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XDCam to WMV

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Bob Tompkins
XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 11:13:07 am

I am recording XDCam 1920x1080 60i footage to my EX1r's. I am ingesting into FCS 7.02 using XDCam Transfer very successfully. My sequence presets are Apple Pro Res 422 1920x1080 60i and my capture preset is DVCPro HD 1080i60. Quite honestly I have know idea if this is correct but from my reading it sounded good. It looks great and I am able to edit like I want to. If it is not optimal please feel free to tell me.

My problem comes when I try to output my edit. Most of my end users are Windows users and not flexible about plug ins and such so I really have to output to WMV. I am doing export>QT conversion> and have tried various settings none of which are great. I am using Flip for Mac Pro HD which gives me many options for output. I am downsizing to 1280 x720 and using what I think are the best settings. The quality of the video is excellent until it moves (which I understand is a bad thing). It is choppy and has horizontal distortion when something moves.

Is anyone successfully converting HD footage to WMV? If so, what settings are you using? Is there a better program for this? Any help would be appreciated.



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Craig Seeman
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 2:19:21 pm

[Bob Tompkins] "My sequence presets are Apple Pro Res 422 1920x1080 60i and my capture preset is DVCPro HD 1080i60."
When there's an easy way and a wrong way why do people pull something apart and make it wrong? Sorry but I can't even fathom the reasoning.

Use the XDCAM EX Easy Setup that matches the camera recording. You can changes PREFERENCES to render in ProRes which avoids the GOP confirm while editing.

[Bob Tompkins] "Most of my end users are Windows users and not flexible about plug ins and such so I really have to output to WMV."
Are you assuming they don't have Quicktime installed?
Are you assuming that they don't have Windows 7 as Windows Media Player 12 can play H.264 files?
I always ask the client first since H.264 is now pretty much universal if they plan on doing anything more than screening on their desktop. H.264 works in Flash, Silverlight, Quicktime, WMP12, HTML5 and depending on the settings, iDevices as well. WMV on the other hand is limited to WMP, Silverlight, Flip4Mac for Mac users and that's about it.

[Bob Tompkins] " Flip for Mac Pro HD which gives me many options for output. I am downsizing to 1280 x720 and using what I think are the best settings. The quality of the video is excellent until it moves (which I understand is a bad thing). It is choppy and has horizontal distortion when something moves.

Is anyone successfully converting HD footage to WMV? If so, what settings are you using? Is there a better program for this? Any help would be appreciated."


There are no magic one size fits all settings. What works for my material may not work for yours. The settings I use to shoot may be different that yours.

If you didn't shoot progressive, you should deinterlace using Flip4Mac Advanced settings. You should ALWAYS shoot progressive if your goal is desktop or web playback. Your data rate depends on the quality you want to maintain AND the viewer's computer capabilities. Start with 2 pass VBR with a data rate of about 5000kbps and key frame rate equal to one every 10 seconds but you may want to change that depending on editing style.

Why did you shoot interlace? What was your intended target?




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Greg Ondera
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 3:48:50 pm

My thoughts ditto what Craig said, but I would really advocate shooting in progressive and leaving interlaced behind.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Bob Tompkins
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 5:10:08 pm

Thank you, Greg.



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Bob Tompkins
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 5:09:26 pm

[Craig Seeman] "When there's an easy way and a wrong way why do people pull something apart and make it wrong? Sorry but I can't even fathom the reasoning."

Why do you have to be so condescending? I get it. You know it and I don't. That is why I asked the question in such a humble fashion.

I will use the easy set-up and try not to be so stupid the next time.

[Craig Seeman] "Are you assuming they don't have Quicktime installed?
Are you assuming that they don't have Windows 7 as Windows Media Player 12 can play H.264 files?
I always ask the client first since H.264 is now pretty much universal if they plan on doing anything more than screening on their desktop. H.264 works in Flash, Silverlight, Quicktime, WMP12, HTML5 and depending on the settings, iDevices as well. WMV on the other hand is limited to WMP, Silverlight, Flip4Mac for Mac users and that's about it. "


I know that the majority of my end users do not have Quicktime and I know that the 130,000 people in the company use Windows XP and will not have Windows 7 before Windows 8 comes out. H.264 is not a reliable option for me. That is why I asked for advice on WMV.

I shot interlaced because I like to shoot at what I felt was the highest setting. Storage space is not an issue and my output is not always web. Again, I am learning and I thought this Forum might be a good place to become more informed.

Once again I ask, is anyone successfully converting XDCAm footage to WMV and what sort of settings are you using?








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Craig Seeman
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 5:44:31 pm

I thought you had been given a motive for the workflow. I've had clients ask for crazy things because they don't understand.

The subject was "... to WMV" and it looked like you had read about DVCProHD as an intermediary. I couldn't understand why someone would be asking for DVCProHD as an intermediary. That's why I began with "I'm sorry but I can't fathom the reasoning . . ." It may well have been me not understanding some bit of information such as client requires DVCProHD tape delivery.




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Bob Tompkins
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 6:43:21 pm

Sorry for being so sensitive and thanks for the spirited discourse.

I would love to get my end-users to use H.264 and at some point in the future I probably will but for now in my "walled 'macphobic' garden" I need to send them their files in a format that they will use without whining.

I have found a Flip for Mac set-up that seems to work for now. I am decreasing the size to 960x540 which is fine for them. 29.97, bit rate 1500, best quality two pass VBR. A two minute clip is about 25 MB which is reasonable. There is no choppiness or horizontal smearing. It really looks great actually.

I also think I am going to stick with interlaced for now. My footage always involves fast hand and instrument movement so I may benefit from that.

Thanks again Craig and Greg for your help.



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Craig Seeman
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 7:50:56 pm

[Bob Tompkins] "Sorry for being so sensitive and thanks for the spirited discourse. "

No problem. I have seen people in a legit pickle when they get in a bunch of DVCProHD and a smattering of XDCAM EX and they often post such questions. I was lost as to whether you were in that situation . . . so maybe I could fathom but I didn't want to make a suggestion that would, itself but a bad recommendation. For example in the above situation the Easy Setup could well be the worst way to go. When I flustered by not knowing which way to suggest . . . I show my fluster. Sorry.


[Bob Tompkins] "I have found a Flip for Mac set-up that seems to work for now. I am decreasing the size to 960x540 which is fine for them. 29.97, bit rate 1500, best quality two pass VBR. A two minute clip is about 25 MB which is reasonable. There is no choppiness or horizontal smearing. It really looks great actually. "

That's the most affordable way to go (Flip4Mac) for WMV9 on the Mac. You're settings are in the right ballpark too. Since your source is interlace, don't forget to deinterlace. If file size and/or data rate were an issue you could drop to 640x360 at a lower data rate.

You can deliver the file using anything from a service like YouSendIt or your MobileMe account if you have one. I find it easier than trying to explain FTP to a client.





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Greg Ondera
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 5:45:15 pm

I think you would be surprised how many Windows users have QuickTime. It's everywhere really. But I do agree it would be good to find out first.

The reason I advocate progressive is that whenever anything interlaced goes to the web or gets encoded in any way, which it sounds like it will, it will look fuzzy and soft, even when deinterlacing. Progressive keeps a bold color and crisper look to it, and it is such a difference and very noticeable. I am moving away from interlace entirely myself, but would like to hear reasoning why I should still use it. I even deinterlace my old interlaced programs as masters now.

Also if there is any way you can steer your client to H.264, I would. The quality over WMV is hands over fist much better. And in mp4 form it will play on practically anything. I would pitch for using Telestream's Episode Pro for codecing H.264, although there are several good encoders out there.

So I have a little menu for that, if you want, and some of my formula has impact on WMV files as well, but doesn't entirely translate. If you go to http://www.surgeontoday.org/faq/ and a little over half way down the page under "What are the best practices for preparing a video for upload?" that will tell you what I recommend. Playing with bitrates is the key to testing, but other considerations there should be followed as constants.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Craig Seeman
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 6:05:42 pm

[Greg Ondera] "I think you would be surprised how many Windows users have QuickTime. It's everywhere really. But I do agree it would be good to find out first. "

Quicktime has spread in larger part to the ubiquity of iTunes. The only "areas" sans Quicktime is corporate environments where IT wont permit it. Even Windows Expression Encoder does H.264 now and WMP 12 on Windows 7 plays it. Of course corporate IT are the most reluctant to upgrade OSs quickly. So in "walled garden" internal communications WMV9 might still be common.

But even corporations are concerned when it comes to longevity. H.264, as I noted, works in nearly everything so if they need to move from Silverlight to Flash to HTML5 they save time and money not having to redo their encodes. WMV9 locks them in to Silverlight for interactivity and while that might be fine for internal work it may limit public outreach. Just to be clear, Silverlight handles both WMV and H.264 (.mov and .mp4).

Basically WMV is fine if its for short term internal communication or reaching an external target that requires it.

Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash are extension agnostic so H.264 .mov works as well as H.264 .mp4. HTML5 is still a bit of a codec battle ground although I personally think H.264 will win (no guarantee though).

In short, I deliver H.264 unless the client requires something else and if they do mention something else I ask why. They may not realize the utilitarian ubiquity of H.264.

[Greg Ondera] "The reason I advocate progressive is that whenever anything interlaced goes to the web or gets encoded in any way, which it sounds like it will, it will look fuzzy and soft, even when deinterlacing."

While there are some excellent deinterlacers, good deinterlacing is a hassle and sometimes a bit of a compromise depending on the material. Progressive can work in many places from DVD, Blu-ray, Broadcast and always web. Many TV shows are shot 24p and pull down added.

[Greg Ondera] "would like to hear reasoning why I should still use it."
I can see a circumstance where one is shooting sports and delivering 1080i. i60 and p60 give you best temporal motion. Of course 720p60 is the progressive option but lots of broadcast is 1080i. In those circumstance where the workflow would be 1080i to 1080i, that might be best.

If your projects are for disc or web or any file playback progressive makes sense and you have 24p, 30p, 60p as options depending on the need (25p and 50p for PAL compatible folks).

[Greg Ondera] "Also if there is any way you can steer your client to H.264, I would. The quality over WMV is hands over fist much better. And in mp4 form it will play on practically anything. I would pitch for using Telestream's Episode Pro for codecing H.264, although there are several good encoders out there. "

Exactly and I use Episode, which has a very good powerful deinterlacer . . . which can be averted if you shoot progressive.




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Greg Ondera
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 7:19:24 pm

Thanks, Craig. That's a lot of good information.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


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Greg Ondera
Re: XDCam to WMV
on Jun 23, 2010 at 5:51:13 pm

I think you would be surprised how many Windows users have QuickTime. It's everywhere really. But I do agree it would be good to find out first.

The reason I advocate progressive is that whenever anything interlaced goes to the web or gets encoded in any way, which it sounds like it will, it will look fuzzy and soft, even when deinterlacing. Progressive keeps a bold color and crisper look to it, and it is such a difference and very noticeable. I am moving away from interlace entirely myself, but would like to hear reasoning why I should still use it. I even deinterlace my old interlaced programs as masters now.

Also if there is any way you can steer your client to H.264, I would. The quality over WMV is hands over fist much better. And in mp4 form it will play on practically anything. I would pitch for using Telestream's Episode Pro for codecing H.264, although there are several good encoders out there.

So I have a little menu for that, if you want, and some of my formula has impact on WMV files as well, but doesn't entirely translate. If you go to http://www.surgeontoday.org/faq/ and a little over half way down the page under "What are the best practices for preparing a video for upload?" that will tell you what I recommend. Playing with bitrates is the key to testing, but other considerations there should be followed as constants.

Greg Ondera
http://www.Plexus.tv
http://www.SurgeonToday.org


Return to posts index

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