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Old January 27th, 2008, 09:40 PM   #1
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choices for downconverting to SD?

I asked this on the bottom of a different thread on downconverting problems but no one responded and it probably should have been a separate question anyway. If its been answered before please direct me. So here goes:

What are the various methods for downconverting from the Ex-1 because I still have plenty of clients who will stay in SD and I don't know whether I can present the EX as an option for them.

I know I can downconvert from the camera through the SDI cable, but SDI is not much of an option for me generally because it ties up the camera. Is there even any way to get an SDI signal into a laptop without something bulky & expensive like a an AJA I/O box?

Does that leave downconverting in post as the only option?
What methods are available here (assuming Final Cut Pro.).
Would the footage need to be imported into FCP first as HD then downconverted, or is it possible to do the downconvert while capturing or importing?

Also how long a process is the downconvert?

My question really is - how much of a pain in the butt will this process be to a client? Is it worth trying to sell them on the EX for SD?

Will they maintain any advantages form the EX's image quality or will it be the same or worse than shooting say HVX200 @ DVCPro50 or HVX/DVX @ DV quality?

Thanks

Lenny Levy
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Old January 28th, 2008, 05:01 PM   #2
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I currently shoot in 1080 30p and load my footage into FCP from the camera in HD.

Then I edit that footage into an SD preset. FCP automatically scales it down (to 33%?) so it's letterboxed. I could also scale it up to 50% to fill the frame or better yet, reframe the shot entirely. Even do fake zooms.

The quality is better than what I had back when I shot with an XL2.

I'm still working on the best settings to minimize the progressive stutter when outputting to an interlaced SD TV screen. Currently, my stuff is still mastered in DVCAM in SD. I'm going to try shooting in 1080 60i tomorrow to see what that does... but I would prefer to keep my stuff progressive.

The short answer is, yes - it's better to downconvert in post and it's pretty quick. (I'm also using a 3.0 x 8 core with 5 gigs of ram, tho) The render on downconverting a :30 spot with an average amount of graphics and layering is about 2 minutes.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 05:27 PM   #3
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Good question....thatís a really comprehensive issue...
I my self got sick when I compare the beautiful EX1 HD image converted to SD...
A human mind can not accept this fact. But itís a fact.

I have put in to this question 3 painful weeks. I went true and tested almost every option possible in post (I donít have a high end capture card, so I did not try using on camera down convert) I spent lots of time and a crazy amount of hours, using FCS2 after effects, combustion myay 8, and on a PC vages, etc. my final and best option that to work best is as fallows:

Use Final cut studio 6.2
Work in a normal HD sequence
Create a master stand alone uncompressed mov.
Import into compressor
From now on "Forget about that your footage is HD"
Use the SD DVD templates, or set up yours, all as your footage is normal SD...
Hit summit...............

Sit back, and wait for compressor to do its job!
Believe me, if anything working good, compressor will do the best job out of all applications. The main thing is, you donít have to worry a bit. Itís simple. And you donít have to tell compressor or do any "tweak" to get a good down convert. Compressor will do the job for you.

I'm also using a HD template, which I archive. I plan Next year to offer it to my client...$$$

I just did a job with the ex1 for a school.
Last year a guy used a DSR500-&PD170.
This year I did the job with the EX1 for SD...
I was looking and looking, and Iím still looking and thinking. Because I saw the HD ver. of it... but my client only got the SD and they say the look and quality of the video this year "Talks" much better.

Bottom line
The EX1 "look" stays true SD
But for SD, The PD170 crisp is still better...

So if you have a good quality SD cam. Use it for SD.
This is what "I" thing is right to do. But I personally have only 1 EX1 so for me Iím hooked...

If you tell me how, and were, I will send you my school HD to SD 1.25g file

Regards
p.s. vortex media Mr. Doug is also advising to work in this wayÖ. About my question to vortex media, how they did the: ďMastering the Sony PMW EX1Ē DVD? He said it was all done in FCP, but was down convert using a SD sequence. As he explains in one of the chapters. And the video on the DVD looks pretty okayÖ
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Old January 28th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #4
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[QUOTE= I'm going to try shooting in 1080 60i tomorrow to see what that does... .[/QUOTE]

the ex1 using 60i looks like my $900 handcam... only a litle better.
30p is by FAR better
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Old January 28th, 2008, 05:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Klein View Post
Bottom line
The EX1 "look" stays true SD
But for SD, The PD170 crisp is still better...
Right... last week I got to play with an EX-1 and on Saturday I worked on a way to make downconverted footage look as good as a high end DSR-450 with a lens that cost $18k.

The SD sequence in FCP needed to be set to progressive by selecting the Sequence Properties and setting field dominance to 'none' in the first tab. In the second tab, set everything to render in extended 10 bit, best quality rescale (in other words, turn everything up to '11'). Finally, apply a 10% sharpen to the whole sequence (assuming you've turned detail off whilst shooting). That adds the zing and makes the built in lens look like a $12000 lens when downconverted.

Just dumping EX-1 footage into a raw DV timeline was distinctly 'bleah'. The above method sat well with DSR-450 material that was being sent to me. I'm sold on it.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #6
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Hmm....
Thatís goon news.
But in the second tab there set it to fastest/linear
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Old January 28th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #7
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Use Final cut studio 6.2
Work in a normal HD sequence
Create a master stand alone uncompressed mov.
Import into compressor
From now on "Forget about that your footage is HD"
Use the SD DVD templates, or set up yours, all as your footage is normal SD...
Hit summit...............

So
1. edit on an HD sequence (any specific settings in FCS2 except i.e. 1080 25p)
2. then export an uncompressed mov. (meaning HD uncompressed?)
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Old January 28th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #8
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yes.

DO NOT USE QUICK TIME COMPRESSON. Itís not the best compression and dos not give the smallest file size...
USE COMRESSOR
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Old January 28th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Klein View Post
yes.

DO NOT USE QUICK TIME COMPRESSON. Itís not the best compression and dos not give the smallest file size...
USE COMRESSOR
Meaning export from FCS using compressor and not QuickTime conversion?
Doesn't a small file size mean worst quality?
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Old January 28th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #10
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In general when you say smaller size, then yes, worse quality.

But when we are talking about applications that will compress raw video, we need to keep in mind and look for such applications that is the most "smart" how to get the "best" picture for the "smallest" file size.
Not all rendering engines use the same algorithm. The final output is true pmeg2, but how it became mpeg2 is by far different from a $50 software vs. FCP compressor, which is used in major films... got the idea?


In final cut you need to go to:
File
Export
Quick time movie
Give it a name
Select your detonation
Settings= current settings
DO ďNOTĒ SELECT recompress all frames
Make movie self contained will save you time and be more secure,
(Should something go wrong with your original footage, at least your master is self contained, not pointers to were your original files are)

Once you have your uncompressed master open it up in quick time player and make sure itís all okay.

Now open up compressor and import this master.
Choose a template, go it over to make sure itís what you want, summit it, and take a coffeeÖ

For more detailed info. Go to lynda.com pay $25.00 and take a lesson or 2 there.
http://movielibrary.lynda.com/html/modPage.asp?ID=430
17. Exporting

Itís good for 1 month. (Make sure to cancel when you finish, otherwise you will be paying every month again $25)

Hope this helps!
Good night
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:58 AM   #11
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Thank you again Joel for your help.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #12
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Extra info re downconverting

So using FCP and Compressor, would this work OK for around 2hrs of HD downconverted to SD? If so, what would one assume the quality to be like? Assume this would be viable to fit onto a Dual Layer DVD ONLY if it is doable?

Cheers
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Old February 12th, 2008, 08:04 PM   #13
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why not?

FORGOT about HD
ones in compressor its like SD. whatever workes for you till now will work after downconvert...
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Old February 14th, 2008, 01:42 PM   #14
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I am looking at getting a couple EX1's over some dsr 300's for a flypack. Out put would be live in sd and sd dvd. I was kind of betting that the EX1's would look like a million bucks on an SD TV.

What if I took the an sd out into sd switcher and record sd? Would that look alright, or would I be better of with an HD switcher and downconvert later.

The cameras would ISO with either cards or firestore. But then I would need to downconveret in post right?

Now I am confussed!
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Old February 14th, 2008, 02:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McMillan View Post
Out put would be live in sd and sd dvd. I was kind of betting that the EX1's would look like a million bucks on an SD TV.
Please note the (extensive) review by Adam Wilt on the PVC site. Here's an exerpt from the bottom of page 4:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Wilt
While there is SD downconversion available during playback (or during live monitoring), I found the quality to be poor. Analog component still showed 800+ lines of horizontal resolution—in standard definition! SDI showed vigorous aliasing setting in at about 400 lines, and composite showed both aliasing and tremendous amounts of cross-color. Clearly the HD signal is being downconverted without the resampling and low-pass filtering needed to keep the picture within SD bandwidth limits. I’d recommend leaving the camera’s outputs in HD mode, ignoring the composite output entirely, and doing all downconversions externally.
Although I have no personal experience with this, there seem to be serious issues with the SD-SDI/downconversion.

George/
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