Mac-based Experiments with FX1 Clips at

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.

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Old October 31st, 2004, 11:28 AM   #1
Chris Kenny
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Mac-based Experiments with FX1 Clips

I've been working with Kaku's great clips on a dual 2 GHz G5, and I thought I'd share some of what I've found.

Mostly I've been using MPEG Streamclip to convert clips to DVCPRO HD at various resolutions. I've tried deinterlacing and scaling to end up with to 1280x720 30p. This looks pretty good, but it is not a particularly fast process; converting an 11 second clip takes over five minutes. Converting to 1080i DVCPRO HD (no scaling or deinterlacing involved) is *much* faster (just over a minute). I wouldn't recommend this workflow for production situations though -- the converted video occasionally breaks up or skips.

Another alternative to this is using MPEG Streamclip to simply convert the TS file to an M2V file, which QuickTime understands (if you have the MPEG-2 decoder, of course). This is very quick, because it requires no reencoding of video data. Then you can use QuickTime Pro or Final Cut to make the conversion to DVCPRO HD. I haven't seen glitches with this method, but I haven't done very much of it. And of course you can only produce 1080i like this -- there's no deinterlacer built into QuickTime.

For the most part, I've quite impressed with how good the video looks. I've got Panasonic's Varicam demo DVD here, which has a few gigabytes of raw Varicam footage, and the 0dB-gain FX1 footage looks just as good most of the time -- in many cases it actually looks more detailed. Of course Panasonic shows off some shallow depth of field and slow motion stuff that the FX1 obviously won't be able to match, so nobody should be writing any Varicam obituaries yet.

In terms of actual editing, FCP on this machine can do quite a lot with 720p or 1080i in real-time. On 'Medium' quality playback with 1080i and Unlimited RT turned on, you can stack most simple filters (Levels, Color Balance, etc.) two or three deep and still remain real-time. Simple transitions (dissolves, wipes, etc.) are also no problem. And I can play back one video track with its opacity turned down a bit over another track quite easily as well -- I start dropping frames with three tracks, but that could just be the hard drive (the tracks are 13.9 MB/s each, after all.)

All in all, it looks like (assuming using QuickTime Pro for conversion continues to work smoothly), I've got a fairly usable workflow here. And the final product would be a DVCPRO HD project ready to be exported to a professional deck or whatever.

These 1080i DVPRO HD files run 840 MB/minute, though. I'm going to have to buy some more storage.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 12:41 PM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
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Very impressive, Chris! Many thanks -- your input here is greatly appreciated,

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Old November 1st, 2004, 05:56 AM   #3
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Great, I can't catch up with everything, so your insight really helps.

I wanted to add an information to your report on DVCPRO HD playback. Playing back DVCPRO HD file on FCP HD with Decklink, it now plays back and output to the SDI/Component output in real time with the lated software from Blackmagic Designs.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 06:40 AM   #4
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DVCproHD through the Decklink doesn't look as good as 8bit uncompressed through the decklink though. There's something not quite right going on with DVCProHD and I've not quite sorted it out yet.

Also, the major issue I can see with HDV interlaced footage is the darn 4:2:0 colour space which is awful, because of the way that it works with interlaced video. Hopefully my new chroma reconstructor will be working soon and I'll be better able to see what the potential of HDV 1080i is.

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Old November 1st, 2004, 07:29 AM   #5
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I know, the compression looked pretty horrible when I convered with MPEGstream. There must be something wrong in the converting stage because the DVPRO HD's clips we got looked very good. Looking forward to your software.
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 11:41 AM   #6
Regular Crew
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WOW, thanks for the test reports. I'm in line to buy both the Sony and a new G5 and have been sorried about the ease of editing and distribution aspects of it all....

Can you write up a one liner... step by step process?


1. firewire capture to xyz format
2. convert xyz format file to abc format
3. edit with KillerEditing App using ABC codec/format

could ya, huh could ya please? I aint none to bright, and want to print it and post it in my edit bay.
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