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Old July 22nd, 2008, 09:01 AM   #1
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HDV to DVD Release Workflow help

Hi
I've just shot a feature in HDV 720/25p (on a JVC 111E) and it's intended for DVD release (PAL). However, I want to keep the best resolution and quality possible because I also want to have a Blu-ray version (present, along with the DVD) and a possible film-out option (for the future - no budget for this at present).

The edit will probably be on FCP, and compositing & chroma work will be on After Effects. I also have a 45 second 3D animation on 3Ds Max. Probably, I'll be using the ProRes 422 codec to edit in FCP. My editor uses a Macbook Pro and I use a laptop PC. Hence the FCP and AE mix, instead of Shake.

What is the best workflow solution? I can't afford Cineform. I've used the trial version and it works great on the Premiere Pro, but since I'm going FCP way and it has its own 'lossless' codec, I figure why bother. So, in all likelihood, there is no way I'm changing any of the software I mentioned above, cause I'm stuck with it.

How do I get files from FCP to After Effects and 3Ds Max and back? Will ProRes hold up and is it compatible with AE and 3D Max? Or should I change ProRes to something else, import the footage into AE and then render out to something else? I've been reading a lot of posts, and the more I read, the more confused I become. So, I guess I'm stuck! I would appreciate any help in this regard. Thanks!
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 09:18 PM   #2
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Realistically your biggest concern is ensuring that your edit and tape logging records accurate timecode so you can produce an EDL that will work for a more sophisticated post house if you get the money to do a high end grade/DI at a later date before going to a film out.

For DVD release assuming you are handling the duplication/replication ProRes is certainly a good intermediate format that you will not need to go back to an online from, less true if you are looking at doing an expensive DI and film out.

Ideally all your graphics and effects should be output in an uncompressed format, then conformed to Prores for your edit.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 09:39 AM   #3
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Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
Realistically your biggest concern is ensuring that your edit and tape logging records accurate timecode so you can produce an EDL that will work for a more sophisticated post house if you get the money to do a high end grade/DI at a later date before going to a film out.

For DVD release assuming you are handling the duplication/replication ProRes is certainly a good intermediate format that you will not need to go back to an online from, less true if you are looking at doing an expensive DI and film out.

Ideally all your graphics and effects should be output in an uncompressed format, then conformed to Prores for your edit.
Hi
I shot without any records of timecode. I did that after some research (on forums) that it isn't really a big deal. Can a sophisticated post house manage without it? Anyway, I don't have the experience to log timecode in a way that might help anybody.

I don't think I'll be handling the replication process, assuming what you mean by that is producing multiple copies of DVDs for release. That might be outsourced. So should I keep the output format as ProRes? Is that the best possible? It's just a little confusing, but shouldn't my output be MPEG-2 DVD?

For graphics/effects, what is an uncompressed format? Since I'm using AE, what would that be? And will it be a different format for 3D Max? Can I match various formats in the FCP timeline and still work with ProRes?
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Old July 24th, 2008, 06:26 AM   #4
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Hi Sareesh, this is going to be a bit of a long reply because what you are hoping to achieve is a LONG way from where you are at - and as such there is a lot you need to understand.

First thing is the importance of timecode in an OFFLINE/ONLINE workflow.

You don't necessarily need to have recorded timecode on the day manually - as timecode will have been recorded in your camera on your tapes. Even the time code on your tapes will be of a big advantage if you want to Online Edit at a later date (in fact doing an Online edit without time code being correctly on the tapes is practically impossible, as it means manually making every single cut again).

What I mean by an Online Edit is when you take all your original tapes, footage and media in your edit to a high end production house - who then reassembles your entire film using an EDL (Edit Decision List) or your original Final Cut Project, but instead of ingesting media in a compressed form such as HDV or ProRess it's ingested as uncompressed 10Bit Video.

The advantage of doing this, is once your entire film has been reassembled in this format, any further alterations or changes (such as colour grades, compositing and effects) can be handled at the highest quality possible - ensuring there will be no further degradation of footage in terms of recompressing already compressed video.

This requires very powerful computers and ridiculous amounts of storage - but it also requires that there is a way for the computer to automatically reassemble and restore all the origin footage from the tapes - this is where numbering your tapes accurately and making sure you capture the timecode from your tapes is VITAL. Without it your EDL won't work, and you will not be able to do an online.

If you can not online edit your film you will not be able to do the highest quality transitions, effects etc possible WITHIN the edit - because you will be limited to the quality of the compressed codec your original timeline is exported at as your highest possible quality.

With ProRes this is not a terrible situation - as ProRes is a very good codec - but it's not the best situation possible - the best situation being doing an online edit from uncompressed digitization of the master media. (Uncompressed video in Final Cut can be seen by exporting from Final Cut using the None setting under compression in Export to Quicktime/using quicktime conversion). Uncompressed video is VERY large

Assuming you can not get your timecode to capture probably (a possibility of HDV - robust timecode isn't a hallmark of the format.) then the next best thing you can do is keep ALL your effects and transitions as uncompressed video (with handles), and keeping two versions of your timeline - one that has all the effects and transitionsadded to the timeline (at which point they will need to be Rendered into ProRes to play back on the timeline) and one that has none of the effects shots added.

This way, when you finish the film, you will be able to take the timeline without the effects or transitions on it, export that as uncompressed, then export all the separate effects and transition shots with handles as uncompressed, reasse,ble all that at a top notch post house and then do your grade to keep the maximum quality in the grade.

Finally, you could simply edit everything in Prores HQ, export all your effects as prores HQ, and have a master final in prores HQ, then export an uncompressed version of the film to grade from there. However grading this becomes very difficult if you have lots off dissolves/transitions other than straight cuts.

Maya,Ater Effects and Final Cut can all render to uncompressed Quicktime Video or Apple Animation Codec or TIFF Sequence - all of which should suffice.

Once you have your finished, graded, master the next step is to simply Encode the highest quality video version you have to M2V and that will then be your DVD master M2V for Authoring purposes, and the supplying a master they will use to upscale/transfer to film/BluRay.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 03:22 AM   #5
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
Hi Sareesh, this is going to be a bit of a long reply because what you are hoping to achieve is a LONG way from where you are at - and as such there is a lot you need to understand.

First thing is the importance of timecode in an OFFLINE/ONLINE workflow.

You don't necessarily need to have recorded timecode on the day manually - as timecode will have been recorded in your camera on your tapes. Even the time code on your tapes will be of a big advantage if you want to Online Edit at a later date (in fact doing an Online edit without time code being correctly on the tapes is practically impossible, as it means manually making every single cut again).

What I mean by an Online Edit is when you take all your original tapes, footage and media in your edit to a high end production house - who then reassembles your entire film using an EDL (Edit Decision List) or your original Final Cut Project, but instead of ingesting media in a compressed form such as HDV or ProRess it's ingested as uncompressed 10Bit Video.

The advantage of doing this, is once your entire film has been reassembled in this format, any further alterations or changes (such as colour grades, compositing and effects) can be handled at the highest quality possible - ensuring there will be no further degradation of footage in terms of recompressing already compressed video.

This requires very powerful computers and ridiculous amounts of storage - but it also requires that there is a way for the computer to automatically reassemble and restore all the origin footage from the tapes - this is where numbering your tapes accurately and making sure you capture the timecode from your tapes is VITAL. Without it your EDL won't work, and you will not be able to do an online.

If you can not online edit your film you will not be able to do the highest quality transitions, effects etc possible WITHIN the edit - because you will be limited to the quality of the compressed codec your original timeline is exported at as your highest possible quality.

With ProRes this is not a terrible situation - as ProRes is a very good codec - but it's not the best situation possible - the best situation being doing an online edit from uncompressed digitization of the master media. (Uncompressed video in Final Cut can be seen by exporting from Final Cut using the None setting under compression in Export to Quicktime/using quicktime conversion). Uncompressed video is VERY large

Assuming you can not get your timecode to capture probably (a possibility of HDV - robust timecode isn't a hallmark of the format.) then the next best thing you can do is keep ALL your effects and transitions as uncompressed video (with handles), and keeping two versions of your timeline - one that has all the effects and transitionsadded to the timeline (at which point they will need to be Rendered into ProRes to play back on the timeline) and one that has none of the effects shots added.

This way, when you finish the film, you will be able to take the timeline without the effects or transitions on it, export that as uncompressed, then export all the separate effects and transition shots with handles as uncompressed, reasse,ble all that at a top notch post house and then do your grade to keep the maximum quality in the grade.

Finally, you could simply edit everything in Prores HQ, export all your effects as prores HQ, and have a master final in prores HQ, then export an uncompressed version of the film to grade from there. However grading this becomes very difficult if you have lots off dissolves/transitions other than straight cuts.

Maya,Ater Effects and Final Cut can all render to uncompressed Quicktime Video or Apple Animation Codec or TIFF Sequence - all of which should suffice.

Once you have your finished, graded, master the next step is to simply Encode the highest quality video version you have to M2V and that will then be your DVD master M2V for Authoring purposes, and the supplying a master they will use to upscale/transfer to film/BluRay.
Thank you for the fantastic answer. I did a bit of research myself over the last few days and here's a workflow I found. Please let me know if this makes any sense:

1. Capture *.m2t (This will consume roughly 150-170GB of storage)
2. Edit native HDV (only cuts). The assumption here is that HDV preserves 100% quality of what I've shot and I'm not losing anything. If I convert to ProRes HQ, then I will lose some amount of quality, it being a lossy intermediate, like Cineform. The only other option is Sheer, but why do I have to invest in something that I don't need?
3. Once the edit is complete, which will be around 90min of movie, I export uncompressed QT or TIFF. Which of the two do you suggest. I gathered from TIFF that this is the best because it can be read by any other software.
4. Do the animation in 3D Max and export uncompressed TIFF (or QT)?
I gather the entire movie will now take less than 300GB of HDD being uncompressed.
5. Import the movie and animation in AE, and then finish the transitions, compositing and titling, etc. Export uncompressed TIFF (or QT).
6. Import into a CC software at a professional facility (I don't have a good monitor nor do I have the eye for color). Export uncompressed HD in TIFF (or QT). This is my MASTER, I hope. This is another 300GB of HDD space. I'm adding music and sound with this, Dolby 2.1 Stereo.
7. Encode M2V for DVD. Which format do I need to encode to for the Blu-ray Master? More importantly, will the uncompressed MASTER I have above be good enough for a film-out?

Will 1TB of HDD be enough for this whole operation? Does it have to be on RAID, since I'm doing 720p?

I'm avoiding ProRes, Cineform or Sheer. I really like what they're saying about Sheer though, but for the extra file sizes, do I really need it? Maybe I'm missing something here. Do the file sizes go out the stratosphere when I'm working with them in AE? Here's the laptop I'm gonna be using for this whole operation:
Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
4GB RAM
17" HD Monitor
512MB nVidia 9560 Graphics Card
320GB of HDD for software
1TB of HDD for Video
FireWire
Please don't laugh. Where do you think I'll screw up?

I hope to wind up this issue soon, as I'll be digitizing my footage in 2-3 days!

Thanks a million for your considerate help. I've really learnt a lot of new things the last few days.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 03:25 AM   #6
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Regarding EDL

Regarding EDL, should I be noting down the Timecode manually for each cut when I've done with it in FCP? Then I'll just mark the tapes (which standard?). Then I hope for the best. Is this the best scenario, or is there a software than can make life easier? I will be working with the Editor here but I'm not sure if she is good enough with this.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 02:09 AM   #7
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Hi Shareesh, your workflow seems pretty sensible, especially up to the point where you export the film to an uncompressed format. At that point TIFF, uncompressed QT or even DPX export (this would require additional tools) would all be possibilities - best to ask the place doing the colour correction their advice first, each place will have their own preferred workflow.

As for an EDL - assuming that the HDV captures correctly and none of the tapes have timecode issues, and you label your Reels and takes etc in a sensible manner in Final Cut's Log and Capture window (note ALWAYS save your project with a sensible title before you begin capturing, and use a strong naming convention for your shots and takes etc.) then an EDL will be automatically be able to be generated by Final Cut.

If when capturing your HDV, you don't capture through Final Cut (e.g you were to use mpegstreamclip and just import the M2V files, or you had timecode issues and had to just crash record from the deck) then the EDL would not match the timecode on the tapes and an automated EDL would not work.

The advantage of manually logging your clips (with pen and paper) would be if you needed to rebuild the project (say the hard drive with the footage on it crashed and Final Cut had timecode issues while capturing, or the place you are doing an online at wants to digitize off the masters but your EDL doesn't work), you would at least know where on each tape you would be able to find each clip and the process of reassembling the timeline would be much quicker.

Given the bitrate of Uncompressed 25P 720 bitrate your final films uncompressed footage is likely to clock in somewhere around that 300GB amount, possibly more - depending on your format (TIFF, QT or DPX) and bit depth (8bit or 10bit)

You shouldn''t need RAID0 unless you want to be able to play back your uncompressed video in real time (no need to do this, for inserting your effects into your offline version, just make a compressed proxy render as a temp to see how they are working out, and use the uncompressed at the online only.)

1TB may be enough, too little or way more than enough - depending on your FX/3D shots etc.

As for final outputs - I don't know Blu-ray specs, you'll need to look them up.

As for whether the final master will be good enough for film out - no idea, but it is the BEST quality you can achieve without introducing uprezzing or other factors that can cause artifacts earlier in the pipeline so I'd say it's your best shot at having a decent transfer.

Films have had film prints done from SD footage or 16mm or various HD flavors in the past - yours will be higher res than SD, it still won't look like 35mm though - you WILL be able to tell its been blown up - but whether it's 'good enough' is totally subjective.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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Great!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
Hi Shareesh, your workflow seems pretty sensible, especially up to the point where you export the film to an uncompressed format. At that point TIFF, uncompressed QT or even DPX export (this would require additional tools) would all be possibilities - best to ask the place doing the colour correction their advice first, each place will have their own preferred workflow.

As for an EDL - assuming that the HDV captures correctly and none of the tapes have timecode issues, and you label your Reels and takes etc in a sensible manner in Final Cut's Log and Capture window (note ALWAYS save your project with a sensible title before you begin capturing, and use a strong naming convention for your shots and takes etc.) then an EDL will be automatically be able to be generated by Final Cut.

If when capturing your HDV, you don't capture through Final Cut (e.g you were to use mpegstreamclip and just import the M2V files, or you had timecode issues and had to just crash record from the deck) then the EDL would not match the timecode on the tapes and an automated EDL would not work.

The advantage of manually logging your clips (with pen and paper) would be if you needed to rebuild the project (say the hard drive with the footage on it crashed and Final Cut had timecode issues while capturing, or the place you are doing an online at wants to digitize off the masters but your EDL doesn't work), you would at least know where on each tape you would be able to find each clip and the process of reassembling the timeline would be much quicker.

Given the bitrate of Uncompressed 25P 720 bitrate your final films uncompressed footage is likely to clock in somewhere around that 300GB amount, possibly more - depending on your format (TIFF, QT or DPX) and bit depth (8bit or 10bit)

You shouldn''t need RAID0 unless you want to be able to play back your uncompressed video in real time (no need to do this, for inserting your effects into your offline version, just make a compressed proxy render as a temp to see how they are working out, and use the uncompressed at the online only.)

1TB may be enough, too little or way more than enough - depending on your FX/3D shots etc.

As for final outputs - I don't know Blu-ray specs, you'll need to look them up.

As for whether the final master will be good enough for film out - no idea, but it is the BEST quality you can achieve without introducing uprezzing or other factors that can cause artifacts earlier in the pipeline so I'd say it's your best shot at having a decent transfer.

Films have had film prints done from SD footage or 16mm or various HD flavors in the past - yours will be higher res than SD, it still won't look like 35mm though - you WILL be able to tell its been blown up - but whether it's 'good enough' is totally subjective.

Thank you for the great news! I'll most likely be capturing in FCP, Avid or in Premiere Pro - all of which takes in timecode as *.m2t. I hope I don't have any timecode issues. I'll try my best to follow your advice, and it's really music to my ears that FCP can generate an automatic EDL! However, I'll also manually log my clips during edit just to be on the safe side.

Right now, I have about 640GB of HDD, split in one internal and one external disk. I can manage the basic work with this, I guess. I always have the option of buying a 1TB WD (or Seagate) HDD with eSATA. Anyway, I don't think I'll have much problems there. I guess the only way to know for certain is to actually do it.

Thanks for confirming my workflow. This is exactly what I'm going to do then, and hope for the best. I am aware that HDV is not 35mm, but it's a decision I took a year ago to stick with HDV and I'm pretty happy with the results so far, and film-out isn't in my business model yet, it's just an option. I've heard it holds up good (At least as good as 16mm), so let's see if I ever get that lucky.

Once again let me thank you for your time and help. I truly appreciate it. I'll let you know how it all went once it's done. Thanks!
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Old August 6th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #9
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Hi Craig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
Hi Shareesh, your workflow seems pretty sensible, especially up to the point where you export the film to an uncompressed format. At that point TIFF, uncompressed QT or even DPX export (this would require additional tools) would all be possibilities - best to ask the place doing the colour correction their advice first, each place will have their own preferred workflow.

As for an EDL - assuming that the HDV captures correctly and none of the tapes have timecode issues, and you label your Reels and takes etc in a sensible manner in Final Cut's Log and Capture window (note ALWAYS save your project with a sensible title before you begin capturing, and use a strong naming convention for your shots and takes etc.) then an EDL will be automatically be able to be generated by Final Cut.

If when capturing your HDV, you don't capture through Final Cut (e.g you were to use mpegstreamclip and just import the M2V files, or you had timecode issues and had to just crash record from the deck) then the EDL would not match the timecode on the tapes and an automated EDL would not work.

The advantage of manually logging your clips (with pen and paper) would be if you needed to rebuild the project (say the hard drive with the footage on it crashed and Final Cut had timecode issues while capturing, or the place you are doing an online at wants to digitize off the masters but your EDL doesn't work), you would at least know where on each tape you would be able to find each clip and the process of reassembling the timeline would be much quicker.

Given the bitrate of Uncompressed 25P 720 bitrate your final films uncompressed footage is likely to clock in somewhere around that 300GB amount, possibly more - depending on your format (TIFF, QT or DPX) and bit depth (8bit or 10bit)

You shouldn''t need RAID0 unless you want to be able to play back your uncompressed video in real time (no need to do this, for inserting your effects into your offline version, just make a compressed proxy render as a temp to see how they are working out, and use the uncompressed at the online only.)

1TB may be enough, too little or way more than enough - depending on your FX/3D shots etc.

As for final outputs - I don't know Blu-ray specs, you'll need to look them up.

As for whether the final master will be good enough for film out - no idea, but it is the BEST quality you can achieve without introducing uprezzing or other factors that can cause artifacts earlier in the pipeline so I'd say it's your best shot at having a decent transfer.

Films have had film prints done from SD footage or 16mm or various HD flavors in the past - yours will be higher res than SD, it still won't look like 35mm though - you WILL be able to tell its been blown up - but whether it's 'good enough' is totally subjective.

I've just started the editing process and I have one question that's got me confused.

Once I accomplish my edit, I have to export the timeline to AE via XML or Automatic Duck, etc. Then do I render out a QT uncompressed from AE, import it back into AE and then continue my work?

If I work without that, won't I be using the effects in AE on HDV MPEG2? Thanks!
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