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David Hansen
Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 24, 2009 at 8:42:02 pm

Looking for help on solving this one. I think the smoke has stopped shooting from my ears long enough to explain.

I recently purchased an Intensity Pro for use with After Effects (CS3) and Final Cut Studio 2 on a 2.8 Mac Pro Quad. I'm editing 720p material, 10 bit uncompressed, going out to an HDTV, via HDMI. Since this is meant as reference only, I also want to monitor via an NTSC production monitor using the analog outs on the card. So far I've tried the composite (Y out) - with no success. I've toggled all the setting in the System Preferences Pane (according to manual), but the best I can get for NTSC composite is a black-and-white image, split into thirds across screen. The HDMI output looks great - not so much with the analog.

Further, depending on what I set the "Intensity Input" to in the Preference Pane seems to affect whether or not the HDMI outputs from FCP at all. Do input settings on the card affect viewable output?

Now throw in After Effects. The only time I CAN get correct looking composite video (Y out) on my NTSC monitor is from AE... IF I switch the Video Preview settings from Intensity HD to Intensity NTSC. But that brought in a whole new set of problems because when I switched back to Intensity HD it managed to kill ALL output from the card, in AE and FCP. Neat!

I restarted, uninstalled and re-installed the Intensity Drivers to no avail. But after 20 minutes of black screens (and blue language), I finally reversed my steps in AE and/or the preference pane and managed to restore the HDMI/broken composite output.

(sigh)

Any ideas? Is there some issue with AE hogging the card resources?

I haven't tried the S-Video or Component options yet, but I have little faith. Besides, I paid for the composite to work, so it should.

thanks
David Hansen


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David Hansen
Re: Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 25, 2009 at 2:06:18 am

Well... this apparently has something to do with interlace vs. progressive scanning. At least that's my take so far.

I'm in FCP, editing 23.98fps 720 60p DVCPRO-HD. It's a full-screen beauty on my HDTV when the video playback setting is set to 720 60p. Makes sense. But since my NTSC monitor is interlaced, I think it's bugging out when it receives this as a progressive scan. (??) When I switch the playback setting over to 720 59.94 it works. I get signal via HDMI and analog. Trouble is, my HDMI output gets smaller and softer and crappy looking,'cause that's not what the footage was shot at.

So how do I get the best of both worlds? I can't be the only one out there who's run into this, no?

Open to suggestions.

Thanks,
Dave


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Luke Maslen
Re: Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 27, 2009 at 2:29:59 am

Hi David,

To simplify this problem, I'm going to start by concentrating on playback only.

If you review the Intensity tech specs, you will see that the following formats are supported in HD: 1080i50, 1080i59.94, 720p50 and 720p59.94. NTSC and PAL are also supported.

As you are probably aware, there are very few displays that support 720p23.98. In order to work with 720p23.98 material, the Intensity 720p24 easy setup performs pulldown processing and plays out your DVCPRO HD 720p23.98 video as 720p59.94 which is compatible with almost any HD display. This is also a frame rate which can be down converted to NTSC.

So if you want to view your 720p23.98 video on an NTSC composite analog monitor, you will need to conduct the following steps:
1. Create a new project with the Intensity HDTV 720p24 - DVCPRO HD easy setup.
2. Drop your DVCPRO HD 720p23.98 clips on to the timeline in that new project.
3. Open System Preferences>Intensity and change the Select output processing to either HD to SD Letterbox 16:9 or HD to SD Anamorphic 16:9. Use the latter option if your NTSC monitor supports 16:9.
4. Choose to Set output to HDMI & NTSC/PAL (Y Out) & S-Video.
5. Connect the Y Out (green RCA connector) to the composite input of your NTSC monitor.
You should now be able to see the down-converted image in color on your NTSC monitor.

If your NTSC monitor is not showing the desired image, and you've definitely chosen the composite input on the monitor settings of your NTSC monitor, then please call the support group at your closest Blackmagic Design office so they can try troubleshooting the problem with you over the phone.

Assuming that does work, then we just need to look at your input settings. The Intensity input settings should not affect the output of the card except when capturing from the card's input. Whatever you capture on the output will be passed through to the card's output. So if you capture NTSC on input, that is what will be sent to the HDMI and analog outputs of the card. If you capture a high definition format on input, that will be sent to the HDMI and analog outputs of the card. Down conversion will not be applied on the output of the card while capturing so you won't see any useful video on a composite or S-video output. You could however monitor via either HDMI or component analog video as they both support HD.

I hope this helps but it seems like your problems are a little complex and it may be worth giving one of our offices a call and speaking to a support technician. They'll be happy to help but hopefully these tips will help you to overcome some of your problems in the meanwhile.

Regards,

Luke Maslen
Blackmagic Design


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David Hansen
Re: Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 27, 2009 at 11:16:06 pm

Thanks Luke, I may have to talk to a support person, but doing my best to understand in my own research. I'm still new to HD, so it's been a crash course in HD quirks, piled onto an already confusing SD landscape. So many NTSC sins we're still paying for...

I think part of the trouble comes into the whole 24-over-60 format of 720p. There's weirdness in that formula that I may just have to live with. I've tried your suggestions but only seem to make notable differences when selecting 60p vs. 59.94p, the difference of which I am clueless on. QT tells me my clips are 60p. And a 60p setting in FCP gives me HD the way it's supposed to look; just no NTSC output. A 59.94p setting gives me crisp NTSC (albeit desaturated) but a really blurry looking HD output. I get that 59.94 is an NTSC standard, so that makes sense. Why I get blurry HD is confusing.

My biggest concerns are color correction and clean interlacing, thus using a CRT production monitor over an LCD TV. I might just have to find a workflow that switches between the two. Then again, the desaturated NTSC doesn't help, so I might have to correct twice.

Anyway, thanks for your help.

Dave




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Luke Maslen
Re: Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 28, 2009 at 12:58:00 am

Hi David,

[David Hansen] "A 59.94p setting gives me crisp NTSC (albeit desaturated) but a really blurry looking HD output. I get that 59.94 is an NTSC standard, so that makes sense. Why I get blurry HD is confusing."

When you enable down conversion in the System PrefPane for Intensity Pro, this down converts all outputs, ie your HDMI and your analog outputs. So the NTSC monitor will probably look quite crisp but the HDMI monitor will be showing standard definition video which has been scaled up to fill your HDMI display which is probably why it looks "blurry". I think that would explain your observations.

If you are performing serious color grading work, then you may wish to review some of our new announcements from NAB 2009. We have just announced a $695 scope product which will be shipping in June and is perfect for color grading in HD and SD. It does require that you use SDI rather than HDMI or analog but it is the first affordable scope product for creative people. UltraScope is a software and card combination that plugs in to an inexpensive PC. You can then send any SD or HD format to it via SDI and use all the scopes to make sure your video is perfect. There are a lot of people who are still trying to use standard definition CRT monitors for color grading because they don't trust the colors of HD flat screens and can't afford an expensive HD waveform monitor. UltraScope makes HD scopes affordable so you can get the benefit of all the detail in your HD display and use UltraScope for checking all aspects of your video and audio. We have a range of SDI cards which you could use in place of your Intensity Pro starting from US$295 for the DeckLink SDI which supports 10-bit SD and HD via SDI.

In the meanwhile, you might find it very beneficial to call your closest Blackmagic Design office so they can help you in your crash course of transitioning from SD to HD.

Regards,

Luke Maslen
Blackmagic Design


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David Hansen
Re: Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 28, 2009 at 2:54:20 am

Interesting. That makes sense. Even though the downconvert and the 59.94 setting are both NTSC specific, I wasn't picking up on the correlation. I also didn't realize the HDMI connection was downconverting.

Do all your cards with breakout cables operate this way (passing the downconvert to all ports) or is it a feature of the Intensity alone?

I'll check out the new gear. Thanks for the advice.


Dave



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Luke Maslen
Re: Intensity Pro issues OSX
on Apr 30, 2009 at 1:53:17 am

Hi David,

I'm glad that made some sense of your observations. It can be a little tricky when you first transition to HD as there is a lot to learn.

[David Hansen] "Do all your cards with breakout cables operate this way (passing the downconvert to all ports) or is it a feature of the Intensity alone?"

No, different cards have different features. Two cards, DeckLink Studio and DeckLink HD Extreme 3, have a split down conversion function. This means that when you are working in HD, some outputs will be HD and others are SD.

Other cards have all their outputs downconverted when downconversion is enabled.

DeckLink Studio has SDI and analog connections and a full-time downconverter. When working in HD, the main SDI port will output HD-SDI, the dedicated SD-SDI output will output SD-SDI (no surprises there!), the component analog outputs will output HD analog video, and the composite and S-Video outputs will output SD analog video.

The DeckLink HD Extreme 3 has SDI, HDMI and analog connections. It features both hardware and software downconverters which can be enabled or disabled. The software downconverter works just as with your Intensity Pro and downconverts all outputs simultaneously. The hardware downconverter performs split downconversion. When working in HD, the HDMI port will be HD, the SDI A port will output HD, the SDI B port output will output SD, the analog outputs will output HD if set to component or SD if set to S-Video or composite.

That's a lot of information to absorb but I hope it makes some sense :-)

Luke Maslen
Blackmagic Design


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