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outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma

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Greg Ball
outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 21, 2009 at 3:03:40 am

I'm just trying to get the best image possible here for outputting from my EX XDCAM timeline to SD DVD
for playback on a 50" plasma screen. I'm still not getting the best results, although the image looks better with outputting a Prores HQ 720X480 16:9 qt and taking that into compressor, but I'm wondering if I should start with a better file.

The AV company's 50" Plasma screen makes my DVD look like garbage, although on my 46" LCD TV connected via HDMI looks wonderful! The client is not happy, and is blaming me, not the AV company, although I have concerns about their DVD player and or Plasma stretching my DVD's image, Any advise would be appreciated.

Other compressor questions include:
Should I use Frame Control?
Should I output a progressive or interlaced M2V file in Compressor?

Thanks Much.


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Craig Seeman
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 21, 2009 at 3:32:53 am

Maybe this is a silly question but with a 50" plasma why are they limiting themselves to an SD DVD?
You could burn blu-ray in Toast.
You could give them a 720p24 file to play on an Apple TV.
A reasonably inexpensive computer with a DVI to HDMI connector could play an H.264 file at HD frame size.

Why would they go through the effort to have a 50" plasma and not spend $200-$300 to feed it HD video?
Heck, Wester Digital has an HD media player that lists for about $130 and may be around $100 retail and plays 1080p

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?DriveID=572




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Steve Wargo
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:40:24 am

[Greg Ball] "The client is not happy, and is blaming me, not the AV company"

Your client is an idiot. If it looks good on your 46" monitor, it looks good period. You need to rip into the AV guy for providing a junk display unit.

When we first bought our F-900 HD camera, we took it into Ultimatte Electronics and plugged the component connectors into their system. The results were fascinating. We sent a 24p feed and all of the Plasmas played it fine. Non of the LCDs showed a normal picture. It was distorted or stretched on all of them. Also, price was not a dividing line. The Mitsubishi units were a total let down, JVC looked very good and the high dollar Pioneers put them all to shame. (2002)

I would suggest that you somehow play it out to both units, side by side if possible.

A few years ago, a client of ours played a video we produced, at a Washington DC dinner with quite a few Legislators in attendance. They called the next morning and ripped us because the audio was way off. The house AV crew gave them ten reasons how WE screwed it up. I asked the client if it was the same disc that we played in their conference room the day they left and I asked them if the sound was in sync when we watched it. They said that it was. They also said that it was in sync when they watched it the morning of the dinner. I explained that the AV people sent the signal through a digital DA and that slowed up the image by 7 frames. The AV crew needed to run the audio through a Rane 22 audio delay and then I asked them to send me a copy of the spec sheet from the AV people. There was no audio delay specd by AV. The AV crew screwed up and then blamed it all on me because they sure didn't want to catch hell and they wanted paid.

When the client got back to Phoenix, one of the company VPs assured me that the problem was us because the AV guys were Washington DC professionals and they wouldn't lie. Let me repeat that "The people in Washington DC do not lie". What a fool.

We watched the DVD again and it was in perfect sync but they still suspected that somehow, it was my fault. The good news is that they eventually hired two in-house video guys and last June, they went to DC again. This time, they had another DVD and their video guys were with them. They played their DVD at the same venue and during rehersal, you guessed it, the sound was early. When the AV guys started with their usual "It's not my fault" argument, the client's guys were there to defend themselves. The AV crew ordered the Rane unit and synced the audio. Upon their return to Phoenix, the CEO of the company called me to tell me the story. You see, he was the only one who believed me the first time. After working with us for ten years, he knew what to expect.

If your image looks good, prove it. Make sure the client sees the truth.



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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Michael Slowe
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 21, 2009 at 10:03:37 am

I know this might be a bit off thread but when you mentioned DVD I wondered whether you had ever used BitVice for encoding. I am now on their version 2.4 and it's way better than the earlier versions and does a fantastic job. I take it in as an exported 1920 x 1080i timeline and the standard def DVD is good. I recently saw one of these DVD's projected on a huge screen (not plasma) in a cinema and it looked perfect. Mind you the DVD was played in a Panny Blu-Ray player which upscales. That is the only sensible way to play SD DVD's the player costs under £200 ($250?). Those guys in Washington were idiots, the AV people should always listen to the producer, he generally knows how to show his stuff to the best advantage.

Michael Slowe


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Noah Kadner
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 21, 2009 at 6:15:35 pm

Yeah SD + 50" Plasma= crap. :) Blu-Ray to 50" Plasma= nice! OR 1080p H.264 via DVI to Plasma also = NICE. :)

-Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook,
DVD Studio Pro and How to Light Interviews.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Greg Ball
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 21, 2009 at 6:35:35 pm

So Noah, how would I get to a blue ray using FCP, Compressor and DVD SP? I can't right? How was your EX1 Guidebook created? Will that look like crap on a plasma? Frankly your DVD looks good on my 46"

How would I provide 1080p H.264 via DVI to Plasma? What would they play this off at a large trade show?

Lastly I'm trying to create an H.264 and it's taking 9 hours though compressor from my ex1 time line. Why would that be?






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Noah Kadner
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 12:33:31 am

Ha- thanks for the compliment. That's an anamorphic 24p 16:9 DVD that started life as 720p HD. It's about as good as you could get other than 1080p or 35mm originated footage. But that said it's also about the quality of the upconversion happening on the plasma- some do a much better job than others at playing out SD. Conversion to H.264 from XDCAM EX depends on your system speed- also whether you're doing a down convert at the same time. I'd go to ProRes out of FCP and then to H.264 in Compressor.

You can't make a Blu-Ray with FCS these days- but you can try with Toast, Encore and of course an external burner. But I'd go with the DVI connection, via say a desktop machine with a nice graphics card or even a Mac Mini which IMHO is the *perfect* convention/kiosk system to playback HD with. You can easily go DVI to HDMI and connect to most any HD display with high quality.

-Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook,
DVD Studio Pro and How to Light Interviews.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Michael Slowe
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 9:55:53 am

Yes but Noah, what if you're giving say a DVD for playing somewhere. Do you reckon we're better off doing a decent SD DVD and hoping it will be played in an upscaling player, there are plenty about now and not necessarily Blu-Ray? I would love to make Blu-Ray discs and the burning is easy - Toast 9 and a burner- but what about encoding? Also there are not all that many players around yet, maybe when the economic situation improves. It's a pity, but our stuff has to end up on DVD's now and it's the quality that bothers me as compared to good old tape!

Michael Slowe


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Greg Ball
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 1:35:37 pm

Exactly Michael! That's what I need to do. Give my client a DVD shot on EX1 that will play wide screen anywhere. For example, trade shows on large screens and for their sales force to take to client meetings.

Also, can the combo of Toast 9 and a blue ray burner create a auto play/looping DVD? How would this work for a trade show otherwise?
Is this worth the investment and a short term solution until FCP/Compressor/DVD SP provide a blueray option?





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Craig Seeman
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 2:15:55 pm

The question I have is why can't the sales force that pays thousands of dollars for the 50" Plasma spend $200 on a Blu-ray player, $100 on the Western Digital HD player, bring a laptop to connect to the HDTV?
Why are they locked into DVD? Certainly not cost. Certainly there's no scarcity of playback devices at the local consumer electronics stores.

Consumers may not be buying Blu-ray players but this is a sales force not a consumer and one would expect them to make the best pitch for their product or service.

Certainly one can use EX source to make a good SD DVD but you have no way of knowing that they're using a good upscaling DVD player with HDMI connection or simply using composite out of an older DVD player. Then they blame you for their poor hardware. If you give them HD, they use an HD player, there's much less likely to be a problem.



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Greg Ball
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 2:45:43 pm

For one thing I'm sure I haven't listed all of the uses for their DVD, but the bottom line is there must be a way of creating a good DVD from the EX1. There are many of the cameras out there. You can't expect a sales person to bring a blue ray DVD payer with them to a client. And how would I make a blueray DVD anyway?

The WD HD player looks interesting, but I don't think it would be reliable over a two day period to continually play a loop. As a matter of fact will it even play a loop? The unit gets mixed reviews.

The Laptop scenario sounds interesting for the trade show too. But here's some questions.

1. Reliability - now you ned to trust a client's laptops. Not all laptops will play a large file.
2. If they were using a laptop, what kind of file would they need? .h264?
3. Can a .h264 loop?





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Craig Seeman
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 3:23:31 pm

[Greg Ball] "And how would I make a blueray DVD anyway?"
Toast

[Greg Ball] "1. Reliability - now you ned to trust a client's laptops. Not all laptops will play a large file."
And not all DVD players do upscaling and those that do may do a bad job of it.

[Greg Ball] "2. If they were using a laptop, what kind of file would they need? .h264?
3. Can a .h264 loop? "


H.264 would probably be best since you can do a good file size efficient compression that any recent laptop can play.
Quicktime/View/Loop (Command + L).

Ultimately ANY thing you create is going to depend on the client's software and hardware and issues can happen with poor quality or old DVD players, computers, etc.

True your more likely to find DVD players out there than other playback devices but if I were in sales I'd certainly make the effort to bring or rent the playback device of MY CHOICE to present my product in the best light. Again the player (of any kind) sitting in the room one walks into may be horrid and it'll make YOUR PRODUCT look bad.

If an A/V company has a 50" Plasma you'd think they'd give the client any number of HD playback options. You can get a basic name brand Blu-ray player for $200 now.

http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/blu-ray-hd-dvd-players/p/2065/st=sort/s...




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Greg Ball
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 4:22:51 pm

Have you created a Blue ray DVD from FCP an ex1 timeline to toast? If so what settings did you use?

What Blue ray burner did you use?

I can't expect a main client to instruct each of their sales team to buy a blue ray player. Sometimes they may just leave a DVD with their own client. I've already given them WMV files to play off their laptops. This DVD is just to show info about their company. It's not product specific.

This client is already ticked off by not being able to show good quality at their trade show. They are threatening to use another video company to solve the problem. I don't think telling them to but additional equipment for each member of their sales force is going to help our relationship.



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Chris Babbitt
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:11:52 pm

I'm telling you, Greg, the WD player is the answer. I've personally used it to continuously loop HD programs all day long without a hiccup. It's cheap, and there are no potential compatibility problems as there might be with a Blu-Ray player. That being said, the other area over which you may have no control is how the A/V people at the venue hook-up the equipment. Fortunately, at my last corporate event , I was able to check out the installation before our DVD was shown to a large important group of corporate heads. The A/V crew at the hotel, had hooked up the DVD player to a large plasma monitor using a composite video cable, the picture settings on the monitor were set to the wrong aspect ratio, and zoomed-in so that there were jaggies all over the place. On top of that, they used an ancient DVD player that kept hanging-up at a particular spot in the program. Had I not been able to check it out ahead of time, that's the way it would have been shown, and I would have been blamed.



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Greg Ball
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:27:34 pm

Chris, what kind of file are you using on your WD player? This may solve the trade show problem as the client could bring this unit with the to different shows. This doesn't solve the multiple uses they have.

Your experience with an AV company sounds familiar. The same thing happened with this AV company. They tried playing my SD DVD on a 50 " plasma with composite cables, and probably zoomed. Then the client complained about pixelation and type being cut off and jagged.

Component isn't much better but it's acceptable. However when the AV company plays test DVDs from Blockbuster and they look and says the problem is MY DVD, the client believes them.



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Chris Babbitt
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:35:45 pm

I have had the best result with MPEG-2 Transport Stream, encoded in Compressor.
Put the file on a USB pocket drive which plugs into the WD Player. The player connects to the monitor with an HDMI cable, and the interface is easy to negotiate. I would suggest demonstrating it for your client first, so that you a sure they know how to operate it, and know what it is supposed to look like. One word of caution: Make sure they do not leave the remote at home. The unit is inoperable without it. I learned that the hard way.



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Chris Babbitt
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:51:12 pm

Incidentally, if you don't need audio, your XDCAM Quicktimes will play right out of Final Cut, but I haven't been able to get audio. Only MPEG2 and MPEG4 (H.264) are officially supported in Quicktime.



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Mitch Lewis
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 24, 2009 at 12:01:53 am

Making a blu-ray disc using FCP and Toast 10 couldn't be easier.

1) Just export your sequence using the Quicktime codec of your choice (I would recommend either ProRes or ProRes HQ)
2) Launch Toast and select Video>Blu-ray Video
3) Drag the exported seq into the Toast window
4) Burn the disc

NOTE: You don't need a blu-ray burner or blu-ray media to make blu-ray discs. No kidding. Just use a regular DVD burner and a DVD-R and you can burn 20-30 minutes of video on to the disc. You will need a blu-ray player though to view it.

http://www.macvideo.tv/dvd-authoring/features/index.cfm?articleId=112361&pa...

Sony EX3, Letus Ultimate, Nikon lenses, Sachtler tripod
20 years as a videographer/editor - HD and 35mm adaptor newbie
Experienced with Apple products, Final Cut Studio, Adobe Creative Suite, MOTU Digital Performer, Flip4Mac, etc...


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Chris Babbitt
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 24, 2009 at 12:28:42 am

Just don't be surprised if your client's Blu-Ray player will not play the disc. For instance, my Samsung 1400 will play BD-R discs that I have burned in Toast, but will not play Blu-Ray content that has been burned to DVD-Rs.



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Mitch Lewis
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 24, 2009 at 12:40:11 am

Chris has a point. This is the same scenario we had back when DVD-R's came out. Just got to learn to deal with it. Or go with a media player like the Western Digital box.

Sony EX3, Letus Ultimate, Nikon lenses, Sachtler tripod
20 years as a videographer/editor - HD and 35mm adaptor newbie
Experienced with Apple products, Final Cut Studio, Adobe Creative Suite, MOTU Digital Performer, Flip4Mac, etc...


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Dave Jenkins
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Mar 24, 2009 at 5:29:55 am

We are outputting Blu-ray for clients for projection using encore. I put myself in the budget for set up with our blu-ray player when it's local. We almost always have problems with the AV guys. Then after the event we deliver the SD DVD's with the explanation that they won't look as good as the HD version. So far this has worked for us. It's a lot of hand holding. We have made Blu-ray dvd's for trade shows that looped for days without any problem. However I made them buy or use the same Sony Blu-ray player we have.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
MacPro Two 2.8GHz Quad Core - AJA Kona LHe
FCP 6.0.4 OS X 10.5.5 QT 7.5.5


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Anthony Dias
Re: outputting EX! time line to play on 50" plasma
on Jun 25, 2009 at 10:11:16 pm

Hi Greg,

I've been having huge problems getting my 1080 30P EX 1 footage to look good on a DVD.
I was having stair-stepping, weird aliasing and crappy quality picture.

Finally after a lot of experimentation and frustration, I found a Final Cut Pro + Compressor + DVD Studio Pro solution that I am satisfied with. Hopefully it might help you out.

I am still tweaking settings and taking notes and I'll let you know if I come across better settings.

The clips are imported wit Sony's XDCAM Transfer utility and drag & dropped into my FCP project bin.

In Final Cut Pro 6.0.6, the sequence settings are set as follows:

[General Tab]
Frame Size: 1920X1080 HDTV 1080i (16:9)
Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Anamorphic (not checked)
Field Dominance: None
Editing Timebase 29.97

Quicktime Video Settings:
Compressor: Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
Quality:100%

[Render Control]
Everything checked and 100%/Best quality
Codec: Same as Sequence Codec

After editing and whatever, the whole sequence is rendered via Sequence> Render All> Both.

Then, the sequence is exported. File> Export> Using Compressor...


Compressor Settings (Inspector)

ENCODER
[Video Format Tab] no change (NTSC, 29.97, 16:9, Progressive)

[Quality Tab]
Average Bit Rate: 7.7 Mbps
Maximum Bit Rate: 9.0 Mbps
Motion Estimation: Best

[GOP Tab]
GOP Structure: IP
GOP Size: 6
Pattern: IPPPPP


FRAME CONTROLS
Frame Controls On:
Resize Filter: Best (Statistical Prediction)
Output Fields: Same as source
Adaptive Details: On (not really)
Antialias: 0
Detail Level: 0
Rate Conversion: Best (High quality motion compensation)


At this point, the whole thing is submitted and the wait begins...

The quality is WAY better at these settings than the standard compressor setting "DVD: Best Quality 90 minutes".

It may not allow you to fit as much into a DVD, but I think most of us on these forums aren't making feature length movies.

peace,
-Tony


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