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Brian Alexander
h.264 Interlacing Options
on Jul 24, 2009 at 6:37:33 am

I have tons of ProRes material (80 hrs +) recorded @ 1080i (59.94 fps [fields per second]). I'm archiving this material using h.264 and burning the files to blu-ray discs for long term storage.

I'm having a bit of an issue with my h264 files when encoding the interlaced footage: I can't seem to deinterlace the h264 it once it's encoded. I'm wondering if MBAFF or PAFF picture coding can help me here but until I run more tests, here are some options I'm seeing:

1) Deinterlace the h.264 (using a blend fields or remove field) to yield a 29.97 fps (frame per second) video.

2) Deinterlace the fields to end up with a 1080p @ 59.94 (frame per second). This of course will double the file size and double the bit rate required to achieve the same visually lossless qualities that I aim for. There aren't many computers that can keep up with this file.

3) Use a 2 step process: Deinterlace fields resulting in a 1080p @ 59.94 then re-size to 1280 x 720 giving me a true 720p video.

The goal here is to create backup files for all my ProRes material. This footage will not be color graded or composited once it's be compressed with h.264. I just need to be able to create manageable file sizes to burn to blu-ray in case a client comes back a year from now needing a 2 minute clip out of their 16 hr meeting.

This may be used for editing in the future at which point I would transcode it back into an i-frame based codec to ease the pain on my processors.

The whole point of my faith in h.264 is that I can get a visually lossless encoded video with small file sizes. The one factor in my encoding equation that never changes (unless absolutely necessary) is the visual integrity and quality of an image.

How would you go about an archival solution?
Would you even bother with h.264 for this purpose?
Have any other ideas or comments?

Thanks.


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Daniel Low
Re: h.264 Interlacing Options
on Jul 24, 2009 at 2:19:33 pm

You cannot access good enough H.264 output in Compressor for use as archive, as far as I'm concerned.

I'd leave it as ProRes and given the cost per MB of BluRay discs along with how fragile they are and the low transfer rates - I'd archive to spinning disk.

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Bill Gates. Focus Magazine No. 43 (23 October 1995)


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Brian Alexander
Re: h.264 Interlacing Options
on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:16:38 pm

[Daniel Low] "You cannot access good enough H.264 output in Compressor for use as archive, as far as I'm concerned. "

Is it the Image Quality or GOP sequence that you do not like? Do you like h264 options from Episode better than Compressor's offerings?

[Daniel Low] "I'd leave it as ProRes and given the cost per MB of BluRay discs along with how fragile they are and the low transfer rates - I'd archive to spinning disk. "

I currently have tapes sitting on the shelf that have been there for over 10 years. I can't rely on Hard Discs to last that long until Solid State drives are ubiquitous. My current solution is to utilize BluRay discs as a storage medium. These are rarely touched. These discs will be used only when the client has lost their hard drive or we need to pull 2 minutes of footage from a 3 day meeting.

My typical workflow involves tapeless recording. I am going direct to disk using ProRes rather than using a tape based solution. My jobs consist of up to 4 sources for 8 hour hours a day for 3-4 days: Primary and Backup switched camera feed, and 2 iso camera feeds. This leaves me with 96 - 128 Hrs of footage! In ProRes (standard flavor) this equates up to 7.8 TB of video data per show. I have many many shows to support. Client takes their hard drives home and I take my hard drives back to my encoding station for processing.

BluRay discs will allow me to fit 4 hrs my HD material @ 12 Mbps+. ProRes HD files to BluRay will only allow me 20 - 25 Minutes of data.

How would you solve this dilemma?

Thanks for your input.


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