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Old April 10th, 2006, 06:37 PM   #1
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What codec and resolution to use?

hi all!

i'm doing pre-production on video-content for a 6 projektor stage-design...each projektor will be SXGA, shooting at one of its six corresponding 10' diameter round screens.

to plan the synchronization of the video loops with the music, i need to be able to visualize all six video loops/tracks simultaneously...the video-servers we'll be using can only do one output each, so it's impractical/impossible to preview all 6 clips simultaneously at this stage (something we won't be able to do until rehearsals/programming).

so in the meantime i'm trying to find a way to preview all six streams together and was wondering whether Final Cut Pro 5 can do it? i have a Dual G5 2GHz with 4GB of RAM, and a 3 disk SATA RAID0 array (3x200GB), so disk-throughput and memory bandwidth shouldn't be a huge issue.

sorry to be so long-winded...just wanna make sure i ask the question without leaving a lot of room for doubt.

most material will either come from my JVC HD10U (MPEG2 Transport Streams), or from a series of still-images (scanned and photographed)...so now the questions become:

- what codec should i use to compress those clips to for fastest display on the timeline alongside 5 other clips (6 total)?

- any chance of running the 6 screens at once in something larger than anamorphic NTSC (720P or 1080i/P)?

let's leave it at that for the moment...i would really appreciate some pointers as to how to start.
Till Krueger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 10th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #2
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If you put all 6 clips on the timeline then resize them so each one is small and takes up a sixth of the frame, you should be able to play back without issues and you can always render them if it's too slow.
If this isn't what you want to do, please let me know. Hope this helps.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 10:24 PM   #3
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thanks for the encouraging answer.

does it matter what format i'm using? is one codec/project setting significantly faster for something like this than another? or is HDV my best choice (720P or 1080i)?

if the 6 streams are - let's say - 1 minute HDV loops (straight from the JVC HD10U) and my project setting is HDV 720P, would it only pull in enough pixels from each re-scaled loop to keep up real-time playback? it's very important all this happens in real-time, because we will have to test so many edits/transitions...

but if a system like mine can keep up with 6 streams of HDV all re-scaled to 1/6th. size (3 across the top, 3 across the bottom), then i think that would work...

do you know whether 720P clips can be embedded within a 1080i project?

thanks in advance for being patient with my many questions.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 10:42 PM   #4
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I've never tried playing back more than one HDV clip at the same time - every time I've done that it was with regular DV, but I would give it a try.
You will definitly be able to play back 6 DV clips in realtime - I've done that, so if it does end up not playing back smoothly, just create low res versions for editing and then when you're happy, just go back to the high res stuff, render it and it should play back quite nicely.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #5
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thanks Andrew...i'll have to set up a test scene with 6 HDV clips and see whether my system can keep up...if not, i'll move down to DV and try to get it done that way.

in my mind, it's kind of complicated to figure out what the best combination between disk-throughput and memory/CPU throughput is...i guess using uncompressed footage would keep the CPU mostly unphased (no-decoding), but the harddisks could not keep up with 6 streams of uncompressed data...on the other hand, using something like h.264 would not stress disk-throughput too much, but the decoding would be too complex to keep up with 6 streams.

maybe HDV is the best in-between solution...especially since the source footage is basically HDV...hmmm, we'll see.
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