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Old October 26th, 2003, 04:17 PM   #1
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FCP Edits Pixlet HD just like DV!!

Well I've got to say this is a day I didn't think would come so soon. FCP 4 edits Pixlet HD on the desktop, in full HD res, just like DV. What is more, if you set up your desktop as I have with a second VGA monitor set to 1280*720 or more, you have full HD res monittoring WHILE you edit, in real time, just as you would use an NTSC reference monitor with DV. This setup is just awsome! I have tried cuts and disolves and color correction, and all of them work without a hitch. You will still need Steve's plugin to re-encode to MPEG2, if that's what you want to do, to archive back to the camera or DVHS in MPEG2TS. Personally I think this codec is so good that I will keep all of my HD stuff in Pixlet, and just archive to DVHS as necessary. As a side note, I also hooking up an NTSC monitor via firewire and a DV deck, and FCP is updating the NTSC display as freeze frames when the timeline is not running, so you can get and idea of how your stuff will look on NTSC right there if you want. Another note, real-time effects are NOT available in FCP when editing Pixlet, but I really wasn't expecting them to be, I'm just amazed that for basically the cost of a new Mac, you can now edit HD real-time on the desktop without any additional hardware, and without having to go to a lower res proxy.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 04:24 PM   #2
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This sounds great. Will pixlet allow you to convert from other HD formats? So you can be editing Varicam HD footage? And I'm assuming that by realtime HD editing your meant realtime playback of a single stream only?
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Old October 26th, 2003, 04:39 PM   #3
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Paul, you are super-cool for posting!!!!

Could you please explain what you did to get footage into FCP. We'd all love to get a 1-2-3, so we can finally edit something!

I'd really appreciate it when you have a few minutes.

Thanks very much!

Chris
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Old October 26th, 2003, 04:52 PM   #4
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Oops, I just read your previous post. It looks like you already explained in detail.

I'm going to try it now. Thanks Paul!

Chris
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Old October 26th, 2003, 04:54 PM   #5
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Yes, as this is Quicktime, you can convert between any supported formats using Quicktime Pro or Compressor, and I believe Quicktime supports all the major HD formats, so I imagine you would be able to edit Varicam footage in this way. As I said in the other thread, I am not seeing any difference in quality between the orignal .m2t file from the camera and the Pixlet converted version. This editing pipeline works just great for me, the convertion from the .m2v file to the Pixlet file is a one step process using mpeg2decx, and I really don't mind going through that extra step to be able to edit HD quality in real time, it's a small price to pay. From what I'm seeing so far, with footage from the HD1OU, Pixlet is high enough quality to be an Online editing format. I'm sure that if you started off with uncompressed, or lightly compressed HD from a Varicam, you would probably want to use it as an offline format, but I don't have any uncompressed Varicam footage to be able to compare the quality difference between that and a Pixlet conversion.
By the way, Steve is right that Apple doesn't seem to have fixed the bug that would allow you to load the demuxed .m2v files directly into the Quicktime player or FCP, but you don't need to now, as mpeg2decx WILL load them and directly convert them to Pixlet at full res.
but to slightly correct another of Steve's points, a dual 2ghz G5 will NOT edit uncompressed HD without additional hardware, i.e. RAID arrays and HD SDI I/O cards. The Pixlet route just requires a fast enough Mac, which Apple states to be a 1ghz or faster G4.

Cheers
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Old October 26th, 2003, 05:29 PM   #6
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Paul,

If in fact Pixlet is good enough for online. The second biggest advantage I see besides being able to see full rez when editing is hard drive space saving. You can trash the m2t, m2v and keep your Pixlet QT as source.

Now what source file were people using when doing the proxy approach? DV in 16:9 for proxy I assume, but what was the source to go back to? Can't be m2v 'cause FCP doesn't recognize it.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 06:31 PM   #7
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I've FINALLY got some footage into FCP after having this camera for 2 months!

I have a G4 1ghz laptop with 1 gig of ram - it does take a while for footage to render.

Is there anywhere we can post large clips online to share? I know there are some on this forum...can I post some?
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Old October 26th, 2003, 07:38 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Frederic Haubrich : The second biggest advantage I see besides being able to see full rez when editing is hard drive space saving. You can trash the m2t, m2v and keep your Pixlet QT as source. -->>>

It is the revers. Pixlet is 4X larger than MPEG-2! You just tossed away compact MPEG-2 for a huge Pixlet file.

Working with a Proxy is an advange, not a disadvantage.

* You reduce the edit file size by 10!

* You can play your source on an iBook!

* You get realtime! Is anyone going to go back to rendering? Not me.

* You do not take the huge quality hit by decompressing MPEG-2 then recompressing in Pixlet and then at the end decompressing and recompressing to MPEG-2 (or HDCAM or DVCPRO HD).

Pixlert is cute, but solves only one problem and introduces many.

Pixlet, like WM9, is best for HD distribution on DVD media. That's what Apple designed it for.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 10:07 PM   #9
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Steve,

You make some great points, but I really think that the reason some of us are intested in Pixlet is that it will allow us to stay in HD throughout the editing process.

You point out that it doesn't have realtime effects and you say that you'll never go back to rendering, but at the same time HDVCinema forces us to go back to SD in order to have realtime. It is a trade off either way you go; you get realtime with SD or HD with no realtime effects. You may never go back to rendering, however, there are others who would rather never go back to SD.

Although I would say that HDVCinema is currently the best solution to get your material from camera to FCP to camera (actually, the only way to go from FCP to camera) unfortunately, SD just isn't very sexy.

Furthermore, it seems that Pixlet would offer users the ability to throw their footage into a program like Combustion or Commotion for full resolution compositing with 3D graphics and/or green screen material.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and if there is a solution for using progams like Combustion with HDVCinema I'd love to hear about it. But I think the real reason some in this forum are excited about Pixlet is that it is HD. After all, that is why I bought the camera. And there is something to be said for having the ability to edit in HD and use the files just like any other qt files. You can call it cute if you want to but I think it is a step in the right direction.

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Old October 26th, 2003, 10:40 PM   #10
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HDV for animation?

I'm interested in doing some 3d animation to be projected on a very large screen, and this all sounds very interesting. So tell me if I'm right here: I could use my 3d software with the new Quicktime Pixlet codec and render the animation at 1280x720 30p. Then I could edit in FCP just like DV with a 1.25 ghz G4? Could the same system support 1920x1080?

Do I need FCP4, or just the new Quicktime with pixlet? I'm still a little confused - if I render the 3d animation with the Pixlet codec will it play directly from the FCP timeline without additonal rendering (assuming no effects have been applied)? DV is ~200MB/minute - how much disk space for a minute of pixlet-compressed 1280x720? Other than Quicktime playback from a hard drive, how else could I output this footage? DVHS? Would that require re-compression, or would the DVHS deck handle that in hardware?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is an exciting new frontier! :-)
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Old October 26th, 2003, 10:59 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brad Hawkins : Steve,

"You make some great points, but I really think that the reason some of us are intested in Pixlet is that it will allow us to stay in HD throughout the editing process."


There's little advantage to staying in HD for editing. That's like saying you can't edit 35mm film on an Avid -- something obviously not the true. Moreover, much HD is edited "off-line" on SD.

Worse you take a huge quality hit going from MPEG-2 to pixlet and back to MPEG-2. So you lose both real-time and quality because "you want to stay in HD while editing." I'd rather have real-time and high-quality than "sexy."

With HDVcinema you get high-quality HD, not just 1280x720 video.


"Furthermore, it seems that Pixlet would offer users the ability to throw their footage into a program like Combustion or Commotion for full resolution compositing with 3D graphics and/or green screen material."

Sorry, but who in their right mind would uncompress 19Mbps MPEG-2 and recompress it to Pixelet for compositing work?!?


"Perhaps I'm wrong, and if there is a solution for using progams like Combustion with HDVCinema I'd love to hear about it."

HDVcinema now has an HDgateway process that let's you edit with Proxy and use 8-bit or 10-bit uncompressed video for use with the Kona HD card.


"But I think the real reason some in this forum are excited about Pixlet is that it is HD."

And so is MPEG-4 if set it to 1280x720.

Pixlet is for distribution for very good reasons. Ask Apple.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 05:52 AM   #12
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Steve,

You mentioned that the HDVcinema has a "HDgateway"? Is that something that exisiting users will get or is that already included?

Also, whatever upgrades you are planning for HDVcinema - do exisiting users get those free?

Thanks, Chris
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Old October 27th, 2003, 07:14 AM   #13
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I understand Steve's reasons for being a bit down on Pixlet, but having used it, I have to say that I don't agree with many of his points on this one. I think there is a huge advantage to staying in HD during your editing. Mainly that you are actually seeing your final output resolution and color space AS YOU WORK. We are all used to the way you work with DV, and this offers an identical work pattern where what you see is what you get. This is especially important for color correction, which you need for HD1OU footage. To correct a very important point, there is no "huge quality hit" in going from MPEG-2 to Pixlet. As far as I can see at this point, there is no visual difference between the original MPEG2 and the Pixlet version.Is Steve talking from experience in saying this?, if so I'd like to know in what areas he's seeing a quality hit during he conversion, as that's not what I'm seeing at all.
I know that there are no real-time effects
but those of us who have been editing DV for a while have only just recently experienced real-time effects, so I don't think it's any great shakes to go back to that for a while if the trade off is real-time HD editing on the desktop, which is the amazing thing we're discussing here!
If you want to go back to DVHS or the camera for archival purposes, Steve's plugin for the shareware MPEG2 encoder (combined with Womble on the PC for TS conversion) seems to be the most economical solution at this point, and I'm now very much looking forward to trying it out.
Having also gone the DV proxy route for editing HD!OU footage, I have to say that for me the Pixlet route seems to be the most straighforward and reliable solution to editing HD on the Mac, and I'm just amazed that Apple have made this possible!

All the best
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Old October 27th, 2003, 07:16 AM   #14
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One last point not to forget is that if you choose, you can also use Pixlet as your Offline or "Proxy"editing format, and I imagine that's exactly what the high end HD folks with their CineAlta's and Varicam's will do.

Cheers
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Old October 27th, 2003, 09:40 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Mogg : One last point not to forget is that if you choose, you can also use Pixlet as your Offline or "Proxy"editing format, and I imagine that's exactly what the high end HD folks with their CineAlta's and Varicam's will do. Cheers -->>>

I think you just made my point. Even the big guys edit with a Proxy. But they won't use Pixlet because it doesn't offer them real-time. They have a proxy that does, why switch.

Having a workflow that LOOKS like DV sounds nice, but:

decompressing VERY HIGHLY compressed MPEG-2 and recompressing to HIGHLY compressed Pixlet and then decompressing Pixlet and recompressing to HIGHLY compressed MPEG-2 for distribution

-- is not how DV WORKS.

Not only are multiple decompression-recompression cycles involved, you are mixing two different codecs. A real no-no.

Your FCP window typically does not show HD rez -- it is scaled down even if you had HD. Proxy fits the window size perfectly.

Pixlet also make huge files. Exactly the opposite of what you want. If you don't care about real-time, just edit with HD MPEG-2! No quality loss. Small file sizes. HD rez on your second monitor.

Try playing MPEG-2 HD files on your new dual G5. I'll bet MPEG-2 plays OK. Let us know.
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