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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #1
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Location: Lexington, KY
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Need advice for optimizing productivity with HD (capturing editing)

Mods feel free to move this if this isn't the appropriate section.

I've recently acquired a job as video editor at a place that is very new to video. I have a bunch of personal experience on my own time being an aspiring filmmaker with older technology. This is more commercial stuff (interviews, key notes, etc). They are currently buying equipment with a rather large budget and I'm wanting some opinions.

I know nothing about HD but we have a Sony z1 and 3 Sony HVR a1u's. We capture with Sony HVR-M15U capture device and edit on Vegas 8. HD takes forever to render even if I just put a file in vegas and export the file with no editing. I hear you just have to deal with this but it"s my understanding that if i capture with a particular codec and output with the same codec at the same dimensions it shouldnt have much render time (if any) unless there are transitions, filters, etc. Am I wrong about this?

Being new to vegas 8 I'm not even particularly sure how to change the capture codec (Do i just start a new project and pick say 1080i 30fps from the templates?)

I've been reading nonstop about this and it's making my head spin with all the information I'm gathering. Should we buy a capture card (hardware they even have those anymore?) If this would help we would buy one tomorrow and if so any suggestions?

I'm sure these are elementary questions for you guys but I've never had to deal with these issues till now and I'd like to iron them out. I would appreciate any questions if I failed to mention something important.

Roger Akers
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Old December 13th, 2007, 12:17 AM   #2
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Location: Espoo Finland
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I have a brand new Mac Pro (twin Xeon dual core 2.66 GHz) with 5 GB RAM. When I capture to HDD with FCP it converts the video to Apple Intermadiate Codec on the fly. I have the machine capture the full tapes, splitting them to clips. With cheap HDDs this is convenient, no need to sit around and choose which takes to capture etc.

After editing I print the HDV to tape. With this machine, which is fairly fast, but not the fastest available, it takes one and half times real time (150%) to render the AIC to HDV, then another 100% to actually print to tape. Thus getting a 30 minute video to tape takes 1:15h total. As the intermediate frame based codec* preserves the quality during editing and makes editing itself faster I can live with the time needed for output.

In your case more power might be the answer, but maybe not total answer. I am not familiar with Avid which might have the most professional systems (or Vegas) and hardware based solutions.

If it is not the render times itself but the fact that the editing machine is tied up all that time, how about getting two editing stations running from a video raid server. When one machine is rendering, you can work other projects on the other workstation?

* if you are not familiar with these intermediate codecs the idea is to convert the GOP based MPEG2 HDV-data to frame based format (like good old DV) which is then easy to edit, and without quality loss. The downside is the need to render this back to MPEG2 for HDV. At the momnet we just heve to live with it (or use $$$$ for faster platforms).
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Old December 13th, 2007, 07:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply but I'm not sure my computers horsepower is the problem. I've got 5 gigs of RAM running with a Quad Core Processor. The machine's a beast. While editing everything runs fine.

Maybe I'm not explaining myself well.

My question is this: If I capture a 2:00 clip in HD then import it into Vegas time line AND without doing anything to the clip, render that file to hard disk. Why does it take awhile to render that clip. My experiences with older digital video (i was using a miro capture card) was that any unaltered clip on the time line had 0 render time yet, UNALTERED HD takes longer to render than it does to capture. Am I making sense? And will a hardware codec fix these issues?
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Old December 13th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #4
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Roger, your past experience is likely with all I-frame video.

HDV is MPEG2 compressed, the editor needs to first decompress and then recompress it. Keep also in mind that the frame size of HDV is four times the size of DV. Hardware codecs are slowly a thing of the past, long live software codecs - check out Cineform.
Ervin Farkas, CDVS
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