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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old January 20th, 2005, 12:37 AM   #1
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DV Filmmaker and Nattress

I know both Nattress and the DV Film folks are frequent posters here, so I don't mean to start up a competition, but does anyone have a perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of each? We're looking to add a film-look for output to DVD using PD150 footage. We've also shot DVX100 footage that we'd like to at least have the PD150 stuff approximate in quality/look (I realize there are a lot of variables here, but I thought it might spur some ideas).

I've tested both demos and like aspects of each, but am wondering what those who've worked projects to completion have to say.

Thanks!

Arne
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Old January 20th, 2005, 11:41 AM   #2
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I haven't used Nattress, as I am on a PC platform, but I have used DVFilm Maker. Are you trying to get the 24p motion look, or the film color/gamma look, or both?

On 24p motion: Study up on the technique the packages use to convert 60i to 24p. Try out the demos and see if the results are pleasing to you.

DVFilm Maker works on the basis of one frame sample point every 2.5 fields, which means some frame blending is involved. In addition, it only deinterlaces where motion is present. It is also very fast. It looks smooth and convincing in my tests.

Nattress claims to have a number of choices of which frames to select for 24p conversion. No details beyond that other than it seemed it doesn't do frame blending. Gramme Nattress is around, it would be great if he could clarify on the technical details of what the options are.

On film color/gamma: DVFilm Maker doesn't offer much. The grain and red tint settings are rather unappealing to me. Nattress has a good set of "looks", Magic Bullet has some good looks.

I've found you can get good looks using built in NLE filters. You can adjust contrast, gamma, curves, and use tints and color balance to warm up or cool down your footage. The only thing I haven't seen a good way to do without one of the plug-ins is White or Black Diffusion.

One of the best things you can do is to adjust your camera settings, if that is possible. I have a GS400, and I cranked all of the picture adjustment settings all the way down. That's contrast, sharpness, and color (saturation). This negates some of the in-camera processing that is indicative of the "video look". I high ly recommend this. You'll get very smooth natural images if you can do this. I just shot a feature length film, a documentary, and a music video using these settings, and I don't even plan on changing the look too much in post (aside from matching brightness in a few shots for continuity) at all, it looks so good.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 12:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for your thoughts...I too hope Nattress will pitch in.

We're mostly looking for good 24p film-motion looks, but the other options are helpful too.

One thing I noticed on the DV Film Maker software using basically the default settings plus film motion and deinterlace boxes checked is that there is a fair amount of scan lines during motion. Any idea how to tweak for a smoother image?
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #4
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Using the default settings, I see very few interlacing artifacts. Let me clarify what you might be doing wrong.

When you have "film motion" enabled, it is converting 60i->24p-60i (with 2:3 pulldown). So, the interlacing you may be seeing is the "split" frames that are part of 2:3 pulldown. You won't see them on TV.

However, you don't really need them at all. You can convert 60i-24p without going back to 60i. That is what I do. On the first screen, you want "deinterlace where motion is present" checked, "film motion" unchecked. Under 24p editing options, choose the first option, convert 60i to 24p. Probably check Output 23.976 exact as well.

The result will be a 23.976 progressive frames quicktime file, with no interlacing whatsoever. You can edit this in your NLE if it supports 23.976 timeline, and most do.

My workflow is to rough edit my DV footage (leaving room around my cuts), deartifact, then deinterlace with DVFilm Maker to 23.976 exact, final edit, and output to DVD.

If you use "film motion" you are only wasting space on split frames, if your destination is DVD. If you need to go back to tape, you run through DVFilm Maker again with the post editing option of converting 24p to 60i with 2:3 (or even 2:3:3:2) pulldown.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #5
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I have found the best method (for me) is to convert 60i to 24p with DVFilm Maker also, but under Advanced Options I select "User Selects Compression" and then choose the BlackMagic codec (which I installed separately --- you can choose another, of course). I do this so that I am not recompressing the video again before editing. I then edit in Premiere pro in a 24P timeline, "color correct" with Color Finesse (which for me is often just applying a modified version of one of their film stock emulation presets) and export back out uncompressed (again with the BlackMagic codec). The only time I go through compression again is when it is ready to be prepared for DVD, for which I use the highest settings I can to create a 24P DVD (with Adobe Encore or sometimes through Canopus Procoder). It eats up a lot of space, but I have noticed a significant improvement in quality… and I need all the help I can get, because I don't have a fancy new 3CCD camera, but rely on my two Optura PIs. :-)

DVFilm has pretty clear-cut online help at http://www.dvfilm.com/maker/help.htm.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 09:05 PM   #6
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Cool, thanks you guys...you've been insanely helpful!

One last question...I've also got footage that was shot on the DVX100's 24p standard mode (so it's still on a 29.97 timeline). Should (or can) I use DV Film Maker to convert this footage to true 24p so it matches up with what you've advised me to do with the 60i footage? Or is there a better way of doing that?
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Old January 20th, 2005, 11:19 PM   #7
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Under 24P options you will see
(see http://www.dvfilm.com/maker/24P.htm):

"Convert 3:2 Pulldown to 24P"

Use this option for NTSC which was shot in 24P normal mode with a standard 3:2 pulldown, or with video that originated on 24 frames/sec film, where you wish to edit at 24P for the purpose of transfer to film or to author a 24P DVD. If this option is selected, all film effects (widescreen, grain, red boost) will be disabled. These effects can be added after editing.



"Convert 2:3:3:2 pulldown to 24P"

Use this option for NTSC video that was shot in 24P Advanced mode (Canon XL-2, DVX100 or DVX100A) with a 2:3:3:2 pulldown, or 24P-NTSC archival material created with DVFilm Maker with a 2:3:3:2 pulldown. Convert 2:3:3:2 Pulldown to 24P is the only option that works without recompression of the video data. If this option is selected, all film effects (widescreen, grain, red boost) will be disabled. These effects can be added after editing.
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Old January 21st, 2005, 01:12 AM   #8
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Which of the Black Magic codecs do you use? there's a whole list of'em in there...The footage is from DV cameras, obviously...The DVX and PD150.

What's there:

Black Magic 8 bit
Black Magic 10 bit
Black Magic DV00 8 bit
Black Magic DV10 10 bit
Black Magic 2 VUY 8 bit
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Old January 21st, 2005, 03:03 PM   #9
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I'm know that there are some highly qualified experts on this forum, so please bear in mind that the information I'm giving is what I believe works best based on my (limited) experience. There may be better methods available and the people on this forum have the knowledge (they just have to decide to respond to the post).

I use the Black Magic 2Vuy 8 bit (10 bit has incredible space requirements, and I couldn't actually see a difference in tests). Bear in mind that this process converts the color space from 4:1:1 (NTSC DV) to 4:2:2 for editing and then the video is finally subsampled to 4:2:0 (the format used by DVD) for the final render. I don't notice any appreciable loss by going from the uncompressed format to DVD (I see no sense to go back to DV format, unless I must archive back to tape). Even from DV format, you have to go from 4:1:1 to 4:2:0 anyway but I think that the input to MPEG-2 encoders for DVD is usually 4:2:2. Besides, I feel that the color correction works better in 4:2:2, at least it seems that way with Color Finesse.

I hope that helps. And BTW, I want the cameras you get to use... I'm jealous! :-)

Some links to check out, if you haven't already:

http://www.dvxuser.com
http://www.24p.com/AGDVX100.htm
http://www.mycen.com.my/dv/dvx100.html
http://www.adamwilt.com/24p/index.html
http://www.theasc.com/magazine/product.htm

http://codecs.onerivermedia.com/


John
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Old January 21st, 2005, 03:28 PM   #10
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Thanks again!

Yeah, we've fallen in love with the DVX100a, but with these filters we're getting some pretty nice results from the PD150 too...Pretty great to make a doc these days and not have to compromise visual grace.
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 08:59 AM   #11
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Nattress Film Effects and Standards Conversion use similar field based algorithms involving smart-deinterlacing, blending and other techniques. The choices really come down to the "smoothness" of the motion out of the 24p conversion. The original Film Effects algorithm was designed for smoothness, so in the new version (coming soon), I've put in controls to allow for less motion blur to be created, giving it a "sharper", for want of a better word, look. Also, one thing is vital to me in the smoothness of the conversion is avoidance of other kinds of artifacts such as twittering horizontals, and picture shaking. Depending on your algorithm, they can be hard to remove or avoid. I took a lot of feedback from users who sent me their video so that I could make sure my algorithms worked on the widest range of input images and video as possible.

DV Film Maker also does great stuff. I guess the real difference is where the effect is produced - mine inside FCP, there's in their stand-alone application.

Graeme
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 03:07 PM   #12
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>> "Also, one thing is vital to me in the smoothness of the conversion is avoidance of other kinds of artifacts such as twittering horizontals"

I think that this is addressed by DVFilm Maker's Advanced Option "Line Detector On" which says "Use this option to reduce dot crawl on nearly horizontal lines when the camera is moving slightly." and the option "Blur Horizontal Lines" which says "Use this option to smooth out or blur horizontal lines to reduce dot crawl. This option can help improve the appearance of video taken with high shutter speed settings or with low-quality video cameras." There are also other options to adjust the sensitivity of these settings.

I have not had the pleasure of trying the Nattress products or FCP.

Arne, if you didn't see the following page as well (and you may not care to), since DVFilm's website is a little chaotic (or is it just me?) --- DVFilm has a page that shows their suggested DVX100/DVX100A settings for Transfer to Film or Use with DVFilm Maker: http://www.dvfilm.com/maker/dvx100settings.htm

John
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 08:15 PM   #13
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Thanks, John! I did finally find that page...we're using most of those setting as we speak!

Arne
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Old January 25th, 2005, 03:25 AM   #14
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I use the Nattress 24P plug-in and have been very pleased. I'll go into more detail later in a later post...it's 3:30 a.m. right now. In addition I tweak the color/gamma and it looks great.
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