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Old May 1st, 2010, 09:01 AM   #1
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A reason to stay in my crazy work flow

Well, I've started working HDV m2t files lately. And here is/was my workflow for most of my weddings and such. I would shoot in HDV, downconvert from the camera. Edit my projects, dump the raw clips but keep my final files in AVI form. The AVI gives me flexibility if I want to use them for DVD demos, or web uploading etc.

But I noticed when I render an AVI out of m2t files, I would need the server space of NASA considering how much of my projects I keep. A forty second clip being a 6 gig file and all is nuts.

So, would keeping my final files in mpeg2 be just as good? Any opinions would be great.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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Your 6GB for :40 file sounds like it has to be uncompressed, that is, no codec in the avi wrapper.

I think what you're looking for is a suitable digital intermediate (DI) file format. Good enough that you're not suffering quality loss if/when you do go back to it, but, sufficiently compressed that it doesn't take a farm of hard drives to store it.

Do I understand that you're downconverting on ingest to standard definition? If so, the DV codec in the AVI wrapper is one to look at. But, I'm confused about what you've written - SD is good for DVD and today's web distribution, but, you've also mentioned M2T files, presumably at HDV resolution.

Well, anyways, Cineform is an excellent DI format for HDV and HD, and can be used for SD. Recent Vegas releases don't include this codec, but $100 for Neoscene is not a lot to spend, usually.

A high-bitrate MP4 is good in theory and practice, but what bitrate? At something like 17Mbps maximum, (less than DV's 25Mbps), Vegas' MP4 encoding is aimed more at distribution than DI.

M2T/HDV is usually not thought of as suitable for a DI format, because although its 25Mbps bitrate is much higher than Vegas' MP4 encodes, the codec is not as smart. Having said that, I've not personally benchmarked M2T/HDV against MP4/17Mb or Cineform.

Then, there are some open-source or free solutions. Lagarith in an AVI wrapper, and Avid's DNxHD. I've fooled around with DNxHD, the quality is certainly there, but it runs in a QT wrapper and therefore timeline performance is less than I want. But it does work, it is free, the quality is excellent. I've not worked with Lagarith, but many swear by it.

If it were me in your situation, I'd probably choose Cineform or DNxHD. I'd love to see some higher bitrates available for MP4, though that one hasn't had great timeline performance either, I'd guess it's going to continue to receive a lot of attention and improvement from Sony because of AVCHD acquisition...
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Old May 1st, 2010, 12:24 PM   #3
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Bingo was his namo..........

"I think what you're looking for is a suitable digital intermediate (DI) file format. Good enough that you're not suffering quality loss if/when you do go back to it, but, sufficiently compressed that it doesn't take a farm of hard drives to store it." Exactly.


Hmmm, so the Cineform codec is something DVDA can use? I've not toyed around with Cineform so I ask. I know if I capture HDV I'll get better screenshots, and better video to web compression. What I do now is let my camera down covert for me to DV. But I've seen some pretty amazing compressions for web presentation, and I can't get close to that with my DV compression. I mean my web videos look ok, but if I were going to do lets say a web commercial for mysel for others, I'm assuming that HDV to web would be better than DV to web. Thanks for investing the time to help me. I appreciate it.

I looked at the codec I used for that compression of the 40 sec video that ended up being 6gig, it was the Sony YUV codec. Thanks for pointing that out. :}
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Old May 1st, 2010, 05:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis View Post
...Hmmm, so the Cineform codec is something DVDA can use?...
I want to say "yes" - there is a 30day eval available for Cineform Neoscene, in case you're using a recent Vegas Pro that doesn't include the Cineform codec. However... What DVDA will do is convert any DI into MPEG2 that meets the DVD spec. You can render directly to DVD-compliant MPEG2 from the Vegas timeline with more control of the render than DVDA provides. See Edward Troxel's newsletters for some good step-by-step for this process.
Quote:
...I know if I capture HDV I'll get better screenshots, and better video to web compression.
WAY better screenshots, and just theoretically better video to web compression. Practically speaking, with good content and good web compression, you'll need a fine eye to tell the difference.
Quote:
...What I do now is let my camera down covert for me to DV. But I've seen some pretty amazing compressions for web presentation, and I can't get close to that with my DV compression. I mean my web videos look ok, but if I were going to do lets say a web commercial for mysel for others, I'm assuming that HDV to web would be better than DV to web.
That's worth a little test before you change your workflow. Take a short clip through both workflows. Truth is, there are many things that affect compression for web. Starting hidef is good, yes, but usually not a stunning difference in quality by itself.

Picture quality for web compression:
Video noise is a killer. Handheld camera, too. Fine detail that is in-motion. Anything like this that tends to have a lot of pixels changing on each frame.

Getting gamma and gamut right at every step is key, usually in Vegas this means using the Studio RGB to Computer RGB conversion available as a preset in various color correction filters, including Primary CC and Levels.

Having said all that, if your system will cut HDV or a hidef DI like Cineform with acceptable timeline performance, moving to HD post is good. But, is your current workflow actually broken in some way?

PS. if you use DV/AVI to archive and DI, you can expect 13GB/hour, and a codec robust enough to carry through at least 10 generations of render without visual degradation.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 11:48 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot.

Well, my workflow isn't broken. I'm just wondering if I need to change my work flow. A lot of times we deal with crappy lighting in weddings, so I was wondering if there was some advantage to working in HDV regarding lighting recover, so to speak.

Thanks again for the help. My feet and back are killing me from 4 hours of steadicam work tonight. Have a great night.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 01:58 AM   #6
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Seth, this is quite an interesting thread and I have now downloaded the Avid DNxHD but how do I use it ? - (Veg. P9, Win XP 2.1g core2).

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Old May 2nd, 2010, 02:08 AM   #7
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Once installed, the DNxHD codec can be found among the codec choices in the Video Format dropdown in the video tab of the "Custom" settings for a Quicktime render.

In my experience, there's something funky about the way the codec configuration settings for DNxHD are displayed. There's an almost completely cut-off dropdown box to select resolution and bitrate, but, if you click patiently you'll find it down at the bottom.
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