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Old December 5th, 2013, 04:45 PM   #1
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Is there one all-around format?

Get this from time to time.

Ask the client what format/frame-rate they want me to shoot in and they don't have a clue.

Ask what they will do with it and you get replies like "well, it might be used for TV or maybe for the web or maybe both".

What is the best way to handle this? I was thinking shoot 1080/60I and that way the editor or who ever gets the files can go either direction, but I'd like to get some input.
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Old December 5th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #2
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

My choice was Doug Jenson's choice in his EX1 DVDs, 1080/30p. (or 1920/30p on the EX1R and later)

Won't be a nightmare to scale interlaced fields down to SD (since it's already progressive) and most of the internet's delivery methods are 30p anyways. It's literally the format that works everywhere. (and a broadcast standard for camera acquisition for cable channels)
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Old December 6th, 2013, 08:34 AM   #3
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

I usually stay in 1080/30P.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 06:11 PM   #4
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

George, thanks for asking the question.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

+1 for 1080/30p, given that there are always lots of reasons to do otherwise.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 08:13 AM   #6
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

But if you're going to use slo-mo, like in a sports shoot, then stay away from 30P.

When I shoot sports, my clients request 1080/60P, 60i or 720/60P. Anything but 30P. Apparently 30P doesn't slo-mo very well. Not sure about 24P.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 10:02 AM   #7
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

To that point, almost no camera that shoots 1080p60 has a decent codec at the moment. The only one that does is the forthcoming Z100, but that sensor is too consumer grade for me.

If you are shooting sports, with the current generation of cameras, to get best results it has to be 720p60.

24p is a no go zone unless the client specifically requests it, and also, it creates tons of headaches when inexperienced editors import 24p in a 30p or 60i timeline expecting smooth motion, but getting herky-jerky motion instead via an improper telecine.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 12:39 PM   #8
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

23.98p is slowly becoming the de-facto global standard for broadcast HD production. 23.98 is normal for movie and cinema production. It is easy to display in 29.97 countries by adding pull-up. It is easy to convert to 25p by speeding up by 4% which most viewers won't notice.
30p does not go down to 23.98p or 25fps well, and more of the world is 25fps than 30fps.

However, you need to get your pan speeds right with 23.98p(24p) to avoid judder and some types of fast action shots can be problematic, although most movies manage to shoot action scenes without too many issues by careful selection of pan speeds.

I would not use interlace if your delivery may be over the internet. Interlace does not play well on computer screens. It is very rare to have any serious issues with p if shown or passed through an i system, but i passed through a p system can create many issues.

So I would choose between 30p and 24p.

50/60p is a non starter despite it's obvious motion benefits as many codecs don't support it at 1080, in particular Mpeg2. File sizes are bigger and streaming it smoothly harder. No broadcaster that I know of is using 1080p60 and it is unlikely to become main stream in the near future as the focus is on 4K and higher resolutions rather than higher frame rates.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #9
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

If it "MIGHT be used for television", it won't.

I shoot either 23.98P or 29.97P depending on what the content is. Either can be made to work for TV as Alister mentions. If I'm expecting heavy motion, I go straight to 29.97.

Like Jack I'd LOVE to see 1080P60 catch on but with no viable delivery method and no uptake in FCP7 to edit, I'm staying in 1080P24/30 land with a first foray into 4k starting immediately.

I have a TV doc going to air early in 2014 that I started shooting in 30P but we had a historical re-enactment section that a CSC DoP lensed in 24P after we started and I was backed into a corner to shoot the balance in 24. Don't think it works for the content sadly but the producer asked my opinion and then changed his mind after the fact.

You roll with it.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

Be very careful with 23.98 around internet delivery. I'm particularly concerned since Internet delivery is primarily 30p or 25p. 24p internet delivery is only possible if all parts along the chain of encoding are setup properly. This isn't the case sometimes with some places along the chain of encoding (whether at the editing, or CDN encoding portion) where 24p would be turned into 30p.

You want a case of 24p being used wrongly? Check out Global Television's "16x9" show in Canada. 90% shot on DSLR in 24p, and the edit is done WITHOUT TELECINE in 60i. (so, 24p to 30p then edited in 60i)

The critical component to why I'm against 23.98 is the lack of proper telecine support in NLEs and sometimes the cheesiness of mixed frame rates. Reality shows shot natively at 30p I can pass off editing in 60i, but a reality show shot in 24p, but with all footage telecined to 60i and then edited with FX and speed ramping at 60i just looks terrible and cheesy.

This is the reason why I suggest 30p. Amateur video editors I hand off footage to most likely have their defaults at 30p and wouldn't know how to change it to 24p.

1080p60 would solve the telecine problem. (720p24 footage converted to 60p is telecined properly in all NLEs) But it's a pipe dream to expect 1080p60 to be a standard. 4K60p will be the next standard.

Quote:
I have a TV doc going to air early in 2014 that I started shooting in 30P but we had a historical re-enactment section that a CSC DoP lensed in 24P after we started and I was backed into a corner to shoot the balance in 24. Don't think it works for the content sadly but the producer asked my opinion and then changed his mind after the fact.
Oh boy, best to edit in 24 and frame rate convert the content shot in 30 to 24. Editing in 30 would be the worst nightmare if the rest is 24.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 02:00 PM   #11
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

I expect part of the problem with the 16x9 show may be that if it was shot with a 5D or 7D then the frame rate is 24p and not the required 23.98p or 29.97p/i for Television. Most DSLR's are 24p and 30p when they should really be 23.98p of 29.97p. If you start with pure 24p then normal pull up to 29.97i doesn't work, you would need to conform to 23.98 first.
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Old December 16th, 2013, 03:05 PM   #12
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

Nope, that's not the problem. The footage from the DSLRs are drop-frame, but the problem is the NLE is not smart enough to do the telecine.

FYI, they're likely using Grass Valley news cutting NLEs (Like Aurora) to assemble the show. That for sure doesn't have telecine functions, and/or the cutter doesn't know how to enable it.

My biggest gripe with novice FCP cutters is the same issue, where people don't know how to apply a telecine and directly drag in 24p footage in a 60i timeline expecting telecine. (resulting in that footage being turned into 30p)
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Old December 17th, 2013, 08:27 AM   #13
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

What do you mean by drop frame? That's a time code function and has little to do with the recording frame rate. Drop frame in itself does not imply any specific frame rate, just the dropping of timecode frames to conform the timecode to an alternate time scale. I assume you mean a frame rate 23.976p, but that is not necessarily "Drop Frame".

NLE's don't telecine, telecine machines telecine. Telecine is the transfer of frames of film to frames/fields of video and can be done at any frame rate and does not have any specific pull up/pull down and may not even use pull down, for example Telecine to 24p or 25p/i with a 4.3% speed change.

To go to broadcast 29.97i you would normally convert 23.976p using the process called Pull Down.

60i is actually either 30i or 29.97i (60i means 60 frames per second, interlaced). Unfortunately this is used incorrectly more often than not and as a result just spreads incorrect usage and add confusion between 60fps and 60i or more correctly 30i.

Perhaps I'm being pedantic, but incorrect use of terms just adds confusion to those trying to understand this stuff.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 09:00 AM   #14
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

The DSLRs are 23.976, but the NLE can't apply pull-down, especially on something like an outdated Aurora system. Let alone conforming for the NLE by making intermediates may destroy the native frame rate too before it even enters the editor.

There are way too many variables at play when you trust an editor to know what he/she's doing with 23.98, and most of the time, I deal with amateur editors. 30p is the safest bet for my purposes.

Also, let's not forget the VARIABLE frame rate on iPhones and iPads where the recording framerate is perfect 24p in low-light, and 30p in bright sunlight, and the frame rate is allowed to change on the fly, making an absolute nightmare for editors.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 02:53 PM   #15
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Re: Is there one all-around format?

We are talking about two different things now.

Inappropriate workflows and incompetent editors and post production people that don't know how to handle footage correctly messing up perfectly good material.

And...

The use of the most appropriate frame rates.

The two don't really have anything to do with each other. An inappropriate workflow or an incompetent editor will screw up many things, not just frame rates and frankly shouldn't be working as an editor if that is the case. Once upon a time TV stations and production companies used to have engineers and quality control and if your work didn't pass muster you'd get a rollicking. These days no one appears to care anymore and skills and knowledge appear to be optional. This is a great shame as there are many very skilled and highly experienced people struggling to find work. Oh... that's right they are too expensive, because they are skilled and have experience which will prevent shoddy work, but the bean counters don't want quality, they want cheap and nasty.
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