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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:05 AM   #1
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Terrible results HDV 60i to SD, 30/24p ok, any ideas?

Hey guys, I'm killing myself here trying to figure out whats wrong. I have a 30min HDV 60i timeline in FCP6.01 and am trying to downconvert for an SD DVD. I'm getting terrible jagged lines artifacts and aliasing (not interlace artifacts)- it looks like Youtube quality blown up to DVD size. Both horizontal and vertical lines look terrible.

As an experiment, I put just a nice still photo on the timeline with a Ken Burns zoom. On a 24p or 30p HDV timeline, the export to DVD looks great. However on 60i, I get the awful jaggies. I'm not talking about the interlace lines you would expect to see in 60i. This looks more like the video was first downsized to 320x240 and then blown up using a nearest pixel filter. I will try to post a sample pic later, but my results look WORSE than what Bonsai shows here:
http://www3.telus.net/bonsai/From-HDV.html
...and that problem was supposedly fixed in Compressor 3, right? Still I tried the Bonsai method but I'm still getting bad results.

I also tried the workflow posted here http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/hdv_to_sd_dvd.html which again works great in progressive, but I just can't get a good interlaced downconvert. I would prefer to stay in 60i and not have to deinterlace to 30p.

I tried:
FCP Sequence Settings-motion/rendering quality: fastest/draft or normal/normal or best/best (no difference).
Export directly from FCP to Compressor, or export a HDV QT mov first then put that file into Compressor, no difference. The HDV QT file looks fantastic, so the problem is definitely happening during the downconvert.
Various settings in Compressor: Resize quality fast/normal/best, Deinterlace quality fast/normal/best (even though there shouldn't be any deinterlacing going on), Adaptive details, tried reversing the fields upper/lower (should be upper but tried both just in case), etc. Some settings made minor differences but the overall quality is still awful.

Either I am doing something terribly obviously wrong, or at least some others working with HDV 60i must be seeing the same problem, but I find it hard to imagine that anyone could tolerate such terrible quality...

Any ideas? I'm at the end of my rope... if there were an easy way to export to a format I could use on my PC, I have much better downconverting/encoding software available there, but I don't know of any HD codecs that will work on the PC other than Uncompressed which I don't have the disk space for.

Thanks!
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #2
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What is your field dominance?
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
What is your field dominance?
I'm using NTSC HDV 60i so the fields should be Upper. However, I am sure that this is not a field order problem. Just in case, I tried every available field setting in Compressor: Automatic, Upper, Lower (just in case Compressor was reversing the fields), None (progressive) etc. There was clearly a difference made in the interlacing, but again as I said, the awful quality I'm getting is not related to interlacing artifacts. I've been working with video a long time and I know what interlacing artifacts look like. What I'm getting is more like the whole video was first downsized to about 320x240, i.e. both horizontal and vertical lines become jaggy and aliased, and the entire image is soft with all fine detail lost in the aliasing.

Has nobody else experienced this problem?
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Old August 8th, 2007, 08:18 PM   #4
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Have you viewed the final product on a TV, or on your computer?
Big difference between the 2.

I was going to suggest my walkthrough on Ken Stones page, however I see you have already read it, only thing I can offer at this point would be to check it on a DVD.

Another option, though a bit long for render time, is to do the old interlace to progressive conversion, where you copy your timeline and put it on the second video track, reduce the second tracks opacity to say 30%, add a de-interlace on both tracks, set the upper track de-interlace to upper, and the first track to lower, render and export as progressive.

I have used that before many times.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 02:35 PM   #5
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1080i to SD export Jaggy in FCP 5.1.4

Yup - same problem over here trying 1080i50i to 720x576 PAL.

Repeated on two entirely different suites, both running FCP5.1.4.

Resultant .mov looks equally rubbish on 23" cinema and on a JVC broadcast monitor.

My money is on it being a quicktime display problem that perhaps only applies to playback from that format.

Here's why I think so: It always looks lovely when shoveled out as MPEG 2 to DVD.

You're right Jason, the SD .mov does look like it's been sized up from a lower (than SD) resolution source.

Now, I know MPEG2 is a really great coidec but I just don't believe it has the capacity to 'invent' enough information to result in that kind of quality jump - nobody's batted an eyelid at any of my outputted DVD's that have been through this process.

One thing though - has anyone tried an output to TAPE with this?

That might well be the acid test...
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Old August 13th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #6
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Not sure if this is your answer, but I would try taking it into after effects and "interpret footage" you can export as an animation and make your dvd from that. The point is that final cut sucks at de-interlacing and re-interlacing or whatever it does to your fields. And the worst way to make a dvd is with letterbox instead of pan and scan, in studio pro.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 02:45 PM   #7
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i was having issues very similar to what you're describing. i know you wanted to stay interlaced, but i got rid of those artifacts by de-interlacing using the Nattress Smart Blend filter. looks pretty good....

*rant mode on*

i am chalking this up to junky Compressor 3, which i am hating. never had this artifact-y mess with the old Compressor. and my render times in 3 seem to have quadrupled. piece o junk. hate the interface, hating the render times, and the image looks heinous...

*rant mode off*

all hail nattress, who saved my sorry self, when the client needed his project delivered immediately, and i had no time to resolve the hell wrought by Compressor 3......
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Old August 29th, 2007, 11:18 PM   #8
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Sorry it took so long, but I wanted to post some samples of what I'm seeing. I put a high res test chart ("fair use" borrowed from dpreview.com) on an HD timeline, and then exported to SD resolution via 2 different methods: via Compressor to DVD MPEG2, or via Quicktime Conversion to DV Stream.

The Quicktime Conversion is what a good downconvert should look like. On the other hand, the Compressor downconvert is an ugly mess. It might be a little harder to tell in a still frame, but it is glaringly obvious in a moving picture. Look at how the vertical resolution test (left column of horizontal lines) turns to a smear, and look at the stairstepping and aliasing visible on the "wheel" pattern in the upper left. In a moving picture, the quality problem is 100x more obvious.

Note that the difference is not due to MPEG2 compression, it is due to the terrible downsampling done by Compressor. If you feed the QT Conv. DV file into Compressor, you get a great MPEG2 file with none of these problems (but you lose potential quality due to the DV compression artifacts and 4:1:1 color sampling).

For another way to see an example of this for yourself, try this:

In FCP, make a new Uncompressed SD sequence and drag the HD sequence into it. This gives the same quality problem as Compressor. Set your SD sequence Canvas to 100% view and look closely at any area with fine vertical detail, such as titles. You will see the obvious stairstepping. Now, if you go to Sequence settings and under Video Processing-Motion Filtering Quality, change the setting to "Fastest (linear)", watch how the quality improves SLIGHTLY and vertical edges become much clearer (the Best setting is no better than Normal). Unfortunately, while the Fastest setting clears up the vertical scaling problem, it compromises horizontal detail quality, making a lot of aliasing effects in any fine horizontal detail especially when moving. You can use a slight blur filter to cover this up, but then you're at sub-DV quality and so what was the point of editing in HD? :(

With the popularity of FCP and the number of users editing in HDV, I'm surprised this hasn't really come up before. Again, unless I'm crazy or have made a really dumb mistake somewhere, I can't imagine that the vast number of FCP/HDV users are satisfied with the quality coming out of Compressor. (And I'm not a newbie when it comes to this sort of thing, I have been testing many different software workflows under Windows for HD-SD downconversion, see my thread here: http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=70792 )
I had decided to switch to FCP after my school bought FCS2 and I bought myself a new SR MBP. Now I don't know how I'm supposed to tell them that for all that money spent, we are getting worse quality than a bunch of free software on Windows. I love the power and effects and everything about FCS, but if our DVDs are going to be YouTube quality then I'll just have them put Windows and Premiere or Edius on our Macs...

If you have another downconvert workflow (which does not require deinterlacing), I'd love to hear about it. I'd be happy to output a HD file from FCP and try using some Windows MPEG2 encoders, but the QT codecs for Prores and DVCPROHD are Mac-only, and I don't know of any other QT HD codecs which are available both for Mac and Windows (other than Cineform, which is expensive :p ).

Any ideas/thoughts? Thanks!
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Terrible results HDV 60i to SD, 30/24p ok, any ideas?-hd-sd-test-via-compressor.png   Terrible results HDV 60i to SD, 30/24p ok, any ideas?-hd-sd-test-via-qt-conv-dv.png  

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Old August 29th, 2007, 11:40 PM   #9
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FCP/Compressor has troubles doing the field order switch from HDV to SD M2V.

Take the HD timeline, select all, and paste into SD anamorphic timeline. FCP6 will resize to 50%, and automatically add a "Shift fields" filter.

Render THIS timeline out to M2V.

This method has issues if you have resized shots, etc, but it does work for a lot of situations.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 11:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post

Take the HD timeline, select all, and paste into SD anamorphic timeline. FCP6 will resize to 50%, and automatically add a "Shift fields" filter.
Hmm, thats very odd you mention this as I was just about to post how bad the result sare when I put the HD content into an SD timeline and export.The issues that have been described are exactly what I get when I put HD into an SD timeline and exprt but if I downconvert HD60i to SD using compressor straight from the timeline, the results are great- even with slo-mo.

Patrick
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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:13 AM   #11
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If you use FCP6 to put 60i HDV into an SD 4x3 timeline and let it LETTERBOX, then I've gotten poor results, even though the motion was correct.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:22 AM   #12
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Im actually going from HDV 60 i to SD 16:9 60i and getting poor results. No problem when using compressor to downconvert though.

Patrick
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