Combining DigiBeta and P2 with an LHe: Do I need a Kona 3?
(Since this question combines Final Cut, Kona hardware and P2 media, I will cross post it at the respetive forums)
I work at a place where we have exclusively been SD ever since inception, and have a very large archive on either BetaSP or Digibeta. However, just like a majority of people in the industry, we are making our (cautious) step into the realm of HD, and we need a way of combining the SD archives with the new HD footage
Currently we capture all of our footage through the Digibeta deck, SDI in through a Kona LHe card and into Final Cut 6.0.1 (I've been in between projects and haven't had the time to do any updates). Recently though, we have been shooting some of our footage on P2, and will more than likely continue to do so. What we need is a way to combine the two formats, and until we can display the footage in HD, lay the entire project off to a DigiBeta master.
What is the best way to do this? In running tests, I am able to use the LHe to downconvert the P2 media to a 525 29.97 signal, but since the timeline in Final Cut is DVCProHD, if I try to bring in any Beta or DigiBeta footage, it looks wonky.
Is there any flexibility to ingest the P2 media as a different codec? Or possibly drop it into a different timeline that can incorporate both formats? I have tried putting the P2 footage in a 525 ProRes 29.97 timeline, but even after rendering, it doesn't look as good as the previous method. But at least that way, I can bring in the legacy formats and have them all work together...
After researching on the forums, it would seem as though another option would to go for a Kona 3 card and let that upconvert my Beta/Digi footage to a 720p signal (or whatever the P2 is shot at) so they can all play nicely with each other, even though eventually (for the time being) I will be downconverting the whole thing back to SD to lay off to a Digibeta master.
I am all ears to different ways of going about this, and any insight into the matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Hardware up or down converting is the best way to go. So if you what to edit in HD it would be best to get the Kona3 (or IoHD) to upconvert the DigiBeta to match the P2 footage. The Kona 3 does a great job upconverting especially if your footage is good to begin with. (It does not change framerates, if you are shooting 24PN on the P2 you have another obstacle).
But if you want to edit SD than I would recommend you downconvert the P2 footage to DigiBeta tape and then recapture. In the end it will save a ton of time and will do a much cleaner job. One thing that messes footage up is there is a field order swap, HD is upper and SD (NTSC) is lower.
Also with the hardware up/down converting you can do cropping to make the HD 4:3 or the SD 16:9.
The one thing to test is your final edit. How does the SD footage come back to SD after it has been upconverted (if SD is your final delivery)
This is the direction that I am leaning towards. The only downside to recapturing to digibeta is the time it takes to do so. Most, if not all, of the footage we shoot are interviews, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours, so it creates a slight hiccup in workflow to run it all out to tape. It does, however, create a much better looking image that trying to do any other codec conversion either through Final Cut or Compressor (as far as my testing as shown).
As far whether or not to edit in SD or HD, that is yet to be determined, but esentially I'm open to either depending on ease of combining the two medias. It seems to make sense to do an entirely HD edit, given the situation where I work. Since at the moment we are only delivering in SD, we can edit in HD and have the Kona do the downcoversion of the whole project. But when we are ready to do a HD delivery, we have the project already there, rather than having to do any conversion/recapturing to get it back up to HD. Does that seem like a reasonable assumption, or am I missing something? (I think this addresses your last point about getting the SD footage back to SD after it has been upconverted...but I could be misunderstanding your point)
Hypothetically, if we did end up shooting the P2 footage 24pn, how would we work around that? Can you do any framerate conversion of the digibeta footage when capturing to match the P2? Or would you be forced to downcovert the P2 to digibeta letting the Kona add a pulldown to get it to 29.97? (I'm starting to learn the uses of pulldown, so I don't know if that's even a possibility)
Thank you very much for your insight, and any more you could possibly give would be greatly appreciated.