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Old September 15th, 2006, 09:25 PM   #1
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Working with AIC versus other codecs

I was at a demo of HDV to 35mm yesterday aat DuArt and the informative gentleman running the demo said that they prefer the AIC codec in Final Cut for film out. I did some experimenting and I felt that AIC was more artifact ridden than HDV when a clip had a rendered effect such as color-correction.

This was seen by taking the same scene and applying the effect to it on a HDV timeline and on a AIC timeline.

Is this a mistake on my part?
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Old September 15th, 2006, 10:23 PM   #2
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No, I don't think so personally.

Using AIC, as convenient as it may be and therefore makes it a better flow for some, is still a recompress to a relatively low bit rate codec. I can't imagine on what planet this is "better", strictly qualitatively speaking.

When talking about FCP and recent Mac hardware, I can't for the life of me understand how HDV gets this "don't use it, it's bad" mentality. I'll spell out for anybody reading (not necessarily you, William) the path of highest quality (and biggest convenience) in FCP:

-Ingest HDV native
-Edit in HDV native timeline. Render graphics in this timeline for temp, approvals
-When everything is locked and ready to go to tape, render out an uncompressed 8 or 10 bit Quicktime
-Bring this file back in and lay to tape.

This method insures the HDV is never recompressed to any codec, therefore keeping it as clean as humanly possible. This flow is also equal to ingesting HDV as uncompressed, and then working that way (except that eats a crapload of disk space, which I've seen high end facilities do).
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Old September 16th, 2006, 12:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver
No, I don't think so personally.

Using AIC, as convenient as it may be and therefore makes it a better flow for some, is still a recompress to a relatively low bit rate codec. I can't imagine on what planet this is "better", strictly qualitatively speaking.

When talking about FCP and recent Mac hardware, I can't for the life of me understand how HDV gets this "don't use it, it's bad" mentality. I'll spell out for anybody reading (not necessarily you, William) the path of highest quality (and biggest convenience) in FCP:

-Ingest HDV native
-Edit in HDV native timeline. Render graphics in this timeline for temp, approvals
-When everything is locked and ready to go to tape, render out an uncompressed 8 or 10 bit Quicktime
-Bring this file back in and lay to tape.

This method insures the HDV is never recompressed to any codec, therefore keeping it as clean as humanly possible. This flow is also equal to ingesting HDV as uncompressed, and then working that way (except that eats a crapload of disk space, which I've seen high end facilities do).
That makes sense to me. The render out you mention is thru Compressor or by dropping the HDV sequence onto an 8 bit timeline?

The DuArt rep also said that they only use 8 bit when rendering HD to film. Not that I intend to do a film out anytime soon except that the producer of a short that's in pre-production is worried that the short will make it to a festival that only screens film. Not that he or I have the money for a film-out.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 02:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser
That makes sense to me. The render out you mention is thru Compressor or by dropping the HDV sequence onto an 8 bit timeline?
That works too. As long as you tell it uncompressed.

This is all because of the the fact that FCP, anytime it creates a render file or an output, ALWAYS goes back to the original media files and computes in an uncompressed buffer.

It's not like an HDV timeline when exported to uncompressed is rendered to HDV codec before being converted to unc.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #5
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Thank you.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 03:15 AM   #6
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I'm using the HD-100 via firewire to capture w/ FCP.

I don't use the HDV codec simply because I experience 4 second gaps between subclips after capture.

AIC doesn't have this problem.

Rendering times are better with AIC.

I can't really see any difference in quality but also keep in mind, all my projects get downsampled to DVD so what little difference it makes in quality is not worth worrying about since you end up losing half the resolution anyway when you go to DVD.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 06:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Jaco
I don't use the HDV codec simply because I experience 4 second gaps between subclips after capture.
I find (when capturing HDV):

(a) I lose about six seconds between subclips after capture if the camera exited standby mode (after three minutes of no activity) and the drum stopped

...but...

(b) if the camera remained in standby between subclips (drum continues to rotate) - I get NO gap between subclips.

Is this others' experience?

I'm not sure if this behaviour changes when using AIC? My concern is AIC takes three times the disk space and disk bandwidth of HDV.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #8
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I personally use AIC for most of my projects (Weddings) because of the 4-6 second gap in clips that was mentioned. I get it no matter what the camera status was, even if I just clicked it off for a couple seconds.

I've shot a couple of narrative pieces where it hasn't mattered, since I knew about it, and was prerolling anyways. Weddings don't always allow the option of preroll, though. With AIC, there's no gap, that I've noticed.

There have been a couple of discussions on AIC vs. Native HDV around here. One of the topics that has come up is that AIC seems to play very nicely with the HD100 and its progressive frames, but doesn't play as nicely with interlaced footage.

I'd say it all comes down to your needs. Both codecs seem to have their advantages. AIC seems to render a bit faster, and it doesn't have the breaks in the clips, which is nice if you don't have the luxury of preroll. However, AIC is also farkin huge, compared to HDV on disk.

In my personal experience, I have not noticed a significant difference between native HDV and AIC, coming out of my HD100. Your milage may vary based on your camera. But I do definitely agree with Nate that the path of highest quality is Native HDV to Uncompressed.
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