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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:50 AM   #1
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Downconverting a sharper SD image

I've been working on a few SD projects where I shoot with a F335 in 1080 30P and bring the footage into Final Cut Pro in real time by downconverting in-camera to FCP's log and capture. It has been working well. Now I want to get a sharper SD image using this same FCP input method and have been trying to adjust the settings in the F335. In the Paint menu under SD Detail I have it set to High and I can see a difference between High, Mid, and Low. I have also been adusting the SD Crispening setting in the Advanced menu under SD Detail but the image does not seem to change. The same goes for the other settings in the Advanced SD Detail menu. I must be missing something basic. Any ideas on how to get a sharper image into FCP via downconverting?

- Dan
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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #2
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Changing the SD settings only effects the SD sharpness etc if you are shooting SD, not if you shoot SD and downconvert.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #3
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Daniel,
I think the camera settings only effect the camera for future recordings not previously shot footage. There would have to be some sort of sharpening in playback mode to help you and that may not happen on a firewire transfer but could show up on HDSDI or analog playback
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Old January 9th, 2010, 04:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the clarification. My thinking was off quite a bit for how downconverting works. I would think if I sharpened the 1080 30P image then the downconvert to SD would be sharper as well.

-Dan
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Old January 9th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Daniel Larson View Post
I've been working on a few SD projects where I shoot with a F335 in 1080 30P and bring the footage into Final Cut Pro in real time by downconverting in-camera to FCP's log and capture.
Dan, I understand everyone has their own workflow, but I really wonder why you are downconverting and capturing in real time? You're not only missing out on all the great features of having a tapeless workflow, your're also getting an inferior video image to work with.

Try importing the full-res HD clips properly and using HD clips on your SD timeline. You'll find all kinds of advantages with scanning, panning, and better down-converstion.

Just a suggestion. I'm been doing it that way for almost 4 years and I couldn't imagine going back to live capture.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #6
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Hi Doug, Thanks for the reply. I'm stumbling along trying to determine a workflow to furture proof footage on XDCAM HD and edit for the SD present. Your suggestion to bring in HD clips to a SD sequence is what I needed to hear. I've done some experimenting tonight and tried some SD settings in FCP that are giving me a better quality output - as you predicted. Earlier attempts at trying to fit XDCAM HD and SD together would give me a lot of sequenes with red render lines and not very good images. I don't know if you edit with FCP, but here is a setting I'd like to run by in case you do. The footage is XDCAM HD 35mp/s shot at 1080 30P and imported via XDCAM transfer. I've set the Easy Setup to ProRes 422, the sequence is set to a frame size of 720x486 CCIR 601, the pixel aspect is CCIR 601, field is none, the compressor is Apple ProRes 422. The sequence has a green render bar above and plays back on the computer and the video monitor. When rendered the quality is very good and is better than what I was getting with my up convert method. Let me know if I'm headed in the right direction. Thanks again.

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Old January 9th, 2010, 10:14 PM   #7
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Hi Dan,

Yes, I edit exclusively with FCP. I also have an F350, EX1, EX1R, and F800. I use the exact same editing workflow for all of them.

Personally, I don't think there is any reason to use ProRes in a typical XDCAM workflow. Okay, if you want to render effects and stuff like that to ProRes, that's one thing, but other than that ProRes doesn't povide any benefits and just wastes time and hard drive space.

Although I don't consider myself to be a Final Cut Pro expert, I have found editing XDCAM to be very easy and simple with no special steps or unusual issues to deal with. I strongly believe it is very important to edit with Sequence settings that are as close as you can come to matching your final output. In other words, if you aren't going to author a Blu-ray disk or some other HD final product -- then don't edit in HD. Edit in SD. Choose sequence settings that match your output -- not the source footage.

Here are the steps I follow for Final Cut Pro for a project that will be released on DVD or the web.

1) I shoot most footage with the HQ1080/30P Video Format.

2) I open a new Sequence in FCP and use the "DV NTSC 48Khz Anamorphic" preset.

3) I change the Field Dominance to "NONE"

4) I edit the entire program within that Sequence.

5) When I'm done editing, I then Export a QuickTime movie of the Sequence. I choose "Current Settings" and I do NOT choose to "Make Movie Self-Contained".

6) I then take that QuickTime movie and bring it into Compressor.

7) I then choose the Compressor preset for DVD Best Quality and modify a few of the settings (such as bitrate), but nothing major.

8) After that file is finished rendering, I bring it into DVD Studio Pro and author the DVD normally

I found that this workflow is fast and easy, requires no extra software or plugins, and produces very nice results. Plus, I have not given up all the huge benefits of working tapeless.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:27 AM   #8
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how does Final Cut handle HD to SD downscaling? do you get lots of artifacts or stairstep effects on diagonal detail?
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:52 AM   #9
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I use the same workflow as Doug except for a self contained quicktime and I'm in Pal.
I think FCP does a great job converting HD to SD and I do this all the time.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #10
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how does Final Cut handle HD to SD downscaling? do you get lots of artifacts or stairstep effects on diagonal detail?
Footage looks great with this workflow or I wouldn't use it.
Here's an example that has lots of diagonal detail and was edited using the above workflow. (Shot with an EX3)

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Last edited by Doug Jensen; January 10th, 2010 at 08:57 AM.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #11
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Doug, the Rhode Island Airshow video was great.

I'm up to speed on editing with the FCP settings determined by the final output. So for an SD project I shoot XDCAM HD, edit in FCP at DV NTSC 48Khz Anamorphic, with field dominance at none. But now I have to drop in a few 4x3 DVCAM shots from projects shot a few years ago. If I am going to stay with 16x9 I can distort the aspect ratio in the FCP Motion tab and increase the Scale to make the clip fit within the rastor. I loose resolution but the aspect ratio matches 16x9. Is that the way you would treat those 4x3 clips so they blend better with the XDCAM footage?

-Dan
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Old January 10th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #12
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No, I would never stretch the footage. I cannot stand that when I see it on TV.
I'd either put black pillar boxes on the sides of the screen or add graphics to fill the empty space. Watch any of the nightly network news programs (CBS, NBC, ABC) and notice how they mix 4x3 footage by adding motion graphics to fill the space on the sides. I'd say it works pretty good and is much better than stretching stuff.

Another alternative would just be to produce your whole video in 4x3 and crop all the 16x9 footage. I nice thing about working with HD clips in an SD timeline is that you can change the Motion tab settings to a setting between 50% and 100%, and then slide the clip around within the canvas to get the framing that works best.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Footage looks great with this workflow or I wouldn't use it.
Here's an example that has lots of diagonal detail and was edited using the above workflow. (Shot with an EX3)

2009 Rhode Island Air Show Highlights on Vimeo
I also get great results when exporting to web sizes

however, when you actually put it on a DVD, you can see artifacts when played on standalone DVD player connected to TV, Plasma or LCD

in order to avoid these artifacts, I use Virtual Dub as a downscaling tool
Using Virtual Dub and Edius to downscale HD to SD

here is a typical troublesome shot taken of the sydney cricket ground, vertical tilt with lots of detail, shot with PDW-F335 1440x1080 Pal interlaced
Index of /HD (30mb)
if I downscale the above with Virtual Dub, the DVD looks great, but if I use my NLE, it looks not so great

if you have time on day, I would love to see a downconverted DVD compliant mpeg clip of the above, using FCP, then I could author a DVD from it and compare to my results

I would need the mpeg as elementary streams, 720x576 16:9 Pal interlaced (the clip has no audio)
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Old January 10th, 2010, 09:26 PM   #14
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Hi Anton,
I would never, under any circumstances, shoot interlaced. That's your problem right there.
It's outdated, old fashioned technology that has no purpose in today's world.
I am not surprised the your DVDs are not turning out too well. Try 30P instead.

Also, you might want to try FCP and Compressor isntead of Edius.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #15
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I tested my camera in 25p mode (Pal) but the resulting shots look like they have a strobe filter applied when there is a pan, tilt or zoom

I usually don't pan, tilt or zoom much. but sometimes it can't be avoided

if my camera could do 50p, I think it would look better
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