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Old January 9th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #1
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4 possible solutions for converting HDV to DVCPro HD

I'm currently working at a company (all Macs w/FCP) where we routinely have to mix HDV (Z1U via the M10U) and DVCPro HD in the same timeline and that can be a bit of a headache (heck, IMO working w/HDV alone is a bit of a headache) especially sense we typically have quick turn around times (most pieces get turned around in a day). I've narrowed it down to three options for converting the HDV into DVCPro HD and I'm looking for some feedback.

1. Transcode using FCP:
Pro: No need for additional hardware or software purchases
Con: Very time consuming to dig the media then transcode it

2. Blackmagic's Intensity card:
Pro: Very cheap and will convert to DVCPro HD in real time while capturing
Con: Will need to purchase cameras/decks w/HDMI, no way to keep source TC (AFAIK), most of our machines do not have PCIe slots

3. Blackmagic Decklink HD Extreme
Pro: Convert DVCPro HD in RT while capturing, keep source TC using the Miranda HDV-to-HDSDI box
Con: Price, no source TC w/o buying the Miranda HDV-to-HDSDI box (AFAIK), most of our machines do not have PCIe slots

4. I've also looked at using the Apple Intermediate Codec just so we can get rid of editing in HDV all together, but the workflow seems less than great (no source TC, no ability to log and capture, AIC not so hot transcoding interlaced HDV) and we'd still have the slowdown of mixing AIC and DVCPro HD in the same timeline.

For our workflow currently (and for the foreseeable future) not having source TC isn't that bad. But I'm just very opposed to losing that "connection" between the media on the xSan and the master tapes (I have a sinking feeling that it'll bite us in the butt down the road).

Any and all thoughts are welcome. If I've over looked something (or if I've stated something that's incorrect) please lemme know.


-A
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Old January 9th, 2007, 01:52 PM   #2
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Greetings Andrew,

Have you taken a look at BitJazz's Sheer codec? I recently purchased this product and have started using it for conversions into "uncompressed" codecs and you can immediately see a difference in quality. I was floored actually at the quality to cost ratio.

BitJazz has a free trial version available on their website so yo can play with it to see if it fits your workflow. After tinkering with it for the week I've had it, I'm sold!

Tim
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Old January 9th, 2007, 02:12 PM   #3
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Which problems has editing in HDV ??
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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #4
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It is (apparently, never used it myself) very slow.

To edit in a finishing codec (mpeg-2) has some obvious disadvantages (non i-frame) And render times seems hilarious.

It's not a standarised codec (like DV is) Each company seems to have its own flavour.

'Cept from that, I guess its ok.

Gunleik
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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:52 PM   #5
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Tim Brown,
I have not looked into BitJazz. I don't think it's what I'm looking for here *but* I do think it might help in another bottle neck I've been trying to solve (editors on Macs outputting high quality files to hand off to the compression team who are on PCs). I'm definitely going to read up more on BitJazz.

Bjørn,
The problems we've been having are speed related. Compared to DV and DVCPro HD (the other two formats we work with a lot) HDV is very slow to render, has fewer RT streams available, and is just a PITA to work with if we have to mix formats in the same timeline. Our deadlines are so tight that waiting for HDV makes us want to pull our hair out at times.


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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #6
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Gunleik,

There are HDV standards, it's just that they are incompatible and occasionally tweaked. ;) Sony uses HDV 2, JVC uses HDV 1, and Canon (IIRC) uses HDV 2, but it's 24f mode is not standard to HDV 2.


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Old January 10th, 2007, 06:49 AM   #7
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Sorta not too far from my point -;)

they all uses mpeg2 compression, just sorta differently.

Different GOP length, progressive/interlaced and the f/p thingy.

Cept from that, they seem pretty similar -;)
And I guess they are standards, just slightly different ones that give the NLE manufcturers grim smiles:

"Yep. That image looks real good out of the camera..."

Back to work on a new codec tweak.

BTW
DVCPRO HD works like a charm, all the time.


Gunleik
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Old January 10th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #8
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I use DVHS-Cap to capture M2T from my HD100 and mpeg steamclip to convert to DVCPro HD for the very same reasons - HDV rendering times and RT effects on the timeline.

I'd love a capture card, but I also do not have PCIe slots in my Mac - only PCI.
AJA Kona LH is the only option. A little more expensive than the Blackmagic.



Andrew
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Old January 17th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #9
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I've talked to a couple of people at Blackmagic and the Intensity is supposed to be able to capture TC (and give you deck control) via FW. So HDMI for a/v and FW for TC.

I'm in the process of trying to wrangler up a camera/deck w/HDMI so I can do some tests to see if the Intensity performs as advertised. I'll post back w/my findings.


-A
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #10
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Question for Tim Brown.

Is Bitjazz similar to MPEG Streamclip? How does it compare? I have taken your advice and downloaded the demo.

Many thanks.

Harry
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Old January 17th, 2007, 04:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Bromley-Davenport
Question for Tim Brown.

Is Bitjazz similar to MPEG Streamclip? How does it compare? I have taken your advice and downloaded the demo.

Many thanks.

Harry
Harry what version of FCP are you using and are you on a Mac Pro?

I have transitioned from the PC world where I used Cineforms Prospect HD [converts HD-SDI from a Blackmagic or Aja video card to the Cineform AVI file format] and AspectHD that converted HDV via firewire to the same codec.

This enabled me to create a work flow that was very easy to mix and match different HD standards with relative ease and much better quality than what I've seen from DVCProHD. The final HD output is amazing and the downconvert for SD-DVD was equally amazing.

I'm hoping that the Bitjazz codec works the same way. Please share your experiences of your evaluation with us.

Thanks

P.S. I read on one of the user groups that Graeme Nattress did a review of this product. Graeme would you mind sharing what you learned about Bitjazz and whether/under what circumstances you would recommend it.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 06:11 PM   #12
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I'm using FCP 5.0.4 but awaiting delivery of the crossgrade disks to 5.1x
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