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Old February 2nd, 2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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Another SD downconversion question

Hi guys,
I am one of the new EX1 owners on this forum, loving the camera and loving the forum. Thanks everybody for the really helpful advice and discussions.
My question is related to some of the existing SD down conversion threads, which I have read (with some confusion), but my question is also slightly different.
My parameters are as follows:
I currently have no edit suite/computer/software. This will be my next investment. I want to make a short advocacy video about what we will euphemistically call an "issue" in Zimbabwe, seeing this is a real name forum. I have an EX1 with decent mics, and my organisation also has two Sony HDR-HC9's which can film in both HDV and SD.
The short advocacy video will be about 12 mins long and will be distributed on DVD and I will also try to get buy-in from a magazine show on regional television. Now, as far as I currently see it, trying to output to both DVD and broadcast requires very different final formats, namely as high a quality as possible for the broadcast option and SD for the DVD.
1) So should I film the whole thing with my EX1 on highest quality settings and then down convert to create two separate versions?
2) If so, which system and software have forum users found most successful for down conversion bearing in mind I have not yet committed any resources to any computer hardware or software and am thus quite free in this regard? Or the converse of this question, any systems that provide very bad results and should be avoided?
3) Will I get a better quality SD version using the Sony camcorders?

Is using these small camcorders a good idea IF there is very little chance of getting my piece broadcast?
A colleague working in this same field here in Zimbabwe recently told me that international broadcasters are taking anything that comes out of here because of the ban on international media.
So: Ex1 or Sony HDR HC9?
and: SD or HD or both?
Thanks in advance,
Simon
PS We are working in partnership with witness.org, who is also responding to this question, but I wondered if anyone from the forum had any input .
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:23 AM   #2
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Hi Simon,

I shoot at the highest setting to suit the program. Pretty much 1080 50i or 1080 25p as I am in a PAL country and all my work, although may be sent overseas to NTSC countries, is first and foremost made for the main clients' requirement and that is here in Australia.

I work with Medias 100 and edit in HD using ProRez422HQ codec. I export the finished program to a QT file and I use Apple Compressor to create the MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital files. MPEG-2 files are created using 2 pass VBR at best setting. Can take a while for Compressor to down convert but it is worth the wait.

I then burn the DVD from there with consistently great results.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 06:20 AM   #3
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I shoot usually 720/50p, which i feel gives better downconversion to SD/DVD.
I edit using Sony Vegas pro 8, very easy workflow.

Paul.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 01:12 PM   #4
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David, please tell me which parametres you put in Compressor to get fine MPEG2-SD results. I am getting mad trying to put 1080i to 576i in a decent quality.

Thanks
Markus
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus Bo View Post
I am getting mad trying to put 1080i to 576i in a decent quality.

Thanks
Markus
This is also very easy with Vegas.

Paul.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 01:25 PM   #6
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And very easy with Avid Liquid.....but I changed to FCP ;-(
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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All NLE's can make an SD Mpeg file or DVD from an HD timeline BUT not all (few) do a decent job regards quality etc (jaggies, staircasing,blurred)

I found the best way to get a DVD from HD (eg EX1) is to render final a file in HD from your timeline (any NLE & codec u fancy so long as it retains the HD quality)
I use MPEG 1920x1080 with smart rendering in Edius 5 ( whizzes through the render process for un changed long gop EX1 files)

then throw that file into MEDIACODER - a free transcoder which used FFMPEG at its core

just make sure the resize scale algorithm is bicubic or Natural bicubic spline.

The resulting Mpeg file is 100% DVD complaint so can be burnt without any further transcoding.

You can also specify the Audo filter and bit rate etc along with Video bit rate CBR/VBR etc etc

test it and then tell me you're not happy with the results!

Media coder is 100% FREE and contains no spy ware etc

go check it out here >> MediaCoder - more than a universal audio/video transcoder
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #8
 
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It's far easier in Vegas, and the result are stunning.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 01:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell View Post
It's far easier in Vegas, and the result are stunning.
Yep. But no one believes it.

I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about until I saw how the Mac guys have to do it. I was shocked.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 02:05 PM   #10
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Mediacoder is fine but unfortunately at the moment not easy to switch to Apple....
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Old February 5th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #11
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It's simple.

In Final Cut just go straight from your HD timeline to compressor best quality 90 mins. Job done. No fuss! I did a band performance vid, looks great on DVD!
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Old February 5th, 2009, 03:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell View Post
It's far easier in Vegas, and the result are stunning.
I did some comparisons from Vegas Pro 8 and DVD architect vs MediaCoder and all I can say is - Vegas results are terrible in comparison

The real test comes when you have high contrasting diagonals - chrome railings etc are always hard to down convert

With Vegas it was like watching the 39 steps! MediaCoder kept all the diagonals true - not a single step in sight!

Vegas simply doesn't do the camera justice - personally I want the best I can get on my DVD's
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Old February 5th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #13
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Matt, can you describe what footage you used (progressive or interlaced to start) and your workflow through Vegas/DVDA?
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Old February 5th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt San View Post
I did some comparisons from Vegas Pro 8 and DVD architect vs MediaCoder and all I can say is - Vegas results are terrible in comparison

The real test comes when you have high contrasting diagonals - chrome railings etc are always hard to down convert

With Vegas it was like watching the 39 steps! MediaCoder kept all the diagonals true - not a single step in sight!

Vegas simply doesn't do the camera justice - personally I want the best I can get on my DVD's
Not knowing what you're doing or not doing, Matt, I have to totally disagree. It's obvious that you're doing something wrong.

Such is not the case with the results I'm getting--beautifully stunning image quality in SD. I've been in this business for over 35 years. I feel more than confident that I know quality when I see it.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #15
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I'll throw my hat in for Edius 5 :) I don't normally need SD, but I was testing my EX3 a Dad's and he wanted a copy. Edius 5 lets you convert and burn to DVD straight from the timeline, and the result was a letterboxed widescreen that really looked very nice on Dad's old 68cm tube. No aliasing, great color, converted from 1080/50i.
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