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Old November 30th, 2010, 09:10 AM   #1
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Best stock intermediate format for transcoding DVCPRO HD for PC editing?

I'm about to work in P2 for an upcoming shoot. Because I edit on Vegas 9 at home, I have to convert all my DVCPRO HD footage post-ingest on a Mac at the place I'm shooting at.

Which stock intermediate format that's compatible with Windows should I use? I've heard good things about "Photo - JPEG" at 100% and that "MJPEG A" is the most reliable.

Remember, I do not have access to Raylight, Cineform, or etc. Only the stock intermediate formats in Quicktime. (and a definite no-no on ProRes, because, once again, I edit on a PC)
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Old November 30th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #2
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Jack,

Vegas reads ProRes just fine. At least as well as any other .MOV file. Just use that. I prefer Avid's DNxHD, but if you are just going one direction Mac -> PC then keep it simple and just use ProRes.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #3
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I'm a little concerned about the stability of the edit in Vegas when working with ProRes since I know for a fact that the NewTek Tricaster using Quicktime for Windows crashes very often when working with ProRes files.

I've not yet installed the add-on or worked with any ProRes footage so are there any limitations? such as you're only limited to everything but the HQ format or etc?

Another problem is the 2GB limit on a FAT32 external HDD (which is the only formatting that Macs can write to that Windows can also read) and the fact I need online quality the whole way...
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Old November 30th, 2010, 11:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Zhang View Post
I'm a little concerned about the stability of the edit in Vegas when working with ProRes since I know for a fact that the NewTek Tricaster using Quicktime for Windows crashes very often when working with ProRes files.
How big are the jobs you're doing? Feature level? 20 minute pieces? 30 second commercials? Give me some idea here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Zhang View Post
I've not yet installed the add-on or worked with any ProRes footage so are there any limitations? such as you're only limited to everything but the HQ format or etc?
There are no add-ons. Install quicktime, edit. And I think the only limitation is the new ProRes4444, but I don't have a sample to test. Everything else works just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Zhang View Post
Another problem is the 2GB limit on a FAT32 external HDD (which is the only formatting that Macs can write to that Windows can also read) and the fact I need online quality the whole way...
Format the drives HFS+ and go buy this:
MacDrive Mediafour

Problem solved. It's SEAMLESS to work with macs once you install that on your PC. I bought a copy years ago and now I don't even ask what format drives are coming to me. Makes zero difference.

If I was in your place and doing big shows (oxymoron of sorts in Vegas), but here is how I'd do it, and actually have done it.

1. Install DNxHD on both the Mac and PC
2. Install MacDrive on the PC
3. Install the Matrox Codecs on the PC
4. Install Prism video converter (the free version) on the PC.

Do whatever work on the Mac side, then put that work on an HFS+ formatted drive. Connect to PC. Use Prism to batch convert all DNxHD (or ProRes) files to the Matrox .AVI format. You can do this at online quality, offline quality or both. Personally, I'd do offline quality, and then the batch to hi-res versions overnight.

Once the conversion is done, place the files in whatever folder structure you care to work. Do your edit. If you want to do this offline/online, Vegas makes it easy. Name the top folder level something simple like ProjectXYZ, and build a folder structure beneath that, or just do it flat files. Put your online level folders in exactly the same folder structure but name it ProjectZYX. When the offline is done, rename the project to ProjectXYZ_Offline, and name the Online folder ProjectXYZ. Open Vegas and your media will link to the new online versions automatically as long as they have exactly the same names and folder structure.

This is how I used to cut big HD jobs before I bought a machine capable of really cutting with them.

The DNxHD codecs, Matrox Codecs, and Prism converter are all freeware. MacDrive is pretty inexpensive. I used this workflow for years when I did Mac sourced jobs in Vegas.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 03:22 PM   #5
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It is a 1:30-3min short edit. I'll try on my laptop and Vegas 7 to decode my ProRes output vs a Photo - JPEG output on-site to see which one works better. Photo - JPEG from home-based testing seems to be more data-rate and file size friendly.

My edit is a 720p60 project, by the way.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 09:07 AM   #6
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One thing to consider if you use Photo JPeg is that at 100% it's 4:4:4 (overkill for most typical video projects). At 75% it automatically drops down to 4:2:2. You save storage space and use less bandwidth.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 12:25 AM   #7
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Just finished my edit, and plain ProRes 422 (not even HQ) was sufficient enough quality for my edit. It was stable in Vegas 9 and black frames only occurred if something wacky happened to the cached video. (such as constantly minimizing/bringing up the program)

Tried Photo - JPEG @ 75% as a deliverable encode and IMHO it isn't broadcast worthy quality. I'm sticking to it at 100% as a deliverable format.
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Last edited by Jack Zhang; December 5th, 2010 at 02:34 AM.
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