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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:28 AM   #1
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New/Definitive HDV to DVD workaround?

Hi,

Most of my projects so far (using the HD100 camera) have been either using DV mode (576p25) or HDV to web (using LAN H.264 codec - surprisingly sharp although the colours get a good washing).

Now however, I need to start producing SD DVD from HDV material (blu ray not yet applicable). I remember reading the workarounds last year but as this wasn't relevant at the time I didn't get as far as putting them into practice.
The workaround I was happy to adopt is produced on this DV info thread:

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.ph...ting+quicktime

This is the HDV timeline > dropped into either a 8 bit uncompressed or DV PAL timeline.

A more recent method is shown here (posted by workaround king David Knaggs...another DV info member I owe a lot too):

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showpost.php?...9&postcount=17

HDV (either captured as 720p25 or as m2t files> Export > Compressor

The second workaround seems to make sense and as long as there are no real discernible differences between the two I'd adopt that method.

However...I'm having a bit of a 'brain wrong' on the first workaround. I cannot for the life of me successfully 'select all/cut and paste' a HDV timeline into a standard Def or 8 bit uncompressed. The results are like crayons and and french brie. The proportions are all over the place (no long 16:9...and I can't see an option to change this - seems set on 5:4 ) and the image is really, really...really soft. Also - clicking on 'item properties' on a clip in the SD timeline reveals a 1280 x 720 frame size - should this not be 720 x 576?

I may be having a daft moment here but is there anything obvious that shouts out where I'm going wrong!?!?

Many thanks.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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Sorry to be a royal pain... but is there anyone able to point out where I'm going wrong with dropping (cut and pasting) a HDV timeline into either a 8 bit uncompressed or DV Pal timeline? I 'presumed' it would merely degrade the quality slightly...but what I'm seeing is a complete dogs dinner!
I've endlessly searched around for answers but nothing has come up trumps.
I've attached a couple of images:

the first one is the original HDV (actually a green screen test)

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g1...VJpegFrame.jpg

the second image is a frame from the awful 8 bit uncompressed timeline (incorrect ratio and the subject is blurred and floats in the pane). btw - it's tough to make out the fact that the subject is floating due to the white background..

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g1...essedFrame.jpg

the third is the sequence settings for the 8 bit uncompressed - notice the 5:4 ratio - unlike standard def DV PAL set up which recognises the 16:9 ratio (if I were to have shot in that format) I can't seem to 'tell' it to have a 16:9 SD ratio.

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g1...h/Picture5.png

Although I'd initially dismissed this, might a full render will 'knock it all into shape'??
Cheers.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #3
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David,

I am missing something... Have you tried exporting your HDV timeline directly to MPEG-2 (from Final Cut, File->Export->With Compressor), using one of Compressor's DVD presets? You said you read about workarounds, but I can't tell from your post what problem you are trying to work around.

While there are some advanced (and more elaborate) ways to export HD material to SD MPEG-2, I want to make sure that you have tried the simple, direct approach, and ruled it out for a good reason.

- Martin
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Old June 11th, 2008, 03:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Pauly View Post
David,

I am missing something... Have you tried exporting your HDV timeline directly to MPEG-2 (from Final Cut, File->Export->With Compressor), using one of Compressor's DVD presets? You said you read about workarounds, but I can't tell from your post what problem you are trying to work around.

While there are some advanced (and more elaborate) ways to export HD material to SD MPEG-2, I want to make sure that you have tried the simple, direct approach, and ruled it out for a good reason.

- Martin
Sorry Martin - I probably wasn't best clear: I have indeed tried the export to compressor (from HDV timeline) method and it works fine...possibly one or two adjustments required but essentially pleased with the results. I'd be happy to continue using that method with my current kit (I'm editing on an iMac with FCPS 2).
However, I'd wanted to try (in order to compare quality) the HDV - SD (either DV PAL or the 8 bit uncompressed route) timeline approach and I guess because the old thread I linked to above suggested this might be the best approach. I'm surprised (and frustrated) with the results I'm getting on the SD copied timeline - there's something glaringly wrong (although I can't see where it takes the bad turn!).
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Old June 11th, 2008, 04:16 PM   #5
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So you want the sequence to be 16:9? In the screenshot you provided, anamorphic 16:9 is not checked. Or did you say your footage is distorted in the new timeline? If so double click a clip in the timeline and look in the motion tab, you may have to fix the distortion there, FCP likes to change the aspect ratio itself sometimes. If you can fix a clip copy it and edit>paste attributes to all the other clips at once. I may not be seeing the problem you are experiencing, I think that's what you are asking about though.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by David Scattergood View Post
The proportions are all over the place (no long 16:9...and I can't see an option to change this - seems set on 5:4 )
Hi David.
Just quickly. Because you are going from a 16:9 HD format to a 4:3 SD format, you need to make sure that your SD sequence is "Anamorphic" (this should compensate for putting 16:9 into 4:3).

Just select Sequence>Settings and put a check in the box next to "Anamorphic if it's empty.

I remember back in mid-2005, when I first got the camera, I used to use a "DV50" sequence (an SD format by Panasonic - full name is DVCPRO50). It's a terrific SD codec.

Of course, I suspect that the new "Gold Standard" for SD DVD encoding from an HD or HDV1 sequence will be Compressor 3 in combination with the new plug-in from Cinema Craft for the Mac. (Cinema Craft encoders are used to make the SD DVDs of the Hollywood blockbusters - so you are really looking at the top of the line tool here. Of course, it will set you back a lazy US$800.)

Brian Gary (who has put out a training book and training DVDs on Compressor) has posted an article giving the benefits of this plug-in and gives a walk-through on how to use it:

http://www.lafcpug.org/reviews/review_cinemacraft.html

By the way, while the aspect ratio of SD is generally referred to as 4:3, the PAL screen is 720X576. Dividing 576 into 720 gives you 1.25, which is 5:4. Go figure.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
By the way, while the aspect ratio of SD is generally referred to as 4:3, the PAL screen is 720X576. Dividing 576 into 720 gives you 1.25, which is 5:4. Go figure.
The 'figuring' you need is to figure out the pixels aren't square.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 05:12 PM   #8
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David,

Although it may sound tempting to drop HDV into a higher-quality codec for MPEG encoding the fact is you're not gaining anything in the process. HDV has always been a difficult space to do any keying in because of the lack of chroma in it's color space (4:2:0) but with regard to final MPEG-2 encoding for SD-DVD, "it is what it is".

HDV like any other camera format is capable of great looking SD-DVD encodes you simply need to fully understand how to get there; a "workaround" isn't necessary.

I'd highly suggest you pick up a copy of this book: http://www.amazon.com/Apple-Pro-Trai...3222179&sr=8-1

...and all your questions will be answered.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Martin Mayer View Post
The 'figuring' you need is to figure out the pixels aren't square.
Ha! I've been exclusively editing HDV1 (720p) with its square pixels for the past couple of years. I'd forgotten how the other half lives. D'oh!
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Old June 12th, 2008, 05:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aric Mannion View Post
So you want the sequence to be 16:9? In the screenshot you provided, anamorphic 16:9 is not checked. Or did you say your footage is distorted in the new timeline? If so double click a clip in the timeline and look in the motion tab, you may have to fix the distortion there, FCP likes to change the aspect ratio itself sometimes. If you can fix a clip copy it and edit>paste attributes to all the other clips at once. I may not be seeing the problem you are experiencing, I think that's what you are asking about though.
The aspect ratio is not so much of a problem (I initially thought the HDV timeline, being natively 16:9, would merely transfer it's aspect ratio into 720x576...how wrong was I).
I've played around with the Upper/Lower L & R distorts and it's starting to look much better although 720x576 L and R points are a little off...it really is painful considering I can just export the HDV timeline to compressor.

Here's the distort attributes - the image, although much better is still out (even using the 720 576 upper and lower points):

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g1...h/Picture7.png

Quote:
I remember back in mid-2005, when I first got the camera, I used to use a "DV50" sequence (an SD format by Panasonic - full name is DVCPRO50). It's a terrific SD codec.

Of course, I suspect that the new "Gold Standard" for SD DVD encoding from an HD or HDV1 sequence will be Compressor 3 in combination with the new plug-in from Cinema Craft for the Mac. (Cinema Craft encoders are used to make the SD DVDs of the Hollywood blockbusters - so you are really looking at the top of the line tool here. Of course, it will set you back a lazy US$800.)

Brian Gary (who has put out a training book and training DVDs on Compressor) has posted an article giving the benefits of this plug-in and gives a walk-through on how to use it:

http://www.lafcpug.org/reviews/review_cinemacraft.html

By the way, while the aspect ratio of SD is generally referred to as 4:3, the PAL screen is 720X576. Dividing 576 into 720 gives you 1.25, which is 5:4. Go figure.
I've heard Cinema Craft mentioned a few times on here...I still as yet have to upgrade to compressor 3 (or indeed FCS 2). Does seem a little pricey and perhaps at the moment for me not essential enough to purchase (should I have had designated 's!). But I'll take a 'butchers' at the LAFCP linkie - cheers David.
btw - are you now using cinema craft at the moment or (if not DVCPRO50) straight from m2t files into HDV 720p25 set up?

Quote:
Although it may sound tempting to drop HDV into a higher-quality codec for MPEG encoding the fact is you're not gaining anything in the process. HDV has always been a difficult space to do any keying in because of the lack of chroma in it's color space (4:2:0) but with regard to final MPEG-2 encoding for SD-DVD, "it is what it is".

HDV like any other camera format is capable of great looking SD-DVD encodes you simply need to fully understand how to get there; a "workaround" isn't necessary.

I'd highly suggest you pick up a copy of this book: http://www.amazon.com/Apple-Pro-Trai...3222179&sr=8-1

...and all your questions will be answered.
My main concern was the best method of sending a completed HDV finished sequence (with effects/colour/keying/motion keying) out to SD DVD.
This is where the HDV > 8 bit uncompressed timeline came into play - this was a little advice given on the older DV info thread I posted above.

Of course - 8 bit is 4:2:2 and not 4:2:0 - which I used to think the HDV colour space was (this might also explain why I can't 'perfect' the green screen process and in FCP2 there is not an option in colour smoothing for 4:2:0 - I had to use 4:2:2).

Many thanks Robert - I'll look into that book.

For other exports (straight to compressor) I've had fantastic results (for web content etc) and also with SD timeline to SD DVD - more than pleased....but HDV, whilst capable of stunning results, exhibits rather strange behaviour unfortunately.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by David Scattergood View Post
I've heard Cinema Craft mentioned a few times on here...I still as yet have to upgrade to compressor 3 (or indeed FCS 2). Does seem a little pricey and perhaps at the moment for me not essential enough to purchase (should I have had designated 's!). But I'll take a 'butchers' at the LAFCP linkie - cheers David.
btw - are you now using cinema craft at the moment or (if not DVCPRO50) straight from m2t files into HDV 720p25 set up?
Hi David.

In that case (using Compressor 2 and FCS 1), perhaps the best use of the pennies would be to get that training book by Brian Gary. (Robert gave a link to his Compressor 3 book but, if you hunt around, you could probably buy his earlier book on Compressor 2.)

I personally prefer the video tutorials by Brian Gary on Ripple Training and they have his tutorials on both Compressor 2 and Compressor 3. The link to his Compressor 2 DVD (US$79) is:
http://www.rippletraining.com/the_ar...ompressor.html

And lynda.com has online video tutorials on each of Compressor 1, 2 and 3 (for US$25 a month):
http://movielibrary.lynda.com/html/m...ng.asp?pid=188

So you've got a few options there, but the point is that the more you know about Compressor (whichever version you are using), the better quality you will get with your SD DVDs (and web compression, etc.).

But it's a great idea to get Compressor 3 (with FCS 2) as soon as is practicable. Compressor 3 has had quite an overhaul (with "optical flow technology", etc.) and should give even better quality results over Compressor 2. (I love how great the web movies look with Compressor 3, for example.)

I don't have the Cinema Craft plug-in yet (currently spending my pennies on getting out a long-overdue feature project). But I've got a big corporate job coming up in about two months where the final DVD quality is absolutely critical, so I expect that I'll pick it up by then. Then I'll be able to give you some feedback!
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #12
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^^ Cheers David - be sure to let us know your thoughts on Cinema Craft.
Although I haven't extensively researched this, might there be a Blu Ray option within the plug in? Prices for the players are dropping monthly...possibly a xmas time bonanza for that format and therefore a major consideration I would've thought.

Ok...having played around with the distort in FCP on the 8 bit uncompressed I can safely say it's hardly an efficient method. It's seems a little arbitrary rather than the editor 'telling' FCP to resize to SD (720x576 for example). Then there's a pixel aspect debate - square over PAL CCIR 601 (720x576) - the HDV is set to square pixels (I have a LAFCP link to read up on that).

Essentially I guess I'm asking (taking into account the responses on this thread) whether I should still continue to export directly to compressor HDV material with effects/motion/titles etc included?

I'll try and dig one of those books out on ebay - good for previous generation material.
Cheers.
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