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DVCPRO HD cut in FCP - worth reconforming in Smoke?

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Aaron Leichter
DVCPRO HD cut in FCP - worth reconforming in Smoke?
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:00:24 am

Working on a series of three 8-9 minutes documentary pieces. Most of the footage was shot (tape-based) DVCPRO 720p24, with some of it 720p60 (that stuff was conformed to 24 with Cinema Tools). The idea was to keep this whole project in FCP. Everything was captured in FCP through a Kona 3 using the DVCPROHD720p24 (or 60) codec. It was my understanding that this codec is no different than how that information is compressed on tape, and therefor, there should be no loss of information, so if we kept everything at 720 there really wouldn't be any need for any type of online.

I'm now being told that one of our producers pitched a Smoke finish to the client, so now the client thinks they're getting a Smoke finish, which may not include more than some color correction or blurring of faces that weren't cleared in the field. I guess my question is, is necessary or do we gain anything by recapturing/conforming in Smoke? I guess that gets us an uncompressed 10bit image, but if it comes from DVCPRO tape is it actually any different than what our DVCPROHD Quicktimes already have? Even if we have to put on a Smoke show, should we recapture/conform from tape or can we just export the sequence out of Final Cut work from that?

I don't know the extent of the color-correction being asked for, but its documentary, and its not for broadcast, its for the web (I havent been given final delivery specs).

What would you do? Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated.


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Grant Kay
Re: DVCPRO HD cut in FCP - worth reconforming in Smoke?
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:46:25 am

Hi Aaron,

What you put it into smoke is what you are going to get. If you feed a compressed image into Smoke, the quality of the image will not improve. it will be displayed as it was recorded. Smoke will allow you to work in a RGB 4:4:4 environment so you will have more range to play with the colour space in the media and in some instances you could make it look better than it is however starting off with the source media it will look the same in Smoke as it will in FCP.

For the media conforming issue, Smoke should be able to take the QuickTimes made in FCP ala the AJA kona card and work with them straight away. There is no benefit doing a complete recapture from tape or doing a export of the FCP timeline as you lose your edits and effects.

If you wanted to optimize the edit before transferring it to Smoke, I would recommend you do a re-compress with the media manager so that you only have the media you need for Smoke. You could also remaster the media in Apple ProRes. It's always worked well for me in the past.

As for why you would finish in Smoke. I know you said colour corrections and face blurring but I am always by the opinion if that if there is something even more I can offer a client then I would go for it.

But at the end of the day it is down to you....

Hope this helps!

Regards
Grant

Check out my Flame and Smoke blog at http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/discreetuk


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Aaron Leichter
Re: DVCPRO HD cut in FCP - worth reconforming in Smoke?
on Jan 27, 2011 at 6:12:52 pm

I wouldn't be recapturing everything, just recapturing from EDLs (with the exception of a lot of stuff that they shop 60p and we converted to 24p in Cinema Tools, goodbye timecode). There aren't really ant affects in the cut, its documentary pretty straight forward.

I guess my issue, is that I feel as though I've been led to believe that the DVCPROHD codec is native to the DVCPROHS tape, and that theoretically anything captured with this codec should contain the same amount of information as what exists on tape. I know the image on tape is compressed, but does the codec add additional compression in this case, or is it equal to what exists on the tape? Does capturing uncompressed 10-bit from a DVCPROHD tape actually provide more information than a DVCPROHD Quicktime captured from the same tape? If not, I would be inclined to simply export our sequences as is (also DVCPROHD codec) and import in to Smoke.

Thoughts?


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Brian Mulligan
Re: DVCPRO HD cut in FCP - worth reconforming in Smoke?
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:28:31 am

If I understand correctly.... An uncompressed qt from the dvcpro tape will be better than a dvcpro qt from that tape.
The way I see it...your are compressing the video twice with a dvcpro import from dvcpro qts.



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Walter Soyka
Re: DVCPRO HD cut in FCP - worth reconforming in Smoke?
on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:57:54 am

[Aaron Leichter] "Everything was captured in FCP through a Kona 3 using the DVCPROHD720p24 (or 60) codec. It was my understanding that this codec is no different than how that information is compressed on tape, and therefor, there should be no loss of information, so if we kept everything at 720 there really wouldn't be any need for any type of online."

By capturing through the Kona, you're adding a second generation of DVCPRO HD compression. The camera stores compressed video on tape; the deck decompresses it and plays out via SDI; FCP compresses the Kona's SDI input on capture. FCP would not be getting the original data on the tape.

Ingesting DVCPRO HD via Firewire would not have this generational loss, because you'd actually be getting the data stream from the tape.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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