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Old October 19th, 2009, 07:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 1,803
Need some editor/post processing advice

Hi all:

I am being hired to DP a small project that will shown at a global warming initiative meeting. The company hired to perform the compositing and graphics for the project have sent specs on what they will require for delivery of the circle take selects for them to do their thing. It involves a digital globe and digital sign board with video imagery on it. The video is being shot with actors on a white cyc, not on green screen. I do have some clue about how to give them what they need but I would like your professional opinions on how exactly to best accomplish this. Here is the situation...

1. Production Gear
Panasonic AH-HPX170 camera
Four 8GB and Three 16GB P2 Cards
Powerbook G4 for dumping P2 to drives (will be dumping to one drive, then cloning for safety)
Shoot will be on a stage with a three sided white cyc
Script calls for all lock down shots
The compositor is requesting 1080, but is not familiar enough with cameras to tell me which flavor of 1080 will work best. 1080 on DVCPRO HD is recorded in all variations over 60i, the 30p, 24p and 24pA so other than aesthetics, from a technical standpoint, does it really matter? They are requesting the footage as progressive but technically, with DVCPRO HD, all 1080 footage, in the end, will be interlaced, correct? Wouldn't I have to shoot AVCINTRA 100 to record true progressive 1080 footage as the DVCPRO HD spec really only records 720 as true progressive? Would I have to shoot 1080 24p or 30p and then use CinemaTools to extract the flagged progressive frames?

2. Requested specs
Targa (.tga) frame sequences
1920 x 1080
Frame rate: same in all media / must match your project
Pixel aspect ratio: square

3. Post Production Gear Available
PPC G5 Dual 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM, FCP 5.1.4, OS 10.4.1
Aja Kona 3 system
3.2TB Maxx Upgrades SATA RAID


1. What will be the best 1080 variant to shoot in? As you probably know, since this is a U.S.-based production, I can shoot 1080i, 1080 30P, 1080 24p or 1080 24pA. But DVCPRO HD is not full raster and the compositing company is saying that they do not have the time in their budget to do any conversion of partial raster to full raster, rectangular pixels to square, DVCPRO HD to uncompressed, etc. So it is up to us to transform our media to their specs. We are not editing the project, I am just the DP but need to deliver selects to the compositing company per their specs.

2. With the gear that I have, what is the best/easiest way to turn 1080 DVCPRO HD into an uncompressed, full raster TARGA sequence? While I do edit, I am definitely out of my element here as far as turning this footage into what the compositor needs. I normally edit in DVCPRO HD or ProRes, then output to HDCAM SR so this work flow is new to me.

3. When they say uncompressed, do you think that they want 8bit or 10bit? Since DVCPRO HD is an 8bit codec, is it a waste to convert it to 10bit? Do you think that they would take ProRes? or ProRes HQ?

4. Since we don't have tape decks here to record the output of the Kona 3, what is the most efficient way to turn this 1440x1080 DVCPRO HD into full raster 1920x1080 files?

Any help or advice would be appreciated. This project is reminding me of why I like to DP and why I am not a motion graphics artist, just on the technical side, never mind the artistic side. FWIW, this project will end up being projected in an IMAX Theater, obviously not as IMAX but it will be a BIG screen and they do want the absolute best quality. This is a self-funded project by the director so renting a RED or Viper is out of the question, they can barely afford my 170. They like the look of the 170 so that is not a problem but I am concerned that it would be better to shoot this on a full raster camera, at least the HPX300 with AVCINTRA 100 but that probably won't happen, I will have to make due with what we have.

Thanks for any advice,

Dan B.
Dan Brockett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 19th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mount Washington Valley, NH, USA
Posts: 1,365
I would consider an EX3 or EX1 for a camera, if you are renting. They shoot 1080P 30 full 1920.

You can even go direct out to a mac pro HD-SDI and record Prores422 HQ or better if you have an AJA Kona on set. That would be the cleanest way to go. You would need FCP 6 or better for Prores. G5 may not have enough power for this. Try it.

If you have to shoot 1440 I would convert to 1920x1080 Prores before editing and then use that for all the sequences.

Output as AVI (Flip for Mac) or QT Uncompressed. They should be able to work with those.

I know this is not exactly the answers you were looking for, but I hope this helps.
Olof Ekbergh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 20th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1,157
DVCpro is 1280 across in 1080 :(

you could take a MXO2 or mini and capture to hd via FCP to ProRes.

also, 1080i is a transport stream. you can put a progressive signal into the stream where it gets pulled apart into fields for compression / transmission ( SDI / component ) but on the other end gets put back together into progressive frames. so I wouldn't worry about this.

if they are going to composite the shots, I'd look at the MXO2 route, or renting another camera that can do what you want
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