STil Looking for Excellent HD to SD Conversion at

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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PXW-Z280, Z190, X180 etc. (going back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.

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Old March 28th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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STil Looking for Excellent HD to SD Conversion

I would like to hear from anyone shooting on the EX-1 and creating beautiful images on a Final Cut Pro DV timeline and recording to DVCAM.
I have several projects in the works and I need to be able to deliver to my local media outlets on DVCAM.
I've tried the Ken Stone site suggestions and several others but am still not satisfied with the quality. 1080 60i footage seems to work best. But I have shot some 1080 30p recently which looks pretty flickery on a tube TV viewed out of a firewire port.
The Vortex Training video suggests editing HD directly on a SD timeline for the pan-and-zoom advantages. Their stuff looks great.
What are they doing to make their stuff look so nice?
Obviously not mastering to DVCAM or editing on a DV timeline.
They appear to be editing with Final Cut Pro as well.
I am open to any suggestions and am willing to take material to another facility that could provide Betacam masters if that is a quality option.
But my preference is to master to DVCAM and handle everything here.
Thanks for your advice.

Kevin Jones
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Berkshire, UK
Posts: 1,562
Originally Posted by Kevin Wayne Jones View Post
I've tried the Ken Stone site suggestions and several others but am still not satisfied with the quality.
As I was behind Rick's original article, I'll hold my hand up as there is an important step in the FCP that 'switches on' the magic quality, but since the article got published I've been poked over the following:

- It was a PROGRESSIVE solution (no good if the rest of your footage is interlaced)
- We were working on PAL (50) footage, not NTSC (60) and haven't tested it because we shoot and edit stuff for a living, happy to share, but haven't time or resources to create learning materials for free - think blogger not journalist.
- But we stand by the formula.

Like I said before, I don't normally air my laundry in public, but the first pass is just doing things as you'd expect. The second pass is telling the NLE that the material is to be presented as pogressive, and it stops it from doing a five-times-decimation of your original vertical detail.

The Z1 story went on to say that you should shoot flat rather than using the default detail, then add sharpening in post, but if you scale down HDV with sharpness set to 8 (default was 12), it ends up looking 'Red' sharp. Could do with some lipstick, but the detail's there. Sharpen in post.

Now, here's the current state of the art: I'm shooting 720p50, editing in FCP so that anything needing rendering is done at 720 ProRes, then I output to ProRes 720p50. Now here's the nasty bit.

I happen to have After Effects, so I run my final edit through it to do a good downscale and (effectively) a re-interlace to Standard Definition.

That way, I end up with a DVCPro-50 PAL file I can compress to DVD, and it looks just like video (did I just say that?). But that's FCP + AE. Quite a pricey combination.

I have been assured that Vegas does a re-interlace from 720p50 or 720p60. There's AVIsynth, TMPGEnc and the rest. I don't know how good, sorry. But the FCP side may be expanding to reach the need of down-converters.
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