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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #1
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Digital to DVCPRO HD Tape

I have a Canon XHA1S and while it does record to MiniDV, I have a Sony MRU which records to digital on Compact Flash. I just use tape for backup and rarely use it. For post, I use Final Cut Studio 3.

My show is going to broadcast (cable + satellite) next month and the network requires DVCPRO HD tape format only. They won't accept anything else (from what I hear this is standard for most networks).

So how do I get my HD Quicktime .MOV file off my Mac to a DVCPRO HD tape?

These are some options, but I'm open to other suggestions:

1. I dub the show back onto MiniDV tape using my cam and take it to a dupe company so they can dupe it from MiniDV to DVCPRO HD (unless I can directly submit digital format via FTP, which would be nice).

2. I buy an external DVCPRO HD recorder that can somehow easily interface with my Macbook Pro via Firewire (exists? costs?)

3. I buy a cheap DVCPRO HD cam that I only use for its tape transport -- maybe some used cam that's busted up and only the tape transport mechanism works.

Any other ideas or suggestions? I need to figure this out by the end of the month.

Thanks!
Chris
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Old January 9th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #2
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Unfortunately the network must have it on DVCPRO HD tape. There are no other delivery options.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #3
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Use option 1. That's what I've done in the past.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #4
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Unless the dup company is awfully limited in what they can handle, I'd suggest bringing them the final edited version of your show (uncompressed) on a hard drive, rather than putting it through a generation of HDV encoding to go back out to a MiniDV tape.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #5
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This is why I cannot wait to see tapeless take over. And broadcasters are wondering why they are losing market.

A DVCProHD deck rents at over $600 a day. They know that. And I can guarantee you that they dupe stuff to DVCProHD all day and could easily do that with your material if they wanted to.

If you are in a position where you can afford NOT to sell them your show, then either tell them they can have a hard drive, or they can pay you an extra $1k for having to do the dupe yourself, or they can do without.

Sorry, I just have zero patience for this kind of garbage. The broadcasters I work with bend over backwards to help me out, and I do the same for them.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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I really wonder how broadcasters stay in business sometimes. From the stories I've heard here, they sure aren't very bright about how they go about deciding what footage they will accept (DVCPRO HD footage out of an HVX200 is okay, but XDCAM EX footage from an EX1 isn't? - good grief), and they certainly don't go out of their way to make it easy for independent video production companies to bring them compelling content to air.

Recently, I took a carefully critical look at web video on local television stations' websites, and was really quite surprised at how poor it is (in a variety of ways). There's a local station here in Minnesota, that is a major broadcasting network affiliate, putting webcasts of the stories from their news broadcasts on their site, with the aspect ratio always totally horked (blows me away), just to name one notable flaw I found. I actually can't find a nearby television station that does their web video at a level of quality I would expect, from a companies who's business revolves entirely around delivering video programming to huge audiences!
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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #7
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Thanks for your answers everyone--glad you feel my pain. I'm not 100% convinced at this point that they need it in that format. If I'm outputting my HDV at 35MBps then why does it make any sense to put it on DVCPRO HD which is 100MBps? At the very least they should accept it at DVCPRO's 50MBps. I'm calling them on Monday to hopefully get a final answer.

Here's what annoys me most:

I output to an uncompressed digital format from Final Cut Pro. Then I have to put it back onto MiniDV tape, have it dubbed to DVCPRO tape, only to have the network receive it and put it back onto digital. Why, why, WHY?

I'd love to just send them a hard drive with the big ol' .MOV file on it and be done with it. It would be far easier, quicker, and cheaper. Or if the bandwidth is there, FTP the sucker.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:17 PM   #8
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If you could write it to MiniDV tape at 35Mbps (MPEG-2), that would be a heck of a lot better than giving it an extra dose of HDV compression. HDV is 24Mbps MPEG-2, which is not exactly what most folks would consider visually lossless intermediate compression. Giving it a senseless blast of HDV compression, followed up by resizing to 1280x1080 as DVCPRO HD (and including yet another generation of re-compression just for giggles) is really getting sort of brutal with the footage - almost like planning to be certain of broadcasting with far less than ideal image quality.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #9
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Okay, I hate to pick on people but... If you are going to do network TV shows, maybe you might want to include someone on your crew that is familiar with doing network TV. Broadcast television stations / networks have set broadcast standards and workflows in place. Ask for their spec sheet and follow it. I also for your sake hope you have someone with QC experience on staff, as it would be really bad if you submitted your product only to have the networks quality check engineer reject your product for being outside of broadcast spec, and you miss your air run.

A QC engineer will rejected a product for having improper bars and tone without even watching the program. I hate to sound like a pompous ass, but I have been doing this long enough to know what floats the networks boat.

All the Best!
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, David. Unfortunately I have a crew of 2 (myself and my shooter) and we're starting out with a shoestring budget for now. I wish I had the budget for that, and hope to one day. For now I'm trying to get everything done and to the network so if there are any problems there's plenty of time to address them and re-submit the tape.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #11
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Using the term Quality Control, when talking about DVCPRO HD strikes me as getting to be a bit nonsensical nowadays. DVCPRO HD may give you intra-frame only compression with 4:2:2 color, and while it was perhaps state of the art video compression technology several years ago, it is getting pretty dated and relatively weak now, from a technical quality perspective, in 2010. Let's face it, DVCPRO HD is on it's last legs, as being useful in achieving defacto top-notch quality broadcasting, and demanding that material be delivered on tape is starting to get to be a wee bit like demanding delivery on film! (Obviously, the tape/film analogy is a bit of an overstatement, but it makes the point.)
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #12
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It's a two way street. Broadcasters do need to have reasonable standards, of course, and content producers need to deliver content that meets reasonable standards. The keyword is reasonable, rather than stifling and/or downright counterproductive.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
Using the term Quality Control, when talking about DVCPRO HD strikes me as getting to be a bit nonsensical nowadays. DVCPRO HD may give you intra-frame only compression with 4:2:2 color, and while it was perhaps state of the art video compression technology several years ago, it is getting pretty dated and relatively weak now, from a technical quality perspective, in 2010. Let's face it, DVCPRO HD is on it's last legs, as being useful in achieving defacto top-notch quality broadcasting, and demanding that material be delivered on tape is starting to get to be a wee bit like demanding delivery on film! (Obviously, the tape/film analogy is a bit of an overstatement, but it makes the point.)
Broadcast quality control has nothing to do with your opinion of tape formats Robert,
and everything to do with providing a product that complies to broadcast guidelines for luminance, chrominance, and audio values. If a broadcast provider asks for a -20db head tone and you give them -12db then your product is out of spec. Simple as that!
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Old January 10th, 2010, 01:04 PM   #14
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Chris, I see you are in my old hometown of SD.
My advice would be to find a local production/transfer house and work out a deal with them doing the transfers to the required format.

Good Luck with your show!
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Old January 10th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #15
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Arbitrary standards are just that, arbitrary. Really controlling quality has to do with getting a 1920x1080i60 or 1280x720p60 4:2:0 MPEG-2 encoded video stream out on the air. Demanding that material (that will be broadcast as 60i) be delivered in a format that only provides 1280 vertical lines of luminance information doesn't exactly suit the ATSC broadcast standard very well (that 1280 is only 2/3 of 1920 is not a matter of opinion). That's far more an arbitrary standard nowadays, than a quality standard, whether or not the zeros or ones are delivered on tape, P2 card, hard drive or clay tablet. Demanding tape is arbitrary, and arguably a bit nutty. How many networks themselves are even buying new cameras that shoot tape nowadays?
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