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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:08 PM   #1
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I'm looking to get the basics of HDV editing. Please help...

Hi, I'm not a professional video editor, far from it. Most of the work I do is in graphic design, but I enjoy branching out into other creative areas such as sound recording, animation, interactive and video. I pick up new software fast. I've worked on a few video projects before, shot and edited on miniDV and edited on Vegas (version 5 and then 6). Vegas was relatively easy to learn. A solid and intuitive program.

These days I'm involved in a documentary short, shot mostly in HDV and some small parts of it shot on miniDV.

I'll probably get Vegas Pro 8 to edit this project (not 100% sure yet). I enjoyed working with Vegas very much, but before I decide which platform to edit on I just MUST get this whole HDV issue, cuz right now I'm completely in the dark.

DV was simple for me to learn. DV IN / DV OUT. But with HDV I'm lost.... I've been trying to research the subject and learn some technical background stuff, but I'm just not getting it. Its like I read about what cineforem is, for example, and I realize that it is an advanced codec... but then I read about alternatives for working with HDV other than cineform, other codecs or capturing/conversion methods, different workflows all these new terms and technical talk thats frankly out of my league (at least now it is).

So basically, what I'm looking for is the "Dummies Guide to Editing HDV". I don't want to get too in-depth, cuz I want to start editing by the end of the week. I just want to understand whose who and whats what. How I should go about getting the footage into my computer and easily editing it on Vegas (which I will be happy to go back to) or some other platform if for some reason Vegas doesn't work out.

I will want to easily do color correction and work with several layers and effects (without going overboard) without having to view stuttering footage or very poor quality preview if it is possibly. My computer is well equipt to handle heavy loads (quad core, 4gb ram).

Please post a link to a website or thread where one who doesn't come from a technical background and doesn't necissarily know all the pro jargon, can easily grasp the basics and the tools to start working. Or alternatively, if you guys have some advice, tips or explanations you would like to share with me here, I'd be more than happy.

Thanks!!!
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Old August 31st, 2008, 08:49 PM   #2
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With a quad core and Vegas 8 you can just edit HDV as if it was DV. My Q9450 Quad core can edit HDV and AVCHD on the Vegas timeline with preview set at auto is 720x540 ( not full resolution but full frame rate and more than adequate for most editing, my monitor couldn't manage much more anyway!!! ) The only difference you may notice is when you output as it will require a render to go to almost any other format and it is not possible to realtime monitor through a iLink connection like one would do with DV. Vegas 8 will smart render those sections that have not been changed so the whole timeline may not have to be rendered. With slower systems there was a real advantage in using an intermediate like Cineform or Canopus HQ that create intra frame encoding that is easier on the CPU but places a slightly bigger load on the hard drives as the data rate is higher. I normally edit in Edius and convert the AVCHD files to Canopus HQ but leave the HDV files unchanged.
Capture of HDV into Vegas is just like DV, connect up with iLink and let Vegas capture, same goes for colour correction or anything else really. I have mixed DV, AVCHD and HDV on the Vegas timeline mixing to an SD 16x9 project format with no issues. IF you have multiple streams and lots of complexity then there may be an advantage in using Cineform( which will also mean some attention to hard drive etc for data rate etc) but I have seen no need with the latest Quad cores. My system is a Q9450, 8G RAM, Vista 64, 250G boot, 250G temp and preview, 2 x 750G video storage.

Ron Evans.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 03:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
IF you have multiple streams and lots of complexity then there may be an advantage in using Cineform( which will also mean some attention to hard drive etc for data rate etc)
Is this usually the case where raid 0 or similar hard drive configurations are suggested?

I actually just bought my computer which should be arriving today. Its quad core (a bit slower than yours) - Intel Q6600 (2.4ghz), but I've heard it can be overclocked easily to 3.4ghz. I've never tried overclocking a system, but I thought I might give it a first try, hopefuly to boost it to around 3.0ghz. There are so many easy-to-follow guides on how to do it, I figured - why not? I have a 160GB drive on which i plan to install xp 32-bit and vista 64-bit on two partitions, a 320GB drive for rendering and a 750GB drive for video storage.

I guess I'll give it a go. I'll capture some test material and play around with it, adding multiple layers and effects to say at what point previewing becomes ineffective. If it seems manageable then great and if not, I'll get Cineform or Canopus HQ.

Thanks
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:21 PM   #4
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I've got another question...

Say I have some HDV footage captured from tapes. Now, I no longer have the original tapes with me, but I have the files sitting on my hard drive to work with. Now lets say I'm not happy with how Vegas and/or my system is able to handle the HDV material and I decide to use cineform. Is it possible to use cineform with the already captured files on the hard drive? Can the files be converted on the drive using cineform? or must the footage be captured over again, but this time WITH cineform ?

I gather this could be a dumb question... but I really don't know. :-*
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:46 PM   #5
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Yes - Cineform will convert HDV files that have already been captured from tape.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
Yes - Cineform will convert HDV files that have already been captured from tape.
I echo this, and further, you can select entire folders to convert at one time, or single files at a time. You can convert to SD, and remove pulldown, if you have shot in 24p.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 01:11 AM   #7
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Clarification: Cineform technology exists as a codec in Vegas 6, 7 and 8. It is perfectly fine for creating renders from HDV you've already captured, but doesn't include some functions like pulldown removal, image flipping, progressive conversions, etc.

Cineform also makes a product, Neo, that includes a slightly better version of the codec as well as a the HDConnect utility, that can be used for capture direct to CF, or for rewrapping QT<->AVI, pulldown removal, progressive, etc.

Neo is handy to have, essential for direct to CF capture, but one can make good use of the CF codec that comes with Vegas.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 02:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Clarification: Cineform technology exists as a codec in Vegas 6, 7 and 8. It is perfectly fine for creating renders from HDV you've already captured, but doesn't include some functions like pulldown removal, image flipping, progressive conversions, etc.
From what I've read (somewhere) one of the advantages of Cineform codec is that it is non-lossy, as opposed to native m2t files which suffer a degrading in quality every render. I'd like to know if when editing in Vegas 8 Pro I should be worried about this, since you say that this version of Vegas includes the cineform codec.

I'm a bit paranoid about my source files, because I no longer have a way of re-capturing the tapes. :-0

thanks.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 04:43 AM   #9
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Personally I use Cineform for all my HDV footage, which is shot with a JVC HD-100. I use a version of their software called Connect HD. It works great, can capture directly from tape, or batch convert files off my firestore drive. I don't think they sell it any more, because they went to NEO, which does the same thing, with a few more bells & whistles. The quality of the converted files is excellent. You can find a demonstration in Cineform's site, where they rendered a file 10 times over, with very little detail loss. I'm still editing in Vegas 6 though :)

If you plan to render multiple times with the same footage, I would defilately not render to anything "compressed" like m2t until the final render. That would definately cause lots of detail loss which you do not want. Instead render to Cineform using the same output settings as the original. That's why it's labeled as an "intermediate" file type.

Also you mentioned being paranoid about your source files. Unless you do something crazy, your source files should not me modified in any way. Vegas just pulls the selected frames from them to create a new file according too your edit decisions.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Justin Deming View Post
Personally I use Cineform for all my HDV footage, which is shot with a JVC HD-100. I use a version of their software called Connect HD. It works great, can capture directly from tape, or batch convert files off my firestore drive. I don't think they sell it any more, because they went to NEO, which does the same thing, with a few more bells & whistles. The quality of the converted files is excellent. You can find a demonstration in Cineform's site, where they rendered a file 10 times over, with very little detail loss. I'm still editing in Vegas 6 though :)
But is it worth the $250 for NEO? I mean, if Vegas comes with the cineform codec, isn't buying NEO a waste of money? Also, another thing I don't quite understand... Since I captured the footage in Vegas which includes (as mentioned) cineform codec, will exported .avi files already be cineform codec files? If for example I wish to import some Vegas rendered .avi file to After Effects - will the file behave as a cineform codec file converted via NEO?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Deming View Post
If you plan to render multiple times with the same footage, I would defilately not render to anything "compressed" like m2t until the final render. That would definately cause lots of detail loss which you do not want. Instead render to Cineform using the same output settings as the original. That's why it's labeled as an "intermediate" file type.
This whole lossy format / multiple render issue still isn't clear to me. In what cases would I want to render video multiple times?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Deming View Post
Also you mentioned being paranoid about your source files. Unless you do something crazy, your source files should not me modified in any way. Vegas just pulls the selected frames from them to create a new file according too your edit decisions.
This paranoia of somehow damaging the original video files just has to do with what I mentioned above and with these files being lossy format. The whole subject isn't very clear to me and well... you know how it is... ignorance promotes fear. :-(

I'm trying to do as much reading as I can about the subject but can't really find a nice readable newb-friendly reference. These forums here have always been extremely helpful, I really appreciate the help.

To make a long story short: I'm trying to figure out the PROS and CONS for digging out $250 for cineform NEO if I'm editing on VEGAS 8 PRO. The project is a short promotion video, about 2-3 minutes (edited from about 15 hours of footage, ugh), shot with a Sony Z-1U set to HDV PAL 1080/50i . I Will be adding color correction and effects (After Effects).

I Will later burn the final project on DVD for presentation - which brings up another question - should I down convert the footage to DV? Since the final product will be burned to DVD eventually? Is editing in HDV worth the hassle?

Thanks!
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Old September 14th, 2008, 07:06 AM   #11
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Hi Adi,

Some folks would raise an eyebrow that you are worrying about $250 and you have 15 hours of tape. ;-)

Vegas's Cineform CODEC is a terrific CODEC, but the purchased CODEC is certainly a better CODEC offering more abilities for quicker render times, 4:2:2 color space, and a host of other options you can see for yourself at their site.

I really wouldn't put a lot of spin on the notion of the lossy vice non-lossy notion CODEC in this, unless your work flow was flawed and it might be - since you don't understand how lossy CODECs work. You are shooting your work on lossy CODEC (MPEG2) in the first place. If you recompress it to MPEG2 again, it will loose (gain artifacts) and if you do it again, it will get even more artifacts, and so on. The point of this is that your work flow isn't like that at all, you save projects, not rendered media. Captured media remains in its original form until rendered to final form. Your HDV is 5 times the compression ratio of DV.

Final form - whatever that is - will be the deliverable, and a single generation.

Converting from HDV to DV in camera to NLE is certainly an option. Most cameras offer that as an on-the-fly conversion that works very well (the Z1 does). You can certainly test it to see if that is something that will work for you. In PAL-land, your color space for HDV and DV is the same 4:2:0, so there would be no advantage/disadvantage. Here in NTSC-land, HDV's 4:2:0 is a smidgen better (to my eye anyway).

My best,

Mike
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Old September 14th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #12
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Thanks Mike for answering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Gunter View Post
Some folks would raise an eyebrow that you are worrying about $250 and you have 15 hours of tape. ;-)Mike
I know what you mean... Its just I'm not making any money from this. Actually its just the opposite. I've already spent serious cash on this project and I'm basically volunteering my time... so shelling out another $250 for something I don't absolutely need for this is going a bit overboard for me. :-$

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Gunter View Post
I really wouldn't put a lot of spin on the notion of the lossy vice non-lossy notion CODEC in this, unless your work flow was flawed and it might be - since you don't understand how lossy CODECs work. You are shooting your work on lossy CODEC (MPEG2) in the first place. If you recompress it to MPEG2 again, it will loose (gain artifacts) and if you do it again, it will get even more artifacts, and so on. The point of this is that your work flow isn't like that at all, you save projects, not rendered media. Captured media remains in its original form until rendered to final form. Your HDV is 5 times the compression ratio of DV.Mike
That's what I thought. Just wasn't sure if I was missing something. Never had to make multiple renders of footage before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Gunter View Post
Converting from HDV to DV in camera to NLE is certainly an option. Most cameras offer that as an on-the-fly conversion that works very well (the Z1 does). You can certainly test it to see if that is something that will work for you. In PAL-land, your color space for HDV and DV is the same 4:2:0, so there would be no advantage/disadvantage. Here in NTSC-land, HDV's 4:2:0 is a smidgen better (to my eye anyway).Mike
Is there any software based way to convert from HDV to DV? I don't have the camera with me anymore, just the tapes and the captured m2t files.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #13
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Hi Adi,

A software solution would recompress once to Vegas, then Vegas would recompress again to the final output guaranteeing two generations; you could do it; I wouldn't advise it. Better to work with all the pixels in HD then work them down to to SD.

Why don't you give this a shot?

Set your project settings to PAL DV Widescreen 720 x 576. Import some clips that you've got and play with them and export them as a PAL Widescreen MPEG2 DVD Architect file. See if that works for you.

My best.

Mike
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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:15 PM   #14
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I'll try that. Thanks.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #15
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Why don't you give this a shot?

Set your project settings to PAL DV Widescreen 720 x 576. Import some clips that you've got and play with them and export them as a PAL Widescreen MPEG2 DVD Architect file. See if that works for you.
Thanks for being patient with me on this. I've got three questions:

1. Sorry, I'm still not getting it )-: Can you please run by the advantages/disadvantages of using the method you suggest vs. editing in PAL 1080-50i (1440x1080) and then rendering to MPEG2 for authoring DVD? I think what I don't understand is what exactly happens when I import HDV into a project set to DV? Also I'm confused as to why I would want to do this if the final render is to MPEG2 in both cases?

2. Regardless, I tried your suggested method. Seems to work fine except for one thing. I imported the m2t files to the PAL DV Widescreen 720x576 project timeline and for some reason the width of the picture doesn't reach the left and right edges of the project frame size. This results in two black margins on both sides of the visual (like a vertical letterbox). Do you have any idea why this is?

3. Without using Cineform NEO, will I run into problems adding effects with After Effects?

Thanks!!
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