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Old May 16th, 2006, 01:24 AM   #1
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HD editing and downconversion. Best method..Just need the basic answers?

Ok...I have read several long articles on the subject. If the resident expert could just give me a simple one line answer to the following questions it would be appreciated. I will look up the rest if needed.

First off...I have the A1U, Pepped up computer and Sony Vegas 6.0D. Here are my questions.

1) Is it recommended to use an alternate app like Cineforme Connect HD to transfer HD files to the computer? Assuming any speed increase would be wanted. If the answer is yes...is Connect HD the one to get? If the answer is no please give a simple answer as listed below.

2) If I am just wanting to convert HD to SD for DVD use what is the best method? Simple answer please. For example...Connect HD to Sony Vegas to SD (This was made up but you get the idea :-))

3) Is the in camera down convert any good? Ignore if this was listed above.

** Couple of other items. I like the use of split files and would like any significant time increase I could gain.

I really am just looking for simple answers rather than waste everyones time any more than I already have.

Thanks for your help
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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:18 AM   #2
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HDV Split is a good capturing application from camera to computer. It can split scenes automatically if you want, although I have had a few problems with HDV Split recently. One where it split every few seconds, and skipped (didn't capture) every few seconds of footage. Another where it would capture tons of artifacts even though none were present on the tape when played via the camera. And third, when it suddenly got some sort of error and wouldn't capture. This was the older 0.7 version. The 0.75 version may have fixed some of this. Overall, I'm impressed with HDV Split, supposedly better than Vegas's internal capturing app. HDV Split catures original .m2t files.

Personally, I would shoot HDV footage, bring it in and edit on a HDV timeline, but when exporting, I would render as DV Widescreen. Be sure to adjust pixel aspect ratios to match, or stretch to fill output. I've been having some problems with black bars on the sides.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 09:05 PM   #3
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Alex -

I have been experimenting with different methods using mainly cineform and camera downsample. For the life of me I cannot figure out why the camera downsample looks better to me. Just using some 20 second clips and have checked and rechecked my vegas settings. I know the experts have said this should not be the case, but I am lost. I am using Vegas 6.0D and also am using a video program capable of handling interlaced video on the computer. Hmmmm very frustrating.

Any ideas?
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Old May 18th, 2006, 11:53 PM   #4
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Michael,

There is no simple answer because it depends on what you are doing with the footage and what type of project it is. Here is my workflow: If Iím going straight to SD DVD without a lot of color correcting and itís not a project I want an HDV archive of, I will downconvert in camera and work in DV Widescreen. This is the simplest and quickest way to work if you are going to SD DVD. I have a Z1U (not the A1U) and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the in-camera downconvert on the Z1 and yes, at times itís better than what Vegas can do. It all depends on the footage.

If I need to do a lot of color correcting or chroma key, or I want to do zooming, or I want to archive an HDV version of the project, I will capture HDV. How I capture HDV is determined by my audio setup. If Iím using camera audio, I will use Connect HD and capture direct to CineForm AVI. If, however, Iím using my field recorder, then all the audio has to be synced. So what I do is capture M2T files in Vegas, sync that will all the audio and then use GearShift to render CineForm files in Vegas with the good audio. This saves a lot of audio sync headaches later on because now I have a good video/audio copy to work with.

The advantage of using an application like Connect HD is for time savings (you just capture once instead of capture and render in Vegas) but the quality is the same as what Vegas will give you for. Connect HD is also useful for any of the other features like scene detection/split, CF24 3:2 pulldown removal or 25p-24p conversion. So if Iím capturing a play, the scene detection isnít needed because the camera is rolling constantly. But if Iím shooting a project with lots of starts and stops, Iíll also use Connect HD for the scene splits.

Like I said, there is no simple answer. It all depends on what you are shooting and what you are doing with the footage in post.

~jr
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Old May 19th, 2006, 12:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rofrano
Michael,

There is no simple answer because it depends on what you are doing with the footage and what type of project it is. Here is my workflow: If Iím going straight to SD DVD without a lot of color correcting and itís not a project I want an HDV archive of, I will downconvert in camera and work in DV Widescreen. This is the simplest and quickest way to work if you are going to SD DVD. I have a Z1U (not the A1U) and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the in-camera downconvert on the Z1 and yes, at times itís better than what Vegas can do. It all depends on the footage.

If I need to do a lot of color correcting or chroma key, or I want to do zooming, or I want to archive an HDV version of the project, I will capture HDV. How I capture HDV is determined by my audio setup. If Iím using camera audio, I will use Connect HD and capture direct to CineForm AVI. If, however, Iím using my field recorder, then all the audio has to be synced. So what I do is capture M2T files in Vegas, sync that will all the audio and then use GearShift to render CineForm files in Vegas with the good audio. This saves a lot of audio sync headaches later on because now I have a good video/audio copy to work with.

The advantage of using an application like Connect HD is for time savings (you just capture once instead of capture and render in Vegas) but the quality is the same as what Vegas will give you for. Connect HD is also useful for any of the other features like scene detection/split, CF24 3:2 pulldown removal or 25p-24p conversion. So if Iím capturing a play, the scene detection isnít needed because the camera is rolling constantly. But if Iím shooting a project with lots of starts and stops, Iíll also use Connect HD for the scene splits.

Like I said, there is no simple answer. It all depends on what you are shooting and what you are doing with the footage in post.

~jr
Thanks for your reply John. It just seems like I am setting something wrong in either Connect HD or Vegas. Everything I have read, including many posts by you and your partners, have suggested that connecthd to vegas should be better than down conversion from the A1. I am just not seeing that which make me believe my settings are some what off. I have 14 days left on my trial of HD Connect before any decisions are made. It is a brand new version 3.0 (according to their reps). I am sure they would not change something that would be throwing me off. Either way...I do appreciate your response.

Hey...any chance you guys will be making the vegas 6.0 tutorials available for download rather than shipping?
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Old May 19th, 2006, 12:49 AM   #6
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So this is frustrating. I've read the same thing over and over also--that you shouldn't downconvert in camera with the Hd100. Very confusing! keep us posted!
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Old May 19th, 2006, 03:15 AM   #7
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I just did another test and put it on dvd this time. I thought I was choosing the cineform, but it turned out to be the camera downconvert that proved best. I am seeing a bit of flickering on some writing in the shot with the cineform conversion. Nothing at all with the same shot from the cam downconvert. I am using the exact same settings for my project in Vegas for both clips. 1080 60i (Not the sony version), deinterlacing none, etc... but still getting different results. I am not doing any modifications in vegas either. When rendering I am using MainConcept MPEG-2, and dvd architecht NTSC widescreen video stream, best quality, bottom interlaced etc. for both. Still...the video looks much better from the camcorder.

Help needed here.

Thanks
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Old May 19th, 2006, 03:27 AM   #8
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Funny thing...I am putting both the cineform conversions and the down converts from the camera into the same project settings in Vegas (i.e. 1080i). From there I convert to the NTSC...

Is there some type of extra sampling happening in vegas because of this?
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Old May 19th, 2006, 04:32 AM   #9
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Hello,

I sympathize with you.

I have spent hours, and hours, and hours, and days, and days (you get the picture) testing all of these different conversions.

Nobody so far has been able to convince me that downconverting using Cineform, Vegas, or any other software is better than allowing the camera to do the conversion. The camera does as good (if not better) a conversion than the software and you don't land up with interlace issues etc. etc. etc.

In all of my tests the file created when allowing the camera to perform the conversion is larger than the file created by any of the software. That at least tells me that nothing is going 'missing' when allowing the camera to perform the conversion.

Having said all of the above I see no reason to capture HDV and then wait hours and hours to render an SD file when the file created by the camera's own downconvert is as good or better.

By the way - all of my findings are based on the Sony FX1E, Sony Vegas 6.0d, and Cineform Connect HD. I don't know the A1U.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Stowe
It just seems like I am setting something wrong in either Connect HD or Vegas. Everything I have read, including many posts by you and your partners, have suggested that connecthd to vegas should be better than down conversion from the A1. I am just not seeing that which make me believe my settings are some what off. I have 14 days left on my trial of HD Connect before any decisions are made. It is a brand new version 3.0 (according to their reps). I am sure they would not change something that would be throwing me off. Either way...I do appreciate your response.
The difference should not be that noticeable. Something else must be going on. Have you tried rendering to CineForm in Vegas and compared that with capturing CineForm in Connect HD? That would be an apples-to-apples test. Personally, I think Connect HD is worth it for the time savings and scene detection alone.

Where capturing HDV really makes a difference is if you do chroma key (I do this a lot for the VASST training DVDís) or if you are doing a lot of color correcting. This is because HDV is 4:2:0 color space which gives you more color information to work with than DV which is only 4:1:1. Since SD DVDís are also 4:2:0, capturing HDV, working in HDV, and rendering to SD DVD will keep your footage in the 4:2:0 color space the whole time and produce the best color results.

Capturing HDV also helps if you are shooting an event with only one camera but want it to look like a two camera shoot. What you do is take a wide shot and then zoom in and cut between two subjects in post. Because HDV has 4x the resolution of DV, you can pull this off with no loss in quality if your delivery is SD DVD.

Of course all this is moot once we have BlueRay or HD DVD to deliver on.

~jr
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Old May 19th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rofrano
The difference should not be that noticeable. Something else must be going on. Have you tried rendering to CineForm in Vegas and compared that with capturing CineForm in Connect HD? That would be an apples-to-apples test. Personally, I think Connect HD is worth it for the time savings and scene detection alone.

Where capturing HDV really makes a difference is if you do chroma key (I do this a lot for the VASST training DVD’s) or if you are doing a lot of color correcting. This is because HDV is 4:2:0 color space which gives you more color information to work with than DV which is only 4:1:1. Since SD DVD’s are also 4:2:0, capturing HDV, working in HDV, and rendering to SD DVD will keep your footage in the 4:2:0 color space the whole time and produce the best color results.

~jr
Okay but even the JVC website touts the superior performance of capturing in hdv and downconverting in your nle rather that originating in sd--for the reasons you mention about 420 versus 411. but you're the first person to say that the difference should only matter for chroma keying, the jvc website says the color info makes a big difference, chroma keyed or not. which makes sense since a dvd shot on dvd would only be 4.1.0 versus 4.2.0 that should be noticeable difference....

There's something fishy going on here....
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Old May 19th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rofrano
The difference should not be that noticeable. Something else must be going on. Have you tried rendering to CineForm in Vegas and compared that with capturing CineForm in Connect HD? That would be an apples-to-apples test. Personally, I think Connect HD is worth it for the time savings and scene detection alone.

Where capturing HDV really makes a difference is if you do chroma key (I do this a lot for the VASST training DVD’s) or if you are doing a lot of color correcting. This is because HDV is 4:2:0 color space which gives you more color information to work with than DV which is only 4:1:1. Since SD DVD’s are also 4:2:0, capturing HDV, working in HDV, and rendering to SD DVD will keep your footage in the 4:2:0 color space the whole time and produce the best color results.

Capturing HDV also helps if you are shooting an event with only one camera but want it to look like a two camera shoot. What you do is take a wide shot and then zoom in and cut between two subjects in post. Because HDV has 4x the resolution of DV, you can pull this off with no loss in quality if your delivery is SD DVD.

Of course all this is moot once we have BlueRay or HD DVD to deliver on.

~jr

I will keep working on it. BlueRay and/or HD DvD will be nice. Unfortunately...even when they become available the other party will still, atleast, need a blueray or HD DVD player. Atleast with DVD -/+ R most current players had them covered. It is kind of the like the current situation where they would need something to play the HD tape. At the immediate street prices you are looking at $999 for a BlueRay player and $499 for a HD DVD player. Still very high. Oh well...
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Old May 19th, 2006, 12:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by John Rofrano
Personally, I think Connect HD is worth it for the time savings and scene detection alone.

~jr
John - I agree 100% on the time saving with Connect HD. This is why I am really wanting to get the quality there. I will try the Cineform within Sony later on. I have never done that so I will have to read up on it.

Thanks again
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Old May 19th, 2006, 12:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brian Luce
... you're the first person to say that the difference should only matter for chroma keying
I did NOT say that the difference should only matter for chroma keying. Go back and read my post. I said ďwhere this really makes a differenceĒ meaning ďyou will see an even bigger difference if you are doing chroma key because you will get a much better key from HDV footage than DV footageĒ. This is partly because of the color space and partly because of the higher resolution of HDV. I also mentioned that color correcting was better with HDV footage than DV footage. So I donít see how you could think that I was only referring to chroma key as the only reason to capture HDV when SD is your target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce
the jvc website says the color info makes a big difference, chroma keyed or not. which makes sense since a dvd shot on dvd would only be 4.1.0 versus 4.2.0 that should be noticeable difference...
As for the BIG difference, if your eyes canít see it, then there is no difference. So why donít you try it for yourself. Capture a scene as an HDV file and convert it to DVD quality MPEG2. Now capture the same scene as DV downconvert and render it DVD quality MPEG2. Place both scene on a DVD and burn. I would bet that there isn't that much difference depending on the footage. Now under certain conditions it is probably more noticeable but only in a side-by-side comparison. In blind tests with one or the other I would bet that you canít tell the difference. It is subtle. Itís not dramatic and the average person would never know.

Perhaps the JVC in-camera downconvert isnít as good as the Sony downconvert which is why JVC doesnít recommend using it. I donít know. I do know my Sony Z1U downconvert is absolutely gorgeous.

~jr
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Old May 19th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #15
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I did this test a while back...comparing convertions on camera and on Vegas. I seen no difference at all. But the main reason I am not using the camera to convert is I would like the option of making a dvd and also saving it to HDV tape.

I would pick up Connect HD because its a much quicker way to get m2t in a workable condition on Vegas timeline.
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