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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old March 7th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #1
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HD to SD DVDs - solution found

I have also been plagued with this problem of poor quality SD DVDs produced from HD footage. The problem seems to centre on flickering around thin horizontals and areas of high detail.

I have tried most of the suggested workflows found on this forum and on other forums. I have found that many of these suggestions make an improvement, but only slightly.

I have tried the "reduce interlace flicker" switch in Vegas and it works well in reducing the actual flicker, but the resulting image is much too soft.

I have tried gaussian blurs at very low values e.g. .002 but again, found that the resulting image is too soft.

Sharpening up again with a very light unsharp mask helped slightly.

After much testing with various combinations of the above I have finally found a very simple solution that I am happy with. It's not a perfect solution but it is the most satisfactory result that I have seen so far.

Thanks to the following people for their help and suggestions with this problem (in no particular order):

Glenn Chann
Simon Wyndham
Adam Wilt
Douglas Spotted Eagle


I'm living in PAL land so my suggested workflow for the EX1 is based on footage shot at SP 1080/50i:

1. Find a spare picture profile and reset it to ensure that everything is set to it's default setting.

2. In that profile turn detail ON and set the level to -40. I didn't change any other settings. (perhaps more can be done here)

3. Import the footage into your NLE with its project properties set to match the source footage.

4. Add a light unsharp mask to the entire timeline. I found that the following settings work best:
Amount 0.20
Radius 0.02
Threshold 0.0

5. Render out to a PAL or NTSC MPEG2 suitable for DVD burning.


I have tested this workflow on video footage with plenty of thin lines and I have also tested it on panning and zooming on the ISO 12233 resolution chart.

NB: Even though, I am softening the image by reducing the in-camera detail level to -40, I believe that it this is not as soft as starting out with 0 detail reduction and then applying gaussian blurs or reducing interlace flicker.

I accept that this solution is not 100% but it my eyes, the downsized HD footage looks quite good when played back via SD DVD on both my Plasma screen and my good old CRT television. Clearly, it's never going to look as good the original HD footage but that's life! Roll on the days when Blu-Ray delivery becomes the norm.

I welcome other people to try it simple workflow and report back on their findings.

All the best,
Keith
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Old March 7th, 2008, 07:32 AM   #2
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Seeing those names is impressive. Where did this discussion take place? Wish you could have dragged them over here.

Now I have to wonder what the Final Cut Pro equivalent solution is.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 07:56 AM   #3
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How do you add the unsharp mask ( or any other effect ) to the entire timeline,in vegas ?
Thanks.
Paul.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 08:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Kellett View Post
How do you add the unsharp mask ( or any other effect ) to the entire timeline,in vegas ?
Thanks.
Paul.
Hi Paul, there is an effects button beside the preview window and this will apply to all video tracks. Mouseover the buttons until you see Video Output FX...

Then double-click Sony Unsharp Mask and hit ok.

From the preset, select Light and this should be enough.

Craig, there is no reason why this should be any different for your MAC workflow. Your starting point is reducing detail in the EX1 itself. I'm sure there is an unsharp mask or something similar in FCP. That's all there is too it.

I would like to know how others get on with this workflow.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Kellett View Post
How do you add the unsharp mask ( or any other effect ) to the entire timeline,in vegas ?
Thanks.
Paul.
"Timeline" is not precise here, Paul. In Vegas, you can add FX's to:

- event (a single clip on the timeline), using its own FX icon or right-click menu

- entire but single track, using it's own FX icon (at the LH side)

- entire project (I guess this is what you need here), using the FX icon above the preview window, or just opening FX tab, choosing the desired FX and draging it to the preview window.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 08:06 AM   #6
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Thanks Keith,i'll try that.

Paul.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #7
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My entire project consists of only 1 track,but yes i see what the 2 3 different fx buttons do now,ie 1 clip,1 track, or whole project.

Thanks very much guys.

Paul.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 09:51 AM   #8
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I believe through some testing it was determined that with detail set to -40, this setting is VERY close to detail set to OFF. Did you try this with detail set to OFF?
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Old March 7th, 2008, 09:57 AM   #9
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I've heard that -20 is closer to detail off. I tried it with detail off, detail 0, detail -20 and detail -40. The latter gave me the best results. I didn't try taking it back to -30. This may also work and give a little bit of sharpness back.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #10
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I just rendered and burnt a sample,720/50p,with and without the sharpening,i prefered the footage without the sharpening,although i have got detail set to "on" and "0",(zero) in the cam.
I'm using Bill Ravens picture profile with the blacks not so crushed,0 as opposed to Bills -8 setting.
The footage looks a bit "artificial" with vegas's sharpening on.
I can't see any difference between 1080/50i and 720/50p,presumably because it's ending up SD anyway,720x576.
I get no line twitter or any picture problems,i'm watching on a CRT tv.
Zooming in on blades of grass or looking at small pebbles on the floor looks good.Pans are also good.
I also found that 720/50p is a lot better to edit with,in vegas at least,smooth on 2nd monitor even with basic edits,rolling credits etc.I can't say the same about 1080/50i,very choppy.

Paul.
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