capture since way before the Pro HD cameras (starting with the GY-HD100) came out. I think it goes way back to when JVC released the single chip HD (720p) cameras (such as GR-HD1U and JY-HD10U) a year or two before. So it's a very stable capturing platform for 720p30 footage (I have seen the odd complaint on these boards but only at about 1% of the volume of complaints with 24p and 25p capture).

Provided your rig is capable of editing HD footage, you could capture natively in HDV 720p30, edit your project natively in 720p30 and then export (via Compressor) in SD. As you are only downconverting your finished sequence (and not all of your raw footage) it will save a lot of time (and hard drive space). Plus you can archive your completed HD sequence in AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) or even Pro Res (if you have FCP 6). As Blu-Ray and HD DVD start to catch on more and more, you might even have clients come back to you later (wedding videos, corporate, whatever) offering to pay for an HD version of the project. So, it's not a bad idea to archive in HD, but the primary benefit right now is that edited HD footage when exported as SD looks far, far superior to footage shot as SD (due to oversampling).
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Old July 29th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #3
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David, in another thread Jon said he has FCP 4.5. I think that will be a problem because there was no HDV support whatsoever in that version. While Compressor and Quicktime Pro would both be capable of doing the conversion, he won't be able to capture the footage.

This thread might be helpful: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=93883
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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #4
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Hi Boyd, I just found that other thread after posting in this one! (And I then made a post in that thread before coming back here. My apologies for all of the jumping around. It was certainly not intentional!)

As far as I know, FCP 4.5 supported HDV 720p30 capture and editing (but not the Sony HDV2/1080i until FCP 5) because of the earlier single-chip JVC 720p cameras which were released a year or two before JVC's Pro HD range.

Thanks for pointing out that thread about the DVHSCap-MPEG Streamclip workaround. That's always an option.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
As far as I know, FCP 4.5 supported HDV 720p30 capture and editing (but not the Sony HDV2/1080i until FCP 5)
Ah... I forgot all about that, my bad - you're right!
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Old July 30th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #6
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thanks so much, you guys are so helpful. i really appreciate it.
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