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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old June 13th, 2008, 09:37 AM   #16
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Dave
It'll be awhile. Remember, by far and away most TV sets in the US are still 4:3 tube units that were, well, built in another age, when people wanted value for their money and manufacturers built things to last.

I have and use several pieces of hardware/software combinations for HD/SD downresing for DVD production. I agree with the others here in that I haven't found a single, set-it-and-forget-it method that works every time, but I have found a few that work most of the time...

a) MPEG Streamclip downconvert the Quicktime SD footage after ingest into FCP, then cut in SD
b) ditto after HD editing and making an SD QT reference HD movie for Compressor into DVD
c) ditto the above but using an Aja Kona solution for the downres instead of Streamclip

That's my mostly-used workflows for EX1 originated footage. My mezzanine formats have been H264, Apple Intermediate Codec, and ProRes 422. All have worked well, and there's small differences between all of them.

Typically I take the EX1 footage and find the shots with the most motion in them, then make small (around 10 sec) clips and convert to the three mezzanine formats, or just leave it alone in EX format. Then I watch them all to see which I prefer.

Then I take this preferred clip all the way (including VFX, plugins, Color, whatever will be involved) through to SD DVD via the methods I mentioned above, and watch them all on a regular TV screen, BTW., as well as my production monitors and computer screens. Usually I'll prefer one to another at the end of it all.

The fastest method I have is to output/downconvert live via Aja Kona and spit it into another computer via Canopus ADVC at SD then into a regular DVD workflow after that - no rendering anywhere. I've also connected directly into a standalone DVD recorder when I've had to make long (over 1 hour) stringouts for producers in no-render-time-available time. This last not for final quality, though, just for roughs out and mainly for meeting delivery deadlines and Fedex/UPS last pickups...
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Old June 13th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #17
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Thanks Chris for your detailed reply. I'm sure we'll all be struggling with this workflow. One thing I needed some clarification on was how you handled the 16:9 to 4:3 change. I have some clients who are almost apoplectic if they get anything letterboxed. If you KNOW you're going to have to deliver a 4:3 final product, do you shoot with a protected 4:3 frame and simply do a "center cut"?
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Old June 13th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #18
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Hi Dave

Well, this depends on the client.

Most times I make a letterboxed version, a widescreen TV version and a center cut 4:3 version, and make them a little menu using one of the DVD Studio pro presets, just like in the movies :-)

For what I do, the shorter programs are nearly always sizzle reels, promos and the like, so the clients love the menus, etc., and it doesn't take that much longer in Quicktime Pro or Streamclip to convert the clips to the various formats.

Also that way it takes care of all the would-be complaints at source, and makes this a non-issue.

For longer form programs and the like I will usually ask the client how they like their outputs. Don't forget that a lot of them still run the older 4:3 TVs...

HTH
Cheers!
Chris
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Old July 7th, 2008, 04:43 AM   #19
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SD DVD via FCP

What I don't understand about either method is why create a DV timeline? It's not a very nice codec. Surely you may as well create, for e.g. a 10 bit uncompressed timeline, or if you have lots of graphics an animation codec timeline? Am I missing something?
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Old July 7th, 2008, 10:44 AM   #20
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Hey Phil
Not much, if your program has a relatively short run time or your deadlines are looser. Otherwise rendering time starts to play a major part in workflow decisions.
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