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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old September 18th, 2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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"TV Safe" Profile advice needed

I have a possible series of short videos coming up that will be used as part of an hour-long show which will be shown on cable networks here in the U.S. I've never had to shoot for specific use like this and I'm trying to work out a couple of glitches that cropped up with some test files I submitted to the Editor. He is on a PC using Avid Media Composer system. I need some advice in two areas.

Issue 1 - Audio: He wanted Bars and Tone along with some short clips (720 - 30p) to see how my EX1 footage will integrate into materials he will be receiving from other shooters around the country. I used the "HD 720p 60" setting to generate the B&T at the head of the clip. The first problem was with the level of the Tone I was generating. On the FCS audio meter, Tone produced a signal of -12dB. On his Avid, he said that he was seeing "-5 digital/+14dB analog" on his meters when he looked at my file. I exported my files as .mov's but used the "Avid DV100" codec per his suggestion. Is there something that inherently changes the audio level when making this kind of compression change? Or, are there inherent differences between how Avid and FCS meter audio?

Issue 2 - Broadcast Safe: I need to figure out which of the many Profiles we talk about here in the Forum to use for these shoots. The videos will be around one minute long and will be a basic "two-shot" with two guys standing beside each other chatting. Lighting will be minimal with a single umbrella-softened light source close to the camera. I shot some tests with the Ravens profile but set it to "Cine2" which, I believe, is "broadcast safe Cine". However, he said that the footage appeared "too bright" and that my blacks were "crushed". Is there a Profile I can use that will keep me out of trouble and within accepted standards.....whatever THAT is?

"The great thing about standards is that there are SO many of them" - Larry Jordan et al

dave
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Old September 18th, 2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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Might be worth using Apple Color to get you in range. Maybe?????
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Old September 18th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #3
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FCP and Avid use different scale defaults. This is one of those issues with digital audio (lack of) standards. As long as the signal isn't distorting he can change the level. Keep in mind that XDCAM records dual mono and if the input as center panned will sum.

I believe Cine 2 prevents peaks from going over 100. I don't like to work that way. I'd rather determine how things get "squashed" in post production.

This sounds the case of lazy editor IMHO. There's no easy way to match cameras not at the same location short of sharing profiles among the same model. He can color correct in post. As long as you give him the latitude to bring things up or down you've done your job. Crushed blacks would be a problem because there's no way to get back lost detail. I use Cine 4 (if memory serves me). Unless you shot something unusual with a custom Picture Profile blacks should be crushed.

Avid editors have been using "curves" since the original Symphony days. He should know this if he's edit on Avid for broadcast. I kinda get the impression from your post that he doesn't seem to know what he's doing.

BTW HD TV broadcast in the USA is 1080i60(59.94) or 720p60(59.94) and he should know what his station requires.

B&T only tells you what the camera is generating and not what the camera puts on the media through the lens. B&T can be perfect and white balance can be off and audio too high or low. B&T is/was a way the editor would know what was "intended" when laid to tape but any editor knows they will likely have to tweak when camera masters are coming from all over the place.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 05:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
FCP and Avid use different scale defaults. This is one of those issues with digital audio (lack of) standards. As long as the signal isn't distorting he can change the level. Keep in mind that XDCAM records dual mono and if the input as center panned will sum.
I'm still unsure if he's hearing "distortion" in the audio, but he was a little surprised at the apparent mismatch of the "standard" audio level of FCP's Bars and Tone. As to center panning, he wants me to keep the channels separated so that each track can be worked on individually if need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I believe Cine 2 prevents peaks from going over 100. I don't like to work that way. I'd rather determine how things get "squashed" in post production.
I guess I was looking for one of the Cine settings OR one of the Profiles that are kicking around in here so that the Blacks don't get crushed but hold some details.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
This sounds the case of lazy editor IMHO. There's no easy way to match cameras not at the same location short of sharing profiles among the same model. He can color correct in post. As long as you give him the latitude to bring things up or down you've done your job. Crushed blacks would be a problem because there's no way to get back lost detail. I use Cine 4 (if memory serves me). Unless you shot something unusual with a custom Picture Profile blacks should be crushed.
I've never worked with this guy before so I'd like to start off with good footage for him to work with. However, this is a VERY low budget project.....for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Avid editors have been using "curves" since the original Symphony days. He should know this if he's edit on Avid for broadcast. I kinda get the impression from your post that he doesn't seem to know what he's doing.
Again, no idea as to his abilities but at least he's willing to give me some guidance on what he wants BEFORE I start shooting this footage. I'd rather have that info now than be guessing when I'm shooting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
BTW HD TV broadcast in the USA is 1080i60(59.94) or 720p60(59.94) and he should know what his station requires.
This will be packaged for distribution all over the U.S. in different cable markets. Unfortunately, I have to protect the frame for 4:3 SD use in my local cable market but I will be delivering my footage to him in 720p30 for downconversion by him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
B&T only tells you what the camera is generating and not what the camera puts on the media through the lens. B&T can be perfect and white balance can be off and audio too high or low. B&T is/was a way the editor would know what was "intended" when laid to tape but any editor knows they will likely have to tweak when camera masters are coming from all over the place.
I was surprised when he asked for B&T since I'm not laying my stuff off to tape. So, I used the default output levels generated by FCP which was why I was SO surprised when he said that "my" levels were too hot. Go figure, and wish me luck. Thanks for your help!

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Old September 19th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #5
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Are you giving him edited show?
If not, don't use FCP.

The channels are separate coming from the EX. Panning has NOTHING to do with that.
You can center pan them (default from XDCAM import) or you can pan left and right channels. FCP tone channels are panned hard left and right.

FCP Tone panned left and right. XDCAM audio is center panned. You make the panning match manually.

He then can adjust accordingly in Avid.

Both of you need to understand the purpose of B&T and the difference in purpose between camera bars and program (FCP) bars. Bars from program are a setup guide that ensures that, once set up, He sees video as you intended it.

Test signals are test signals. Without a common understanding and proper use, they are worse than meaningless.

Let's start from the beginning. Are you giving him an edited show?
How do you have channel 1 & 2 panned in the program?
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Old September 21st, 2009, 10:02 PM   #6
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Hi Craig, and thanks for your help.

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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Are you giving him edited show?
If not, don't use FCP.
No, I'd be delivering a one minute segment with only minimal editing (trim the head and tail).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
The channels are separate coming from the EX. Panning has NOTHING to do with that. You can center pan them (default from XDCAM import) or you can pan left and right channels. FCP tone channels are panned hard left and right. FCP Tone panned left and right. XDCAM audio is center panned. You make the panning match manually.
He then can adjust accordingly in Avid.
Yeah, it took me a while to figure out why my Left and Right audio channels were playing as "hard panned L & R" in the Clip Browser but collapsed into the middle as soon as I brought them into FCP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Both of you need to understand the purpose of B&T and the difference in purpose between camera bars and program (FCP) bars. Bars from program are a setup guide that ensures that, once set up, He sees video as you intended it.
That was the part that REALLY confused me....and him. I couldn't figure out why my B & T coming out of FCS was playing back much louder in his Avid setup. Still don't know why that was happening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Test signals are test signals. Without a common understanding and proper use, they are worse than meaningless.
I was hoping that the Tone would give us a common starting point, but unfortunately it has confused the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Let's start from the beginning. Are you giving him an edited show? How do you have channel 1 & 2 panned in the program?
No to editing (see above), and I'm not sure how to determine where the panning is in FCS. I believe it's panned to the center but where do I confirm that? I went into the Sequence -> Settings -> Audio Outputs and started trying different things. I wasn't sure if I needed to be using "stereo" or "dual mono". Would using "stereo" cause hard panning to L and R?
Dave
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