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Old April 3rd, 2010, 12:00 PM   #1
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HDV to Uncompressed?

I have been shooting HDV footage with a Sony V1U for the past year and viewing my footage on an LCD HDTV with the intention of eventually editing this material on a Mac with Final Cut Pro. I finally purchased a new Mac Pro for this purpose, along with Final Cut Suite, and have even put together a raid array so that I could edit the material uncompressed. My thinking was that I'm already shooting in such a highly compromised acquisition format (HDV) that I don't want to lose a single bit more of image information during the editing process.

I have been learning how to use FCP7 via the Apple Pro training book. I am now at the point where I'm ready to start importing footage to work with it, however I'm not sure how to convert HDV footage into an uncompressed intermediate state.

I am aware that I will not gain back any lost resolution or color information because the footage has already been compressed to HDV on tape, the point is not to lose anymore by transcoding to a codec that is lossy in anyway.

Now here I am with all of this equipment and I feel utterly ridiculous that I can't figure out how to do this.

I have searched the web for information and have read that one way to do it is import the footage as native HDV and then convert it to 10 bit uncompressed in software. How?

The FCP Manual does not explain how to do this. It only mentions transcoding HDV to AIC or ProRes on import.

I had also purchased a Blackmagic Intensity card for the purpose of connecting my Mac to my LCD HDTV to view my work that way. I've read that it's also possible to use that card to capture HDV footage from tape to uncompressed. Is that correct? The manual for the card only mentions the possibility of it's use for live capturing of uncompressed by bypassing the HDV?

Could anyone please explain to me how to get my HDV footage into an uncompressed intermediate state so I can work with it that way in FCP?
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 02:28 PM   #2
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I believe the Sony V1U has an HDMI output. You can use that to get the video stream into your Black Magic Intensity card and capture to Uncompressed, thus bypassing ProRes and yet another generation of compression. As you surmise, the "damage" is already done to the footage on tape but your workflow may well avoid further "damage"

I personally use ProRes (and ProRes HQ when needs be) with AMAZING results, given that I have acknowledged that I am acquiring on a lossy codec in the first place.

Hope this helps.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 08:23 PM   #3
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The question is how much you might lose going from HDV to ProRes. I've never seen an intensive absolute data comparison but from real world use I'd have to say very little if any. The silly comparison is that HDV is a jar containing 10,000 marbles and you are pouring them into a ProRes jar that can contain 30,000 marbles. Very few are going to fall out in the process. Of course uncompressed is a lot more.

Either use Compressor to transcode your files to Uncompressed or capture with your BlackMagic card. Then check your video in Uncompressed versus ProRes. I think you can work in ProRes with no problem unless you are considering a large amount of special effects.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 11:22 PM   #4
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Thank you both for your responses.

William, I understand what you're saying with the marble analogy, which has me wondering now if there is really nothing to be gained by converting HDV to uncompressed. That perhaps ProRes is capable of holding all of my image data without losing any of it. My understanding was that if you wish to maintain the integrity of your image and not degrade it in any way throughout your post production, the best and only way is to edit it uncompressed. My rationale was that footage acquired at a higher resolution and color depth could afford to take a hit by being converted to a slightly lossy codec, by that MY acquisition format (HDV) could not. That you wouldn't want to lose anymore image information than you already have because you couldn't afford to. Now you have me wondering if my understanding was not entirely correct with regards to the HDV format.

If there is really absolutely nothing to be gained by working in the unwieldy uncompressed format, thenů I guess it would make more sense for me to just use ProRes. If however I WOULD incur a loss with ProRes, and the set-up I have put together can handle the uncompressed efficiently, without struggling, then I'd prefer to do it that way.

Within the next week I will try the procedures you have suggested. Since I am new to all of this I may struggle with things that would be simple and obvious to a more experienced user. If I hit any snags I'll post here again.

Thank you both again.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 12:02 AM   #5
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For a better understanding of ProRes:
http://images.apple.com/finalcutstud..._July_2009.pdf

It holds up multigenerationally VERY well. If you were sourcing HDCamSR or something I could see your point but ProRes HQ should be WAY more than enough for all but the most demanding post production, again given that the source material is HDV.

I use ProRes (non-HQ) and I beat on it a fair bit with comps and 3 way CC in FCP and it holds up well enough for my purposes which are eventual downres for SD TV broadcast.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:24 AM   #6
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It's a while since I edited any HDV but recall that there were frequent discussions that reached almost a religious fervour as to the best method of editing in FCP. There is a school of thought that you capture & convert it all to ProRes before you start but there is also another school that holds that you just use ProRes for the actual render & edit settings. Nowadays we mostly use the Canon 5DII & convert those H.264 MPEG4 .MOV files to ProResLT with great results. Whatever method you choose ProRes is a great CODEC.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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After careful consideration (and further reading) I've decided to take everyone's advice and forgo the more cumbersome uncompressed workflow in favor of a ProRes workflow. I don't want to overcomplicate this process unnecessarily. With my set-up I have the space and speed to handle the ProRes easily, whereas the uncompressed would be more of a burden to deal with, and very little if any benefit. I appreciate all of your responses gentlemen. Thank you again.

This may sound silly, but I still can't get over the fact that I'm talking shop with people around the world right now. What interesting times we're living in.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 12:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James McCrory View Post
This may sound silly, but I still can't get over the fact that I'm talking shop with people around the world right now. What interesting times we're living in.
Great isn't it?:-) All sorts of professions have their own forums. Just the other day I was looking up a French phrase & came across a forum where professional translators hang out.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 06:44 AM   #9
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James, as Nigel intimates (and you probably knew anyway): not only create and edit your sequences in ProRes, but also set the render codec to ProRes too:
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HDV to Uncompressed?-render_pro_res_too.jpg  
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