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Old February 1st, 2005, 06:04 PM   #1
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No Pic (or audio come to that) !

I'm sure this is something so simple I will be embarassed when I find out what it is -
Using Final Cut Express on a Mac (OS 10.3.7) / captured footage fine from the XL1s / edited OK into a 8minute package and wanted to "print to video" on the camera via the DV link. Camera starts up OK in response to the computer but no pic (or sound) is recorded - just blank tape ! Can see the output on the computer screen Ok but it just doesn't seem to be getting onto the tape.
Any ideas anyone ??

Being a bit new to this non-linear editing game I have another question:
I want to give this short film to a couple of people - one is a Mac user and the other is a PC user (who I don't think has Quicktime installed) - what are the best export settings for a short movie like this ? Frankly the CODECs etc have got me really confused and the manuals that came with the software are just giving me a headache.
I notice that a high quality Quicktime export is already running at 1.9 Gb which is way too big for putting onto a CD.
Surely there are some good guidelines, without too much jargon, that will help me through this maze.
Thanks to you all
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Old February 1st, 2005, 07:59 PM   #2
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Make sure your settings are set to send the video and audio BACK to the camera. You can capture from firewire, edit onscreen and have sound come out of the computers speaker, and play out of a graphics cards S-VHS port. You need to check your external video settings and make them match what you want it to do. For instance, if you are trying to dump back to tape via firewire to the camera, change your external video AND audio setting to the Firewire device.

As for a universal format, use MPEG-1. It will play on anything an can deliver a very decent picture if done properly.
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Old February 1st, 2005, 08:27 PM   #3
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You also need to check your camera and make sure it is set to DV IN instead of OUT. Depending on your camera the wording can be a little bit different... some devices can autosense, but I would bet this is part of the issue as well.

I second Rhett's advice. Go MPEG-1, for an 8 minute video you will get 320x240 VHS level quality.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 03:46 AM   #4
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Thanks guys for your prompt, if baffling ;-) , replies.
Rhett you say:
<Make sure your settings are set to send the video and audio BACK to the camera. You can capture from firewire, edit onscreen and have sound come out of the computers speaker, and play out of a graphics cards S-VHS port. You need to check your external video settings and make them match what you want it to do. For instance, if you are trying to dump back to tape via firewire to the camera, change your external video AND audio setting to the Firewire device.>
How do I ensure that the video and audio are going back to the camera ?
I am using FCE's instructions and plugging up via the DV in/out port of the camera and simply going to "Print Video" - As far as the computer is concerned everything seems to be going along just fine - the sequence plays through to the screen BUT nothing appears in the camera viewfinder despite the camera having automatically switched to REC mode and nothing appears on tape - just blank.
Mark you said:
<You also need to check your camera and make sure it is set to DV IN instead of OUT. Depending on your camera the wording can be a little bit different... some devices can autosense, but I would bet this is part of the issue as well.>
Have to say this was my first thought - I am new to the Canon XL1s and I spent a happy few minutes searching the manual and then the body of the camera for some hidden DV in port - there ain't no such animal there ! - so I have to presume that just the one port is used for both.

Lastly chaps the CODECs thing - Nowhere can I find an option for MPEG 1 - is this a third party plug-in ?
I tried MPEG 4 but got a really degraded image .
I also had a go, late last night (3am here in UK) with Sorenson which I had read somewhere does a good job. Computer said it would take 3 hours !! So I went to bed leaving it running. This morning checked out the file size for the result 2.7Gb !! and the quality was reduced from that of the 1.9 Gb Quicktime version.
I really would have hoped, for such a short fim sequence, to have been able to write a CD Rom that would play on just about any device (Computer or DVD/TV combo) at top quality. But it doesn't seem to be that simple.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 03:51 AM   #5
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. . . . and another thing !

Can't tell you all how good it is to know that I can sit here at my computer in the UK feeling completely lost in the middle of the night and post a question on the forum and get a reply from you clued up guys in the US by first thing in the morning.

However I bet you're all asleep now :-)
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 02:29 PM   #6
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The camera uses ONE firewire port, but it switches between sending info OUT or receiving info IN. That is what you need to make sure is set correctly on the camera. In the viewfinder, does it say DV IN? See the section on DV to DV recording in your manual. I don't know what it is on FCE, but on FCP 3.x there is a View Menu -> External Video -> All Frames setting... shortcut is Apple F12.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 04:06 PM   #7
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I am not certain about FCE but in FCP to choose your external video settings you would go to "Audio/Video Settings" in the FCP menu (command+option+Q). There are 2 different choices in the tabs for "A/V devices". "Playback Output" and "Different Output for Edit to Tape/Print to Video". This allows you to edit while watching the video on your computer monitor and audio from the computer speakers AND when it's time to "Print to Tape" you can send the signal elsewhere. Make sure you have this "elsewhere" directed to the firewire output (both audio and video).

The other thing I wondered to myself is (and please, somebody in the know chime in) a lot of digital video cameras in UK do not allow you to input through the firewire! It has something to do with the way they are taxed but I would think the XL1 to be professional enough to have this option added.

I hope this gets you closer.

Oh by the way, what are you using for your compression program? If you are using Compressor you can encode MPEG-1 by selecting an MPEG-2 setting (or any for that matter) and then under custom options select MPEG-1 and make your adjustments from there. Sorenson is a very nice codec but any of them need some testing to get the results just right (as you have seen from the MPEG-4 experience). Compression for the web usually takes some (read a LOT) of testing to get the best results.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 04:49 PM   #8
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As to the problem I was having re -no video or sound being laid to tape - I got that sorted (thanks to Tom Wolsky on the Apple discussions Forum- God Bless him) I had a badly entered preference in my User Set-Up and needed to enter "Firewire Basic PAL" as opposed to the setting of DV Pal which I had been using. Have to say the solution arrived just in time !

As to my compression thing - I am still batting around in the dark. I have done enough to get this project sorted but I feel this is an area of real black art. There are so many tabs and sub-menus to explore, and then I hear that other people are using third-party software to compress their video !

All I want is top quality (why else would I shoot with an XL1s) and the smallest file size I can manage, that is readable by PC and Mac users alike - Is this a dream ?
Of course there is a trade off somewhere - but how much and what does it cost in terms of quality.
I have been going through the compression menus trying to find a compression setting that 'seems' to make sense - using it and then finding that the resultant file is still way too big to send anybody (on CD)
It's only an 8 minute film !
How is it I have commercial 90 min videos with super quality sound and video on DVD and their size is less than 4Gb ??
and I can't get my **!! 8 minutes to under a Gig !
Is this a naiive question ?
I feel it probably is and someone out there is going to tell me what a t&*! I am .
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 05:32 PM   #9
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This is copied from Compressor. Adjust the settings to suit your needs but this setting should easily give you a file size under 70MB for 8 minutes of nice looking video. You could also change the MPEG-4 into MPEG-1 and still retain a decent picture. Also consider making the audio "mono" instead of "stereo" and playing with the bit rates to adjust the quality/size ratio (or try the 1 and 2 pass VBR settings). Something is screwy if it's getting BIGGER than the original. Try the presets available first, some of them look very good (there are settings for full screen as well).
I also use Cleaner 6 for encoding. Actually I use it more often than Compressor so I'm not as good with Compressor. If you are going to be doing a lot of compression it is certainly worth a look.
Yes, it kind of is an art and requires a lot of practice to perfect.

Name: MPEG-4 Improved PAL Custom1
Description: 384x288,25fps,1000kbps,44k 128kbps audio
File Extension: mp4
Audio Encoder
Format: MPEG4
Sample Rate: 44.100kHz
Channels: 1
Bits Per Sample: 16
AAC encoder quality: high
Video Encoder
Format: MPEG4
Width: 384
Height: 288
Pixel aspect ratio: default
Crop: None
Frame rate: 25
ISMA Profile: 1
Constant bit rate: 1000 (Kbps)
Deinterlacing
Algorithm: Odd
Gamma Correction
Gamma: 1.000000
BlackWhite Restore
Black: 10.000000
White: 10.000000
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 07:11 AM   #10
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Thanks for that Rhett - I will try to implement these settings on my project.

Is compressor a standalone compression programme or can I access this dialogue through FCE's Quicktime conversion ?

Obviously writing the project to DVD is the best way to go but I have a couple of tech problems with that - my G4 won't write DVDs so I will have to get a seperate DVD writer.

Further to this thread: This project is being given to a sales team to either display on a TV attached to a DVD player or shown on their laptops. Whilst a DVD would solve both these problems (and in fact I have successfully sent them a VideoCD which works OK) I am still concerned about how I judge the compression required to fit a project onto a disc - be it VideoCD or DVD without losing the all important quality.

Later my clients will want this little film (or bits of it) uploading to the internet for use on their web site. - what is the best format to use - something that is truly cross platform and won't give problems to Mac or Windows users ?
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Old February 4th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #11
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Yes Compressor is a stand-alone program as well as connected to FCP. It's always better to export a self-contained movie and then run it independently. Compressor comes with FCP4 and above.

...added...

To figure out how much you can fit on a disk take the size of the disk and divide it by the seconds of video you have (minutes x 60) so an 8 minute video would be 480 seconds. To put 480 seconds of video on a DVD you could compress it at about 100MB/s before you would fill the disk! The problem then becomes, no DVD player could play it. Same thing with VCD, you would be able to outperform the computer before you would fill the disk with video. It really is a matter of trial and error. There is no magic answer and no two videos are exactly the same. If you go over to Apple's QuickTime movie trailers site you'll see some of the best video encoding on the web but keep in mind, they put some serious hours of work into each and every one.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/
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Old February 5th, 2005, 05:31 AM   #12
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Thanks Rhett - much as I suspected video compression seems to be a bit of a black art.
This Compressor programme which is available with FCP doesn't appear to be available for FCE (which is the programme I am desperately trying to conquer). Is there any way I can get hold of it without upgrading to FCP ?
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Old February 5th, 2005, 01:05 PM   #13
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Wow, I didn't even think about it not being available for FCE, that stinks. The other options are to customize the setting in FCE's QuickTime export window to match those illustrated above OR buy a third party compression program such as Cleaned 6 or Sorenson Squeeze (both of which I have). Cleaner is my favorite of the three, but is the most expensive, it also is the most versatile.
Yes, compression is kind of a "black art" of sorts. But once you get the hang of it, it's not quite as difficult as it is time consuming. There are just so many variables it can be overwhelming at first.

Cleaner
Sorenson Squeeze
Compressor Overview
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Old February 5th, 2005, 02:14 PM   #14
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Yes upon further investigation I tried to download the Compressor programme from Apple's web site but hit a fairly substantial brick wall - they wanted my FCP serial number and all I had was the one from FCE which just "bounced off".!
I'm surprised Apple doesn't market Compressor as a stand alone programme if it is so good. ( and obviously FCE users like myself, feel a need for it)
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Old February 5th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #15
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I was just at the book store and looked at a copy of the Peachpit Press book FCE 2 and they actually have a section in it about Compressor. From what I gathered it sounded like it came with FCE because they mentioned using that method of export from FCE. I think they were confused, I don't know. I do know that it comes with FCPro AND DVD Studio Pro so if you have that as well it should be on the disk.
I don't know why they don't offer it as a separate program but it would be a nice add on sell just like LiveType and Soundtrack were before they decided to include those with FCE also (a VERY good value).

You might download the demo version of Cleaner in the meantime and try it out. For that matter you could demo Squeeze as well but Cleaner is by far the Superior application of the two because of it's wide range of options.
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