Doug Jensen of Vortex Media Writes Back! HD to SD
I wrote to Doug Jenson at Vortex Media, author of the "Mastering The Sony PMW-EX1" DVD set.
Here was his response...
I'm glad that you liked the DVD.
Just about everything I produce gets output to DVD. I don't output to tape at all, and haven't for about three years, so I don't know if I can give you all the answers. However, here's my workflow for DVD. Maybe you can adapt it for DVCAM where necessary:
I believe it is very important to edit with Sequence settings that are as close as you can come to matching your final output. In other words, if you aren't going to author a Blu-ray disk or some other HD final product -- then don't edit in HD!! Edit in SD. Choose sequence settings that match your final output -- not the source footage. That's how I edited "Mastering the EX1" and it looks fine, right?
Here's how I edited "Mastering the EX1" and all of my other DVDs with FCP 6.
1) I shoot most of my footage 1080 30P HQ --- but I don't think that makes much difference in the final output.
2) I open a new Sequence in FCP and use the "DV NTSC 48Khz Anamorphic" preset . . . or non-anamorphic if the output will be a 4x3 DVD . . . yes, I still do those too.
3) I change the Field Dominance to "NONE"
4) I edit the entire program within that Sequence.
5) When I'm done editing, I then Export a QuickTime movie of the Sequence. I choose "Current Settings" and I do NOT choose to "Make Movie Self-Contained".
6) I then take that QuickTime movie and bring it into Compressor.
7) I then choose the Compressor preset for DVD Best Quality and modify a few of the settings (such as bitrate), but nothing major.
8) After that file is finished rendering, I bring it into DVD Studio Pro and author the DVD normally.
This is exactly how my EX1 DVD was produced, and it's the workflow I've been using with XDCAM HD for almost two years. VERY SIMPLE. No extra software, no extra rendering, nothing special at all. I do everyting EXACTLY how I demonstrate in the EX1 DVD and it looked good, right?
I hope that helps.
2.5GHz Quad-core PowerPC G5
Final Cut Studio 2
Thanks for getting that info!
It begs one more question but I think the answer is implied (or at least I infer).
What if one has to deliver both HD and SD or at least use an HD edited source for something? My guess is you can edit in HD and one can cut and paste that entire edit (Nest maybe) in to an SD anamorphic timeline with field dominance set to none and use that for SD and SD DVD source.
I have Doug's DVDs and I wanted to test his method, so yesterday, I took some footage that I had shot with my EX while on vacation, and edited together an 8 1/2 minute piece. It had a few dissolves, a supered title, and one clip in with variable speed. The piece was shot in 1080 30p, and I edited it three different ways. The first, I edited in it's own native format. The second one I did the same, but then copied the whole thing and pasted it into a DV-NTSC Anamorphic timeline. The third, I edited from start to finish in the DV timeline. Since I am looking for the fastest-most streamlined workflow, I did not render anything during editing. I just exported each sequence directly from FCP into Compressor, with a 1-pass CBR of 7.4.
The first method (XDCAM sequence) took 23 minutes
The second method took 15:30
The third method (Doug's method) took 14:30
This is on a MacPro 2.66 Quad
I then burned a DVD and compared. All three looked great and virtually identical. It might be that version one looked a bit sharper than the others, but it was so close that it could be my mind playing tricks. I viewed the DVD on a Sony 36" SD monitor and also my Samsung 56" dlp HD monitor. There was a little bit of aliasing on some of the fine horizontal lines when viewed on the Sony, but I attribute that to the fact that the TV does not support Progressive.
It looked amazing on the Samsung which I attribute to the excellent upscaling of my Blu-Ray player.
Now, since it was a pretty simple edit with mostly cuts and no filters, I don't know how different the editing process would be when working native vs. in an SD timeline. I'll have to try a full project before I figure that one out. But, for the time being, Doug appears to be correct.
I just tried one more test. I took the SD sequence and rendered it first, before exporting a Quicktime movie, and then taking that into Compressor. It only took 2 minutes in Compressor, but took 18 minutes to render. So, the whole process was 5.5 minutes longer than exporting directly to Compressor without rendering first.
I wish I had heard about your EX 3 dvd's a few weeks ago as I am about to travel with one for the next few weeks and even though I am getting fantastic results out of the camera I have had some edge problems in the verticals in 25p. I am sure your dvds would be an invaluable time saving reference guide.Unfortunately I live in Australia and would not be able to lay my hands on one before I go.While I will be ordering one asap, do you have any quick tips on reducing those horizontal and vertical aliasing and jagged edges that seem to appear when shooting in the progressive modes.