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Finishing Varicam Project

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John Byrne
Finishing Varicam Project
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:07:19 pm

Hello All,

We are in London preparing a 50m film in HD for US broadcast in August. We’ve shot 90% on Varicam and offlined on my own system (Final Cut V6.0.5/Black Magic Multibridge Pro).

I will be recapturing/conforming on this system prior to a layoff (Sony HDCAM) for a tape grade. I have a few technical questions that my own research has not been able to fully answer, mostly relating to finishing in NTSC/59.94hz, which naturally we’re not used to over here.

1. 25 fps / 59.94

The source material has been recorded on the Varicam at 25 fps with system frequency of 59.94hz (a long story!). My offline sequence setting is NTSC DV and the 25fps material has worked fine with this, so I’m assuming this will continue be okay at online resolution and for layoff. From what I have read, you only have a seriously problem with Varicam material when the system frequency is mixed up.

2. Line conversion

The rushes are Varicam 720p, but delivery specification is 1080i/59.94hz. Is there a preferable way to do the line conversion when recapturing [i.e. out of the deck (Panasonic AJ-HD1400E) or via the Black Magic Multibridge – they both have the facility to do this].

3. Recapture Connection

Is it preferable to do this over the HD-SDI connection or is there no difference to recapturing over firewire? I would be inclined to use SDI but perhaps the bit rate is much higher and we are trying to preserve disk real estate. The Panasonic manual is silent on this.

4. Mixed Standards

We have some second camera which was mistakenly shot at 50i on a Sony Z7 – I have been using this in my NTSC DV sequence in Final Cut without problems but I imagine this will have to be cross-converted?

5. Variable Frame Rate material

I have captured off-speed material at full res/720p on the HD1400E over Firewire and then used Panasonic’s free tool to convert these to 29.97. Is this in the right format an of sufficient quality?

Thanks in advance.


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