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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:12 PM   #1
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Help, can't find a card to work for external grading monitor?

Help, can't find a card to work for external grading monitor?

Okay guys, please note I'm in England, UK which means PAL.

Have latest Mac Pro system with latest FCP suite.

Footage shot on JVC GY-HD111E in 720p/25p mode. FCP supports this and I've imported footage. It's really important that people replying to this post with advise totally understand that we are talking 720p/25p here and Not 720p/50 or 24 or 30 or anything else, but 720p/25p.

I can't figure out how I can feed the FCP timeline to my external SD 15-inch JVC monitor for grading. I'm working with a native HDV 720p/25p timeline in FCP, footage was imported via FireWire. Final footage will be exported via FireWire to a native HDV 720p/25p deck. So HDV all the way.

I bought a Blackmagic Decklink HD Extreme card, but it does not output 720p/25p to external monitor; they don't support it and won't be either.

Can anyone advise me how I can get a feed out of Mac Pro FCP timeline to my external SD monitor for colour grading purposes?

I'm working in native HDV 720p/25p FCP timeline so whatever the solution it will have to be able to down-convert this signal to Standard Def as it is a Standard Def monitor.

I did post this message on the Final Cut Pro section, but all the answers that came back were simply recommending cards that don't support 720p/25p, so I don't know why they even bothered recommending them. One guy even recommended a Matrox MXO, but again, if he checked their web site he would have seen that the MXP does NOT support 720p/25p.

Sorry to sound narky on this, but I have 10 hours of footage for a programme I've spent 6 months shooting and their appears to be no way I can use an external CRT grade A monitor for colour grading and I'm buggered if I'll do colour grading on a 23" Apple Cimema display as they are simply no good for this purpose.

Please note I don't want suggestions like using HD-Connect box or a DVCPROHD timeline etc etc, I'm native HDV 720p/25p from beginning to end.

I'm going mad here so I would really appreciate any help that could lead to a solution.

Thank you in advance.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #2
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I use the Apple DVI to Video adapter for monitoring 720p25 on a regular TV set. The TV works as second display on the mac, being that you can calibrate it just like your primary display (gamma,colour,etc...).

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...nMore=M9267G/A
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #3
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I take it you need two seperate DVI outputs from your Mac Pro to do this right, one for your Apple cinema display and the other for this cable you mention going to a CRT monitor or TV?

Is this how your system is set up?

When it is set up does the external TV or yours fill the screen and scale the HDV image down to SD 720x576 or is it simply a Final Cut Pro window that you drag around on your TV screen?

Cheers
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Cooper
I can't figure out how I can feed the FCP timeline to my external SD 15-inch JVC monitor for grading. I'm working with a native HDV 720p/25p timeline in FCP, footage was imported via FireWire. Final footage will be exported via FireWire to a native HDV 720p/25p deck. So HDV all the way.

I bought a Blackmagic Decklink HD Extreme card, but it does not output 720p/25p to external monitor; they don't support it and won't be either.

Can anyone advise me how I can get a feed out of Mac Pro FCP timeline to my external SD monitor for colour grading purposes?
Nigel,

Decklink cards perform automatic downconversion of anything to either PAL or NTSC, regardless of the source dimensions or frame rate.

Whether the decklink can perform HDV native 720P25 to PAL downconversion in real time while playing is the only question. I've never tested it, and I'm using a Decklink SP at the moment on a NTSC system so I can't test it.

For colour grading you should at least be able to look at one frame at a time and see real-time updates of colour correction adjustments.

In FCP, just select Blackmagic PAL 8-bit as your video output, and then turn on "All Frames" in External Video.

In the Blackmagic Decklink control panel (in System Preferences) you can select if your downconverted output will be anamorphic or letterboxed, and you may want to turn on "Enable Downconversion on Analog Outs" if you have connected you monitor to the analog out. Also set your output to the appropriate setting for either YRB, SDI or just Y, depending on how you have connected your monitor.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Cooper
I take it you need two seperate DVI outputs from your Mac Pro to do this right, one for your Apple cinema display and the other for this cable you mention going to a CRT monitor or TV?

Is this how your system is set up?

When it is set up does the external TV or yours fill the screen and scale the HDV image down to SD 720x576 or is it simply a Final Cut Pro window that you drag around on your TV screen?

Cheers
You need 2 DVI outputs, but your mac pro already comes with them...and that's how my system's set.
In Final Cut, on video playback select: Digital Cinema Desktop Preview - Full Screen.
The resolution of the output picture depends on whatever is set on the display's resolution, on the sytem preferences...just set it to 720x576.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #6
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Hi Tim

I did all that yesterday and it does not downconvert in real time, not even close. All I ever get is a still frame of whatever the playhead is parked on in Final Cut. Yes "All Frames" are on, but it makes no difference. The best I can get is a still frame, if I then play in the timeline the still frame remains as Final Cut plays though the timeline. Even when FCP finishes playing or I hit the space bar to pause it, the original still frame is still there. The only way I can change the frame is to click in a different place in the timeline then the frame changes to that one. So you can see this is unworkable.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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Sergio your sullution looks like it could be okay. I have a JVC 15" CRT production monitor. With this adaptor I'll have to use S-Video or Composite to go into that, but hell, at 12.99 for the adaptor it is worth a stab.

Yesterday I was looking at a Matrox MXO box which cost about 700 and it too conects up to the Apple DVI out, but you need software for this to output a broadcast signal and again, no 720p/25p in there.

Or does the Matrox MXO do a far better job?
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:25 PM   #8
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I have no idea about the Matrox, but for me it's been working just fine... Of course maybe with the Matrox you'll get better results but I think it's worth trying.
Good luck!
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #9
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I would shy away from any device that utilizes the graphics card for DVI output. There are all kinds of issues this could introduce, most notably incorrect gamma.

If you are colour grading for broadcast, use broadcast equipment. Decklink and Kona both qualify as broadcast spec ready.

Nigel, if you are getting a still frame, but not realtime playback then the issue is that Decklink simply doesn't support real-time decoding of 720P25 HDV codec. The Blackmagic team seem to add new features with every driver update, so this might be made available in the future, whether tech support says so or not.

Have you tried copying and pasting the clips in your 720P25 sequence into a PAL sequence? By doing this you are allowing FCP to handle the downconversion instead of the decklink.
Most likely rendering will be required, but on your Mac Pro I'm sure this would be a breeze.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #10
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Tim, Decklink and Kona don't support 720p/25p, nobody does. I'm more than familiar with these companies.

I hear what you are saying about dropping my HDV timeline footage into an SD sequence, but I would have to keep flicking from one timeline in SD to my HDV timeline each time. Then if I colour correct in the SD timeline, what happens when I go back to my HDV timeline, how do I colour correct there, do I simply copy the exact perimeters from colour wheel filters etc from one timeline to the other?

All the workarounds I've come up with are just too troublesome. It would be easier for me to just to out and spend 3 months re-shooting everything on XDCAM HD or some other more globally acceptable format.

For now I'll try Servio's suggestion. If the gamma is a tad out I'm not fussed, it is not for broadcast, it is for final DVD release. Besides, if the gamma is a tad out, I'll do a test to DVD and check it on monitor via DVD player to see the results then at least I can compensate a little if there are any gamma discrepancies.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #11
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Nigel,

Just one last thing...have you downloaded and installed the latest driver released last night? v5.7.2
http://www.blackmagic-design.com/support/software/

This version fully supports the Mac Pro, and may improve your downconvert monitoring situation. I'm installing it on my system now.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 05:15 PM   #12
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Tim I doubt there is any 720p/25p support for output to monitor in there as it was only yesterday Blackmagic told me they had no intention of ever getting their engineers onto this one.

Let me know what if I'm wrong though.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 08:18 AM   #13
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Hi

Great thread chaps very helpful indeed! I am looking at the same issue.

What I was hoping to do was use a DVI splitter (a cable with one dvi connection one end and two dvi Connections the other - or in a box)

Then using a dvi to component or composite converter (all quite cheap) and that going to a monitor.

Only thing I don't understand in the context of this discussion is how 720p can be displayed on an SD TV or monitor. Does the apple converter to svideo actually knock the signal down to SD or something?

Or have I lost the plot and I actually would need an HD monitor?

Another ideo Nigel is to use firewire into your camera (If you have the 101) and then component out in SD. I think that would work?

Trevor
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Old October 14th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #14
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Trevor, the computer to 101 camcorder, then component to monitor does not work. This is a HDV problem, it does not send a signal down the Firewire pipe to camera/monitor in this manner, if it was that easy I'd have done it ;)

The DVD to Video adaptor that Apple make (they make a PAL and NTSC version, so get right one) should automatically down-convert to SD signal on SD monitor. The specs on Apple site (for PAL one) are 720x576 out of the S-Video or Composite on this adaptor.

I'm buying one today and should have it Tuesday, I'll post back here with results.

I was also speaking to a Final Cut guy at Apple store who said it works fine, only the signal out of DVI is not a Broadcast RGB signal so the gamma might be out a little. This is not a problem though as you simply calibrate your monitor to colour bars coming out of Final Cut to compensate. This will only need to be done once, then you are flying.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 12:21 PM   #15
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Hi Nigel

Sorry to state the obvious, but to some of us the obvious is not so obvious!

Trevor
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