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Old January 30th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
During editing in FCP, every MPEG-2 frame -- it makes no difference where it is in the GOP -- is "constructed" from the appropriate "other" frames. It is a frame built from motion vectors -- not delta frames as is often wrongly described. It is a frame with full information.
Hmmm, I just rechecked and P-frames, while built from motion vectors, only store the needed information to create an image from I-Frames. This is what I call a "delta-frame". By itself it's not complete, it needs data from the last I-frame. Cutting in the middle of the GOP requires backtracking to the previous I-frame, calculate the full frame from all the vectors and render the frame. Proof of this is that if you edit with HDV and use a non-temporally-compressed codec for your sequence, like Uncompressed, after you rendered the sequence you can export it using Quicktime with "Current settings" and uncheck the "Make self-contained movie" and FCP will create a QT file in a matter of seconds. This is because it can generate a QT reference movie that links to portions of the render files, even at the level of a single frame. Try to do this with HDV as your sequence compressor, the default of FCP, and the time will be always much longer, sometimes in the range of a few hours. This is because it has to re-create the GOPs from scratch. The P-frames are not complete, stand-alone, frames. Maybe the term "delta" is not completely accurate but it's easier to understand than "P-frame" or "B-frame". Just MHO.

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ONLY if you MANUALLY render, is another codec used. With FCP 6.0.2 this codec is ProRes 422. (Many folks are unaware of the advance introduced by FCP 6!) ProRes 422 is full capable of carrying the information from HDV. There is no value to using a different codec anywhere in editing HDV.
In several situations, and I'm also trying to give a general, not-only-FCP, scenario, people assume that because the NLE supports HDV native editing, it doesn't recompress the footage. This line of thought is also supported by the old assumption in DV land. Of course we know that HDV is temporally compressed while DV is not and so the two situations cannot be linked together. But several people are unaware of this and so the HDV editing question comes up. The scenario is that you add a HDV clip to your timeline and then output the sequence. If you use FCP's defaults, at least with 5.x, your sequence's compressor will be some flavor of HDV. If you then export using the defaults FCP will use the same codec, introducing compression and transcoding.
In this regard using HDV for editing is a bad choice. Of course if you avoid exporting, with ANY codec, and use XML instead the issue is non-existent and ProRes, Cineform or Sheer are useless. Which leads back to the reason why I suggest to do all the compositing work in this way.

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You'll almost always be exporting uncompressed via HD-SDI to HDCAM or DVCPRO HD. So the export "render" is done by your VTR. (Note, FCP renders to HDV only if you record to HDV tape.)
I assume that you refer to exporting the final master. Again, all those formats are lossy, DVCPRO HD will also chop off your horizontal resolution, and should be used only by client's request. Your original comp should be exported in a completely lossless format from which you can obtain multiple versions like HDCAM, web H.264, etc.

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Compression in ProRes is done only ONCE so there is no issue of generational loss. Renders are NEVER reused.
Still, it's a lossy compression and if you use it for your output format and then compress for, say, the web or iPod, you'll be introducing transcoding. I'd rather use Uncompressed or Sheer and then deliver for the web from there. There've been tests of ProRes, I think from CML members, which showed generation loss.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone View Post
Try to do this with HDV as your sequence compressor, the default of FCP, and the time will be always much longer, sometimes in the range of a few hours.

If you use FCP's defaults, at least with 5.x, your sequence's compressor will be some flavor of HDV.

I assume that you refer to exporting the final master. Again, all those formats are lossy, DVCPRO HD will also chop off your horizontal resolution, and should be used only by client's request. Your original comp should be exported in a completely lossless format from which you can obtain multiple versions like HDCAM, web H.264, etc.
No one using HDV should be using anything but FCP 6 because it supports a CRITICAL new feature: When you choose an HDV Sequence -- you SHOULD specidy your RENDER codec as ProRes 422. That's why everything you say is obsolete. What you claim will take time no longer happens UNLESS you Print to HDV.

Media Composer and Express Pro and EDIUS have always worked this way. These NLEs always render to DNxHD or the Canopus HQ codec. Thus, with any "pro" NLE the issue you try to solve is not a problem.

Your comment about DVCPRO HD reveals a miss-reading of my post. I said "export to VTR." By definition, DVCPRO HD VTRs cut the Horizontal resolution. If you don't like that, then export to an HDCAM VTR. None of this has anything to do with HDV sources or codecs!

The only other HD output is MPEG-2, VC-1, or AVC -- all to BD or HD DVD. Nothing you do before export overcomes the loss in encoding to these codecs.

I think the fundamental issue is that to export HD you will always be exporting to something that compresses video. That's because ALL DELIVERY media, even D-5 and HDCAM SR, compress. How are you going to deliver Sheer or CineForm to PBS or Discovery?.

Even going to a film lab will be done on disk -- using Uncompressed or ProRes 422, or DNxHD.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 10:10 PM   #18
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Hi Steve.
I don't want to turn this in some sort of debate/confrontation about methodologies. You seem to feel strongly about FCP 6, I have no problem with that. As I said I tried to define a strategy for everybody to avoid transcoding with any system, FCP, Vegas, Premiere etc. I do use FCP 5.x as I didn't have the reason to upgrade to FCP 6. ProRes is not appealing to me, I don't use Motion, and I have no interest in learning Color since I can get the same result from software I already own and have been using for years. My setup might be obsolete but it delivers the same quality of high-end systems and it works on my current hardware with no additional learning curve, which is a plus when you have to design and deliver a commercial for MacWorld Expo in 4 days. Just as an example. Many people have delayed upgrades because they are in the middle of projects so they are indeed using HDV with other NLEs than FCP6.

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Your comment about DVCPRO HD reveals a miss-reading of my post. I said "export to VTR." By definition, DVCPRO HD VTRs cut the Horizontal resolution. If you don't like that, then export to an HDCAM VTR. None of this has anything to do with HDV sources or codecs!
There is a bit of misunderstanding here. I never meant to get to that end of the production chain. My suggestion stopped at the delivery of a master file to your disk. Where the final work will go is impossible for me to predict so I didn't try. Exporting to VTR or to any other delivery system is very specific and some of the people reading this might not work for a network. Maybe they are planning their documentary or feature, I don't know, I just try to make it work for a wide series of situations.
Going back to my MacWorld commercial, my final delivery, from a completely uncompressed 16-bit master was to 1080p H.264 QT file. I can take the same master file and compress it for their website, or deliver it to a network in D5, HDCAM, doesn't matter. What I suggested is a workflow to get to that master.

Peace.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 02:31 AM   #19
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You seem to feel strongly about FCP 6.
I too don't use most of FCS2, but the upgrade to FCP 6 was necessary to get the support for the remaining HDV cameras. (Which didn't come until 6.0.2.) Also, Compressor and DVDSP support HD DVDs which is a nice addition.

It wasn't until I started reading about the Open Timeline I realized that for HDV users, FCP 6 was a radical improvment. At last Apple had gotten rid of the tie between the Sequence codec and the Render codec.

One chooses an HDV Sequence ONLY to tell FCP that with HDV sources, editing can be done in realtime. One also tells FCP it should render to ProRes 422. This advance eliminates all the BS myths about HDV which was the question posed in the first post.

I'm confused about the export issue. FCP has always supported the export of a Timeline to 10-bit HD uncompressed video files for those that don't go to HD tape or HD disc. If you are disk space limited, then Apple provides ProRes 422 HQ. One simply exports to whichever one works best.

As far as universality -- it is clear to me the world is moving to 2-3 NLEs. Broadcast and Hollywood are still in the Avid world, although FCP and Thompson/EDIUS are moving-in based upon which computer platform is used. Most post houses are Apple+FCP based -- with many/most also still using Avid. All three of these NLEs include support for HDV, uncompressed, plus a lossless compressed codec. Thus, by my definition of "universal" these solutions have no need for additional codecs. These folks have no "problem" that needs solving which is why I very much doubt these folks will buy any additional codecs.

Clearly those who use other NLEs -- can get a benefit from buying an additional codec. For example, I have always recommended CineForm for anyone using Premier. So if you were speaking to these folks -- and those using FCP 5 -- I'm in complete agreement with you.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 03:23 AM   #20
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Steve,

So you would recommend color correcting HDV footage as long as the render output is ProRes?
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Old January 31st, 2008, 11:35 AM   #21
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Also, Compressor and DVDSP support HD DVDs which is a nice addition.
Not to start a "format war" but HDDVD seems to be fading away... :)

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One chooses an HDV Sequence ONLY to tell FCP that with HDV sources, editing can be done in realtime. One also tells FCP it should render to ProRes 422. This advance eliminates all the BS myths about HDV which was the question posed in the first post.
Interesting. Doesn't really transpire from Apple's documentation. It's just that for $500.00 for the upgrade it's hard to justify. Tell you the truth the more I go on the more I look for an NLE that does just that. I do use Soundtrack Pro and Compressor a lot but Soundtrack is part of Logic, which is quite affordable. I don't know, I wish that would offer a more compact version instead of buying a bunch of stuff that I don't use. Anyway... thanks for the clarification.

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I'm confused about the export issue. FCP has always supported the export of a Timeline to 10-bit HD uncompressed video files for those that don't go to HD tape or HD disc.
Well, going back to the original question, I interpreted that the concern was about the loss of quality when editing HDV, which is a legitimate question.
I advocate a workflow that avoids any export/transcoding from the NLE, except for the smallest, time-sensitive projects. In that regard editing in HDV is perfectly fine because you'll never use the renders/exports from the editor. As the final step you grade/CC your sequence in AE or equivalent software and then export an uncompressed master. Stu Maschwitz, in "The DV Rebel's Guide" actually suggests to export your master as a sequence of compressed TIFF files, which I think is genius. As an example of why this helps, I was reviewing a commercial with a client and she noticed that there was a misplelling of the product name. Something as trivial as a "/" between the wrong set of characters. This was, of course, at the 11th hour and so I had to re-render the whole sequence because it was exported as a QT movie. Had I used the TIFF sequence I could have fixed the type, exported the two shots were the name appeared and overwritten the single TIFF files. There were no changes in the timeline so the update would integrate perfectly. I would have saved hours of sleep, which is something that I appreciate quite a bit :)
From the TIFF sequence, which is completely, 100% lossless, you can obtain any version of sequence by exporting to HDCAM, H.264 for web, iPod/iPhone and you will always have at the most one generation loss. If you work from another lossy codec, no matter which one, you might get two or more generation losses.

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As far as universality -- it is clear to me the world is moving to 2-3 NLEs.
In the professional field I agree with you. In the independent arena there are more facets. Premiere is actually looking more promising by the day and Vegas has a good following as well. I don't use them but I think a few people reading these pages do.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 03:01 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone View Post
Not to start a "format war" but HDDVD seems to be fading away... :)


I wish that would offer a more compact version instead of buying a bunch of stuff that I don't use.


Maschwitz, in "The DV Rebel's Guide" actually suggests to export your master as a sequence of compressed TIFF files, which I think is genius.


In the professional field I agree with you. In the independent arena there are more facets. Premiere is actually looking more promising by the day and Vegas has a good following as well. I don't use them but I think a few people reading these pages do.
Yes -- HD DVD is dead for Hollywood movies. But, far too many BD players have problems of playing red-laser HD video. The kind you can burn in your Mac. (Only AVCHD may work and only on a PS3.) In the meantime, with HD DVD players selling for $100 -- and with them all playing red-laser HD DVDs -- they are a reasonable investment.

I too dislike Apple's Studio bundle because although I agree $500 is not a lot of money, let's assume DVDSP is updated at NAB with support for BD. Do I really want spend $500 to get the only new feature I must have. Like you the answer is NO. But, I really feel FCP 6s Open Time line is worth $500.

Now I get your point about a Master. My bad. And, TIFF is genius because text is the most likely post production alteration. Have you tried this with HD? I wonder how reasonable it is to do this?

PS and OT: iMovie 08 has a very fast way of finding video and photos of you need in hours of video. (Scimming) After you rough- OR fine-trim clips into a rough- OR fine-cut, you output an XML file to FCP 6. Presto, your first-cut is ready for finishing.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 03:34 PM   #23
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(Only AVCHD may work and only on a PS3.)
Guess what I just got ? ;)

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And, TIFF is genius because text is the most likely post production alteration. Have you tried this with HD? I wonder how reasonable it is to do this?
Yes a TIFF frame from HD material is about 2MB. When I read about it I immediately thought:
a) The format is an industry standard, completely open, will be supported for the foreseeable future
b) you don't need no stinkin' codec anymore ;)
c) totally multiplatform
d) unlike movie files, you can load a few frames in Photoshop and retouch without re-render the sequence.
e) from TIFF to QT or TIFF to Flash/WMV etc it's not a problem
f) rebuild the sequence is a snap with just QT Pro

The list goes on and on. Now, I just bought a 500GB hard disk for 160GB. It's a cost of 33 cents per GB. As far as I'm concerned DVD backup is a thing of the past. When you add a hard-disk enclosure, see http://www.firmtek.com for some of the best examples, you can swap HDDs like floppy. An 80GB disk costs peanuts today so even if your typical TIFF frame requires 2MB, storage is not a problem. As I write this, I have about 3.5TB connected to my MacBooKPro and I have an additional 2 slots available in my enclosures :)

Thank you for the tip about iMovie.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 01:47 PM   #24
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Don't you love it when Brainiacs get a little competitive?

I sure do. Even try to incite it sometimes. Thanks guys for sharing some very intense informational exchanges, which I'm very proud of just being able to follow and understand.

FCP 6 is definitely in my future after the lesson on its different approach to processing. I just have one more project to get out the door, and one client I interchange projects with who has to be convinced to do it the same time.
(likely there will be some quoting taking place...).

But mastering in AE, with a tiff sequence master is a process that would make sense for certain types of work to me. Short form material especially. I've done effects work in AE for years, but never imported a full edit. Even with graphics intensive things just a few minutes long. Auto duck was expensive, but I will be working through that workflow too.

Considering that I have several full-length projects in the works now and almost always, and that these have a delicate interplay of polishing and revision (one is a director's first film which has been in post for over 18 months), others often requiring a series of approvals with a finished look, I need a workflow that gets finished in the editor.

I've also mastered to HD on DVD-r from DVD-SP. It's really quite magic, fast and easy to author (the rendering takes some time). The discs play back on mac's as well as on $125 toshibas looking great - as long as the program is not too long... (ideally under 20 mins). From everything I've heard, blu-ray compatible HD dvd-r is much more difficult to author, and you can't have any menus. The players are so reasonable, you can buy them for your clients and look real good! They make sense for many presentation scenarios.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #25
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Hey Paolo, if i want to use sheer video when I capture from hd100 720p24 tape, what should be my sequence and capture presets setting for final cut pro?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 01:58 AM   #26
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Hey Paolo, if i want to use sheer video when I capture from hd100 720p24 tape, what should be my sequence and capture presets setting for final cut pro?
I usually use DVHSCap, capture the m2t files and then use MPEG Streamclip to convert the files to QT .mov and select Sheer. Be sure to specify 23.976 for the frame rate in MPEG Streamclip
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Old February 5th, 2008, 02:11 AM   #27
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I was thinking of just capturing from within final cut and switching to sheer sequence setting... would that work?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 03:16 AM   #28
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I was thinking of just capturing from within final cut and switching to sheer sequence setting... would that work?
Yes, you will be rendering in Sheer. When you are done be sure to use "Export Quicktime movie" and use "Use current settings" with the option "Make movie self contained" off. This will generate a QT reference file in seconds. You can then load the file in AE or other tools or inside Compressors and then output your deliverable. If you need to round-trip from FCP to/from another app you will not experience any generation loss as long as you use Sheer.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 06:15 AM   #29
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I agree with Sean - a decent bout was that...possibly didn't quite understand as much as I'd like but much of it made sense to me (none of it would but a year ago).

Left me feeling a little left out with me running only FCP5 (studio) - I have no dedicated CC aside from the 3way cc in FCP and do not own AE :(
Currently capturing via DVHSCap (as m2t files); export via MPEGSTREAMCLIP; edit in HDV timeline; render; cut n paste into SD timeline (8bit uncompressed) and export (m2t & aiff) files to compressor then author in DVDSP.
Aside from creating music in Logic and editing audio in Soundtrack Pro I can't see of anything else I can do to achieve a better final product with my current set up. Not even sure at this stage I need to upgrade to FCS6 (although colour might be handy as a dedicated stand alone cc). Not sure how if using Sheer &/or ProRes is possible/relevant for me at the moment?

Great reading. Cheers.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 12:44 AM   #30
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Start with ProRes422

Chris Poisson has a brief tutorial on capturing HDV directly to ProRes. I haven't tried it with 720p material, but it might be worth some looking into for those looking for a workaround HDV all together.
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