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Old March 26th, 2010, 07:36 PM   #1
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Edit XDCAM EX-1R in HD or SD in FCP6?

OK, guys, I'm goo goo over my new EX1r. Between shooting modes, settings, picture profiles, etc., I'm semi-brain dead! Will someone please tell me if I should edit my HD video in a SD timeline in FCP6. Doug Jensen of Vortex Media states in his EX1 DVD that you should edit in a SD timeline because if gives you more versatility. Forgive my ignorance but I don't understand. What is the need for HD editing if you can edit in SD? A friend of mine says its the size and processing of the HD and the resources it ties up. True? And if it is recommended that editing in SD is the way, does it in any way change quality of the finished product? Again, forgive my ignorance, as it is obvious that there are some brilliant people using this forum. Thanks.

I plan to shoot almost everything in 1920 x 1080p, 30.

Chuck
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Old March 26th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #2
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If I remember his tutorial correctly, he recommended that if you're going to DVD.

EDIT: Oopsie. I must have hit the button at the same time as Greg.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Penn View Post
OK, guys, I'm goo goo over my new EX1r. Between shooting modes, settings, picture profiles, etc., I'm semi-brain dead! Will someone please tell me if I should edit my HD video in a SD timeline in FCP6. Doug Jensen of Vortex Media states in his EX1 DVD that you should edit in a SD timeline because if gives you more versatility. Forgive my ignorance but I don't understand. What is the need for HD editing if you can edit in SD? A friend of mine says its the size and processing of the HD and the resources it ties up. True? And if it is recommended that editing in SD is the way, does it in any way change quality of the finished product? Again, forgive my ignorance, as it is obvious that there are some brilliant people using this forum. Thanks.

I plan to shoot almost everything in 1920 x 1080p, 30.

Chuck
If i remember correctly... I think doug said cut your sequence in a hd timeline, and then copy the hd sequence into a fcp sd timeline for the down conversion.

If someone, a client, wants the product in hd later and you only have sd that would negatively affect your bottom line.?

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Old March 27th, 2010, 12:03 AM   #4
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I plan to shoot almost everything in 1920 x 1080p, 30.
It is recommended that if your ultimate goal is to deliver in SD that you shoot in 720p. The reason is that there is less edge detail/ to worry about and the downconvert to SD will look better. Truth be known I've not had the time or inclination to carry out my own test but I can direct you to Alister Chapman's blog where he explains everything in detail.

XDCAM-USER.com Getting SD from HD and the problems of oversampling.

The other big secret to getting good SD from HD is to use the flicker filter in Final Cut Pro to avoid the dreaded line twitter. I find that the best result is to use the "high" setting. Alister also talks about this in his article. To quote Nero's executive officer in the latest Star Trek movie: "Your refusal (to read Alister's article) would be unwise."

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Old March 27th, 2010, 06:58 AM   #5
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A couple things have been posted here that aren’t correct about the settings and workflow I recommend. That’s perfectly understandable, you can’t remember everything some other guy says. So, just to set the record straight, here’s what I recommend on the EX1, EX1R, and EX3.

Always shoot at the full 1080 resolution of the camera unless you need slow-mo. If you need slow-mo, only shoot the slow-mo clips as 720 and shoot everything else as 1080.

Never shoot interlaced.

Shoot 30P unless you’re actually going to transfer to film. In that case, you can use 24P, but I don’t recommend it for any other reason.

1080/30P downscales to SD just fine. It is NOT necessary to shoot 720 for excellent SD DVD or web delivery.

You know what you get when you shoot 720? Inferior raw footage that won’t have much use in the long run when 720 and SD are dead. Is that a benefit? I think not. 1080 downscales to SD just fine. You can see examples of that every day on broadcast TV and a lot DVDs where 1080 that has been down-rezzed to SD. If someone else can do it – you can to. Shooting with the camera’s maximum resolution is never a bad idea. It doesn’t matter what your final output is going to be, shoot at the max resolution all the time. Why do you think 4K, and 2K are gaining popularity when there is really no way to release anything at those resolutions? Why does a professional photographer want an SLR with as many megapixels as he/she can get? Why would you buy an HD video camera and then use it to only shoot medium definition? 720 isn’t even true HD.

I can assure you that 1080/30P is the future. Not 720, not 24 fps, and not interlaced.

Edit with sequence settings that match your output.

If you’re never going to release your video in HD, why edit it in HD? For example, if you’re only going to deliver your video on DVD, then just edit with your NLE’s best DVD settings. The format of your raw footage makes no difference. As I point out in my training DVDs, there are some big benefits to editing in an SD timeline with HD source footage. Why give those up if you’re never going to need an HD master?

However, if you are going to release your video in HD (or want to have that option in the future) and DVD, then by all means choose the NLE’s best HD sequence settings and then down convert to SD after the editing is done. Your workflow should be determined by your output and not by your source footage.

Here’s my workflow for creating standard definition DVDs with Final Cut Pro.
Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training

If you disagree with anything I have said, that’s fine, but I’m not going to get dragged into a discussion of progressive vs. interlaced or any other debate. I already know what works and what doesn’t. So if you disagree, then do it your own way but I’m not going to debate it. My purpose in posting on this thread is just to set the record straight on what I recommend.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:35 AM   #6
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I generally agree with Doug but I do have a couple thoughts on this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
. . . If you’re never going to release your video in HD, why edit it in HD? For example, if you’re only going to deliver your video on DVD, then just edit with your NLE’s best DVD settings. . . Why give those up if you’re never going to need an HD master?
Never say never. I expect with many of my projects for DVD, Blu-ray may well follow in the near future. It might be better to edit in HD and then cut and paste the entire edit in to an optimally set SD timeline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
. . . However, if you are going to release your video in HD (or want to have that option in the future) and DVD, then by all means choose the NLE’s best HD sequence settings and then down convert to SD after the editing is done. . .
The reason why Alister came to his conclusion as he's gone through the same hair pulling the rest of us have in downconversion. I know I have. Yet I agree with Doug on using 1080p30. That's why I think editing HD and then copying into SD timeline. It may take some tweaking though.

One question I do have about Doug's workflow is that he's using a DV timeline for SD. I'm not sure why he's recommending that. I'd think you'd get better quality with a ProRes timeline . . . unless using DV really helps with the "line twitter" people get. This is really where people run into issues with downconversion. Shooting thin lines at 1080p (I've seen it with thin tree branches for example) tend to twitter. There's also scaling issues as Alister points out. Doug's own DVDs verify that editing in an SD timeline in FCP can work though.

I think what many of us are looking for is a method to edit in an HD timeline (even YouTube and Vimeo allow for full 1080p viewing now) for Blu-ray and then SD for DVD.

The other quandary is that Blu-ray doesn't include 1080p30 as part of the spec and this often moves people to 1080p24 which is. Alternately there's 1080i60 which is also part of the spec but for many reasons (probably the same as Doug's) I'm no fan of interlace.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:50 AM   #7
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Since we mention delivery I'd thought I'd list the possibilities which is why this is such a quandary.

I apologize to PAL folks for my NTSC orientation

NTSC Broadcast - 720p60, 1080i60 or 1080p24 with pull down.
Blu-ray - 1080p24, 1080i60
DVD - 720x480 (displayed as interlace although as Doug notes you can set fields to none)
Web - Progressive (must deinterlace is source is interlaced)

if one needs to convert to PAL it seems to be easiest from p24 (speed change) or i60 (has enough fields to create 25fps).

Your head will spin with all the possible workflow issues. This is why Alister handles one way and Doug another.

Personally I really wish Standard Def would go away. For many of my clients I deliver HD file if they need to distribute but some MUST have DVD and that's truly the monkey wrench in all this.

Others shy away for 1080p30 (although it's my choice too) since it isn't either Broadcast or Blu-ray spec and winds up as i60 will less temporal resolution.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #8
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The other quandary is that Blu-ray doesn't include 1080p30 as part of the spec .
Blu-ray and broadcast TV don't need 30P.
If you take 30P and convert it to 60i for delivery, the results look exactly the same as if you were watching 30P. What you get is two interlaced fields that, when viewed together, look exactly the same as the original progressive single frame. 30P gives you the best of both worlds -- a progressive look without all the pulldown hassles of 24P.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #9
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This is the origin of my statement about using 720p if your intent is to deliver in SD:

From Alister Chapman's Blog:

"720P downconverts much better as you have less resolution to start with. It’s very counter-intuitive, the lower the resolution you start with, the better the end result."

As I said in a previous post, I've not carried out a test yet to see whether 1080p makes a better SD version or 720p does. What I do know is that the Flicker filter in FCP makes a substantial difference in the line twitter issue. Adam Wilt goes a different route and applies a small amount of the blur filter. Whatever works.......

For the record I always shoot in 1080 30p unless a client requests interlaced to match previous shoots from someone else's footage. Or unless I've been over-cranking and have forgotten to put it back to 1080p. Done that more than once.

- Don
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Old March 27th, 2010, 03:55 PM   #10
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If you’re never going to release your video in HD, why edit it in HD?

There's a classic tale of a British children's TV show from 1966 called Camberwick Green. Colour TV was still 4 years away in the UK at this stage and nobody was shooting in colour other than to sell to the USA (eg The Avengers).

The series was an independent production commissioned by the BBC. The producers, at their own expense, shot the series simultaneously on black and white as well as colour film. It was a stop motion animation and I believe they ran the cameras side by side.

Naturally they provided the BBC with the black and white version (as contracted), but a few years later were able to sell the BBC the colour version thereby generating more profit thanks to being far sighted.

And as a result of being shot in colour, the series was repeated on TV right up until the late 1980's. If it had been black and white this simply would not have happened.

I'm not saying this applies to HD, but it is a great example of people being far sighted enough to not only profit from some extra outlay up front but also generate repeat fees that the black and white version would never have done.

I don't find shooting and editing in HD a pain at all even if the final product is SD. Perhaps I'm foolish, but perhaps I might see the benefit further down the road?
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Old March 27th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #11
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Out of interest Marcus do you shoot 1080i or 25p?
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Old March 27th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #12
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Out of interest Marcus do you shoot 1080i or 25p?
Depends on the circumstances. For the retail DVD I've just completed I shot 1080i. However that was dictated by the "B" camera being a Z1 so in fact the EX1 was running in HDV 1080i mode anyway. The material suited the more flowing motion of interlaced video as well.

Interlaced video gets you smooth movement but of course is a pain for anything that might be going online or onto a computer based format. I tend to pick a format depending on the project and generally find 720p@25fps is something of a sweet spot. Works well on a computer screen but also down converts to SD DVD nicely.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #13
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There's a classic tale of a British children's TV show from 1966 called Camberwick Green.
Marcus,
Thank you! You have just shown why it is foolish to shoot anything in 720. 720 is today's "B&W". 1080 is today's "color". I don't buy into the argument that 720 downconverts to SD better than 1080, but even ifthere was some marginal difference, I'd rather have my raw footage shot in 1080 so it is future proofed. Your Camberwick Green example perfectly illustrates the importance of future-proofing your raw footage.

Your argument that someone should edit in HD when only SD is going to be needed doesn't hold water for me. I can guarantee that a lot of the stuff I work on will never be released in HD so there's no reason to edit, render, and build graphics and animations in 1080 -- just so I can waste more time downconverting all that at the end of the workflow. That would be a ridiculous waste of effort.

If you stop and think about your Camberwick Green case study, they are talking about shooting in the best format -- not post. That is exactly what I am advocating. You can always re-edit something in HD, but once the raw footage has been shot in a lower format, you're screwed.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:21 PM   #14
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720p to 1080p isn't as big a jump as from b/w to colour. On most current displays, Joe Public (i.e. nobody who posts on here) wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The common complaint I hear about broadcast HD is that people can't see the difference from SD. My wife sits in front of the TV watching HD versions of shows complaining she can't see the difference. I of course can see the difference, but perhaps I know what I am looking for?

1080p is the future but you are pushing the codec harder (more pixels). TV's upscale 720p very well indeed (or at least the two native 1080 panels I have in the house do).

Of course, if I was in the business of broadcast production I'd be shooting 1080 all the way. That's an absolute no brainer frankly. But for those of us doing non-broadcast work on the usual limited budgets 720p presents a reasonable path. We get to ditch interlaced video with all its problems when a multi platform delivery is required and we get pictures that make the client go "wow" with hardly any extra effort during the edit.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #15
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Doug, I know you're not in the mood to argue this workflow issue over and over and, for what it's worth, I've followed your 1080p30 lead since I got my EX1 and a copy of your DVD. But I was stunned when I read this thread over on LAFCPUG the other day as Jeff Harrell was SO adamant about 30p being something of a bastard child of the formats. Some of you might find this thread interesting and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts:

lafcpug Forums :: Café LA :: OT: 60i vs 30psf, or "Why does my footage look like butt?"

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