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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:20 AM   #1
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Footage stutters on pans and tilts

Hi all.

I did a search but didn't find this exact problem so I hope it's not a rerun.

I shot a bunch of video using the Canon XHA1. I shot in HDV - 1920x1080. I'm capturing in Final Cut using the easy setup: HDV 1080i60. For whatever reason the footage captures at 1440x1080. I'm not too concerned with the down-conversion as that's still plenty of resolution for what I'm doing. (But maybe that's causing my grief?) The problem occurs whenever the camera pans or tilts. The footage stutters like it can't keep up and then keeps going. There's nothing smooth or pretty about any moving shots. I check the capture scratch and the quicktimes have the stutter in them so I am assuming there must be a problem with my capture settings?

For the record I'm using a plain old MacBook which isn't ideal for working with HD files but I've never had a problem in the past.

I hope someone has an answer for me cause I'm working on a relatively important project and all those stutters will not do! Thanks for any input!

Jarrod

Edit: Also, I'm capturing to and working off a Lacie external drive, if that makes a difference.

Last edited by Jarrod Tully; May 21st, 2009 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Addition
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Old May 21st, 2009, 05:15 AM   #2
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Hi Jarrod

I'm not clear from your description whether the stuttering is just when you try to play the video in FCP (in other words your MacBook isn't able to render in real time) or whether the final output also stutters (which might suggest a field order issue). What happens if you render the sequence (Opt R) in FCP then play it? Or if you create a stand-alone SD version in Compressor?

The HDV 1080i/60 easy setup is 1440x1080, I guess because this is the image size Sony cameras produce. Have you tried creating custom 1920x1080 capture and sequence presets?

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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:42 AM   #3
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HDV is 1440 x 1080. I don't have much experience with why the spec is that way, but when ever you capture HDV with an HDV camera, you're capturing at 1440 x 1080. But it still looks pretty darn good when dropped into a 1920 x 1080 timeline.

If it stuttered all the time, then I would think it was your system (not enough processor speed). But the fact that it only stutters when your panning and tilting makes be believe that you accidentally have your Easy Setup set to HDV 24p. Or maybe your Sequence Settings are set to 24p.

Can you double-check for that?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 09:10 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies gents. The video stutters in the timeline and also in the final output. Sometimes it seems more pronounced than others but it might just be my eyes playing tricks. I watch the tape on the LCD of the camera and it looks fine. It's only when trying to capture. I can usually see it stutter in the same places in the capture window.

Might this still be a field order issue? How could I correct that?

My easy setup is definitely 1080i60. I've tried a variety of different easy setup configurations but nothing really seems to help.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 09:44 AM   #5
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Jarrod: In your FCP timeline, are there any coloured lines across the top of the footage that is stuttering?

Your real time performance settings MAY be set up in a way that leads FCP believe it should try to play back clips in a sequence even if it SHOULD require rendering for final output (this is to assure painless editing for those of us who are impatient).

Any green or other coloured lines indicate you should Render All (which in newer versions of FCP becomes it's OWN nightmare: you may need to tell FCP that you do infact want to render items that it thionks it can preview in real time).
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:56 PM   #6
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When I pull the clips down into the timeline, there are 2 grey bars above them. (Which I think indicates no render needed.) But the footage still has the stutter in it. When I highlight and manually render this footage, the grey bars turn a light blue but the end result is the same.

Even just playing the captured clips in quicktime results in stuttering at the exact same spots which leads me to believe there must be an issue with how I'm capturing.

Here's a small sample. For me, it stutters a little when the pan crosses the fireplace and again just before it gets to the couches.

Jarrod : photos : Video delete- powered by SmugMug
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Old May 21st, 2009, 02:37 PM   #7
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Yep, sure does.

Question: the external drive. How is it hooked up? Firewire or USB.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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It's sort of a convoluted hookup because my macbook only has one firewire port. So I have the hard drive plugged directly into the comp via firewire 400. But then I need to capture via firewire so I have the camera plugged into the second port on the back of the hard drive. Could this be the issue? I do have another USB hard drive I could try which would then bypass having to plug the camera into the hard drive.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:04 PM   #9
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Shouldn't be a problem daisy chaining. I have a similar setup (with even more drives et al hooked up) on my iMac.

I'd advise against USB hookup but if you want to try it, nothing ventured, nothing gained...
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:11 PM   #10
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Yeah I just tried a direct feed from my camera into the macbook via firewire. Captured right to the internal hard drive. Same problem. So Something's got to be wacky. Most frustrating as I just want to get editing but am rather at a standstill.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:05 PM   #11
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Ok, another dumb question on my part: when you were capturing to the external drive, which drive was designated as your render drive? Make sure it isn't set to your internal drive.

Addendum: What model Lacie external are you using? Is it a 7200 rpm drive?
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Old July 31st, 2009, 07:40 AM   #12
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Image stabilization?

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but did you have "image stabilization" turned on? I also have the XH-A1 and you must have image stabilization turned off when using a tripod or you will get crazy image stuttering on pans.

It would look like the image holds slightly while you pan, then jumps forward and stutters along the pan.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:10 AM   #13
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I don't know if that camera has progressive options or effects, but you can't always trust playback in computers and you can never trust it in final cut. If you export the problem area in standard def without changing the frame rate you can be sure it will play back smooth on your setup. I'm just suspicious that your computer is choking and not playing properly.
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