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Old December 11th, 2004, 12:59 AM   #1
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Online Looks Like Crap!

Ok folks. I could use some help.

I am an AVID Symphony editor who is in the process of moving over to FCP. Along with the benefit of FCPs flexibility over the AVID comes the problem of FCP's flexibility over the AVID. It's greatest strength is it's greatest weakness.

It seems that it can either do SO MUCH that it's hard to get my basic needs figured out (it always just worked on the AVID) OR... FCP just cannot DO what I need it to do.

So HERE'S my problem.

- Shot a bunch of footage on my brand new XL2 in Haiti.
- Offline edited a 22 minute overview of that footage.
- Onlined that sequence using FCP's 10-bit uncompressed codec.
* footage came in via firewire from a JVC DV600UA deck.
On wide shots that contain visual complexity (such as grass, rocks, corn stalks, trees, etc.) It is an aliased MESS. CREEPY CRAWLY. Looks like total CRAP.
- hooked the JVC deck directly up to a TV monitor (with a composite RCA cable) and the same spots that looked GOD-AWFUL in FCP's 10-bit uncompressed codec... looked absolutely FINE coming off the tape. So it's NOT ON TAPE THAT WAY. Likewise, the deck is not introducing this mess of crap from the video heads.

What is my problem? I have several thoughts...
- Should I be doing this in 8 bit? (seems like that would be lesser in overall quality)
- Is Firewire to blame? Do I need an Aja box?
- Is this an RGB/YUV issue? If so, please explain?

I'm just really stressed about this. I pray to God that one of you has already been through this and can just tell me to uncheck some box or tweak some setting. With all of FCP's propoganda, you'd think their software could handle something as "real-world" as leaves on a tree WITHOUT ARTIFACTS.

Please HELP!!!!!!!!!
Luke
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Old December 11th, 2004, 01:16 AM   #2
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You should use a 100% DV workflow. If your master is DV, then this will give the highest quality.

So:
A- capture in DV.
B- set your sequence settings to one of the canned DV presets.
C- Edit away.
D- Hook up a NTSC monitor or TV to your deck, and hook your deck up to your computer. Don't trust your computer monitor.

Use S-video for higher resolution if you need that.

My guess as to your problem:
Final Cut may be trying to resize your video from 720X480 to 720X486.
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Old December 11th, 2004, 01:31 AM   #3
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Good thoughts Glenn.

However, if I were to make a custom online setting which was 10-bit uncompressed and give it the screen size of 720x480... the same problem persists (which rules out the resize issue).

I tried what you suggested (using a DV capture preset) and it looked the same. Crappy.

Any more ideas?
Luke
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Old December 11th, 2004, 03:36 PM   #4
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Luke...

Don't go uncompressed. Unless you're doing a lot of effects work, it's not worth the HD space or additional processing. Also, going in via composite RCA is the worst analog connection available, which adds chroma crawl problems. Next best is Y/C. Best analog is component.

The best is to import via Firewire onto an NTSC DV timeline. This way the -data- on your tape is transferred directly into FCP with no re-interpretation or conversion. Keep in mind that the video on DV tape isn't video. It's data, the same as what will end up on your hard drive if you import via Firewire.

Use "Easy Setup" under the Final Cut Pro dropdown menu, and select DV-NTSC.

If you're going to monitor on an NTSC screen (highly recommended) then you'll have to look at it either via Firewire to an external device that can convert it to NTSC, or via a card such as the Blackmagic Design Decklink SP. I personally use the SP card since I also master to Betacam.

Also, what you see on FCP's own monitor window isn't an accurate representation of what you ultimately get on an NTSC monitor. While it's fine for timing of edits, it's not good for determining artifact inclusion or color grading.

Good luck!
Dean Sensui
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Old December 12th, 2004, 03:26 AM   #5
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being a Symphony editor...
your kinda use to things lookin crappy aint ya?

I know I am.
RIP, symphony.
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Old December 12th, 2004, 05:47 PM   #6
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Victory Is Mine!

A solution has been found for my particular scenario, so I feel obligated to share it with everyone.

Thanks to everyone who gave ideas and helped in breaking the mental block.

I shot with the Canon XL2
My footage was shot at 24P (2:3:3:2) and 16:9

-Load in your footage at any offline resolution you wish. Use Firewire if at all possible.
*Make sure you are referencing the LTC or VITC from the deck (optional in the FCP deck preferences). If you are only referencing DV Time, then the process of onlining will be a nightmare. Nothing will come in frame accurate. Only footage digitized while referencing LTC or VITC will result in a frame accurate online. That was not my problem, but I did learn that the hard way and thought I would share it here.

-Edit.

- When happy, online using these settings:
Compression: DV NTSC 48k Anamorphic (in my case Anamorphic since I shot in 16:9). If you shot in 24P, 4:3... then do not select Anamorphic.

Now, make sure that your online sequence matches the compression at which you loaded the online footage in.

I had done all of this and STILL my footage looked like it was being viewed through a screen window. Very artifact riddled.

THE SOLUTION
In the sequence settings, set the field order to NONE
Remember, this is 24P. Progressive means there IS NO FIELD ORDER. DER! What a dope I am. Anyway, after changing this one SIMPLE setting, my final sequence looked AMAZING!

Thanks again everybody.
I hope my lesson learned can help someone else as well.

Cheers!
Luke
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Old December 12th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #7
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OOPS! 24P was the key piece of information that was missing in the initial post. Glad you figured it out, I was scratching my head over that one.
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