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Old November 2nd, 2003, 08:12 AM   #1
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Workflow/productivity questions for Steve Mullen

Steve, I have just a couple of questions:

1) I have a good handle on the HDCinema workflow, and I am a little concerned about productivity because of the size of my project. There are at least 3 steps to get the footage to work in FCP. In my last documentary there were 948 cuts in the 48 min film. Is it going to be hell having to go through this process for each cut? Would it help to capture long blocks of footage so I could make multiple cuts from a single clip? suggestions? (my new doc has 3x the source footage)

2) I'm always concerned with renders/recompression. It seems like your process is the best in keep down recompressions and keeping the original integrity of the source footage -- am I missing anything? Will color correction (in the final step, after reconnecting) force an extra render?

3) are there any tests that confirm that the actual source Mpeg-2 will run/edit smoothly on a G5 DP 2gig?

4) Once Apple releases a Mpeg-2 compatable version of FCP will I be able to seemlessly switch over (assuming I'm mid-way through the project)

Thanks !!

Steven Galvano
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 11:41 AM   #2
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Re: Workflow/productivity questions for Steve Mullen

<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Galvano : Steve, I have just a couple of questions:

1) I have a good handle on the HDCinema workflow. There are at 3 steps to get the footage to work in FCP. In my last documentary there were 948 cuts in the 48 min film. Is it going to be hell having to go through this process for each cut? Would it help to capture long blocks of footage so I could make multiple cuts from a single clip? suggestions? (my new doc has 3x the source footage)

A) The number of cuts/clips has nothing to do with the 3-step process. You should capture and process in long blocks. I recommend 15-minutes, but you could do one-hour (1 tape) at a time.

Of course, you are also free to pull and process one clip at a time from the tape if you want to discard a bunch of stuff.

Conversion is done BEFORE editing. You can chop any long clip into dozens of subclips within FCP -- just like DV.

But, I suspect that you'll find HD lends itself to a more evoctive and less frenetic style of cutting. So you may not have as many cuts.

B) Moreover, the 3rd step, conversion to proxy, is a BATCH step. You can drop all your MPEG-2 clips into the app and let your Mac process them.


2) I'm always concerned with renders/recompression. It seems like your process is the best in keep down recompressions and keeping the original integrity of the source footage -- am I missing anything? Will color correction (in the final step, after reconnecting) force an extra render?

No -- there is only 1 decode, one FX process (e.g., dissolve, color-correction), and 1 recode. That was an absolute goal of mine. No intermediate codecs!


3) are there any tests that confirm that the actual source Mpeg-2 will run/edit smoothly on a G5 DP 2gig?

Paul is the only one with a DP G5 and I've asked him to run this test. So far no answer. Paul?!?


4) Once Apple releases a Mpeg-2 compatable version of FCP will I be able to seemlessly switch over (assuming I'm mid-way through the project)

Thinking about this I'd have to say no one but Apple can say HOW they plan on adding support. Or WHEN! The general belief is announce at NAB and ship in summer -- 1 year after FCP 4. But, they could hold until Sony releases a Blu-ray HDV as that MIGHT alter workflow? That could move support to fall 2004. Remember, much higher on their list is DVCPRO HD via FireWire.
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 05:02 PM   #3
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In response to the question "Will MPEG2 run smoothly on 2ghz dual G5". When playing back in the VLAN software player, yes it plays back right out of the camera, full framerate, full res, full screen, no hickups that I can see.
Will it playback smoothly in FCP? The MPEG2 TS footage out of the camera will not load and play in FCP or the Quicktime player, nor will it load and play if you demux it to MPEG2 program stream first, even if you have the Apple MPEG2 playback component installed (which I do)
I believe Steve's utility that comes with his package fixes this incompatibility bug, but I don't have that utility so I can't try it. Funnily enough though, the Mpeg2decx conversion shareware WILL load up the demuxed MPEG2 files and convert them (Using Quicktime!) to any other format,( including Pixlet, which I am very happy working with in FCP). This is very odd to me that a shareware utility can do something using Quicktime, that Quicktime cannot do on it's own! Hmmm.

One question I have on Steve's package workflow is.....at the end of the proxy process, if you've done color correction or added effects in your proxy footage, when you go to conform to your original demuxed MPEG2 HD footage, FCP is going to have to re-render the lot, which means FCP will have to decompress, render, and recompress the entire original MPEG2 footage. Surely this will give you just the same, or more of a quality loss than if you simply decompressed all of the MPEG2 footage in the first stage of the process and used that as your original footage to conform back to. I know it takes masses of hard drive space, but it seems cleaner to me, and then you don't need to put your MPEG2 through any utility to make it work with FCP, you just convert to Pixlet or anamorphic DV using Mpeg2decx as your offline (or Proxy) format. I may not be understanding Steve's process correctly here as I don't have his package, but I've done my own uncompressed HD Proxy editing in FCP using anamorphic DV as the proxy format, and it works perfectly on the bits I tried.
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 06:26 PM   #4
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Paul,

Would be great if you can get the package one way or another (Steve, for the love of God...:)


Given that I have about 75 hours of raw footage (maybe 30 will get captured), it seems like Steve's product will work best for me.
Paul, please give me your 2 cents, I know very little about Pixlet.
It sounds like you're very happy with it, it would be very valuable for us to hear more about your experience.

I one thing I do know is that it is more likely that I can use my timeline in future FCP releases if I do use Pixlet.

-Steven Galvano
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 07:14 PM   #5
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Pixlet will lower quality because you are going: MPEG2 > uncompressed > Pixlet for import > uncompressed YUV for FX > Pixlet > Export uncompressed > MPEG-2.


HDVcinema: MPEG-2 > uncompressed YUV for FX >Export uncompressed > MPEG-2.

1 cycle and only 1 cycle. Never more. It can't get any higher quality than that.


Have you gone the whole route through Pixlet and back to D-VHS or HDV and projected it big?

Paul, you've been talking about uncompressed (300GB per hour) and now about Pixlet (32GB per hour) -- neither of which enable real-time editing.


While it's neat to see if it is humanly possible to edit HDV for "free" -- the disk storage costs are huge. And, why risk quality loss after shooting HD? (See Alex posting on the filter action of Pixlet that blurs fine detail.)
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 07:35 PM   #6
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<<<-- Funnily enough though, the Mpeg2decx conversion shareware WILL load up the demuxed MPEG2 files and convert them (Using Quicktime!) to any other format,( including Pixlet, which I am very happy working with in FCP). This is very odd to me that a shareware utility can do something using Quicktime, that Quicktime cannot do on it's own! Hmmm.
-->>>

That's because there is a fundamental file incompatibility between Apple and JVC.

And yes, my package fixes this.

It looks like a 2GHz DP G5 is the entry point for smooth HD MPEG-2 playback.

This is what i expected. Apple's HDV solution will likely mandate a MIMIMUM PowerMac being a DP G5. Kinda leaves me out! :)

Of course, by the time of FCP 5 Apple has promised a 3GHz G5!!!
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 07:53 PM   #7
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Steve,

If the Mpeg-2 runs smoothly on the G5 DP and I get one, how will that simplfy my workflow? Would you still recommend working with the proxy?

-Steve Galvano
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Old November 2nd, 2003, 10:27 PM   #8
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You'll still:

1) capture
2) demux
3) convert audio to AIFF
4) convert from JVC MPEG-2 to Apple MPEG-2

So you save the convert to Proxy. But, the cost of this saving is no real-time editing.

But I'd still get the 2GHZ DP!
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