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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #1
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FCS encoding, Blu-Ray vs mpeg vs Apple TV

I shot some footage with my EX-3 camera to test some lenses and lens adapters.
So, I needed to view the footage in the best possible way ( I donīt have a calibrated HD monitor), and wanted to view it on my 42" TV
The footage was 1080 25P XDCAM HD (9 min).

I used the new FCS to export 2 different versions to play off my Western Digital HDTV box. One file was Appleīs "Apple TV" setting (720P)
The other, a Program Stream mpeg, keeping the source settings (1920*1080)

At first the Apple TV looked surprisingly good, but a bit in I started to notice that the high lights were more "blown out" than I could remember.
Then looking at the Program Stream, the high light handling was much better, and I could see detail where I could not in the Apple TV clip (white roses).

Tonight I thought it was time to try out FCS ability to burn Blu-Ray disks.
I donīt have a BD burner, so I just burnt it to regular a DVD as a BD. I used the Program Stream clip and sent it to Compressor.

In 45 minutes the 9 min clip was encoded, burnt and ready to go into my PS3.
It played without problems, but it was overall brighter than the original clip. The high lights was more blown out etc. In fact it looked more like the Apple TV clip, maybe a bit brighter.

I just wanted to share my experience and add one qustion:
How can I avoid the overall brighter image next time I burn a BD?
Has anyone had similar experience?

PS The Program Stream mpeg looked like the almost identical to the original footage to me
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Old August 8th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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It takes a little experimentation but you can also encode a 1920x1080P H264 that will play back on your WDHD and it looks great.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 02:27 AM   #3
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I use the $150 Elgato Turbo.264 hardware encoding dongle which does an incredibly good job of converting to H.264 in around real time. I export 1920x1080 ProRes & then convert to 8Mbps H.264. Conversion time is the winner with this workflow as e.g. a 3 minute video will convert in 3-4 minutes. Converting to a lower resolution e.g. 1280x720 @5Mbps will run considerably quicker than real time.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 03:43 AM   #4
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How is the quality from the elegato? Any difference?
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Old August 9th, 2009, 05:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
How is the quality from the elegato? Any difference?
The quality is very, very good. A single pass hardware encoder is never going to be better than a multi-pass software solution but the improved speed of delivery of the final product is well worth it. Increasing the bit rate at which you encode will improve the quality to compensate some. The maximum bit rate that the Elgato device will deliver is 10-15Mbps. I don't know what the maximum bit rate that the WD TV will support is but it plays 10Mbps OK.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #6
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Sounds like great little tool. I have the Elegat eyetv Hybrid so I know there products to some extent. I used that to digitize my daughters VHS tapes. It was hard to judge the result as the tapes were a bit worn already.

On a second note, itīs usually when I need to encode for the web etc for clients to have a look during editing that this will come in handy. Specially since Iīm using a Mac Book Pro for my maine machine when not in the editing "suite" where the Mac Pro is.

Thanks for the imput.

PS Iīm still baffled as to why my BD movie turned out a bit over exposed
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Old August 9th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
On a second note, itīs usually when I need to encode for the web etc for clients to have a look during editing that this will come in handy.
That's exactly how I use it for proofing & generating a quick version for review on the web. When I want to create the final web version for publication I use ON2 Flix Pro to generate a VP6 Flash file as for the same quality I can create a file that may be as little as half the size of an H.264 file of the same video even if created in Compressor or MPEG Streamclip rather than using the Elgato gizmo.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post

PS Iīm still baffled as to why my BD movie turned out a bit over exposed
Hi Joachim.

It's possible that you're running into the known problem where encoding to H.264 washes out the gamma of your movie. (Although I haven't yet updated FCS or tried to make a Blu-ray disc, so I might have misunderstood your workflow. But I do know that Apple TV uses H.264, for example.)

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/non-linea...-wash-out.html

If you do a search, you'll find that others have typically added a Gamma Correction filter of anything from 10% to 30% when using Compressor to make an H.264 movie. Just compare it back to your original in FCP until you get an adequate match.

As a general comment, any time that encoding can shift the gamma of the movie, it opens up a minefield (or a big "gotcha") as far as monitoring for color correction goes. That is, you can be using a perfectly calibrated monitor with FCP or Color and do your color correcting, but that assumes that there are no other changes to the images in the following stages of your workflow (such as encoding for final delivery). I guess it's probably best to have a consumer Blu-ray player and consumer widescreen plasma or LCD TV and check the final image quality on that before you ship it to your client.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 02:36 AM   #9
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As refrenced at the link above, many folks use the free x264 library to create their h.264 encodes, and so bypass the gamma issue in Apple's h.264 compression.
I'll also note that Matrox's CompressHD device / MAX technology also seems to have circumvented gamma issues in their h264 compressions ... this may well be the case with the Elgato Turbo.264 HD too?
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