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Old October 26th, 2003, 01:23 PM   #1
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Pixlet Rocks!!

Well I've converted three clips from the HD1OU to Pixlet at best quality, 720p and I see absolutely NO LOSS IN QUALITY! in the conversion. This is an amazing codec, and without being premature, I think that this may well have solved our editing pipeline on the Mac. I will be able to try editing it in FCP later on when I get it installed so I'll let you know, but as it's now a standard Quicktime codec so I see no reason why it won't be fully editable.
Just to let you know, I used mpegtx to demux, and mpeg2decx (which uses Quicktime conversion, both shareware utilities) to convert to Pixlet directly. You will probably be able to do the conversion using Quicktime Pro instead of Mpeg2decx if you want. I'm doing this on a dual 2ghz G5 so the demuxing is really quick, the conversion to pixlet is not lightning fast on the G5, but it is acceptably fast for me, so I don't know how it will be on a slower machine. The converted Pixlet files are 3.77 times the size of the original files from the camera, so that a 57mb .m2t file becomes a 219mb .mov Pixlet file. In case I didn't mention, the Pixlet HD files play back full screen 720p at full framerate without a hitch on the G5, and it looks gorgeous!!.

Hope this helps
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Old October 26th, 2003, 02:32 PM   #2
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Sorenson 3 vs. Pixlet

Hey Paul,

I did some testing like you and found that I could do exactly what you described with a very decent quality using Sorenson 3 before, but I must be missing something.

<<You will probably be able to do the conversion using Quicktime Pro instead of Mpeg2decx if you want>>

I have the latest QT Pro 6.4 with the Mpeg addition and I still can't open m2v files produced by mpegtx. I recall reading a post from Steve Mullen who explains this very fact and that's why he wrote HDViaduct or something like that. But mpeg2decx does the job fine and as you said it uses QT so you can convert to any QT Codec you desire.

Now help me with a couple of things.

1/ In your opinion, is the HD Pixlet Codec good enough quality to use it as online HD editing? I mean the QT Pixlet is made of MPEG anyway right? Why not...

2/Once edited, how to you reconvert to MPEG transport stream usable by DVHS or VirtualDVHS to output back to a deck or your camera?

These are exiting times, editing HD on $2K solutions but I'll tell you that I already can't wait for a direct capture of HDV in FCP!!!! Converting files 3 times before putting in timeline is already getting old and expensive HD wise.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 02:37 PM   #3
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The real question is not the ability to CONVERT MPEG-2 to another codec. That's not a big deal. We've been able to convert to MPEG-4 at 1280x720 with no visible -- on your computer-screen loss -- in quality for 6 months.

The questions are four-fold:

1) Do the files you EDIT WITH take-up more or less space? Pixlet files expand by 4X. ProxyProcess files shrink by 10X. That means laptop and iMac editing is posssible with HDVcinema.

2) Can you play the files in FCP at full-speed on a G3 iBook, or a G4iMac? A dual 2GHz G5 can play uncompressed HD and is not a typical Mac. HDVcinema allows you to edit on any Mac that supports FCP v3.

3) Will FCP play FX in real-time with 1280x720 pixlet? Unless you can edit in real-time, you have taken a step backward. This is the strength of Aspect HD. It's not just another codec. It delivers real-time FX. HDVcinema preserves you ability to edit in real-time.

4) After you edit, what then? You've might spend $5000 to get back to MPEG-2 TS. And even then you can't record to your camcorder. Moreover, your source material will have gone through TWO decompression-recompression cycles. That's not something I would want to do. With HDVcinema you not only can encode to HD MPEG-2 and record back to you camcorder -- your source undergoes ONLY ONE cycle. It moves smoothly from 6-frame GOP CBR to 15-frame GOP VBR.

Frankly, I think an enoumous amount of time has been spent trying to think up ways to convert MPEG-2 to something. The real question is what's the editing process like. And what do you do then? How do you get back to videotape? How do you distribute?
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Old October 26th, 2003, 02:41 PM   #4
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Steve,

I agree with everything you wrote, but what is HDVCinema?
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Old October 26th, 2003, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Sorenson 3 vs. Pixlet

<<<-- Originally posted by Frederic Haubrich : I have the latest QT Pro 6.4 with the Mpeg addition and I still can't open m2v files produced by mpegtx. I recall reading a post from Steve Mullen who explains this very fact and that's why he wrote HDViaduct or something like that. -->>>

You are correct. And it looks like Apple didn't fix the incompatibilty problem with JVC MPEG-2 files in QT 6.4.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #6
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Pixlet ... HDVCinema ... Proxy

Steve,

I'm a bit confused here.


<<--ProxyProcess files shrink by 10X. That means laptop and iMac editing is posssible with HDVcinema.
-->>

First, using proxy (offline) HD editing. I assume you suggest to use DV proxies so you can edit using monitor output through firewire. If this is the case, what format are the source files you go back to for online?

Secondly, if Pixlet is an HD online solution wouldn't the advantage be that you could essentially delete intermediary files such as m2t and m2v used to create the Pixlet files and therefore save HD space. You would still have to edit without the luxury of viewing footage on an external monitor.

Thirdly, on a MAC, what are the options to convert final edited files back to MPEG-Transport Stream for output to camera or deck?

Thanks Steve.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 03:57 PM   #7
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HD10U Footage Online

Check this out everyone. I think this guy demonstrated that with professional lighting you can get incredible results (and some heavy color correction):

http://pro.jvc.com/pro/attributes/HDTV/enduser/4lanes.htm

Go to his site to view the footage! awesome.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 07:27 PM   #8
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Re: Pixlet ... HDVCinema ... Proxy

<<<-- Originally posted by Frederic Haubrich : -->>

First, using proxy (offline) HD editing. I assume you suggest to use DV proxies so you can edit using monitor output through firewire. If this is the case, what format are the source files you go back to for online?

It's not DV and the source files are your original HD MPEG-2 files.


Secondly, if Pixlet is an HD online solution wouldn't the advantage be that you could essentially delete intermediary files such as m2t and m2v used to create the Pixlet files and therefore save HD space.

You can always delete the TS files. Why delete compact .m2v files and keep 4X larger pixlet files? There's no space saved. You've lost space.


Thirdly, on a MAC, what are the options to convert final edited files back to MPEG-Transport Stream for output to camera or deck?

To get to a deck, $5000 for the Heuris product. To get to the camcorder, HDVcinema plus $250 additional software.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 07:51 PM   #9
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Steve,

I hope you don't mind but I want to make sure I understand this properly.

I just realized that HDVCinema is your editing solution. You've changed the name from 4HDV and that confused me.

You wrote>> "It's not DV and the source files are your original HD MPEG-2 files."

If the proxy files you work with aren't DV then I'm assuming that you can't view your footage on an NTSC monitor. Having said that, I'm sure that if you wanted to make them DV anamorphic so you could view through the firewire on an NTSC monitor that would be fine. Any HD offline format (Motion JPG HD, Sorenson HD, DV) would still be compatible with your solution.

You wrote>> "You can always delete the TS files. Why delete compact .m2v files and keep 4X larger pixlet files? There's no space saved. You've lost space."

What can you do with the .m2v files if FCP can't edit them? Keep the online Pixlet files and delete everything else.

Are you serious, the cheapest solution to get QT or m2V files convert to Mpeg Transport Stream is $350? Now I tried DVHSCap and it will play .m2t files back to the camera but the question is how can I make a .m2t file....
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Old October 26th, 2003, 08:16 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Frederic Haubrich : I'm assuming that you can't view your footage on an NTSC monitor.

It depends on your Mac. As Paul mentioned, you can see freeze frames for color correction when using FCP. But, I don't know if FCP letterboxes the widecreen video. Good question for Paul.


What can you do with the .m2v files if FCP can't edit them?

After editing you re-link the Proxy to the MPEG-2. Now you have an MPEG-2 timeline ready for export.

Are you serious, the cheapest solution to get QT or m2V files convert to Mpeg Transport Stream is $350? -->>>

My goal is to do it ALL for under $500 which seems right for a $3500 camcorder.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 08:26 PM   #11
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Final questions on the topic:

You wrote>> "After editing you re-link the Proxy to the MPEG-2. Now you have an MPEG-2 timeline ready for export."

I'm assuming that you take the .m2v files procuded from the transport stream through a process prior to using them as source for online editing with FCP. The reason being that FCP (QT) does not recognize these files to date. And now that I write this, I realize that this is the plugin you wrote that works with ffmpegX that transforms the m2t into a QuickTime friendly m2v.

I need to read your workflow again that talks about Viaduct and Bridge and so on..., could you send me the link Steve?
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Old October 27th, 2003, 01:05 AM   #12
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Here's the link you wanted:

http://www.mindspring.com/~d-v-c/

So your choices are $500 or $5000.

Oh, and only the inexpensive solution will record to your HDV camcorder.

Seems like a no brainer to me.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 08:41 PM   #13
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I'm out of my depth here but I've always wondered, you know how Final Cut has that Off line edit option so that you only have to keep low res versions of your footage on the computer while you edit and then only download the full rez versions when you're ready for them--and then only download the footage you want--could this process be applied to editing a low res version of the HD-1 footage then assembling a full-rez decompressed version?
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Old October 28th, 2003, 07:41 AM   #14
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Almost Betsy, but not exactly.

See, with HDV, the computer through firewire cannot recognize timecode, therefore you can't log your footage and capture what you've logged in a low rez mode.

What you can do however is download your footage through firewire with shareware in peices, based on what you have selected visually but not as precise as using the log and capture feature from FCP, you will then have MPEG Transport Stream files called .m2t. These files are smaller than DV by the way.

You will then have to convert these files to MPEG-2 called .m2v. Now this is the tricky part. For this process, you can use shareware or you can buy HDVCinema ($200). The advantage of HDVCinema is that it will make these .m2v (9GIG per hour!) files usable by QuickTime, therefore FCP, but you would need a heavy duty machine to be able to play these full rez HD files in FCP.

So, to come back to your original question, this is the point at which you can apply the offline process. But only with HDVCinema because other freeware transforms the .m2t files into .m2v files that AREN't usable by FCP, but I'll get back to this in a bit.

SO HDVCinema will make smaller files based on those full rez HD .m2vs that you can use in FCP (Proxies) and edit with realtime FX and full motion (30 fps). These files by the way are only 850 MB per hour. So if you compare Hard Drive requirement with DV it's smaller! .m2v + Proxies = Approx 10 GIG per hour (DV is 13 GIG per hour).

When you're finished editing, you go online using the source .m2v files. And FCP will work on its own to rebuild the project and render your material. At this point, you can choose to 'truncate' your .m2v files to keep only what you've used.

If you didn't go the HDVCinema route, you would have to convert .m2v files to another format usable by QuickTime which most likely will be much larger in size than the .m2v. So if space is an obstacle for you, HDVCinema really is the best option.

I'm going to stop here 'cause I just gave myself a headache!

I hope this help.
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Old October 28th, 2003, 08:49 AM   #15
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Steve, if Frederic described your solution correctly, it sounds atrractive.

Except that I'm working on Wintel platform.

Can you program a similar solution for Windows/Premiere Pro?
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