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XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests

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Marco Solorio
XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 26, 2008 at 7:26:14 pm

Hi all,

So as some of you know, I have a codec comparison site that I've had for several years running. Embarrassingly, it's in dire need of additional codec tests (and some current tests that need re-testing due to codec updates). At any rate, I've performed some quick tests with the XDCAM EX 1080 codec, since I'm an EX1 owner.

At 35 Mb/s, it's not surprising it's as compressed as it is, so I'm not going to get into that aspect too much. However, when comparing the 1080p24 codec against the 1080p30 codec, the quality difference is quite apparent. In reality this obviously makes sense since there are fewer frames to compress within the 35 Mb/s window of bandwidth. I'm not saying the 1080p24 image is completely free of compression artifacts, but it is quite less than the 30-frame counterpart.

At some point I'll post the results to the site, but if acquiring the best possible image quality from the EX1 is an important factor in your production, then shooting at 1080p24 over 1080p30 (or 1080i60) might be something to really consider.

FYI... it appears the XDCAM EX codec doesn't implement smoothing in its chroma filter (similar to how Apple's DV25 codec works). Looks fine on video output and is great for re-generation, but not so great for motion graphics implementation. If you're going to be using a lot of motion graphics integration with your footage, it might be a good idea to work (or batch transcode) in a smoother 4:2:2 codec (uncompressed, ProRes, etc.) rather than stay in the native 4:2:0 XDCAM format like most highly sub-sampled codecs work. More testing on my end needs to be done to confirm this, but this is where it's pointing to for now.

Thanks,

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | Codec Resource Site | Cinesoft | Media Batch



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Don Greening
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 26, 2008 at 8:21:59 pm

Thanks for taking the time to post this, Marco. It's much appreciated and I'm looking forward to your future test results.

- Don


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Harry Pallenberg
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 26, 2008 at 10:14:46 pm

Funny, I was just on your site last week for the 1st time in over a year hoping to find some updates to your great site.... hope you get some free time and post something soonish...

Thanks,
Harry.

Forum Cowmunity Leader: Indie & Doc
Forum Cowmunity Leader: HDV

Dual 1.8 G5 ** 1GB ** 10.4.8 (Office / Photoshop)
Dual 2.0 G5 ** 4GB ** 10.4.8 Kona 2 (FCP Machine)


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Rafael Amador
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 27, 2008 at 2:35:02 am

Great Marco. Since I sow you posting about the EX-1, I thought that soon or later we would have an EX-1 codec test.
The difference in quality between 24fps/60fps seems logic. Less pictures for the same amount of data.
I guess that the same happens when shooting 720 instead of 1080. So probably to end up in SD, filming in 720 would be the best option. Don't you think so?

Mac OX 10.5.2-FC 6.02-QT 7.4.1
G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM-BlackMagic Extreme
PMBP 17"Core2Duo 4GbRAM-AJA ioHD
JVC DTV-17"
SONY EX-1 . SONY PD170
..and always a big mess on top of the table.


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Steve Wargo
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 27, 2008 at 5:33:18 am

Makes sense. Numerically speaking of course.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Marco Solorio
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 27, 2008 at 5:36:18 am

Thanks for all the nice comments, guys.

Rafael: Yes, I have to believe that 720p24 will give the best results with regard to the least amount of compression artifacts. Hopefully I can spend a little time with it tomorrow. But at this point I can't conclusively say that shooting 720 for SD is better than 1080... with so much scaling down from 1080, the results can really go in different directions. All of which in intend to test thoroughly!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | Codec Resource Site | Cinesoft | Media Batch



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Rafael Amador
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on Mar 27, 2008 at 8:54:47 am

Marco,
What I'm getting downscaling in FC (EX-1 1080 to ProRes HQ PAL) I think is very good.
Hopefully the downsizing in camera in 10b or so, will be better.

Mac OX 10.5.2-FC 6.02-QT 7.4.1
G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM-BlackMagic Extreme
PMBP 17"Core2Duo 4GbRAM-AJA ioHD
JVC DTV-17"
SONY EX-1 . SONY PD170
..and always a big mess on top of the table.


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Tom David
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on May 2, 2008 at 7:09:11 am

"If you're going to be using a lot of motion graphics integration with your footage, it might be a good idea to work (or batch transcode) in a smoother 4:2:2 codec (uncompressed, ProRes, etc.) rather than stay in the native 4:2:0 XDCAM format like most highly sub-sampled codecs work."

I have noticed something odd in Final Cut re down conversion to SD from the XDCam 1080p25 codec shot on the EX1:

- if I batch convert clips to SD (DV Pal or 8 Bit Uncompressed) I get an unsubtle venetian-blind effect on clean lines (like shelves or car grills etc).

- however if I render clips manually from FCP sequences using the same settings (from what I can tell), I get a clean down conversion with NO venetian-blind effect - and the picture looks great.

Does anybody know why this would be so?

Primarily, I want to be able to do high-quality mass down conversions off all my shots to SD after a days shooting on the EX1 1080p25 format, but as above, the FCP batch conversion feature isn't cutting it - and manual export of each clip off the sequence is not practical.

Does anybody have any solutions for mass export HD to quality SD clips?


Cheers,
Tom

Camera Operator - Editor - Motion Graphics
(http://www.tomdavid.com.au)


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Rafael Amador
Re: XDCAM EX 1080 Codec Tests
on May 2, 2008 at 8:42:24 am

[Tom David] "Does anybody know why this would be so?"
Hi Tom,
When you do a Batch Export of the clips you have in the Browser, you are exporting using QT CONVERSION. The downsizing probably is not good enough.
If you want to do a good downconverting, put your clips in a 10bUnc or Proress HQ and check Render all YUV footage in High Precission. Also set Motion Rendering: BEST.
And if you want to improve it, drop the Nattress "Chroma Smoothing/Sharpening" filter in your footage before conversion.


Mac OX 10.5.2-FC 6.02-QT 7.4.1
G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM-BlackMagic Extreme
PMBP 17"Core2Duo 4GbRAM-AJA ioHD
JVC DTV-17"
SONY EX-1 . SONY PD170
..and always a big mess on top of the table.


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