True 24p and the A1U... Can it be done? Absolutely! - A PC Users Solution at DVinfo.net

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Old May 15th, 2006, 04:17 PM   #1
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True 24p and the A1U... Can it be done? Absolutely! - A PC Users Solution

True 24p and the A1U... Can it be done? Absolutely! Is it good enough for filmouts? That depends upon the approach you take and your skills as a filmmaker.

Of course the Film look is more than just 24p footage. A DP who is experienced with film can do a great job with lighting and technique and create the film look that most are looking for and the frame rate is secondary. On the other hand, 24p output does have a look, apart from lighting and gamma, etc. That is what I am discussing here.

The good news is that the A1U does indeed create the 24 frame look in a 60i M2T file. The bad news is that the 24p frame data is created by manipulating 60i source data.

Unfortunately the 24 fps video file it creates has unacceptable motion artifacts and image degradation (loss of resolution). The problem is caused because the 24p output of the HC1/A1U/FX1/Z1U creates a 24 frame sequence which includes extra interlaced fields and reduces the resolution during the conversion of the interlaced output to a progressive 24 frame sequence. This causes unnatural motion jitter (especially in horizontal movement) and occasional interlace motion artifacts appear that are not very pleasing... nothing like true 24p.

This problem is well documented by Adam Wilt. See his article at: http://adamwilt.com/HDV/cineframe.html.

The problem is also covered in detail on the Cineform website. The article includes some examples, as well as solutions for the problem. The CineFrame 25 mode, 24p solution that offers even better results, also discussed in the article, is only available on the Z1U and the Pal version of the A1U and FX1. The Pal version of the A1U would actually make for a very nice low cost 24p solution for indie filmmakers in the US that are on a budget and want to create clean 24p HD video for the next great indie film. This solution is discussed on the Cineform website also, although they don't mention the A1U because the article was written before the A1U existed.

Go to http://cineform.com/products/SonyHDV.../CineFrame.htm for a discussion of the problem and some solutions.

Although this discussion covers the Z1U and FX1, it also applies to the A1U, HC1 and the three HDV tape decks currently offered by Sony.

There are a number of different methods available to create decent 24p footage using Sony gear and a PC. As might be expected, the better the output, the more expensive the solution.

OK - Solution 1 (no additional cost): Shoot in Cineframe 24 mode with a CineGamma of 1 or 2, and load the M2T file directly onto the timeline of Adobe Premier Pro 2. The A1U does indeed create decent 24p footage with acceptable jitter and minimal interlace artifacts, in most cases, if the motion is kept to a minimum. Try this for yourself. Also experiment with the camera's settings a bit to soften the hard edges inherent in the CineFrame 24 mode. This will improve the film look. You be the judge.

Good - Solution 2 (more expensive): Shoot in Cineframe 24 mode with a CineGamma of 1 or 2, use Cineform's Aspect HD to remove the interlace artifacts and create a 24p intermediate file which can be loaded onto the 24p timeline of Adobe Premier Pro 2. This solution reduces resolution because of the method Sony uses to create the original CineFrame 24 data (this loss of resolution also applies to solution 1). Experiment with the camera's settings a bit here also, to soften the hard edges inherent in the CineFrame 24 mode. For more info go to: http://cineform.com/products/AspectHDPPro.htm.

Better - Solution 3 (even more expensive): Shoot in standard 60i with a CineGamma of 1 or 2, create a Cineform intermediate file using Aspect HD, and then convert the file to 24p using DV Filmmaker. This solution is better because you don't lose resolution as you do with Sony's standard CineFrame 24, or Aspect HD's 24p conversion of Sony's Cineframe 24 file. For more info go to: http://www.dvfilm.com/fx1/index.htm.

Best - Solution 4 - Pal Only Camcorders:
Shoot in Cineframe 25 with a CineGamma of 1 or 2, slow the video frame rate down from 25 to 24 fps, and stretch the audio 4% to match the video using Cineform Aspect HD or Adobe After Effects to perform the conversion. You'll also need a new pal monitor if you plan do this in the US unless you don't monitor your output with anything other than the LCD or viewfinder attached to the camera.

Note to PC users: Cineform's Aspect HD solution is at least 4 times faster than native editing of HDV on Premier Pro 2.0, and since time is money, Cineform's solution along with the DV Filmmaker 24p software is probably the best way to go.

--Dave

Last edited by Dave F. Nelson; May 15th, 2006 at 11:26 PM.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 10:50 AM   #2
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and you dont care about the flickers with fluo lights by shooting pal in US?
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Old May 16th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #3
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One workaround for that problem is to simply not shoot in an area lit by fluorescents.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 04:46 PM   #4
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I have to say, I just haven't seen any 60i->24P samples that even remotely impressed me. I've downloaded samples that guys used for television spots, downloaded samples comparing different software conversions, created my own samples, etc.. It just always looks off because the 1/60th shutter speed just doesn't have the right blur of 1/48th footage. No matter how well the 24fps are created, the blur doesn't look right and it ends up looking stuttery when there's movement. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder because a lot of people really do think that 60i to 24P looks great, but for folks looking for the film look on a budget, I think a PAL camcorder is the way to go when a true 24P cam isn't available.

I sure wish Sony had made the A1U 50/60i switchable like the Z1. I bet Sony would have sold a LOT of these units to folks that need to use them for wedding and event coverage to pay the bills and then switch them to PAL mode for weekend warrior film making. Sheesh.. how hard can it be to create a decent HDV 1CCD/CMOS camera with some selectable frame rates and - gasp - maybe even real progressive scan. OK, I'm about to go ranting now, signing off..

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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thierry H. Fortier
and you dont care about the flickers with fluo lights by shooting pal in US?
You are right about the flicker from florescent fixtures. I assume that anyone interested in a low cost 24p production for a documentary or indie would want to control all aspects of lighting, and would only shoot under controlled conditions.

I don't recommend the use of a Pal camcorder in the US for normal video work.

Owners of the Z1 have this capability built in so switching between 60i and 50i is just a switch and a reboot.

If you are curious about shooting for 24p and outputing to film using the the Z1U, or the Pal version of the A1U, or FX1, visit the following link at DV.COM: http://dv.com/print_me.jhtml;jsessio...leId=174900673

You have to sign up to read the article but registration is free.

I own both an A1U and a Z1U, but the A1U is a US version. I am working on a documentary and have employed this technique to generate 24p footage.

Personally I find the workflow to be a hastle, and since money isn't that much of a problem and the camera is only a small portion of what I have into the documentary, I want to make a switch a new camera.

I also have access to a Canon XL-H1 and prefer the 24p output I have shot from this camera and I don't have to go through the hastle of all the conversions.

I am waiting for more info and sample footage shot with the new Sony PDW-F330 XDCAM HD camera. I will purchase one of these to complete the project after I have had time to evaluate the output of the PDW-F330. I would like to get my hands on the Sony for a week or so to test it and compare footage to the XL-H1, but can't afford the high rental fees at this time.

I am also waiting for the Texas HD Shootout to be published to find out what these people have discovered in their testing.

--Dave
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Old May 16th, 2006, 07:05 PM   #6
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Thanks Dave! So the straight up worklow essentially works pretty well then. Cool.
You're right, there are a few hassles using a camera like the A1U, but not too bad of a tradeoff for camera that comes in under 2K. And for the price I'm still wowed.

Now for the big question... Have you actually taken A1U output to film? If so, how did it look compared to stuff shot using let's say DVX100s and transfered?
Ya know. The good, the bad and the ugly of it all. Heh.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 08:38 PM   #7
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I think these solutions are great and very worth while. and if your shooting cineframe 24 in the a1u, is it still possible to adjust the shutter speed? that way, you can find what best replicates a true 180 degree shutter.

To add to the rant, i think the people at Sony are just retarded or they are trying to keep us in the dark by selling us yesterday's technology. (the latter is probally correct). I think its hilarious how they've taken a cmos sensor, which in current network high resolution cameras, and usb 2.0 cameras are nativaly PROGRESSIVE by default, and turned it into something INTERLACED! CMOS sensors are capable of shooting fps from 1 fps - whatever the max readout on the chip is. So the Sony A1u (or HC3) could have choosable fps of 2p, 4p, 6p, 8p , .... 18p , 24p , 26p, 28p, 30p. I know they have to record to 60i tape. but well.... this is already possible. DANG SONY!!! and your stupid marketing schemes. I wouldnt want to buy a high resolution big screen tv that didnt have manual menu controls! Why buy a camera that shoots beautiful picture, but only for static shots. Alright, im done. now to kick over trashcans at Sony's headquaters.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #8
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>>>>Although this discussion covers the Z1U and FX1, it also applies to the A1U, HC1 and the three HDV tape decks currently offered by Sony.

Be aware that the HC1 doesnt actually offer "Cineframe". It has a "Cinema mode" digital effect that is a somewhat crippled version of Cineframe....no manual exposure, no cinegamma, etc.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:04 PM   #9
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Software de-interlace has always been an option. Unless you are using something very expensive you will see a loss in sharpness but not too bad. IMHO the low cost software options dont touch the in-camera stuff. The more expensive stuff costing thousands can look almost exactly the same if the motion is not too intense. So in theory, any camera can do 24P with post software but unless it does it in-camera... I wouldnt call it TRUE 24P...



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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams
I have to say, I just haven't seen any 60i->24P samples that even remotely impressed me. I've downloaded samples that guys used for television spots, downloaded samples comparing different software conversions, created my own samples, etc.. It just always looks off because the 1/60th shutter speed just doesn't have the right blur of 1/48th footage. No matter how well the 24fps are created, the blur doesn't look right and it ends up looking stuttery when there's movement. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder because a lot of people really do think that 60i to 24P looks great, but for folks looking for the film look on a budget, I think a PAL camcorder is the way to go when a true 24P cam isn't available.

I sure wish Sony had made the A1U 50/60i switchable like the Z1. I bet Sony would have sold a LOT of these units to folks that need to use them for wedding and event coverage to pay the bills and then switch them to PAL mode for weekend warrior film making. Sheesh.. how hard can it be to create a decent HDV 1CCD/CMOS camera with some selectable frame rates and - gasp - maybe even real progressive scan. OK, I'm about to go ranting now, signing off..

www.philipwilliams.com

I agree - I think Sony, plain and simple, should have had "real" 24p on their HDV cams - none of this "Cineframe" stuff.

What, does Panasonic have like a patent on having 24p on cams under $10,000, or what?

Well, at least this looks to be resolved with new AVCHD format... although, probably as has already been speculated, the Sony model that has 1080/24p probably won't be the "basic" one.

Still, better late than never!

Knowing that true 24p is coming - I'm holding off and NOT getting HDV...
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Old May 17th, 2006, 01:15 PM   #11
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Dave,

The issue is not whether you can extract 24p frames from CineFrame24 mode footage. That is trivial and can be using a number of methods.

The issue is that the CineFrame24 footage is "cherry-picked" (Adam Wilt's words) field-doubled fields from 60i. When you extract the 24p frames, they are going to have the wrong motion cadence and rather low-res footage. It's not true 24p, because it's not progressively scanned and full resolution, and also not true 24p because it is not evenly temporaly sampled.

It's debatable, but you might even be better off converting 60i to 24p in post, as long as you use the right method, it might have better resolution.

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Old May 17th, 2006, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Hickling
>>>>Although this discussion covers the Z1U and FX1, it also applies to the A1U, HC1 and the three HDV tape decks currently offered by Sony.

Be aware that the HC1 doesnt actually offer "Cineframe". It has a "Cinema mode" digital effect that is a somewhat crippled version of Cineframe....no manual exposure, no cinegamma, etc.
You are correct. I inadvertently included the HC1 in that phrase, however the title of this thread is titled A1.

Thanks for pointing that out.

--Dave
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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Howard
Thanks Dave! So the straight up worklow essentially works pretty well then. Cool.
You're right, there are a few hassles using a camera like the A1U, but not too bad of a tradeoff for camera that comes in under 2K. And for the price I'm still wowed.

Now for the big question... Have you actually taken A1U output to film? If so, how did it look compared to stuff shot using let's say DVX100s and transfered?
Ya know. The good, the bad and the ugly of it all. Heh.
No I have only created some 24p files shot with the A1U. As I said, I also have a Z1U and have the same complaints about that camera with regards to 24p output.

I am selling my Z1U as soon as I get either the XL-H1 or the new Sony PDW-F330 XDCAM HD camcorder. I haven't made up my mind which yet. I am keeping the A1U because it is compact and easy to handle.

The savings and hastles of using low end Sony cameras for 24p can not be justified in light of the minimal savings to my documentary production budget.

There are much better solutions out there if you can afford to spend the extra bucks the camcorder, which is easy for me to say. Many on this thread don't have the luxury of spending more for a camera so I am trying to say that is still possible to do 24p on the cheap with an A1U.

I would not consider doing a filmout for my project using the Sony camcorders because I have too much on the line and a the costs of a filmout for a two hour documentary dwarf any savings I would realize saving a few bucks on a camera.

The information I posted here is well known among readers of other 24p threads on DVinfo.net and elsewhere on the internet. I just wanted to point out to A1U users that this solution was possible for them too.

A reasonable 24p file truly can be created with the A1U on the cheap.

--Dave
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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:39 PM   #14
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Thanks Dave. I like the quality of the image the A1u puts out in decent lighting. And i like the idea of being in control of exposure and iris. i am going to film a short film pretty soon, and i would shoot with something like the HVX if i had the money, plus the more money for the darn p2 or a firestore. but i dont think that in a reasonable amount of time id have that money. thats why im thinking the a1u. XLR, manual controls, and cineframe 24, which i hope to extract the 24 frames from in post. My final output would be DVD, an most likely will be shown to audiences from televison or computer projectors onto silverscreens. I am worried though about the look of motion extracted from cineframe24. Will it give the audience the feeling that something is off when i do a quick-pan. perhaps that digitalized feel that just doesnt look natuaral? if someone knows how it can pass or if it looks like crap. let me know. Its one thing to extract true 24. but if it doesnt look at all right, then its no good.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Provost
Dave,

The issue is not whether you can extract 24p frames from CineFrame24 mode footage. That is trivial and can be using a number of methods.

The issue is that the CineFrame24 footage is "cherry-picked" (Adam Wilt's words) field-doubled fields from 60i. When you extract the 24p frames, they are going to have the wrong motion cadence and rather low-res footage. It's not true 24p, because it's not progressively scanned and full resolution, and also not true 24p because it is not evenly temporaly sampled.

It's debatable, but you might even be better off converting 60i to 24p in post, as long as you use the right method, it might have better resolution.

Josh
You are correct. In my solution 3, I was advocating exactly that, but the key to doing 3.2 pulldown without loosing resolution in the process is using DVFilm's DVFilmMaker software.

As I mentioned before, see this link for more details: http://www.dvfilm.com/fx1/index.htm

--Dave
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