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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #1
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EX-1 HD to SD Final Cut Studio 2 Editing Techniques

Hi All:

I would like to learn some EX-1 HD to SD Final Cut Studio 2 editing techniques others are using.

I regularly shoot EX-1 HQ 1080i footage.
In Final Cut Studio 2, I create a Basic DV Firewire timeline.
I import the HD footage and drop the HD shots into the DV SD timeline for editing. After editing and rendering, I send the finished project out my Mac via firewire into my DSR-20 DVCAM deck onto DVCAM tape for distribution.

This typically works OK, but like most people I would like to do anything I can to improve the look of my final project as it appears in SD DVCAM.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing any comments, suggestion and tips you might have to offer.

Kevin Jones
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #2
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I'd cut the whole thing in HD first, then export a DV version using Compressor. Your composites and filters will look a lot better and you'll save time in doing the downconverts on only your final edit.

Noah
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #3
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Typically I have to deliver my finished projects on DVCAM tape. Local cable company will use nothing else. Local TV station can accept Quicktime file which is nice. No tape.

I have a customer now who will require an HD final product. A PSA for our city 311 service that will be digitally projected in the local movie theatre. I planned to edit it HD as you suggested for the theatre, then down-vert an SD version for TV and Cable.
I will give compressor a try for my DV conversion.

Thanks Kevin Jones
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Old January 15th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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I deliver spots to local cable as well. I wouldn't use DVCAM though I used to when I shot DVCAM.

I'll edit either HD or SD. Editing HD in SD timeline gives you the ability to reposition the shot or do "fake" pan and scan or dolly, etc. I'm not wedded to either since it depends on the shoot. In either case I go to SD 8bit uncompressed or Apple ProRes. I'm currently experimenting with both. Both are WAY BETTER than DVCAM.

I then compress to MPEG-2 Program in Telestream Episode
Telestream Episode Desktop - Overview
and then use DGFastchannel to deliver the MPEG-2 Program stream to their drop box (via FTP) complete with traffic instructions and the station may have it in as little as an hour or no worse than next day.

DGFastchannel :: The ONE for Advertising

All the cable station in my state accept DGFastchannel delivery. They are very widely used but I think most cable companies realize that small advertiser can use the service as well.

No tape to worry about. no dubs to check since I do the encode. No shipping to worry about. Encode and FTP and you're done. It causes about the same as UPS/FedEx but no dub or waiting for pickup.

And relative to us EX users who don't have higher end standard def decks, you can now shoot EX1 and deliver in quality approaching DigiBeta.

BTW if you do VNR work you can do the same thing with Pathfire, which is owned by DG.
http://www.pathfire.com/child/produc...lications.html

I've also done digital signage ads and deliver via FTP directly to them too.

Personally I think in the not to distant future, you'll be able to deliver programs as either MPEG-2 Program or Transport streams (heck that's how it's usually going to end up anyway except some major channels may want to control the encode process. Some may move to other forms of (H.264 for example) transport streams but in any case avoiding tape for distribution is becoming easier and easier.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 01:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I deliver spots to local cable as well. I wouldn't use DVCAM though I used to when I shot DVCAM.

I'll edit either HD or SD. Editing HD in SD timeline gives you the ability to reposition the shot or do "fake" pan and scan or dolly, etc. I'm not wedded to either since it depends on the shoot. In either case I go to SD 8bit uncompressed or Apple ProRes. I'm currently experimenting with both. Both are WAY BETTER than DVCAM.

I then compress to MPEG-2 Program in Telestream Episode
Telestream Episode Desktop - Overview
and then use DGFastchannel to deliver the MPEG-2 Program stream to their drop box (via FTP) complete with traffic instructions and the station may have it in as little as an hour or no worse than next day.

DGFastchannel :: The ONE for Advertising

All the cable station in my state accept DGFastchannel delivery. They are very widely used but I think most cable companies realize that small advertiser can use the service as well.

No tape to worry about. no dubs to check since I do the encode. No shipping to worry about. Encode and FTP and you're done. It causes about the same as UPS/FedEx but no dub or waiting for pickup.

And relative to us EX users who don't have higher end standard def decks, you can now shoot EX1 and deliver in quality approaching DigiBeta.

BTW if you do VNR work you can do the same thing with Pathfire, which is owned by DG.
Pathfire - Digital Media Distribution and Management

I've also done digital signage ads and deliver via FTP directly to them too.

Personally I think in the not to distant future, you'll be able to deliver programs as either MPEG-2 Program or Transport streams (heck that's how it's usually going to end up anyway except some major channels may want to control the encode process. Some may move to other forms of (H.264 for example) transport streams but in any case avoiding tape for distribution is becoming easier and easier.
Well, I do much the same.....most times I can now FTP a file to the cable company or TV station. But just for other people's info and not to rip on DG or Pathfire or anything, but you can pretty much do this for free yourself. Either FTP it to the station's server (if you call the station and tell them you have a client that wants airtime on their station, many will give you your own folder on their FTP server....at least in my state) or you can use a free service like Dropload, Sendspace or Yousendit to get them the file. As long as you know what you are doing on a computer you can figure out a way to pretty much do this the 'low budget' way if you need to....just saying.......
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Old January 16th, 2009, 02:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
Well, I do much the same.....most times I can now FTP a file to the cable company or TV station. But just for other people's info and not to rip on DG or Pathfire or anything, but you can pretty much do this for free yourself. Either FTP it to the station's server (if you call the station and tell them you have a client that wants airtime on their station, many will give you your own folder on their FTP server....at least in my state) or you can use a free service like Dropload, Sendspace or Yousendit to get them the file. As long as you know what you are doing on a computer you can figure out a way to pretty much do this the 'low budget' way if you need to....just saying.......
Beware though--even if they accept your file, that's no guarantee it'll end up looking good. They'll probably transcode it or, more likely, print to tape. DG is much more reliable and gets you straight to traffic. And with the right settings, I've been very pleased with how the spots look on-air. See this thread: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-xdca...vering-dg.html

True story about a local station and delivering a Quicktime file. This is before my EX days, shooting on a DVX100. The local station wanted DVCPro, but their master control wouldn't accept a mini-DV tape in the DVCPro adapter (something about the high-end DVCPro decks didn't like them).

So I delivered a QT and the production people said they'd ingest and print to tape for me (they didn't have a direct way to go to the ad server even though they were shooting P2--and still don't to my knowledge). I see the spot on air and it looks terrible--washed out and dark. I inquire what they did, and learn they brought it into their Avid, where it had to be transcoded, and then they printed to DVCPro via component (!).

I don't know Avid, so maybe there was an issue in how they transcoded, but I thought that making the dub analogue couldn't be helping. So I found someone in town who had a DVCPro deck with firewire, made a dub that way from mini-DV, and voila! they looked great.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #7
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Beware though--even if they accept your file, that's no guarantee it'll end up looking good. They'll probably transcode it or, more likely, print to tape. DG is much more reliable and gets you straight to traffic. And with the right settings, I've been very pleased with how the spots look on-air. See this thread: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-xdca...vering-dg.html

True story about a local station and delivering a Quicktime file. This is before my EX days, shooting on a DVX100. The local station wanted DVCPro, but their master control wouldn't accept a mini-DV tape in the DVCPro adapter (something about the high-end DVCPro decks didn't like them).

So I delivered a QT and the production people said they'd ingest and print to tape for me (they didn't have a direct way to go to the ad server even though they were shooting P2--and still don't to my knowledge). I see the spot on air and it looks terrible--washed out and dark. I inquire what they did, and learn they brought it into their Avid, where it had to be transcoded, and then they printed to DVCPro via component (!).

I don't know Avid, so maybe there was an issue in how they transcoded, but I thought that making the dub analogue couldn't be helping. So I found someone in town who had a DVCPro deck with firewire, made a dub that way from mini-DV, and voila! they looked great.
Well, there is something to that. I talk to the 'point of contact' at the station I am delivering to, and most of them now play out to air right off the server, so there is no 'print out to tape' or transcode. They tell me the EXACT settings they want the file encoded at down to the bitrate and if they want CBR or VBR and such. I just follow their
instructions and upload it to their server. And if I use the free Sendspace/Dropload/Yousendit route, they just download the file from the free server and transfer it to their server.....no transcoding needed as long as I give it to them in the format (MPEG-2 or H.264 or whatever they want) that works with their server. And as for DG being much more reliable and getting you straight to traffic......uh....that only works if the station you are delivering to uses DG as I understand. Here in Alaska.....lets just say that isn't much of an option. Most stations have their own set up and are NOT going to spend any money in these economic times so you kind of have to work with what they have. And our statewide cable system is GCI, we don't have Time Warner or some of the big guys that might have a standard DG type setup. GCI has their own server, and if you are a production company that regularly delivers spots to them, you get your own folder on their server. Now as I understand it, I was the first company in the
state to start doing this to GCI, and I have had multiple other stations and production companies call me for tech help on how to do this. Apparently GCI was giving them my name as in "Well Gabe at G-Force Productions does it all the time, if you can't figure it out you should call him." So I was
a bit of the 'point of contact' on how to do this for our statewide cable system, it seemed straightforward to me, but then again I have been working with a satellite engineer in NY on transmitting broadcast quality video over high speed internet and live broadcasting over the internet for quite a few years now, so maybe I am more used to the nuances of compressing video.

Now, like I say, I'm am NOT against using things like DG, they probably do a GREAT job and as you say having more control of the process is good, controlling the quality and making sure there isn't some additional transcode or print to tape to reduce the quality. I DO want to make people aware, that if they do NOT have the funds (as we know the economy sucks right now) to use some of these services, there are options that can work as long as the people on the 'other end' know what they are doing.....which in these times of paying employees crap wages is becoming admittedly more and more rare.

Anyways, sorry for the thread hijack.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #8
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Fair enough. We should probably clarify how much DG costs though. It's $25 per delivery.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #9
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Good point $25 isn't much, easy to build that into a contract with a client. I wasn't really sure how much it cost, and that definitely isn't much (for the person delivering the spot) The bigger issue (for me) I think is that none of the stations I work with have a DG system at THEIR end and none of them is likely to purchase something like that if they have a server or some sort of system that works for them already. Probably only an issue when you are in rural states or areas like me......small TV stations are notorious about not spending money...just ask anyone who has ever had a job at one of them...... Again, I don't really know exactly how DG or FastChannel or any of them work for sure, but I am guessing that the TV station or cable company on the receiving end needs to have some sort of 'server box' or something that THEY need to buy....and if THEY won't buy it, I am guessing that YOU can't use that method to deliver to them.....maybe I'm wrong though.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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Certainly if your local cable station can give you exact specs and doesn't use DG, one can certainly go that route. In my area both local cable providers use DG. They prefer the managerial aspect DG provides them and, as noted elsewhere, it's $25.

Ultimately it'll depend on where you're advertising but free or $25 is certainly within reach of most people. The key is there's really no reason to go to tape and you can do a down convert to 8 bit uncompressed (or Apple Pro Res for FCP users) and get far better quality than DVCam. No Tape Stock to buy, no risk of a bad dub, no UPS/FedEx . . . no reason to use tape.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 04:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
Good point $25 isn't much, easy to build that into a contract with a client. I wasn't really sure how much it cost, and that definitely isn't much (for the person delivering the spot) The bigger issue (for me) I think is that none of the stations I work with have a DG system at THEIR end and none of them is likely to purchase something like that if they have a server or some sort of system that works for them already. Probably only an issue when you are in rural states or areas like me......small TV stations are notorious about not spending money...just ask anyone who has ever had a job at one of them...... Again, I don't really know exactly how DG or FastChannel or any of them work for sure, but I am guessing that the TV station or cable company on the receiving end needs to have some sort of 'server box' or something that THEY need to buy....and if THEY won't buy it, I am guessing that YOU can't use that method to deliver to them.....maybe I'm wrong though.
You are correct. You only want to use DG for stations that are online, and it's easy to see which ones are in their ordering system. For offline stations, they send a beta, which of course defeats the purpose. In my market everybody's online so far.
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