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Old January 23rd, 2012, 12:07 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
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Multiple format consolidation

I have about 300 clips in numerous formats ranging from MPG captured from DVD, to SD AVI to various high definition formats, including AVCHD and others. The ultimate destination for these clips is a PAL DVD documentary, i.e. standard definition.

My question:

My Vegas project is using the widescreen standard definition PAL template, as that's how it will ultimately be seen. As you'd expect with multiple source formats, lots of the footage is combing when there is fast horizontal movement. Also, some of the hi def footage really slows things down and makes fine editing a pain. Clearly each clip will have to be treated appropriately before I render the finished project but I'm wondering if there is any merit in consolidating all clips to a single format now so I have just one format on the timeline. If so, is PAL W/S DV AVI the way to go? I also need to do noise removal and some stabilizing so I would do that at the same time.

Any suggestions?
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

I will not edit anything that doesn't match on the timeline. I convert whatever I need so that all footage is exactly the same for editing. This way I know when I render out I'll have no issues.

I do love HDLink for this purpose, the footage, not matter it's origin, always looks nearly as good converted as the original, in fact I cannot see a difference. It deinterlaces perfectly, and resizes beautifully.

Some say Vegas does a fine job of dealing with mixed footage, I have no idea. I just know that when it matches to begin with all I have to do is edit and not worry one second about it from that point on. Just my two cents.
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 11:19 PM   #3
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

Certainly Jeff's method is tried and true, and there's a lot to be said for a conservative approach that will reliably produce good results every time.

As he points out, though, one of Vegas' strengths is its ability to handle all sorts of footage, and, usually, on a single timeline.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Stark View Post
I have about 300 clips...MPG captured from DVD, to SD AVI to various high definition formats, including AVCHD and others. The ultimate destination for these clips is a PAL DVD documentary, i.e. standard definition.

...lots of the footage is combing when there is fast horizontal movement. Also, some of the hi def footage really slows things down and makes fine editing a pain...
To take best advantage of multiple resolutions on the timeline, clips of non-timeline rez should be deinterlaced at the media or event level. You know they've got to be deinterlaced before resizing; since you're running them in an SD project, they're being resized on the fly.

There's a great free plugin called Smart Deinterlacer that Mike Crash adapted from a VideoDub filter. If I remember, it works with current versions of Vegas, and can be applied at any level you want.

I'd guess that will take care of combing artifacts you're seeing in previews.

However, the slowdown you're seeing with some of the HD footage only has a couple solutions - live with it, upgrade, or transcode. I've finally gotten around to some sony mxf transcodes, they're pretty good and Vegas loves 'em on the timeline. Of course Cineform is great if you have it, and may now be free (without hdlink) through gopro.com. Do deinterlace any non-SD footage though...
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Old January 24th, 2012, 02:35 AM   #4
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

Just 'cos Vegas CAN do something, you really don't have too.

In separate projects get the flavours to SD and start over.

The JOB is the thing - not the s/w.

There was a time when having Vegas mix n match was a boon, and to some extent, depending on PC grunt, it still is. But I have to say there is a bit of output<>effort calculus now going on where there is just so much trade-off going on that a conservative approach, for the time being, is going to win through.

Personally, I can't wait for a global 4:4:4 running at 100fps progressive and 100mb/sec! That, and digital shallow DoF, combined with a compressible lenticular lens system that squishes and squashes just like our own.

What am I saying here? - I'm saying we are standing at an immense cross-roads of development and it must be truly galling for the NLE s/w developers that they still have to deal with cameramen/editor grunts like myself who are trying to make a living from mix media.

On the other hand, I want more advanced camera systems. . . . .

As I said: Just 'cos Vegas CAN do something, don't mean YOU have too. Business and sanity comes first in my book.

Grazie
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Old January 24th, 2012, 03:44 AM   #5
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

Thanks for all the suggestions. Just to explain a little further - at the moment, my system is capable of running smoothly with all of these formats on the timeline. I've been working on this project for over a year now and it's been almost completely crash free (no third party fx yet, though!). Test renders are also problem free and since I started using the hexacore system a few months back it just flies. It starts to grind when I am overlaying archive footage (which is where the mix of formats comes into play) over my HD interview footage with an animated lower third (rendered out of AE). It's not a showstopper, just frustrating to work with,

With regard to 'is it worth the effort' now rather than just before final rendering, I read from your responses that it certainly is from a simplicity point of view. I too like the idea of a 'conservative' timeline. As my two hour timeline is now locked, though, with around 300 archive clips and hundreds of stills, sfx and title plates, lower thirds etc, 'starting over' is not an option! I will look at the best way to render the clips from the timeline to a single format, then replace the originals on the same timeline. Not sure I would need separate projects for this. With hindsight I obviously wish I had considered all this before assembling the timeline, however this is my first long form project and it brings with it very different considerations to the 1 to 5 minute client projects I work on every day. Hindsight would have been a wonderful thing in pretty much every aspect of the production to date!

Final question then, what format should I be consolidating to? I would have thought w/s sd dv avi (PAL). Can anyone confirm or advise otherwise?

Thanks again for the helpful advice so far.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 06:33 AM   #6
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

Ian, there is a relatively simple way to use converted files on your current timeline, even at this late stage. That is, if you decide you want to convert your files.

Actually there are two ways.

The way I do it is I use a Vegas plugin called Gearshift by Vasst. It has a "Swap Files" function that, in just a couple of clicks will swap your timeline for converted files (they call them proxies). Gearshift's actual purpose is for converting AVCHD files, but I do not use it for conversion (don't like the results). For this to work: 1. Convert your files, (I use Cineform, as I've said). 3. Place converted files in the same folder as the originals. 3.Batch rename converted files placing a "GSP" prefix in their name, but leaving the rest of the name intact. This can easily be done in batches, and if you decide to do this and need help in renaming using Windows, I'll help you. If you know how to batch rename already, you're good to go.

Second method (that I know of) is to use Ultimate S, which I only recently learned has this ability, but does not require renaming your proxies (converted files). I have not used Ultimate S for this purpose, but it appears to be even simpler than using Gearshft.

With both methods you can swap files back and forth at will.

You could in theory download a Cineform trial that includes HDLink, use HDLink for your conversion, than use a trial of Gearshift or Ultimate S for swapping. If this is just a one time thing you might not need to purchase the products.

If you convert your files first, and then swap out the files on your project and create a second version of it with swapped files you would really never need to use either program again for the project. If you add and take away clips you just bring converted clips onto the timeline rather than originals.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 06:45 AM   #7
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

As far as for what to convert to, if your files are all HD, I would use HDLink to batch convert ny originals to 1280x720 progressive (unless you find a better way). HDLink is much faster than any free plugin, I suspect. I want the same PAR on all of my files on the timeline, especially any 1440 x 1080.

Then I set my project properties to SD widescreen progressive, and I use the Aspectratio script to crop all footage to match my project setting of 720x480 and in one click, pretty much, I'm done.

I like cropping the footage rather than having Vegas resize. This way I my project properties and render settings match.

The above workflow can be daunting, but I've done it so many times out of necessity, that I'm used to it.

I do not convert to SD widescreen with HDLink because of a glitch with how Vegas sees those files, it's very frustrating, which is why I convert to 1280x720 instead. But it works perfectly, my DVDs come out looking very nice.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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Re: Multiple format consolidation

Jeff, excellent mini-guide, may thanks indeed for taking the time. I'll let you know how I get on!
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