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Old April 1st, 2010, 06:11 AM   #1
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HD to SD help! I tried so many things!

i'm kind of at the end of my rope. i thought i had a good thing going but my footage looks like good vhs tape footage and not something that was shot in 1920 HD scaled to 720 SD. i took a couple month break, thinking i resolved it. made a wedding dvd last week....and yes it looks good but i have done so much better! i switched to mac completely a year ago. went from pc and premiere cs4. my footage always looked great! pc didn't have all these little gotchas you had to select or these many combinations to remember to get good video. i'm at the point where i believe i can only achieve so much with the mac. that can't be.

i shoot in 1080 30p on XHA1. i make the entire timeline HDV1080 30, and export to QT movie via final cut FILE / EXPORT / QT MOVIE. i bring that into idvd. i stopped trying dvd studio pro and compressor doesn't seem to be much better.

my main thing, as silly as it sounds....i don't know when to deinterlace and when not. there is of course NO DEINTERLACE FEATURE in file / export / QT movie....only when using QT conversion but i don't want that since i want my chapter markers to come over.

so then i thought i would take the effect / filter of deinterlace and paste it to all my clips in the timeline. maybe in need to deinterlace, i thought. nope, same thing. the disc looks good but i'm not happy and my pc turned out outstanding work. with the pc it was clean and sharp and great! with final cut, it's like good vhs quality, a little soft, not as much sharpness.

i don't know if i should shoot in 30p or 60i. i have always shot in 30p and will continue to do so. so i shoot in 1080 30p, then capture in HDV30p, then export to QT movie with same settings....or should i change to pro res 422 duing export?

one thing that always confused me is the upper and lower fields. how do you know when to use what? do you have to deinterlace 30p or only 60i? and if so, there are no settings for deinterlacing during file / export....stupid. i'm lost and confused.

my dvd menus ... the drop zones...look pixelated and soft. it's driving me nuts. not sure what to do. film and edit in same setting, but then export to pro res 422 or keep in the same setting for export as well? Most people say stay away from exporting timeline to h.264 but it looks great! I would do that always but my fcp chapters don't come over with that format AND DVD studio pro doesn't see h.264 but iDVD does! The mac turns out great video..... On the monitor! Encoding is ridiculous. I have Been wrestling to find a workflow for months.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 10:08 AM   #2
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Your thread covers so many differing issues, from import methods, timeline settings, encoding options, motion menus in DVDSP and overall output quality. There's just no way all of this can be covered in a single thread and more importantly, it's *so much* information that it would be like writing a book to attempt to answer all these questions completely and accurately on a forum.

In short what you need is training on everything from camera to output on the Mac workflow. To that end I'd suggest two options:

1. Use any one of the online or book-based sources or;

2. Get with a Mac consultant in your area who specializes in pro video/film and spend half a day getting the knowledge and workflow you need. There are some consultants such as myself who have the ability to do a live remote session during the training whereby you'll screen-share applications. That's usually more cost effective than having someone come to your home/office.

Specifically you need training on:

1. Camera/format setups and the implications in post

2. HDV workflows that match the system and resources you have

3. Proper encoding methods for import into DVDSP (Compressor setups)

4. Authoring in DVDSP especially the "gotchas" that are relevant to using "motion menus".

5. Archive and backup strategies for your specific setup

Based on your post that's all the things you need more knowledge of and that's a *lot*. If you're a fast learner you could get this done in about half a day, longer if things get convoluted.

All the information is readily available from 3 sources:

1. The built-in help manuals for each application.

2. Apple Pro Training series and other book publishers that come with DVD follow-along training.

3. A one-on-one training session.

The difference between the DIY self-taught method and private training is time; it will take you days if not a full week to sort out the information in the manuals and books and go through some sample training chapters and get fully proficient. A consultant can condense it into a single day.

That's what you need to do.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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thank you very much. I will check out those books. I learn rapidly and have been logging hours of research time! I need the right course, as I have been trying to figure this out via piecing together bits of knowledge from various forums. The help tutorials for the apps are very good, however, don't take you through the entire story. I need a start to finish workflow and need to know why and how I would or would not choose certain items. I am very thorough. The problem is the HD to SD workflow on mac. Never did I have any issue in CS3 or CS4. I have handfuls of mini exported clips with different combinations of workflows, charts and graphs logging my progress. it's crazy. I need to know a workflow from start to finish in mac. i'm fine with the cinematography but the mac part is just throwing me! thanks again
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Old April 1st, 2010, 03:49 PM   #4
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I think the trick to a good HD to SD DVD is to work in a FCP seq settings that you are going to out put to.
So If going out to SD DVD work in a SD seq setting template and let FCP resize your HD footage.
For me I'm in Australia and working in Pal and this is what I do.
Shoot what ever format you like and then capture the format at it's resolution, for me I work with Sony PDW350 HD or SD.
Now if I'm going out to SD DVD I open up FCP and make a SD seq setting which will be.
See attached grab.

Complete the edit, export a QT.
Open up Compressor see attached file. Choose your audio format and and remember to change the dialog normalization to -31 and also to set preprocessing to none then let compressor render out.
You don't need to set frame controls as you are not re sizing.
This is all I do and things look fine.

Attached Thumbnails
HD to SD help! I tried so many things!-pal-fcp-.tiff   HD to SD help! I tried so many things!-compressor.tiff  

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Old April 3rd, 2010, 02:14 PM   #5
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This is an issue for me as well.

Due to expense (and my always being on the fence waiting to see if FCP gets a major upgrade in the near future), I'm still editing in Final Cut Express (latest version).

I shoot with a JVC GY-HM700U. Final Cut Express limits the choices you have for sequence presets (you can't create your own or use those from FCP), so I usually edit in Apple Intermediate Codec, 720p. Most of my material is shot in 30p.

I also have a version of Compressor which came along for the ride with Logic Pro, which I also own. And I own QuickTime Pro. So I have an odd blend of some pro apps and the consumer Final Cut Express.

Here is the root of the problem when converting to Standard-Def using QuickTime and/or letting iDVD do it for you:

Standard-Def, for 99% of all practical purposes (I know there are exceptions), is interlaced. iDVD is always interlaced.

But QuickTime (and the other Apple-supplied alternatives which rely on QuickTime) does not convert progressive material to interlaced material properly.

QuickTime winds up creating a field from your progressive frame, and then _repeats_ this field for the next field. This results in having an effective 240 lines of video, NOT 480. That's why your video looks so clunky and unprofessional when it comes out the end of QuickTime conversion or iDVD. It looks more like a bad web video than NTSC or PAL.

I have found two workarounds to this which work pretty good, but are not a 100% fix.

The first is a free (donations accepted I believe) program called MPEG Streamclip.

If you take your final 720p (or 1080p) progressive output in the form of a QuickTime file and then tell MPEG Streamclip to output it as DV file (use DVCPRO50 as the format, which has the highest possible bitrate of the DV formats), MPEG Streamclip will interlace the footage and use different pixels for each field, meaning you get 480 lines like you should. However, I am convinced (at least for NTSC) that there is still something wrong here, as moving graphics such as credit rolls don't look right. I think the field order is backwards, but there's no way to tell MPEG Streamclip to try reversing the order.

Another problem with this approach is if you're placing chapter markers in your Final Cut project. iDVD will respect chapter markers from Final Cut movies, but these won't survive the conversion to DV. There are further options to get around this, but I don't want to get too far off the primary topic.

The next solution is to take your final progressive sequence and then place the entire sequence on a timeline that is using an interlaced preset, such as 1080i60. Then, apply a reinterlacing filter to the sequence. These can be obtained commercially. I use the following:

Nattress: G Reinterlacer

After rendering, you'll have an interlaced HD version of your sequence that you can save, complete with chapter markers if you want, which iDVD will convert.

The end result looks a little soft, and I think this is because your battered footage has gone through multiple rescalings (there is no 720i mode in Final Cut Express, so 720p footage has to get upscaled to 1080i, and then iDVD downscales from that).

I hope you find those imperfect choices helpful.

Now, here's the thing I don't understand: You and I (and a small set of other people) can't be the only ones in the world trying to adapt progressive HD footage to an interlaced SD format for DVD burning. Why aren't way more people complaining about this problem, and why aren't people immediately recognizing the problem when it gets described in forums (I've read more than a few puzzled posts on this topic)?

Is it possible that there's some underlying configuration issue that affects only a few of us? Is it possible that the source of the footage (such as from the JVC GY-HM700) confuses QuickTime so that it doesn't get interlaced properly?

I would love to hear from someone who has a straightforward workflow for converting finished HD progressive material into acceptable SD interlaced material on DVD.

Lastly, I understand that Adobe Premiere Pro doesn't rely on QuickTime for everything, so I'm curious to hear if Adobe users have consistent results when exporting to DVD?
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Old June 20th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #6
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The pavtube HD video converter was recommended to me by a local woman who specializes in Mac computers as I was having problems downloading from my new video camera to my software program. The conversion speed and quality are very good. It was so easy to use. I I can say it was very easy to figure out right away and I really appreciate that.

How to convert HD footages for authoring with iDVD
How to convert HD footages for authoring with iDVD?
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Old June 25th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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Help offered


I sympathise with the issues you point out, but I have not met them myself. My very first HDV to DVD production came out really well - I learnt FCP and Compressor and Logic as I went along, and its a shame you havent had the same fantastic experience I did. My workflow is bogstandard out of the box, and the resulting DVD very good to look at.

I would be willing to look at your source material and put it through my workflow and see what happens.

If you'd like to take me up on the offer ping me a note directly.

kind regards
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 02:04 AM   #8
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My camcorder is AVCHD, my softeare is Pavtube HD Video for MAC. I've had good results converting the .mts files to .mov, with the settings h.264, 1200, 1280*720, 25fps, aac. The files look good on my Mac running Adobe Premiere, edit easily, and convert well to DVD format. Maybe you can try this tool.
Download link: Pavtube HD video converter for Mac - Mac HD Converter for converting HD MTS/ M2TS/ MOV/ TOD/ MXF/ MOD etc
Ttrial version provided full access to the functions of the software. It allowed you to test the conversion quality.
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Old September 5th, 2010, 03:26 AM   #9
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Downscale issue

The simplest answer is to shoot 720/50p (60p). If you are using Interlaced HD material, then you need to deinterlace to 50p(60p) using Compressor and turning frame controls on.

Note that the operation to get proper interlacing cannot be achieved in FCP. You can interlace in FCP however you actually get two fields derived from every second frame.

The solution is that you either use DVCPRO50 or Appleprores in Compressor and set it as follows

Format: QT
Width: 720
Height: 576
Pixel aspect ratio: PAL CCIR 601 (16:9)
Crop: (L: 0, T: 0, R: 0, B: 3)
Padding: None
Frame rate: 25
Frame Controls On:
Retiming: (Fast) Nearest Frame
Resize Filter: Nearest Pixel
Deinterlace Filter: Fast (Line Averaging)
Adaptive Details: On
Antialias: 0
Detail Level: 0
Field Output: Top Field First
Codec Type: Apple ProRes 422
Multi-pass: Off, frame reorder: Off
Interlaced (top field first)
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 50
Min. Spatial quality: 0
Temporal quality: 0
Min. temporal quality: 0

Apply a sharpening filter -setting about 7-9

Please note that the frame controls must be on and set with the interlacing set to upper or lower field first depending whether you use DVCpro50 or Prores.

Please note that even better results can be obtained by using more stringent methods of downscaling, however the render time can become horrendous.

The issue that causes the rippling that was described in a previous post is caused be uneven scaling of HD interlaced material, the only way around that is to shoot in 50P or deinterlace to 50P before you downscale. There are a few other ways of dealing with this issue but they rely on purchase of software.

Of course another way is just shoot on a high quality SD professional broadcast camera.I don't believe anything can beat that option.

As has been suggested, this is a complex topic haunted by the perception that middle of the range HD camera's can deliver better SD results after downscaling than shooting with the best SD camera's( which is in my experience not true).


Ian Skurrie
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Old September 5th, 2010, 05:52 AM   #10
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Why not just use the DVD presets in Compressor? You can choose 90 or 120 minutes (first export a reference movie from FCP and open this with compressor).
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