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Old November 24th, 2003, 06:40 PM   #1
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FCP Archive/export question

I am currently using FCP-4 on a Mac G-4. I have a question about archiving the final edited version.

Currently I have been exporting the edited piece (less than 20 minutes) into a self-contained Quicktime FCP movie. Then I have burned that to DVD-R as a data disc, storing the disc for archiving purposes. My intention is to import that FCP movie into a new timeline for printing to tape as needed.

Note: Original edited material from Canon XL1-S, Mini-DV tape.

The questions:

1. Although I see little or no apparent loss in this method, is there actually some loss of information through recompression? If so, how much and where will it be visible?

2. Will there be further loss (aside from that of the compression of the new medium) if I import that file into a new timeline, in order to export it back to a tape or DVD-R for distribution?

3. To further complicate matters, I usually process the original exported Quicktime FCP movie through DVFilm, and then import the processed .mov file into the FCP timeline for print to tape. Additional loss?

4. Would there be higher quality, and greater archivable storage to print the version to Mini-DV or DV-Cam tape? I also back-up to tape as a regular practice, but which archived version would have less loss...FCP movie data to disc, or print to Mini-DV tape?

4. Is there a better way to archive the material, for quick retrieval and printing at a later time?

I suspect that it would be wise to back-up the material as a data disc and as Mini-DV, but am curious as to other suggestions.

At this time I am not particularly interested in storing the data on additional Fire-Wire Harddrives, as the cost is still prohibitive and I am not sure of the archival nature of such a method.

I have searched the forums, and am aware of saving the original project file, then reloading tapes as necessary, but this might be more than is necessary if I need to produce a single copy six months from now. I am looking for a reasonable compromise between expediency and quality.

I await your educated and insightful (or incite-ful :) responses.

Thank you!

- Brad Richmond
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Old November 25th, 2003, 03:43 PM   #2
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I'll be looking forward to the responses on this one Brad. I'm asking the same questions.

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Old November 25th, 2003, 05:03 PM   #3
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My question is - why are you not printing to tape from your original sequence in the Timeline? If your answer is "Because I deleted my original footage", you are aware that you can rebuild your sequence from the original tapes (providing you labeled and digitized correctly).

In answer (maybe) to one of your questions - In the case of DV footage transfered via Firewire, there is supposed to be no loss of information- DV is DV is DV. DV from tape Firewired into FCP and then Firewired back out to DV is the same signal with no loss. That is my understanding.

Anytime you are using a compression scheme other than the one the footage was captured in will result in some loss (again, that is my understanding). However, in the case of you applying additional QT effects, if you are creating a QuickTime movie using the DV/NTSC Apple codec it shouldn't have any loss.

Don't know if that helps any...
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Old November 25th, 2003, 07:39 PM   #4
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Hi Stephen, thanks for replying.

<<<-- Originally posted by Stephen Schleicher : My question is - why are you not printing to tape from your original sequence in the Timeline? If your answer is "Because I deleted my original footage", you are aware that you can rebuild your sequence from the original tapes (providing you labeled and digitized correctly).>>>

I do print to tape from my original sequence for archiving, however, many of my projects require that I export and then process with DVFilm. Additionally, I like to archive on more than one medium (paranoia I guess) so I print to tape and export the FCP-QT to save as a data file on DVD. One other thing...on occasion when exporting a complex, and long project, I have experienced the occasional dropped frame. I do not have this problem if I export/import and then print to tape, I assume that the exported/imported file is much easier to process.

<<<-- In answer (maybe) to one of your questions - In the case of DV footage transfered via Firewire, there is supposed to be no loss of information- DV is DV is DV. DV from tape Firewired into FCP and then Firewired back out to DV is the same signal with no loss. That is my understanding.>>>

That was my understanding too, but I wasn't sure if there was some recompression or not, so that is a very useful answer to my question.

<<<-- Anytime you are using a compression scheme other than the one the footage was captured in will result in some loss (again, that is my understanding). However, in the case of you applying additional QT effects, if you are creating a QuickTime movie using the DV/NTSC Apple codec it shouldn't have any loss. >>>

I have been exporting the QuickTime movie using the DV/NTSC Apple codec, so I think you have answered that question too. Again, I figured that would be the case, but didn't have a specific answer until now.

I still wonder, however, why none of the reference material I've read, suggests exporting, then burning, a data DVD as an archiving method...at least for materials that will require no editing later. It seemed so logical to me, so I wondered if there was a reason why this wasn't recommended.

<<<-- Don't know if that helps any... -->>>

It helps a lot! Thanks a million for your responses.

BTW - I happened to visit your website today, <http://www.mindspring.com/~schleicher/>, even before you responded to my posting. I found it through this forum. It seems an interesting coincidence, and I must say it's a great website with tons of useful information. I would highly recommend it to anyone in this forum.

Thanks again for all of your help!

Brad Richmond
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Old November 25th, 2003, 08:07 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brad Richmond : I still wonder, however, why none of the reference material I've read, suggests exporting, then burning, a data DVD as an archiving method -->>>

Well for one reason, your 20 minute movie is about the full extent of what you can burn onto a DVD using the DV codec. Archiving is a real problem with DV. Personally I use tapes, but I also have quite a collection of large firewire drives that contain old projects. Pretty soon I'm going to need to do some housecleaning there however.

I recently got a standalone DVD recorder with firewire input. Recording at the highest quality (HQ) gives you about an hour per disk. I'm sure there is some quality loss with the MPEG-2 compression, but from what little I've done with the recorder I have to say that I'm impressed. The DVD's look very close to the tapes when viewed on my Sony widescreen LCD as 480p. I don't know that I would consider this a real "archival copy", but it would be better than nothing if my tape copies went bad.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 12:50 AM   #6
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Maybe you can use 2 decks to make dubs. The problem would be getting exact timecode. Exact timecode is not needed but convenient.

If you have a copy of the master and all the source DV tapes then you'll have 2 copies of everything on the master. This should be enough to rescue yourself in case you get dropouts. DV tape should last for at least 15 years so you'll be ok until hard drive prices plummet.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 02:21 AM   #7
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Off the wall idea here, I am just wrapping up a film that the capture folder is 22 Gigs. Using DVD data back up would be hard and yet still more stable than other formats for long periods of time. However what about Blu-Ray

The only problem is it records only MPEG2 instead of data, as of now until they release the standard for others to write to it. When this happens wait for the loss of the CD and then maybe even the DVDs will drop some as well.

Source:

http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/3845.cfm

Sony announced that it is to begin sales of the world's first Blu-ray based DVD-recorder next month. The recorder, BDZ-S77, which enables the consumers to record two hours of high-definition 1080i video at 24MBps on a blu-ray recordable disc, retails at around 450,000 yen ($3,800).
__
__The product is aimed at consumers, who wish to record high-definition digital satellite broadcasts at the best possible quality. The release date in Japan is April 10th. So far no date has been given for an international release. It is unlikely that this particular product will ever hit shelves outside of Japan.
__
__The drive is capable of reading Blu-Ray, DVD Video, DVD-R/RW, CD, and CD-R/RW discs. It can record on Blu-Ray discs at bitrates ranging from 4 to 24Mbps, which translates to 2 to 12 hours of recording capacity. There's only support for Blu-Ray recordables -- DVD-R/RWs cannot be written.

Source:

http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,109617,00.asp

To support the new machine, Sony also announced its first generation Blu-ray media. Discs with a 23GB capacity will go on sale from April 10 priced at $30. There are three disc sizes specified in the initial Blu-ray format, and 23GB is the lowest-capacity and easiest to make of the three. The other capacities are 25GB and 27GB.

Recording is done in the MPEG-2 format, and the 23GB disc can store two hours of high-definition video at maximum quality, or four hours of standard-definition digital broadcasting. Up to 16 hours of lower quality analog terrestrial broadcasting can be stored.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 07:08 AM   #8
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Glen, why do you say "DV tape should last at least fifteen years"?

Is this based on the life of tape based formats in general, or is there something specific to DV?

I've got stacks of 3/4" archive tapes from more than fifteen years ago. I could use them if I got in a jam, but sure wouldn't want to.

By the way, it's interesting how bad the video quality on those tapes is...and these were broadcast quality tapes.

Thanks,

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Old November 26th, 2003, 12:58 PM   #9
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Hmm maybe not 15 years. I got it from John Beale's TRV900 FAQ. http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/dvfaq.html#Tape
Quote:
How long does a MiniDV tape last?
Of course no one really knows since the format is too new. However, other types of magnetic tape have been around many years so we can make some guesses. Better coatings and lower head pressure in MiniDV (as opposed to 8mm videotape) suggest that tape life should be improved. A figure of 500 to 2000 head passes is mentioned for a similar (computer data) tape; also, a shelf life of 10-15 years even if never used, much less if in unfavorable temperature or humidity (degradation of tape base material?). Hopefully in a few years, writable DVDs will become affordable. Until then you can use a second DV camera to copy your favorites onto newer tape stock every few years. Unless you hit a dropout on the tape (rare, in my experience), the digital transfer is loss-free. If you are making a VideoCD on CD-R, here is some information on CD-R lifetime. Kodak's research suggests a CD-R data life of 217 years under controlled conditions, TDK claims 70 years. There is an interesting article on archival videotape storage at aic.stanford.edu.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 01:23 PM   #10
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hopefully we don't keep minidv as a format in 15 years. As Mike mentioned, I too have about 10 years of 3/4" that have probably 30-40 passes each on them that we are currently transfering to another format (minidv). Still a good quality picture after this long. I have a feeling minidv (stored correctly) will last a long time... especially if all you are doing is archiving your show/project.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 07:20 PM   #11
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The archival qualities of tape is unknown. It is a safe estimate that most tape formats will last 15 years. But this figure is dependant on proper storage (constant humidity and temperature) and other variables at the time of recording.

DV is DV is DV except when the format is altered. If any rendering takes place then a loss of quality will occur. How much loss is dependent on the codec used for rendering. Processing the film through plugins, software etc. will result in a loss of quality (perhaps little, perhaps a lot) if rendering occurs. I would try to do some A, B comparisons and visually check for artifacts etc.
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