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-   -   ClipBrowser does superb HD-->SD Downconvert (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdcam-ex-pro-handhelds/129076-clipbrowser-does-superb-hd-sd-downconvert.html)

Peter Rixner August 31st, 2008 12:21 PM

ClipBrowser does superb HD-->SD Downconvert
 
Hi :)

I downconverted the same EX1 footage (with very fine Detail, like tube structures) with Premiere, Aftereffects, a Matrox realtime downconvert and finally the EX Clip Browser.

I am completely stunned how well and much better the clipbrowser does that downconvert compared to Aftereffects, which is absolutely the 2nd best.

What are they doing so different in Clip Browser ?
And how are Your experiences with that and other downconvert methods.

It reminds me ay little, that the Z1 in-Camera donwconversion was alway better that any other software-solution. There is a Sony secret :)

Thanks!

Peter

Nick Csakany August 31st, 2008 04:30 PM

Rendering time?
 
How's the rendering time for the HD to SD conversion in Clip Browser versus a full NLE?

Peter Rixner September 1st, 2008 04:03 AM

I didn't measure, but feels not really longer.

A big advantage is that you can convert a whole folder and get files with the same filename and perfectly in sync. I can then reassign the files in premiere and get a finished SD Timeline from my existing HD. Fantastic :) You see, I am still excited :)

Peter

Ian Briscoe September 1st, 2008 04:56 AM

When I tested HD->SD via Clip Browser it was taking almost double real time. I'd be interested in what timings others are getting.

Ian

Dennis Schmitz September 1st, 2008 05:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ian Briscoe (Post 927636)
When I tested HD->SD via Clip Browser it was taking almost double real time. I'd be interested in what timings others are getting.

Ian

It's very fast for me, too (about as fast as MP4 --> MXF!).
But the quality is very bad:
- many DV artifacts
- Interlace artifacts (progressive not possible?!)
- much more scaling artifacts than with virtualdub (maybe due to the non-possible progressive-setting?)

PS: I always shoot progressive with Detail=Off, quality is stunning, even if converted to SD using virtualdub. ;)


Dennis

Peter Rixner September 1st, 2008 05:51 AM

Interesting ... I do no interlacing. My test was progressive.

But virtual dub reads the MP4 ?!? Really ... I'll give it a try.
Thanks!

But still. My clipbrowser downconverts look fine.

Peter

Brian Cassar September 1st, 2008 06:53 AM

I too, did not like the end result of the HD-SD downconversion via the clip browser. It is not always apparent this lack of resolution. However if you zoom in on a face and then slowly zoom out, the low quality downconversion can be easily seen. The SD downconversion is as if the camera has a severe backfocus issue. The close up is nice and sharp, the wide shot is severely blurred.

Whilst on this subject of downconversion, I've managed to get very good looking SD footage by exporting movie (as mpeg2) from PPro CS3 HD timeline. The resultant SD footage is again with severe loss of resolution. Then a sharpening effect (an effect of Premiere) is applied to this movie in a SD timeline and voila, the SD footage is brought to life. The down side of this is the severe rendering time involved. Even though I have an HP workstation (quadcore with 4GB RAM) and a Matrox Axio LE (which in this case does not offer any hardware acceleration since it is a Premiere effect) I've calculated that for an hour of footage one needs about 5-6 hours of rendering time!! However the end result is worth it.

Kenny Cowburn December 4th, 2008 05:31 AM

Could someone enlighten me
I´m having a bit of a hard time converting HD to SD, without losing clarity.
I´m shooting for German broadcasters and most of the are still broadcasting SD

what version of clip browser are you using?
and how exactly are you doing the conversion in the CLIP BROWSER?

Have you bought the upgrade software from http://www.mainconcept.com/site/index.php?id=21901

??????????

Peter Rixner December 4th, 2008 07:33 AM

Hi Kenny,

to me still the (free) clipbrowser does the best HD > SD.
I've read so much about this topic and meanwhile got the impression, that so many want HD quality after downconvert, which of course is impossible :)

Also I found that many are viewing their HD clips on HD-LCD monitors, which then have to upsample the SD after it has been downconverted. That looks terrible, but does the same with any SD footage not only EX1 footage.
SD from my EX1 watched on a good old SD-Tube looks fine.

I guess the core of the problem is, that HD is too sharp for SD. Especially interlaced SD. So after all, the only way to compensate flickering is blurring.

But if anyone has the ultimate solution for better downconversion - I am still interrested :)

Peter

Greg Hawkes December 4th, 2008 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis Schmitz (Post 927641)
It's very fast for me, too (about as fast as MP4 --> MXF!).
But the quality is very bad:
- many DV artifacts
- Interlace artifacts (progressive not possible?!)
- much more scaling artifacts than with virtualdub (maybe due to the non-possible progressive-setting?)

PS: I always shoot progressive with Detail=Off, quality is stunning, even if converted to SD using virtualdub. ;)


Dennis

Dennis: Do you shoot 720P/50 or one of the other progressive formats. If not 720P/50 which one?

I have had very good results with 720P/50 but occasional line twitter (too much detail)
I usually shoot with detail on and -30. So interested in your choice to switch detail off.

Kenny Cowburn December 4th, 2008 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Rixner (Post 972739)
Hi Kenny,

to me still the (free) clipbrowser does the best HD > SD.
I've read so much about this topic and meanwhile got the impression, that so many want HD quality after downconvert, which of course is impossible :)

Also I found that many are viewing their HD clips on HD-LCD monitors, which then have to upsample the SD after it has been downconverted. That looks terrible, but does the same with any SD footage not only EX1 footage.
SD from my EX1 watched on a good old SD-Tube looks fine.

I guess the core of the problem is, that HD is too sharp for SD. Especially interlaced SD. So after all, the only way to compensate flickering is blurring.

But if anyone has the ultimate solution for better downconversion - I am still interrested :)

Peter

Hey Peter, Thanks for the reply and I see your point about perhaps expecting too much from the SD material...


my question is: how exactly are you using the free version of the Clip Browser to convert?
What resolution are you shooting in and what are you converting to?

I tried to convert HQ HD(1920 x 1080i) MP4 files to AVI DV and noticed that it loses so much definition, it all gets a bit blurred, which makes me think that I should have taken a BETA SP for the shoot instead.......

I haven´t tried 720 p material yet....

anything you could let me know about your experiences?

All I´m really after is max. possible clarity once converted to PAL SD

should I be shooting progressive?

Peter Rixner December 4th, 2008 11:07 AM

I am shooting all formats, depending on the job. But the "worst case" is surely 1080, because of the huge difference in size.

I recommend 100% to shoot progressive.
Unless a customer definetly wants that, I NEVER shoot interlaced. It only makes trouble.
If you need the higher framerate (for rapid movements in sports e.g.) I'd prefer 720p 50.

Your question about how I use the clip browser:
As simple as can be and like you described it. Convert to DV AVI.

Again, it's by nature a big loss in sharpness to reduce the resolution from 1080 to 576.
And if you compare it to HD on the SAME monitor, you'll never be satisfied with the results.

And as SD displaytechnology on a TV or Broadcastmonitor is ALWAYS interlaced, even if you have progressive material (a fact that so many ignore) you get flickering if your material is to sharp (what it is when you come from hd) or you have to blur it to reduce flickering.
Still I think the clipbrowser does a good ratio of softness to flickering. The theoretic "perfect solution" that I know is doing scene by scene with manual amounts of blur. But that's most of the time impractical.

BTW: if noone else is interested in the tread you can also write german, as I seem to live less than 50km from You. But english is fine with me.

Peter

Steve Shovlar December 4th, 2008 03:55 PM

NO lads keep it in English please. There are people who don't post who are intersted.

Danke.

Attila Cser December 4th, 2008 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Rixner (Post 972864)
I am shooting all formats, depending on the job. But the "worst case" is surely 1080, because of the huge difference in size.

I recommend 100% to shoot progressive.
Unless a customer definetly wants that, I NEVER shoot interlaced. It only makes trouble.
If you need the higher framerate (for rapid movements in sports e.g.) I'd prefer 720p 50.


Still I think the clipbrowser does a good ratio of softness to flickering. The theoretic "perfect solution" that I know is doing scene by scene with manual amounts of blur. But that's most of the time impractical.

Peter

Hi, guys,

I so glad about this thread as often I supply SD material to client.
I'm no way an expert but few things I can share which is from experience:

1. For SD the best setting seems to be 720 50 p. Progressive 50 helps you with the motions while 720 is less trouble for the PC ( you can't shoot 1080 50p)

2. The Clip browser 2.0 does a great job, however the downconvert takes time but much faster than real time capturing.

3. The Shotput Pro is a great software to mange your offloadings,
I just bought it yesterday for the todays job and I'm fully satisfied.

4. Within a Clip browser you can select the parts of the clip you want to downconvert, the downside is if you wanted two different parts of the same HD clip, you need to SDing it to different output folders to prevent overwriting.

5. All NLEs I tried on Windows gave the SD downconverted footage with artifacts or other problems, however direct HD editing with NLE and SDing the output file is faster for short clips the one I work with ENG than via Clipbrowser, but as it was stated above Clipbrowser 2.0 gives a good SD quality for SD TV

-----------------

All in all Clipbrowser is the simple and quality downcovert way at the moment.

May I ask someone to confirm that when you are coming from the HD material
choosing SD DV avi output as squeezed DV is equivalent to the SD 16:9 ?

Thanks,
Atti

Ted OMalley December 4th, 2008 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar (Post 973029)
Danke.

Very funny, Steve. :-)

Peter Rixner December 5th, 2008 04:25 PM

Hey Steve,

what a great opportunity to learn some XDCAM EX special german vocabulary :)

like:

drecksqualität beim runterrechnen = very bad quality when downconverting

or

ist das normal, daß die Tasten abbröseln = is it normal that the buttons get rubbed off

or

wer baut eigentlich den Griff so blöd an die Kamera hin, daß man nicht richtig an die anschlüsse rankommt ?
=
wo makes the handle to close to the camerabody, that you cannot get easily to the interface plugs ?

hmmm .. maybe the english isn't perfect :)

We can learn so much from each other ...

Peter

Ted OMalley December 5th, 2008 04:53 PM

Two years of High School German is slapping me in the face right now - reminding how little German I actually ever learned and how much I forgot. I'm such a loser.

Thanks for the memories.

(See, this is why we stick to English - it's for us unilingual people.)

Peter Rixner December 5th, 2008 07:35 PM

Really ? You can attend german courses in high school ?

I thought english / spanish mayyyyyyyyybe french ... but german ...

So, if finally Steve agrees, we can switch totally to german in this forum :)

BTW: As this is still a HD > SD thread:

I tried that idea of blurring vertically in HD BEFORE downscaling ... that's also nice.
And the explanation with Nyquist is probably the most adequate.

Peter

Ted OMalley December 5th, 2008 11:00 PM

Grew up in the "bible belt" of the US - Ohio/Indiana - lot's of German influence.

Oh, yeah, and HD to SD something or other.

Dominik Seibold December 6th, 2008 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Rixner (Post 927339)
I am completely stunned how well and much better the clipbrowser does that downconvert compared to Aftereffects, which is absolutely the 2nd best.

Was stört dich am Ergebnis von AFX? Dessen Verkleinerungsalgorithmus funktioniert doch einwandfrei. Falls es auf Röhrenmonitoren zu sehr flimmert (wovon bei ex1-Material auszugehen ist) muss man halt noch einen vertikalen Weichzeichner dazu geben, was ja in AFX sehr leicht geht.
(I asked him why he doesn't like AFXs results ;))

Peter Rixner December 6th, 2008 12:42 PM

Das ist schon ok, ich hatte nur den Eindruck ... äh sorry, we wanted to keep it english :)

AE does a very good downscaling and adding blur will of course help. However adding the blur BEFORE downscaling does meanwhile the best results to me.

By comparing the plain downconversion of AE with Clipbrowser, the Clipsbrowser does a better job to me. Probably they are adding some kind of vertical blur also.

I also found that for cinematic work is can be a good thing to add grain after blurring. .... sometimes :)

Peter

Dominik Seibold December 6th, 2008 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Rixner (Post 973879)
However adding the blur BEFORE downscaling does meanwhile the best results to me.

Yes, with adding blur after downscaling, you certainly reduce flickering, but with bluring before you're ultimately avoiding any aliasing, because AEs downscaler is good, but not perfect in terms of cutting off frequencies higher than the nyquist-limit becore downscaling.
But fortunately it's an easy task, because effects in AE always get applied to the nativly sized footage before any scale/rotation-operations. :)

Kevin Wayne Jones December 6th, 2008 07:08 PM

We use a pretty down and dirty method in creating SD DVDs of HD material.
Shoot XDCAM EX-1 1080i. Edit with Final Cut Studio 2.
Drop footage into a DV timeline.
Edit and render as usual.
Pipe the finished project out through firewire to our Sony RDR-GX7 desktop DVD recorder.
Record in HQ (60 minutes) or HSP (90 Minutes) modes for best quality.
No fancy menus, but looks great.
Better than I been able to do with Compresser and DVD Studio.

Kevin Jones

Peter Kraft December 7th, 2008 02:19 PM

de-interlace prior to downscaling improves picture quality
 
Let add again for completeness's sake
MPEGStreamClip, which does downscales to SD
not only very fast but also with outstanding quality.

Would like to mention also that de-interlacing with
something like DVMaker or Fieldskit improves SD
picture quality visibly. No prior vertical blurring
nessecary, imo, however don't have a clue why.

Mark Krichever December 7th, 2008 07:55 PM

down conversion? what is the problem?
 
I do not understand why one should use Sony browser for down conversion while you can export your final sequence from FCP (for instance) in any format? My TV studio clients asking me for .avi.
I shoot in 1920x1080 p24 or 1080 p24. Then using export as AVI and DV/DVCPRO compressor (with interlacing) I am receiving excellent quality AVI that plays exceptionally well with VLC player. Do not use Microsoft media Player - it is nothing more than garbage.
If I export my FCP clip to .mov format with H.264 compressor output clip looks even better. In the matter of fact it looks almost as good as original clip.
The same goes for down conversion using DVCPRO HD 720p30.
The worst resolution .mov I got with 720x480 with H264 compressor. But even that one is not too bad.
So, pardon my ignorance, why should we use Sony browser? Unless you working on PC that I do not know too well.

Erik Phairas December 8th, 2008 01:02 AM

time to feel dumb, but I didn't see a way to downconvert in the clip browser.

Joachim Hoge December 8th, 2008 01:32 AM

We also edit in a hd timeline, copy everything and paste it into a dv or other timeline and render (fcp). We have great results this way. It looked good when broadcasted, even on my 42" hd tv
But I'm happy to try something new as it might produce even better results

Peter Rixner December 8th, 2008 04:55 AM

Peter: If you deinterlace you actually do blur the image vertically, by throwing away information and interpolating or blending with the other field. That's probably the reason.
But that might not be a solution when someone would wand to keep the interlacing.

Mark: If you use any mediaplayer to watch your results on the computerscreen you cannot see the problem. Flickering of course only happens on a external monitor that uses a interlaced technique like all broadcast monitors and Home TVs.

After all it also depends on the content of the movie (fine structures or not) and of course on personal judgment.
I've seen clients that where happy with other's productions that flicker or even had the wrong fieldorder(!!!), wrong aspect ratio an so on.
And some of them even judge footage from viewing a DVD on their notebook.

Peter

Kenny Cowburn December 9th, 2008 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Erik Phairas (Post 974500)
time to feel dumb, but I didn't see a way to downconvert in the clip browser.

Erik, no need to feel dumb.

are you using Clip Browser 1.1?
if so, there is no way of down-converting in there.

here a link for version 2:

Sony | Micro Site - XDCAM EX

when you hit the export option, you can export as AVI DV, amoungst others...

Erik Phairas December 10th, 2008 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenny Cowburn (Post 975104)
Erik, no need to feel dumb.

are you using Clip Browser 1.1?
if so, there is no way of down-converting in there.

here a link for version 2:

Sony | Micro Site - XDCAM EX

when you hit the export option, you can export as AVI DV, amoungst others...


Hey thanks, I'll check it out!

EDIT: HA that is so much easier to use. Now I know what all you guys were talking about when you just select the containing folder.. I just clicked on the drive the files were in and all the thumbnails showed up. SO much better than digging them out one by one with the old browser...

Hell you just saved me 30 minutes off the start of each new project.

Andy Nickless December 10th, 2008 09:46 AM

I'm hopping mad with Sony - the EX1 is a DUD.
 
They've sold me (and all subscribers to this thread) a complete pup.

Deinterlace, flicker control, adding blur, what are all you guys talking about? What next?
NONE of these things should be necessary if Sony sorted the codec before releasing the camera.

This camera gives the most stunning footage I've seen from anything near the price. But it's a complete dud unless you have BluRay.

Argue with me if I've hurt your pride but personally, I'm in a desperately serious position now. Been working on a project solidly since May this year.

Have received many pre-orders of my DVD but do you know what?

I'm going to have to refund all their money unless some miracle happens and I can find some way to produce acceptable SD from this (admittedly stunning) EX1 footage.

It's a complete con.

PS - My best shot so far at converting EX1 to SD has come with MPEG STREAMCLIP.
As in a post above, it's VERY fast and does a better job than I've managed so far with Compressor (and I'm no novice with FCS2).

Steve Shovlar December 10th, 2008 10:10 AM

Well Andy its back to H Prestons with it then?

Seriously of course you can get great SD footage out of it. I have produced over 25 different wedding dvds and they all look just great. the problem is not the camera, but Compressor and the way it works with the footage downconverting. An easy work a round sorts that out.

Edit in HD
Export as a QT using Prores422 as a stand alone movie.

Make a new sd sequence in FCP ( right mouse click on the sequence and make sure interlaced is set to non, and its set at 16:9, Best Quality. Drop the prores422 file on the timelime, click no when it asks to change the timeline to suit the footage.
Render the footage, then export to Compressor.

Result = beautiful SD dvd.

Dominik Seibold December 10th, 2008 11:20 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Nickless (Post 975738)
My best shot so far at converting EX1 to SD has come with MPEG STREAMCLIP.
As in a post above, it's VERY fast and does a better job than I've managed so far with Compressor (and I'm no novice with FCS2).

Compressors rescaler is better than mpeg-streamsclips. But you have to set the scale-quality to best, as shown in the attached screen-shot.

Andy Nickless December 10th, 2008 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar (Post 975744)
Well Andy its back to H Prestons with it then?

CVP actually!
But Prestons are a tad closer to us than CVP.

Quote:

Edit in HD
Export as a QT using Prores422 as a stand alone movie.
Wish I hadn't tried this a dozen times, Steve.
But I'll try it again once more.

When you say export to Compressor, - MPEG2 ??
What sort of Bit Rate? Average say, 7 - Max 8.5 ??

And when you say Right-Click on the SD Timeline, I presume you mean Apple+0 ??
______________________

I will try this in a few minutes time but I must say I'm not holding my breath.
______________________

Interestingly (I'd love to know the reason for this).

In the Simulator of DVDSP, the footage looks wonderful (on my HD Monitor) but any scenes that are Wide or even Semi-Wide with lots of detail, grass, trees etc are positively fuzzy - and make my eyes go funny (watched on SD TV).

So WHY does it look so good in the Simulator?
______________________

Anyway, thanks for your help.
I'll post back.

Andy Nickless December 10th, 2008 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dominik Seibold (Post 975784)
you have to set the scale-quality to best, as shown in the attached screen-shot.

Dominic I've been using the "Best" setting for Resizing since you were in short trousers!
(Little joke - but I AM quite old).

Dominik Seibold December 10th, 2008 12:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Nickless (Post 975790)
Dominic I've been using the "Best" setting for Resizing since you were in short trousers!
(Little joke - but I AM quite old).

But why don't you like Compressors?
I attached a comparison of a conversion from 1920x1080p to 720x480p. The upper one is mpeg-streamclip, the lower compressor.
Don't know why streamclip produces black bars.
Perhaps the edges in the version from compressor looks very little more smooth. But definitely streamclip isn't better.

Mark Krichever December 10th, 2008 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dominik Seibold (Post 975808)
But why don't you like Compressors?
I attached a comparison of a conversion from 1920x1080p to 720x480p. The upper one is mpeg-streamclip, the lower compressor.
Don't know why streamclip produces black bars.
Perhaps the edges in the version from compressor looks very little more smooth. But definitely streamclip isn't better.

Would you, please describe how you use Compressor (step by step). It would be of great help to me.
Thanks,
Mark

Andy Nickless December 10th, 2008 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dominik Seibold (Post 975808)
But why don't you like Compressors?

I didn't say I don't like Compressor - but it's part of an expensive professional package and I would have expected it to be far better than a free application that I downloaded from the internet.

The two images you supplied are very similar - although I think the top one (Streamclip) is a little sharper. But I tried to make the point earlier that what looks good on your computer screen isn't necessarily good on DVD.

As I said (in my post above) the DVDSP Simulation of my movie looks really good. So why does it look so bad on SD TV?

If we could get screen grabs from SD TV, it would be interesting to compare them.

Andy Nickless December 10th, 2008 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar (Post 975744)
Result = beautiful SD dvd.

No - sorry Steve,
I tried this again this evening - just the same blurry result on the wider shots where there is grass and trees etc.

I'm going to have to buy a new camera and re-shoot this project - 7 months work down the pan!
(Thanks Sony).

Peter Kraft December 10th, 2008 04:31 PM

Andy,

have you ever tried Bitvice by Innobits (Sweden)?
Very sharp, very good downrez.

BTW leaves and grass are the worst thing to downrez.
I did once apply a sharpen filter prior to DVD encoding.
It did help :-) P.


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