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Old November 26th, 2007, 12:55 PM   #1
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Workflow for V1U/Final Cut Pro

I know there has been a lot already written about this subject, both before and after the new update for Final Cut 6.0.2., but I'm still a bit confused about which workflow I should use. I'm shooting a movie in 24pA mode with a goal of making the best quality DVD I can to submit to film festivals, as well as an HDCAM master. I'm fairly new to the whole process and am not sure what would be my best workflow - if I should edit/capture in HDV, AIC, or ProRes 422. This is my first time posting even though I've been a frequent visitor and I've already learned a lot from this site as far as getting the most out of the V1U, so thank you to all of you who have taken the time to make intelligent and helpful posts. It's helped me a great deal. Any suggestions or tips for my particular situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 07:16 AM   #2
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From my experience it's best to capture and edit in HDV natively. Because of the long GOP structure it might take a very long time to export it like this so duplicate your timeline and throw it into a prores422 timeline. This converts it to an I-frame codec and will let you do better CC'ing...
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Old November 28th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #3
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Puzzled

Why would it be better to edit HDV natively as opposed to using an intermediate codec? I have read many explanations for why you should not edit natively, yet I continue to also read many people saying that it is BETTER to edit HDV natively. The thing I don't understand is why?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #4
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I am interested in this thread as well. I am in the process of switching to FCP from my trusty M100i, and have a V1U and a M25U deck for input into a yet to be purchased computer with FCP Studio 2.

My understanding is that ingesting to ProRes enables faster editing and output of the finished program as opposed to waiting for it to render (I am not sure what the FCP term is for "render"). I think also the ProRes file type and size play into this - though I am not sure how.

On the other hand, I have heard of people editing HDV without a problem, but I have heard more people saying to get out of it (HDV) sooner rather than later.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler Masse View Post
I know there has been a lot already written about this subject, both before and after the new update for Final Cut 6.0.2., but I'm still a bit confused about which workflow I should use. I'm shooting a movie in 24pA mode with a goal of making the best quality DVD I can to submit to film festivals, as well as an HDCAM master. I'm fairly new to the whole process and am not sure what would be my best workflow - if I should edit/capture in HDV, AIC, or ProRes 422.
I recommend you buy my book, but here's a quick take.

1) If you were NOT planning to record on HDCAM tape -- you should capture and edit HDV. Apple's 1080i60 HDV capture will FLAG the 24PA video so you can put clips into a 24p Sequence.

THERE IS NO QUALITY OR EDITING ADVANTAGE TO CONVERTING HDV TO ANY INTERMEDIATE CODEC. NONE. NADA.

FCP has NEVER needed to use an Intermediate codec for quality reasons! Now Apple has made this explicit with it's OPEN TIMELINE. I'm blown away that so few realize this is a major advance in V6.

2) Since you are planning to record to tape -- you MUST able to add 2-3 pulldown to your 24fps production when it's finished. You'll also need an AJA or BM card to output HD-SDI. Do you have one of these?

Apple provides an HDV-to-ProRes 422 Capture Preset that actually converts the 24PA to 24p. This is different than flagging and allows you to add 2-3 pulldown to your 24fps production when it's finished. Assuming you have a card or box that will output a 24p Sequence as 1080i60/24p via HD-SDI -- you should use this Capture Preset.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
THERE IS NO QUALITY OR EDITING ADVANTAGE TO CONVERTING HDV TO ANY INTERMEDIATE CODEC. NONE. NADA.
Mr. Mullen

If that is the case, then why do I keep coming across quotes like this:

From Cineform's site:

"... in this analysis we will show that editing using the source (MPEG2) format usually does not result in the highest quality final result... Some proponents of "native" MPEG editing claim HDV editing in its native form can be lossless; this can only be achieved if you don't change anything (including cuts -- which still require rendering using MPEG editing workflows). In practice, editing-session recompression must occur for obtaining an output even in a cuts-only scenario."
http://www.cineform.com/technology/H...tyAnalysis.htm


From Brad Wright: (creator of the DVDxDV and HDVxDV applications)

"However, even a simple cut in a native HDV editing system will cause some kind of change to the video. This means that new video has to be generated which taxes your computer's CPU. More complicated things such as color correction, titles, and resizing video frames will cause all of the affected video to be re-generated. Therefore, in many situations, native HDV editing offers little or no advantage because so much new video needs to be created."
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/hdvxdv_wright.html


From Wikipedia:

"In HDV, splicing always introduces distortion at the splice points, due to the interdependencies between groups of video frames. Any editing of the video, whether it be a complex transition or a simple scene-change, requires a decompression and recompression of the entire HDV frame group... If HDV footage is converted (known as 'Transcoding') to a good intermediate format for editing, these considerations will not necessarily apply, and gradual degradation from generation to generation of edit may be avoided while substantial system performance gains are made."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDV


From Philip Hodgetts: (co-developer of the popular Intelligent Assistants range of training for Final Cut Pro and Boris Products, creator of the Digital Production BuZZ and co- founder of Open Television Network)

"Conventional wisdom has always been to "get out of HDV as quickly as you can". Great advice and consistent with rule 4 above: get into your output format as quickly as you can."
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...ay_native.html
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Old November 29th, 2007, 03:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by James McCrory View Post
"... in this analysis we will show that editing using the source (MPEG2) format usually does not result in the highest quality final result...


"However, even a simple cut in a native HDV editing system will cause some kind of change to the video. This means that new video has to be generated which taxes your computer's CPU. More complicated things such as color correction, titles, and resizing video frames will cause all of the affected video to be re-generated.
NEITHER OF THESE STATEMENTS ARE TRUE WITH EITHER FCP OR AVID EXPRESS PRO HD AND MEDIA COMPOSER. THAT'S NOT HOW "PRO" NLE'S WORK.


"In HDV, splicing always introduces distortion at the splice points, due to the interdependencies between groups of video frames. Any editing of the video, whether it be a complex transition or a simple scene-change, requires a decompression and recompression of the entire HDV frame group...

MAY OCCUR IF YOUR PRODUCE "MOVIES" TO BE RECORDED ON HDV TAPE. CLEARLY NO ONE DISTRIBUTES ON HDV TAPE. CREATING ANY KIND OF HD OR SD DVD REQUIRES ALL FRAMES TO BE ENCODED. THIS IS TRUE NO MATTER THE SOURCE.

Do you understand How Avid and Apple software INTERNALLY handle HDV?

Do you understand how an Open Timeline works?

Do you understand Apple's Color?

Do you understand how Real-Time actually works?

Do you understand how Rendering actually works?

Wouldn't it make more sense to learn HOW things actually work so you can make an informed decision? Conventional wisdom is not often very wise.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 06:08 PM   #8
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James,

Thanks for pointing out that there are other points of view on this topic. I know I have heard many of the references you point out - and there seem to be people on both sides of the tracks on this.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #9
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Communication error?

My apologies if this is insulting but I think there's a bit of confusion about the 'editing codec' that is lost in translation.
What Steve Mullen is trying to say is that material captured as HDV, then put it in a FCP sequence that is a higher codec for color correction/compositing etc is the same as capturing HDV converted to ProRes422 files. In other words, there is no inherent advantage to converting at capture. I don't think he is saying that the HDV codec is a good codec choice for an editing sequence, especially in multigenerational edits like bouncing from FCP to Color to Motion and back.
Unless there is loss in HDV at capture, which would be the first time I've heard of that, then he is not wrong.
The only advantage I can think of for using an intermediate codec like ProRes is that HDV conversion into ProRes (for example) during rendering will take more processing time, versus merely rendering whatever modifications you have done already in ProRes natively. This is due to HDV's long GOP interframe structure and the need to convert an I-frame GOP to an individual frame. I haven't timed the workflow myself so I can't say how much time is saved either way. OTH, I often also do basic edits on my laptop with HDV files in a ProRes sequence because HDV clips are more compact. ProRes422 (non HQ) is slow enough to work with via FW800 external drives though.
HDV to ProRes422 is in realtime (almost, depends on the capture length probably. I only tested for 20 second clips) on the intel mac, even the laptops. You do lose timecode on each clip sequence from the tape as there isn't a Log and Capture in clips format for HDV to ProRes. I prefer having each clip logged and comments captured individually vs having a big file and creating subclips (although FCP6 has improved the ability to edit in subclips).
Again if I'm presumptuous in my interpretation of what this thread is transpiring to, I apologize.

Last edited by Drew Long; November 29th, 2007 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old November 29th, 2007, 07:59 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the response and discussion. Steve, thank you for your suggestions and I will absolutely check out your book. Since I DO want to master to HDCAM as well as making DVD's, it seems like my best plan would be to capture with the HDV-Pro Res 422 preset. Should my sequence preset then be ProRes 422 - 1440x1080 24p 48kHz? After editing, I could make my DVD's and then add the 2-3 pulldown for finishing on video. Does this sound right? I don't have an AJA or BM card, but I was planning on going to a posthouse to make the HDCAM transfer. It seemed as though this would be easy enough with an external Firewire drive with my project file on it. Hopefully I have this right. Thanks for the help.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Wouldn't it make more sense to learn HOW things actually work so you can make an informed decision?
Certainly. Which is precisely why I'm here asking questions.

I want to do this as competently as possible. If the information I've encountered thus far is wrong, I want to know why it is wrong.

I want to know how to properly edit and prepare a project shot with a V1U (in 24pA mode and to be edited on a Mac) for final work and output at a post house.

So I'll know I've done it the best way I can, with the tools that I have.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Drew Long View Post
What Steve Mullen is trying to say is that material captured as HDV, then put it in a FCP sequence that is a higher codec for color correction/compositing etc is the same as capturing HDV converted to ProRes422 files. In other words, there is no inherent advantage to converting at capture. I don't think he is saying that the HDV codec is a good codec choice for an editing sequence, especially in multigenerational edits like bouncing from FCP to Color to Motion and back.
You got it all right -- except one tiny point. With FCP 6 we have two neat options:

1) Color allows you to specify ProRes 422 as its render codec. You should tell Color that's what you want.

2) You can define a Sequence to be HDV. Now most everything is RT. In RT, HDV is NEVER EVER decompressed more than once. And, during editing, nothing is ever compressed to anything. This is why the descriptions by the so-called experts are wrong. (Why do folks think anything is compressed while they edit?)

3) Only when you write to HDV tape -- is anything compressed to HDV. Of course, you can't write 24p to HDV tape so it's a moot point.

4) When you define a Sequence to be HDV -- you can also specify the Render codec to be ProRes 422 rather than HDV. (Same is true for XDCAM HD and XDCAM EX.) Now any time you render -- you don't go to HDV. Presto -- no HDV ever gets reused. This too is why the descriptions of the so-called experts are wrong.

5) Remember you ONLY render when you don't like the playback smoothness or quality. Some may never render. Some may always render. Renders are NEVER to HDV. Likewise with Avid.

It beats me how these myths get started. The other thing -- every bit of this is covered in the FCP documentation. And, of course, it's fully covered in my V1-FX7 book. :)
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by James McCrory View Post
Certainly. Which is precisely why I'm here asking questions.
Don't take this as a slam, but what you asked was, "I'm still a bit confused about which workflow I should use." Asking for a workflow is very different than digging into your NLE's documentation and thereby learning HOW it works. That's what I was suggesting. Once you learn HOW something works, the workflow becomes clear.
When is national "Read a Book" week? :)
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Old November 30th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #14
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I've personally found spending hours a day reading old posts here was the most beneficial thing I've ever done to my workflow, right up there with buying Cineform. :)

Carl
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Old November 30th, 2007, 12:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Once you learn HOW something works, the workflow becomes clear.
Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself but I had read elsewhere to thoroughly research a complete workflow before putting together a new editing system, to avoid wasting money on things which are inappropriate or unnecessary for your particular needs. Which seemed like sound advice. I wouldn't want to buy an expensive capture card, third party codec, or raid array and then discover I didn't really need them.

I had also read that if you can afford to, wait for Apple to release it's next machine. Which I have done. In other words, there is no documentation for me to dig through. I'm not editing yet. I'm here for the purpose of research.

I am currently only shooting with my V1U and viewing the footage on an HD LCD.

I had also been instructed to ask as many questions as possible BEFORE you begin editing, but perhaps as you said, once I begin studying an NLE's documentation in depth, an appropriate workflow will become apparent to me.

I already have your book Mr. Mullen. I purchased it when I got my V1U. However all the conflicting reports on the nature of editing HDV material still had me vexed.
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