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Old March 12th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #1
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Large Conversion Project - DVD to QT - Suggestions?

Hey Everybody,

I have 140 hours of interview footage on playable DVDs that need to be converted to:

DV / DVCPRO - NTSC (Highest Quality)
48KHz
29.97 fps
24 bits per pixel (client said this, I'm assuming 8 will suffice)
720x480
Quicktime .MOV

Any suggestions on some good software to rip the DVDs?

Right now I'm using Xilisoft's DVD to MP4 Converter. It allows me to rip the playable DVD to an .AVI file at 2500 Kbps video / 128 Kbps Audio.

Then, in compressor, I convert the .AVI to the DV / DVCPRO - NTSC Quicktime .MOV.

--

There's one catch, though... all of the playable DVDs have timecode burned into the image!

The footage was shot (Anamorphic?) 16:9 DV, so it plays back with a LETTERBOX.

Sometimes the Timecode overlaps the letterbox, so when I convert the footage I need to get rid of the T.C. Burn-in by overlapping it with a NEW, black letterbox.

Does anybody know a workflow using FCS2 or additional software that will help streamline this process?

I've attached a still-image to show how the timecode is burned in, just in case.

Thanks so much!

Sincerely,

John Lofton IV
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Old March 12th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #2
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Hmmm...

Hello All,

Well I've determined that using 'MPEG-STREAMCLIP' will help eliminate 1 step in the process ( I think! ).

With MPEG-STREAMCLIP I am able to compress the videos to DV-NTSC directly from the playable DVD.

Does anybody know of any software that allows an 'Overlay & Compress' function?

In other words; I would like to add a pure-black letterbox to ALL of the footage (consistently), as well as compress it to DV-NTSC Quicktime .mov, in a single step, thereby saving loads of time & stress.

Anyone know if such software exists? If not ... anybody want to create it and I'll purchase it? (Just kidding, heheh).

Thanks,

John
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Old March 12th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #3
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I know you can crop the video being exported in MPEG Streamclip. It would make a video 720x400 (or whatever you crop from it) instead of 720x480, but I don't see this being a problem if you were bringing it into an NLE, as black would simply be put in the place of the missing pixels.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 09:28 AM   #4
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Cool

Thanks for the suggestion, Nate. I'm definitely going to give that a try and see what the client thinks.

John
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lofton IV View Post
I have 140 hours of interview footage on playable DVDs that need to be converted [...] all of the playable DVDs have timecode burned into the image!
Yikes. Are the source tapes not available at all to you? That would be your best source for the material. The footage ripped from the DVDs have already been through at least one heavy compression (to MPEG-2), which means even more will be lost in the next generation -- not to mention those pesky timecode burn-ins.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 11:14 AM   #6
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This is a handy app for converting DVD to Quicktime:

Product - DVDxDV

You could rip to QT in DVDxDVPro and mask the timecode burn in FCP.

Granted you would be better off with the source tapes but sometimes it's not available or viable and sometimes the client doesn't care. If they specifically asked you to work from this DVD media I would assume they understand the disadvantages of that workflow and accept the quality loss.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #7
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If they specifically asked you to work from this DVD media I would assume they understand the disadvantages of that workflow and accept the quality loss.
Never assume anything, especially the client understanding the difference between video sourced from the original tapes and from a DVD. I've had to explain the differences in quality and workflow a few times to many who didn't know and just assumed video is video.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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Ditto. Clients frequently mistake a DVD copy as a master. Some hand me DV tapes calling them DVDs. If possible I try to hold onto the tape masters for the length of the project. The client may not understand that the Time Code burn-in is not removable. However something worse came to my mind just now because of a past experience.

There's a very remote chance that the client hasn't paid the person who shot the footage but the client got burn-in DVD screeners and is trying to get around paying the person. There's also a possibility that the person with the masters is impossible to deal with and the masters are trapped in limbo at the moment. In my experience a few years ago, the DVD footage was really covered with all sorts of burn-in and was not usable. The clients thought the burn-in was removable by pushing a button on the DVD remote! Upon questioning the client, they let slip that the masters were still with the original editor who they were not happy with. After I explained that without the masters I couldn't help them, the clients conferred with each other and decided that they would have to go back to the original editor and finish their project with him or her. Apparently they did since I never heard from them again. Now I didn't know what the circumstances were and it seemed that they were honest and genuinely unhappy with the editor (that can happen) but I will not be knowingly part of a cheapskate producer's plan to stiff someone. Be careful with this project.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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Many Truths

Hey Guys,

You all make valid points and, in my experience, any one of those examples could have been true.

In this case, the client does not want to risk losing the source tapes (Digibetas). So, instead, they decided to send DVD copies.

They understand the multiple levels of compression that will be taking place.

Thanks again for all your input!

John
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Old March 14th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #10
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Look, these are window dubs.

The very purpose of a window dub is to allow someone to do a paper edit.

Using a window dub as an editing source tape is just silly unless the original masters have been destroyed and that's the only source you have.

If the holder of the original tapes is still a legitimate part of the process, they can just as easily burn new DVDs without the timecode burn. (tho why you'd want to work with an MPEG compressed master is beyond me.)

If, as has been suspected elsewhere in this thread, someone is either on bad terms with the original shooter/producer, or doesn't have legitimate rights to the footage - you need to be VERY careful about taking on this project.

Yeah, I guess some secondary "producer" could simply be ignorant of why a DVD timecode burn isn't a reasonable source for editing footage - but it's not a client I'd be interested in working with unless I got a good explanation of where the footage came from - who has the rights to produce work from it - and most critically, whether they're skating on a previous production company which might imply that they'd be comfortable doing the same thing to me.

For what it's worth.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lofton IV View Post
In this case, the client does not want to risk losing the source tapes (Digibetas). So, instead, they decided to send DVD copies.
They can't spring for dups, even to DVCAM? Are they really that cheap? If yes, beware.

I'm sure the last thing you came here to hear is advice on whether you should be wary of this client or not, but this obviously sends up warning flags to a bunch of us.

But I do strongly encourage you to inquire to the possibility of them sending you dups without burn-in on whatever format you can accept (DigiBeta, DVCAM, etc).

EDIT: If they have the footage ingested, why not courier it to you on external drives? (140 hours of DV @ 29.97fps is ~1.74 TB)
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis
If, as has been suspected elsewhere in this thread, someone is either on bad terms with the original shooter/producer, or doesn't have legitimate rights to the footage - you need to be VERY careful about taking on this project.
I can understand your concern. If this was any other job I would be very cautious of this fact; however on this specific job it's not the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber
EDIT: If they have the footage ingested, why not courier it to you on external drives? (140 hours of DV @ 29.97fps is ~1.74 TB)
That's a great suggestion, Mike. Thanks! :)

Thanks for all your help guys.

Until next time...
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Old March 20th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill View Post
This is a handy app for converting DVD to Quicktime:

Product - DVDxDV

You could rip to QT in DVDxDVPro and mask the timecode burn in FCP.

Granted you would be better off with the source tapes but sometimes it's not available or viable and sometimes the client doesn't care. If they specifically asked you to work from this DVD media I would assume they understand the disadvantages of that workflow and accept the quality loss.
I second what Ben said. DVDxDV is the software we use to convert DVD's to FCP.
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