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ppbvideo January 14th, 2003 11:13 PM

Image Degradation
I am wondering if anyone can provide specifics on the points of image degradation during the capture, edit and output process. I have not done any video editing work since the early VideoVision Studio days. I am planning to purchase a g4 with FCP for editing and output to DVD.

Here are the questions I have:

1. What codec is used during capture via firewire on the mac and is it a lossy compression?

2. Should I consider a hardware based capture card solution?

3. How good is the MPEG compression native to FCP, is it worth investing in Cleaner or other software to get the best compression?

4. Are there any other considerations? Image quality above all else matters to me. I will be capturing DV footage from a Panasonic DVX100.

Thanks in advance.


Jenn Kramer January 15th, 2003 12:31 AM

1. The Mac pulls video via firewire from a DV source in it's native DV codec. It's more like copying a file your hard drive than copying a video tape between decks. There's no loss of quality in that process. The 24p demuxer that produces true 24p files from the panasonic's DV footage doesn't really recompress either, it just drops frames. When you render effects on the resulting video in FCP, there will be some loss in that compression, but not in the capture process.

2. Not unless you're planning on pulling in or dumping to other sources (HD, S-Video). If you're just working with footage from the DVX100, importing it via firewire and demuxing it to 24p footage should give you the highest native image quality possible. You could get a hardware based effects card, but you can always add that in the future if you get tired of certain effects to render.

3. It's Quicktime 6, so it's as good as any other program that uses native Quicktime 6 compression. If you're exporting to DVD, your best bet would probably be DVD studio pro, which has it's own compression issues.

4. If you import via firewire, edit in FCP, and master in DVD Studio Pro, you'll lose a generation in whatever effects you render with FCP, and then another generation in the compression of the DVD. I suppose you could render the entire thing uncompressed to disk, but it would be huge, and I don't think you'd gain any quality.

Once you've actually got the DVX100, G4, FCP, and DVD Studio Pro, I'd probably shoot a couple of test scenes and run them through the editing process, seeing if I could squeeze any extra quality out of them by tweaking this or that, but all those components should work.

ppbvideo January 15th, 2003 09:39 AM

Great information. I have the DVX and am working on getting the best picture out of that. I am now just waiting to see if there are any new macs forthcoming and looking at some of the PC based options from Alienware. I donít want to start a mac vs. pc debate here since I see several exist.

I am however wondering if all I plan to do is cut clips, add transitions and maybe do some color correction if the mac setup is overkill. My justification is that FCP and DVD Studio are the best software out there and designed to work together from the ground up. The slight $$$ savings and speed increases on the PC are not worth the other headaches.

Any thoughts?


Jeff Donald January 15th, 2003 10:15 AM

Not worth the extra headaches, I agree. Get a Mac and start learning the software.


Ken Tanaka January 15th, 2003 11:05 AM

I agree. The Mac/FCP path will put you in the editors chair very, very quickly.

I suggest getting FCP first and working with iDVD for a while (which has a significant upcoming upgrade). You might find that you don't really need DVD Studio Pro ($900+).

Jenn Kramer January 15th, 2003 05:17 PM

If you're just getting started, you don't really need the latest and greatest G4 to edit with. A dual 800 or 867 with superdrive shouldn't be all that expensive. Of course, it's going to be more expensive than a PC any way you slice it, but it shouldn't be 'that much more' expensive, and hey, they're pretty!

Jeff Donald January 15th, 2003 10:01 PM

I edit on a G4 450 Dual Processor. it's over 2 years old and It is more than fast enough for all my editing. My clients don't find the rendering times excessive either. If I was doing a lot of 3D work I would want the latest and greatest, but editing is not that demanding.


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