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Old September 19th, 2006, 09:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiri Bakala
Eventhough I love Avid's editing interface, I am quite annoyed by my recent HDV experience and looking at alternatives. Therefore; what would be good options with FCP in terms of real-time acceleration, harware cards and breakout boxes?
Jiri, in order to digitize HDV footage into FCP you can do it via FW, the timecode in 720p is not an issue, FCP can do batch capture of the clips when you log them. Depending on what you need, a MacBookPro is a fine solution if you need portability, a MacPro with AJA card can fit the bill if you need captue via Component signal.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Jiri, in order to digitize HDV footage into FCP you can do it via FW, the timecode in 720p is not an issue, FCP can do batch capture of the clips when you log them. Depending on what you need, a MacBookPro is a fine solution if you need portability, a MacPro with AJA card can fit the bill if you need captue via Component signal.
That sounds good Paolo, how about export back to tape, other formats, downconversion to DV, etc.? BTW, I have a G5 tower, PowerPC...would that work with the latest version?
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:52 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jiri Bakala
That sounds good Paolo, how about export back to tape, other formats, downconversion to DV, etc.? BTW, I have a G5 tower, PowerPC...would that work with the latest version?
Export to other formats is not a problem, I do it all the time. FCP has a wonderful utility called Compressor that takes the task to export to other codecs with all the tweaks that you want. Compressor is a stand-alone program and so you can export your footage and continue work on the next edit. Your G5 should be plenty fast for the task, just be sure that you have at enough memory. 2GB will be just fine. BTW, if you want a compositing program on steroids, Shake now is available for the price of a plugin and it integrates with FCP very well.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 11:04 PM   #19
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Thanks Paolo. Another question; are you using the JVC deck HD50? I suspect that when I try to export back to tape, it's really the deck that causes the hiccups (because while it's going on and I am watching it on an HD monitor, all looks okay but the picture hiccups are on tape).

To be specific:

1. Does FCP have to re-encode the timeline back to HDV and then export that back to tape? If yes, how long does it take (Avid is about 3.5:1 ratio)? Also, is export to tape frame accurate (can you record the master say at 10;00;00;00)?

2. Can you transcode HDV 720 say to 1080i and/or downconvert to 480i?
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Old September 20th, 2006, 12:28 AM   #20
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Jiri.
I don't have the deck and I don't write back to tape. I save all the footage on multivolume DVDs, so I can't help you there, sorry :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiri Bakala
1. Does FCP have to re-encode the timeline back to HDV and then export that back to tape? If yes, how long does it take (Avid is about 3.5:1 ratio)? Also, is export to tape frame accurate (can you record the master say at 10;00;00;00)?
The re-encoding is unavoidable, a fact that doesn't depend on the NLE. This is inherent of any temporal-compressed codec. See some of my previous posts for a detailed description. It is frame accurate, though.
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2. Can you transcode HDV 720 say to 1080i and/or downconvert to 480i?
I did both bot one at the time. I intercut Sony F-350 (1080 24p) footage with the HD100, using the F-350 sequence and the upsizing is very good. On my computer monitor you can't tell them apart. If you freeze frame and look for camera-specific artifacts, maybe. With normal running footage, very hard to spot. Downconversion to 480, I've done it usually when burning DVDs, Compressor can handle that directly.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 03:48 AM   #21
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BTW, if you want a compositing program on steroids, Shake now is available for the price of a plugin and it integrates with FCP very well.
This is now about 300 - sound about right? I am just about to take delivery of FCP studio and was wondering about other packages - shake and after effects are two of them though the latter is pretty expensive. Shake seems like a great tool though.

Paulo, (alongside FCP studio) I'm about to take delivery of a new 24" iMac (2gb Ram, 2.33ghz...) - I don't suppose I have that many options for delivering HDV to this machine aside from FW to capture...the iMac does not have card slots so I'm presuming I won't be able to utilise a HD connect box or Black Magic card? From what has been said on here recently I feel I'm looking at a workflow such as DVHSCap (in mM2T files) - MPREG Streamclip (convert to quicktime file) - apple DVCPRO etc I'll probably follow the workflows posted by tim dahswood, david knaggs amongst others. Of course if FCP soon allows native 25p editing and I personally find the quality to be high then I'll use that, but it's good to know there are other (if a little more convoluted) options.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 03:49 AM   #22
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...forgot to ask if any of those workflows would need to be adjusted if you already have 'compressor' - thinking more of the final down conversion stages.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 08:57 AM   #23
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This is now about 300 - sound about right? I am just about to take delivery of FCP studio and was wondering about other packages - shake and after effects are two of them though the latter is pretty expensive. Shake seems like a great tool though.
It is. Shake is "peculiar" in the fact that it uses a unique interfece and technique but I found that the node-based logic just fitted me well. The other major point is that it integrates with FCP. This means that you don't have to use export/import of the clips. You just highlight the parts of the timeline that you need to work on and the right-click and select "Send to Shake".

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I don't suppose I have that many options for delivering HDV to this machine aside from FW to capture
Correct. I use it daily and it's fine.
Quote:
Of course if FCP soon allows native 25p editing and I personally find the quality to be high then I'll use that, but it's good to know there are other (if a little more convoluted) options.
I don' expect the quality of FCP capture to be any different. If anything, direct capture has the potential to preserve the data stream better. MPEG Streamclip uses QuickTime to convert from .m2t to Apple HDV or AIC or any other codec so it's very likely to be using exacly the same algorithm used by FCP, it's just a matter of convenience. And yes, 24/25fps support is expected to be available in about 3 weeks.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 12:06 PM   #24
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Thanks Paulo...just hope it's an update rather than FCP v6 as I've only just purchased this :(

As for Shake, the company I've just purchased my mac and FCP from (at a good price) are currently selling this for nigh on 2000! I presume this has only recently become a plug-in for FCP? Looks like they haven't updated this s/w on their site - that's some price leap - apple and amazon have this for around 300! I've glance over the 'tree' structure which indeed looks interesting.

Quote:
I don' expect the quality of FCP capture to be any different. If anything, direct capture has the potential to preserve the data stream better. MPEG Streamclip uses QuickTime to convert from .m2t to Apple HDV or AIC or any other codec so it's very likely to be using exacly the same algorithm used by FCP, it's just a matter of convenience. And yes, 24/25fps support is expected to be available in about 3 weeks.
Apologies - I probably have crossed wires...I'm sure I read that native 25p editing (via FCP) would, whilst saving time, diminish the final quality due to the type of compression used (the GOP's getting rid of certain frames and the inclusion of various transitions/post prod effects etc)...can you tell me where I lost the path a little here?!?!

Many thanks.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #25
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Thanks Paulo...just hope it's an update rather than FCP v6 as I've only just purchased this :(
That's the word so far. FCP gets updated quite frequently, your Mac should pull all the updates every week, semi-automatically. You can manually force this by clicking on the Apple menu and selecting "Software update"

Quote:
As for Shake, the company I've just purchased my mac and FCP from (at a good price) are currently selling this for nigh on 2000! I presume this has only recently become a plug-in for FCP?
Shake has been reduced in price for a couple of months, I believe. The program, used to make films like "The Matrix" and LOTR, used to cost aroun $10,000 with an annual renewal fee of $1300, if I remember well. Apple has slashed the price incredibly. It's not a plug-in but I usually joke that it cost less than some plug-ins out there and the amount of things that it does is just mind-boggling. The "Camera smooth", tracking and 3D compositing features are each one worth the price of the whole package.

Quote:
Apologies - I probably have crossed wires...I'm sure I read that native 25p editing (via FCP) would, whilst saving time, diminish the final quality due to the type of compression used (the GOP's getting rid of certain frames and the inclusion of various transitions/post prod effects etc)...can you tell me where I lost the path a little here?!?!
A bit of misunderstanding here, probably caused also by the fact that you need to really get your hands on the software to make sense of all this. The HD100 stores the footage in HDV format. FCP, and other NLEs, are able to acquire this footage with no loss of quality. The challenge happens when you have to edit and apply effects to the footage. People used to assume that, if you keep the footage in HDV you will not go to an additional compression/re-coding step. This is actually not possible as the temporal compression of HDV, not the way FCP, Avid, Premiere etc handle it, requires that you re-build a new sequence of GOPs when writing HDV footage.
Is this going to affect the image quality? It can. Will you able to see it? Only tests can confirm it, but usually it's the case. If two instances of the same frame are not exacly the same, bit-by-bit, than you have altered the clip.
FCP allows you to set the compression/encoding algorithm used in any sequence. This means that you can keep the original codec or decide to use a different one for the rendered files. Lemme explain:
We have frame A (HDV), and we apply the effect F to it. Where does the resulting frame go? There are two choices, FCP can render the effect in real time thus not requiring any storage and applying the effect every time you watch a given frame. For intermediate frames, this means that it has to compute the frame from the last keyframe, apply the effect, and show the frame on screen.
Some effects just can't be applied in this way. Magic Bullet is one that comes to mind. Time remapping is another. In those cases FCP has to take frame A, apply effect F and generate and store a frame B. B will be played and exported from that point on. Now, if you use the HDV codec for both input and output, it means that FCP will recompress the GOP containing that frame. Hence, you have a recompression even when the codec doesn't change. Because HDV is temporal compressed, the resulting frame B might be quite different than the bits generated by taking frame A and applying the effect F. For exmaple, because of the sequence of cuts, it could be now an intermediate frame when originally it was a keyframe. If you have a uncompressed or intermediate codec used for the render files the landscape changes quite a bit. The HDV frames are decompressed and then stored on disk. Each frame is a stand-alone entity, it doesn't depend on keyframes and can simply be referenced by any clip/sequence withotu further computation. When applying the effect, the resulting frame B will have the maximum fidelity afforded by the effect and the processing power of the NLE. When you export your final sequence for delivery you can simply create a reference QuickTime file. This is basically a collection of "pointers" that point to the individual clips in the rendering files. The speed of this export operations is phenomenal, just be sure that you fully rendered your footage. At this point FCP doesn't need to re-compress or re-process the rendered frames.

Do you need to do this? It depends. It depends on what you shoot and what you need to do with the footage. If you play with chromakey, the above workflow is a must. I just wanted to make clear that just because ou're using native HDV codec doesn't guarantee that you will not re-compress your footage. It's unavaoidable and it's the nature of the codec.

Hope this helps.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 01:26 PM   #26
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And there is always the option to offline your sequence in HDV native, and then simply change the sequence codec to uncompressed (for output to HDCAM SR for example.) FCP handles rendering in 10-bit space so this method would give you the workflow speed of native HDV capture and editing, but output quality of one-step HDV to 10-bit Uncompressed conversion. You could also convert to 1080P at this stage. Very fast drives or a RAID array and Kona or Decklink card would be required to output to a deck.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #27
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This is a great thread guys. Thanks to Stephen, Tim, Paolo, et al!

Reading this thread (several times at this point), it would like there is no outright winner in the NLE wars, with maybe FCP taking the lead in October.

Do any of the NLEs have a specific advantage over the others? IE - is one better at doing a film-out transfer and one better at doing a DVD only release?

Are there any other, non-image, areas where one is superior, such as sound or compositing? Or are they all more or less slightly diferent flavors of the same dish? Thanks again guys, this has been a very helpful thread (maybe a sticky?) -

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Old September 20th, 2006, 11:19 PM   #28
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It seems to me that page one of this thread is dedicated to PC and page 2 is deicated to Mac (so far).

I say pick your poison (PC or MAC). On the PC side I advocate and use Liquid for ProHD and can offer help in just about any regard via dvinfo.net or Creative cows Liquid forum. There are all kinds of solutions that can work and I think Cineform is pretty good for PPro but the easiest most direct method of editing ProHD (any flavor) on a PC is Liquid from Avid. It just works and works as advertised with every aspect of ProHD and DTE.

Now, clearly, the technology doesn't get in the way of creativity and it puts a person at ease knowing they can be creative and not worry about post. The workflow is solid and predictable without work arounds.

We are quite confident in the workflow and the expected results using Celco eXtreme Nitro film recorder & i³Ci (i cubed chemical intermediate) or Arri laser.

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Old September 21st, 2006, 01:16 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent
Do any of the NLEs have a specific advantage over the others? IE - is one better at doing a film-out transfer and one better at doing a DVD only release?

-

john
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Vegas is usually deemed the king of sound. It actually was born as an audio software--the video stuff came later as Vegas grew into adulthood. At $99, it also by far the best value out there. And though it's subjective, myself and many others find it the most intuitive of all NLE's. (my vote for least intuitive goes to Edius--esp the earlier versions...)
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Old September 21st, 2006, 05:11 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
That's the word so far. FCP gets updated quite frequently, your Mac should pull all the updates every week, semi-automatically. You can manually force this by clicking on the Apple menu and selecting "Software update"...

...It depends on what you shoot and what you need to do with the footage. If you play with chromakey, the above workflow is a must. I just wanted to make clear that just because ou're using native HDV codec doesn't guarantee that you will not re-compress your footage. It's unavaoidable and it's the nature of the codec.

Hope this helps.
Many thanks for that thorough explantion Paulo - I can't fully comprehend it all at the moment as I've never been hands on with such a workflow and codecs are still a little mysterious to me (at the moment I'm just editing raw footage from the camera to PPro in Standard Definition).
Once I start using FCP with the mac I'm sure it will make much more sense to me.
Cheers,
Dave.
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