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Old June 27th, 2007, 12:14 PM   #1
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Should AIC project export faster than an HDV project?

I'm working with FCP 5.1.4 on a MBP 2.16GHz with 2G RAM. I took one project shot with an HDV camera and captured the footage as HDV and edited it as HDV. I took a second project shot with the same camera, and this time captured the footage using the Apple Intermediate Codec setting, and edited as such.

I don't see much difference while editing, except that the AIC project seems to render a little faster, perhaps. But when printing to tape, the AIC project seems to take longer due to the "transcoding to HDV" step.

And when I export these projects via compressor to either SD mpeg or HD-DVD mpeg, I don't see any difference in exporting time. Both export at roughly 11:1 time.

Is there something wrong? Should the AIC project export faster?
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Old June 27th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #2
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Hey there

According to my information, which may not be comprehensive, AIC is not a long GOP format.

This means that, unlike HDV, the coding doesn't rely on a long Group of Pictures and so should translate to other (non-GOP) formats more quickly, once you translated the HDV into AIC on ingest.

So if you're using Livetype, Motion, Shake, AE or the like, the AIC format doesn't need further decoding, you can take the files straight over and work in the other programs, then bring them back into FCP directly.

Now, if you're going back out to an AIC Quicktime movie, then obviously no further coding is requred.

But if you're outputting to MPEG or other formats, then whatever format you're in will have to be re-coded, and this is what takes the time.

Even if you use a hardware coder, like an Aja Kona card, the process is faster, but it still has to be done.

Apparently the HDV codec is slightly slower in an edit, but usually my FCP is sitting waiting for the monkey to make up its mind and press the keys anyway, so for my money that's a wash.

I've edited TV shows on HDV and AIC, not much practical difference between them. There's a slightly longer wait to go out to Motion or Shake and back, but that's a coffee break, as far as I'm concerned.

On the final output I'm either going to DVD or transcoding anyway, so again that's an overnight render or Compressor deal so I'm not sitting and waiting for it.

FWIW I'm ingesting and transcoding into DVDPro HD these days, which I think gives me a cleaner image (and impresses my clients more), but then again most of my work is SD anyway, and I only really do this to impress the people who are cutting the checks.

Plus when an HD job comes in that actually requires HD broadcast or BluRays, then I don't have to change my work flow, drive capacity estimates, price and time quotes, etc. for that particular job, since all my post gear is HD friendly these days anyway.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 03:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for that response, Chris, that helps a lot. Since I do very little in terms of effects, etc. -- my work is mostly straight cuts and a few titles and dissolves -- then AIC probably won't offer any advantage.

When you say:

"FWIW I'm ingesting and transcoding into DVDPro HD these days, which I think gives me a cleaner image (and impresses my clients more), but then again most of my work is SD anyway, and I only really do this to impress the people who are cutting the checks."

Are you starting with HDV material, and then converting to DVCPro HD, and eventually exporting to SD?
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Old June 27th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #4
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Exactly. Mostly the HDV footage goes straight up to DVCPro HD because the TV shows I do tend to have quite a bit of effecting on them, one way or the other.
Either they're reality or game based TV shows, with many layers of graphics, or they're scripted drama, in which case I'm using film look post effects, color correction, filter plug ins, etc. Even with a fast graphics card, that can take awhile, so might as well try to get the most out of the codec while I'm there.

If it's a tape project I'll shoot HDV minimum anyway, even for SD, take it all the way through on DVC Pro HD, present to the clients in HD, and then downconvert the masters through an output card, and make DVD copies through Compressor and then to DVD Pro.
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