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DVCPro to H264 for archiving?

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Isaac Brillant
DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 20, 2010 at 11:57:54 pm

Hi,

I have some duplicate DVCPro footage from old projects, that chances are I'll never need again, and they're taking up a lot of storage space, but I also dont want to delete them.

I was thinking that I would convert them to another codec at least, that takes up less space, and keep those instead.

What would be a good codec to use for this purpose, one that is similar in look (to the extent that a more compressed codec can be) to DVCProHD?

I was thinking of HDV or H.264. Would another codec be better, like one of the Apple Intermediate ones?

Thanks very much


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Noah Kadner
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 2:08:48 am

I'd leave them as DVCPRO HD. Hard drives are cheap, H.264 is really too compressed for editing, especially as a transcode from another relatively compressed codec. I mean you can find a 2TB hard drive for $200 and that would hold 45+ hours of DVCPROHD at its maximum data rate. If you're on FCP you can media manage a project down a bit- i.e. throw away footage that you didn't use in your edit.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Shane Ross
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 2:31:15 am

Why archive the captured media? Just keep the camera master backups. You did backup the P2 cards right? Didn't just import and then erase? Keep the masters and you can reimport any time you want.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Isaac Brillant
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 5:13:59 pm

Hi,

Nope, i didnt keep the P2 masters... This is for a high school open house video, not very high end, so its not like I'll need to reimport or whatever other benefits there might be from keeping the P2 masters. It just all adds up: If I have the P2 masters, the DVCPro quicktimes, and a backup of those quicktimes on another harddrive, thats tripe the space.

What made me think of H264 is that I recently did a project with the Canon 7D and 5D which capture as H264, so I was wondering if I could convert my DVCPro footage into the equivalent of what the 7D captures as, and then if I ever need to use it I'll do what you do with the 7D - transcode it to Prores.

Is the way the 7D compresses H264 very different from the way Compressor would convert a file to H264?

thanks for your replies


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 7:08:02 pm

[Isaac Brillant] "If I have the P2 masters, the DVCPro quicktimes, and a backup of those quicktimes on another harddrive, thats tripe the space."

All you need to do is archive the P2 files. You can always relog and transfer the footage very easily from FCP. Think of the QT files as ypur work files, the p2 files are your camera masters, or equivalent to tapes. You woudn't toss the tapes after a shoot, would you?

Jeremy


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Isaac Brillant
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 7:50:59 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I often end up with a lot of footage that I know I don't need, but I only realize which clips I dont need once I start editing. Since I can't alter the P2 file structure, as I'm editing I just delete (or mark to delete later) the DVCPro Quicktimes that I dont need, or if there's only a 10 second clip within a 5 minute quicktime, I just open the quicktime movie in Quicktime, trim it, and save as a new independent movie (and delete the original Quickktime.)

I dont know if there's a way to do this in the original P2 folder once it's off the card, for clips or portions of clips that I know 100% that I wont need. (I'm on a mac book pro and Final Cut 6, BTW)
I dont like to delete clips off the P2 card during a shoot because its too easy to make a mistake.

But back to the other thing - converting DVCProHD to another codec-- I know its not "best practice" but if I were to do it, what would be the best codec to convert it to? I've intercut HDV and DVCProHD in projects and it worked OK. Or, would XDCam be a better codec to compare with DVCProHD.

Another way to look at it - for these types of projects I'd be just as happy using an HDV camera or an XDCam camera or a 7D. I just happen to have a HPX170 for other projects. So if I convert DVCPro to one of these codecs in Compressor or through Media Manager in FCP, will I get the same result in terms of compression as I'd end up with had I originally shot on one of the other cameras? Or do the cameras compress it differently internally and it's only the same codec in name?

Thanks again guys!


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Isaac Brillant
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 7:51:14 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I often end up with a lot of footage that I know I don't need, but I only realize which clips I dont need once I start editing. Since I can't alter the P2 file structure, as I'm editing I just delete (or mark to delete later) the DVCPro Quicktimes that I dont need, or if there's only a 10 second clip within a 5 minute quicktime, I just open the quicktime movie in Quicktime, trim it, and save as a new independent movie (and delete the original Quickktime.)

I dont know if there's a way to do this in the original P2 folder once it's off the card, for clips or portions of clips that I know 100% that I wont need. (I'm on a mac book pro and Final Cut 6, BTW)
I dont like to delete clips off the P2 card during a shoot because its too easy to make a mistake.

But back to the other thing - converting DVCProHD to another codec-- I know its not "best practice" but if I were to do it, what would be the best codec to convert it to? I've intercut HDV and DVCProHD in projects and it worked OK. Or, would XDCam be a better codec to compare with DVCProHD.

Another way to look at it - for these types of projects I'd be just as happy using an HDV camera or an XDCam camera or a 7D. I just happen to have a HPX170 for other projects. So if I convert DVCPro to one of these codecs in Compressor or through Media Manager in FCP, will I get the same result in terms of compression as I'd end up with had I originally shot on one of the other cameras? Or do the cameras compress it differently internally and it's only the same codec in name?

Thanks again guys!


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Noah Kadner
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 11:35:07 pm

That's the point- there wouldn't be a 'better codec.' Not if you care about being able to reused the footage in any meaningful way. DVCPROHD is already more or less on par with decent quality H.264 in terms of data rate. And you'll be saving a generation.

Don't over think things. If you want to toss out footage just toss it. But if you want to save it the DVCPROHD versions you already have are already the perfect mix of manageable data rate, image quality and editability. Just spend a bit more on hard drives- you can buy the cheapest ones because you are just using them for archiving, not to edit from.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Isaac Brillant
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 12:49:41 am

Hi Noah

I'm not sure I understand what you mean - "DVCPROHD is already more or less on par with decent quality H.264 in terms of data rate." Doesn't it have a much higher data rate than H264 and thats why it takes up so much space? It looks like it takes up twice the space...

Say I have a project that has both DVCProHD and HDV footage (from a Canon XHA1s), and I want to convert the DVCPro to HDV (rather than having FCP have to render HDV to DVCPro or vice versa, within the sequence).

If I do this, and convert the DVCPro to HDV in compressor or media manager, will the new HDV footage, for all intents and purposes, be the same quality as the original HDV footage - or will it "fall apart" if I do any color correction or the like?

thanks again


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Shane Ross
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 12:57:03 am

[Isaac Brillant] "Say I have a project that has both DVCProHD and HDV footage (from a Canon XHA1s), and I want to convert the DVCPro to HDV"

That would be about the WORSE thing you could do in that situation. Take an I-Frame format, 4:2:2 color space, and make it Long GOP 4:2:0? No...that would be a HUGE no no. A huge technical gaff that ANY professional would tell you to avoid.

It seems as if STORAGE is your only concern. And it shouldn't be. Quality of the footage should be. Ease of use should be. Storage is cheap. VERY cheap.

DO NOT convert DVCPRO HD to H.264...that is not only adding a layer of compression to the footage, but making it into a GOP format that is 4:2:0. Compress it again to DVCPRO HD and you are adding ANOTHER layer of compression. It'd look far worse than your original footage.

Archive your DVCPRO HD masters. And learn from this and in the FUTURE archive your P2 cards...back them up. Then you don't need to archive the DVCPRO HD converted footage you use for editing...you can reimport from the masters. But, for now, because you are lacking those, archive what you got. DO NOT CONVERT to anything.

If you want to ever learn how to be a professional, you will heed our advice..as we are professionals with years of real world experience to offer.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Isaac Brillant
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 1:33:18 am

Hi,

So, if the majority of my project is HDV, and I shot a few extra shots of B-Roll in DVCProHD, what is my best option? In order to use those shots, should I move the HDV sequence into a ProRes sequence instead and render it all to ProRes?

I just want to clarify that I'm talking about a situation where I would have been totally fine to begin with in Long GOP in 4:2:0 color. For this particular project all the greatness of I-Frame and the 4:2:2 color space isn't necessary.

But I see now how converting it from I-frame to Long GOP and then converting it BACK again would be a bad thing. But you're saying that even if I were to convert DVCPro to HDV or XDCam - and keep it as HDV or XDCam - it would still look WORSE than the original HDV or XDCam because it's undergone its DVCPro compression and now is undergoing another layer of long-GOP compression?

Thanks very much for your time


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 7:09:08 pm

Put them both in a full raster ProRes timeline that matches the frame rates and be done with it.


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Noah Kadner
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Nov 23, 2010 at 1:17:34 am

I would save all of the HDV captured footage and the DVCPROHD footage as it was captured- using Media Manager. Again- don't overthink things. The formats you are using are first generation and are already very highly compressed codec-wise. There's no upside to adding a generation and switching them to another codec. Just copy them off to a hard drive and be done with it.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Isaac Brillant
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 5:28:21 am

OK, thanks everyone.
Noah - when you say "I would save all of the HDV captured footage and the DVCPROHD footage as it was captured- using Media Manager" are you talking about the "copy" option in media manager (as opposed to the recompress option)?

thanks again


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Mike Ironriver
Re: DVCPro to H264 for archiving?
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:28:35 am

Maybe this is not really the answer you were looking for, but Adobe PP CS5 can export your edited sequence as P2 format (in all DVCPROHD formats your camera supports). So you just keep what you need, and also in the original format.


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