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Old March 18th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,704
HDV 1080i > DV 480i in FCP

OK guys, I'll admit I'm *way* behind the curve here. Even though I've been shooting HDV for almost 2 years I've always downconverted in my Z1 and captured as regular DV. Well I finally shot, captured and edited about an hour's worth of test footage for a project we're going to do this summer. I have been using Digital Cinema Desktop on a second screen (22" Gateway LCD) for previews and it looks great.

So now I want to downconvert this and burn to DVD the simplest way possible so I can send it to the director overseas. I figured I could just drop the HDV clips into a DV timeline, then print to video and send it to my standalone DVD recorder like I do with regular DV footage all the time. I tried this and it looks fine in preview with Digital Cinema Desktop. But when I sent it over firewire to the DVD recorder it looked terrible! Lots of interlace artifacts and "scan lines" showing.

Then I remembered that the field order for DV and HDV are different, so I changed the sequence settings and tried again. Same thing... maybe just a little better looking, but still unacceptable. I also tried dropping the whole HDV sequence into a regular DV sequence, and for some reason that looked even worse!

So, not wanting to turn this into rocket science, I just decided to export the whole thing back to the Z1, then play the tape back with i.Link conversion to DV and capture over firewire on the DVD recorder. My dual G5 2.5 took maybe 10 or 15 minutes to conform the video when I selected Print to Video, and at the end of that process I got an error message saying it couldn't write to the file due to an error!

I didn't have the patience to troubleshoot that, so I tried a test using File > Export > Quicktime set for Anamorphic NTSC 48khz DV. Now when I dropped that file into a sequence with the same settings it looked fine. So this time around that's what I'm doing. But I know there are better ways to do this. Aren't there??? Has anyone else seen an error like this when conforming HDV before printing to video? I know there are better workflows using Compressor and DVD Studio Pro, but I don't have DVDSP and just wanted an easy way to convert my HDV timeline to DV so I could send it over firewire.
Boyd Ostroff is online now   Reply With Quote
Old March 18th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 3,637
Hi Boyd,

The simplest and probably best way to this is to use Compressor2.

You can send the sequence directly to compressor from FCP, but I prefer to keep working in FCP while Compressor does its job in the background.

So, just export a Quicktime to your hard drive, don't make it self-contained, and use the current settings. This will only take moments because you'll still be referencing the source capture scratch material from within the Quicktime.

Compressor/DVD Studio Pro method: (if you don't have DVDSP, now's the time to upgrade to FCStudio 5.1 - the deadline is approaching fast.)
Now just drag your HDV QT into compressor, select it and confim that the Native Field Dominance is set to upper. Then just set one of the preset NTSC compressor options and compress. Field order will be maintained.

iDVD 6 method:
Just drag your HDV reference quicktime into iDVD 6 (iLife06). It is an "OK" downconversion (at least on progressive HDV,) but nowhere near the quality of 2-pass encoding in compressor.
Tim Dashwood
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Old March 18th, 2007, 03:51 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,704
Thanks Tim! My Quicktime export looks pretty good, but will try your method next time. But I wonder if there would be any difference - wouldn't Compressor just use Quicktime for the conversion anyway? Doing it in the background is a good idea though, I had an hour of footage and it took nearly 4 hours to export with Quicktime.

High contrast edges look a bit harsh in my downconverted version, but maybe standard definition isn't going to make me happy anymore after seeing the original high definition footage :-)
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