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help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor

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Sam Carleton
help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 2, 2009 at 4:47:01 am

I am working on building my editing station. Coming from still photography I understand how important it is to have the correct setup to check color and cropping. I am trying to determine the correct video I/O card and the correct SD broadcast monitor for my setup.

At this point in time, the only thing that is in stone is the software: Adobe Production Suite

I am currently use PC’s, but for my software development business, if the budget allows I plan to make the new box a Mac Pro that I will dual boot. I am open to moving my Adobe Production Suite license over to a Mac license. It looks like most of the IO cards for the Mac don’t support Adobe, only Final Cut Pro, which seems to be a majorly limiting factor.

Also, I have spoken with the camera man for the shoot. He will be shooting Panasonic Varicam at 720p. He will loan me a tape deck with HD-SDI out to download the footage to the editing station. The final output this year is SD DVD and web. HD is going to be released next year. So my whole objective is going to import twice, once at 720p, the second will be down convert to SD.

From all practical purposes, the Blackmagic Design DeckLink HD Extreme looks like the ideal card. It seems to do everything I need, except the down convert, but from what I understand that can be done in software, a bit slower but if I am only doing it once, it isn’t an issue. One thing I do like about it is the HDMI input/output, I would like to get a low end HD camera and use a HDMI cable to capture strait into the editing station when shooting at home.

I don’t fully understand all the implications of shooting at the different FPS, which might very well be a factor in picking the right IO card. I don’t know all the different things the footage might be used for in the years to come, so I would like the raw footage to give me the maximum flexibility. I am assuming this means shooting at 60 FPS.

I know that 24P is the native speed of film cameras, so shooting at that speed gives you the big screen look and feel. I see a lot of cameras being able to shoot in 24P, is the whole idea that if you shoot in 29.97 fps and then pull down to 24P, you get a different look then if you shoot in 24P? What happens to the look and feel of the footage when you do a reverse pull down from native 24P to 29.97 fps for NTSC DVD? Does that maintain the 24P look? In the end, am I better off shooting in 24P and simply maintaining the film like look/feel rather than shoot at 60 fps? (I know a drawback to 60 fps compared to 24P is more than twice the data, but HDs are cheap IMHO)

With all the issues of frame rate, I am wondering if the AJA XENA LH is a better option because of the extra hardware conversion it can do? Having hardware based HD to SD downconversion in the AJA XENA LH, I am wondering if my life would be easier if I modified the workflow and forgo the import where I was downconverting to SD. Do all the editing, even for the SD DVD I need this year, on the HD footage, leveraging the hardware downconversion to get the footage out to the SD broadcast monitor.

I do really like all the features of the Matrox RT.X2 to speed up editing, but it looks like it does not have the HD SDI inputs I need to import from tape. When encoding the SD DVD, will the AJA XENA LH hardware downconversion be used, or is that ONLY used when going to one of the output ports on the card (like the SD SDI/Component/Composite video output?

And finally, I am looking to keep the cost down on the SD broadcast monitor. It looks like JVC has some 10” CRT’s for less than 1000 USD, and then there is also the Sony LMD1410/LMD1420. Are those viable options or am I better off purchasing a used unit from somewhere? If so, any recommendations on where to go and which monitors to look at? There is also the JVC DT-V1710CGU, which if I understand correctly is about 2000 USD with a basic SD card, but can be upgraded to a HD monitor with a more expensive card. Is this worth the extra investment, as an expandable way to get a HD broadcast monitor?

Sam


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Bob Zelin
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 2, 2009 at 5:52:34 pm

Sam -
do you know why morons like me give "smart ass" rude answers to people like you ? Because you should be going to a DEALER to assist you with your purchase, because you have no clue. But you want to go to a mail order company so you can save every penny (and not use a local Value Added Reseller that is in your area that will charge more than Video Guy or B&H Photo). I will answer your questions regarding hardware, but when it comes to "can I do this thru software, and not spend any money, and not buy anything" - then I will only have insulting responses.

You write -
It looks like most of the IO cards for the Mac don’t support Adobe, only Final Cut Pro, which seems to be a majorly limiting factor.

REPLY - this is not a limiting factor. There are cards and boxes from Blackmagic, AJA, Matrox, and MOTU that are available for your application. This is NOT a limiting factor. There are actually too many options on the market, and this is of constant debage on forums like Creative Cow. If you are expecting someone to say "wow, there is this cool card that you can use for $39 that you can get at Best Buy", then I hope that Creative Cow closes down, and this kind of information can NEVER be made public for professional that work in our industry.


you write -
I have spoken with the camera man for the shoot. He will be shooting Panasonic Varicam at 720p. He will loan me a tape deck with HD-SDI out to download the footage to the editing station.

REPLY - this is very nice of the cameraman. He will give you a Panasonic AJ-HD1200A or AJ-HD1400A. This requires an HD-SDI input or SDI input. There any of the brands I mentioned above will work - Blackmagic, AJA, MOTU or Matrox.

you write -
So my whole objective is going to import twice, once at 720p, the second will be down convert to SD.
REPLY - you only import once. You work in HD, and DOWNCONVERT to SD, because all these products can downconvert to SD.


you write -
From all practical purposes, the Blackmagic Design DeckLink HD Extreme looks like the ideal card. It seems to do everything I need, except the down convert.

REPLY - the Panasonic VTR's will do a 2:3 pulldown, so you can take your 23.98 footage and capture at 29.97 (59.94). The products will downconvert for you. If I am wrong about the Blackmagic card not downconverting 720p media (I am almost positive it will do this, but the Blackmagic forum is better suited for this question), you can always capture using the SD-SDI output. Or you can change the VTR to output to 1080i (it's just a menu in the panasonic deck), and then the Blackmagic card will DEFINATELY downconvert to SD-SDI for your.



you write -
I don’t fully understand all the implications of shooting at the different FPS
REPLY - you are not doing sports or a feature film. You are doing a corporate video. You will never use the "Varicam" features of variable frame rate. Buy the Decklink HD Extreme and be done with it.

you write -
I know that 24P is the native speed of film cameras, so shooting at that speed gives you the big screen look and feel. I see a lot of cameras being able to shoot in 24P, is the whole idea that if you shoot in 29.97 fps and then pull down to 24P, you get a different look then if you shoot in 24P? What happens to the look and feel of the footage when you do a reverse pull down from native 24P to 29.97 fps for NTSC DVD?

REPLY - you NEVER shoot at 24, you shoot at 23.98. The VTR will do the pulldown to 59.94 (29.97). You will still have the "film look". It does not look "more like film" at 23.98. The pulldown is what everyone has seen since "the beginning" because of television production and telecine equipment for TV. Just shoot at 23.98, and let the VTR do the rest.


you write -
Does that maintain the 24P look? In the end, am I better off shooting in 24P and simply maintaining the film like look/feel rather than shoot at 60 fps? (I know a drawback to 60 fps compared to 24P is more than twice the data, but HDs are cheap IMHO)

REPLY - you shoot at 23.98. The VTR pulls down to 59.94. You choose an EASY SETUP for your card at 720p 59.94 DVCProHD, and you are done.

you write -
With all the issues of frame rate, I am wondering if the AJA XENA LH is a better option because of the extra hardware conversion it can do? Having hardware based HD to SD downconversion in the AJA XENA LH, I am wondering if my life would be easier if I modified the workflow and forgo the import where I was downconverting to SD.

REPLY - the AJA Xena is specacular, but you dont' need it if you are looking to save money. The AJA product line is fantastic. We can sit here all day and debate the differences between AJA, Balckmagic, Matrox and MOTU. Buy what you can afford.


you write -
Do all the editing, even for the SD DVD I need this year, on the HD footage, leveraging the hardware downconversion to get the footage out to the SD broadcast monitor.
REPLY - yes. they all do HD, they all do SD.

you write -
And finally, I am looking to keep the cost down on the SD broadcast monitor. It looks like JVC has some 10” CRT’s for less than 1000 USD, and then there is also the Sony LMD1410/LMD1420.

REPLY - get yourself a Plasma display. You don't have the money for a Pro LCD display. The SONY LMD-1410 is the most embarassing product Sony has ever released. I personally blame the 16,000 person layoff at Sony on the engineer that developed this monitor. There is not one Sony flat panel consumer monitor that is not better than the LMD-1410. Go to best buy or Wal Mart and buy a Plasma for yourself that can display 720 and 1080 signals using analog component (they all do it). Again, we can debate hi end Panasonic and JVC (and other) pro LCD monitors, but you dont' have the money for these. If you want to spend under $1000, get a consumer LCD at the local store, and go to work.

As your business develops, then you can spend $3500 on a hi end Panasonic or JVC HD LCD monitor.

Bob Zelin




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Sam Carleton
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 2, 2009 at 8:01:20 pm

Bob,

You wrote:
'do you know why morons like me give "smart ass" rude answers to people like you ?'

First off, I did not see a single '"smart ass" rude answer' in your whole reply, I personally found it VERY help and wonderfully informative. Thank you very very much!

You wrote:
'Because you should be going to a DEALER to assist you with your purchase, because you have no clue. But you want to go to a mail order company so you can save every penny (and not use a local Value Added Reseller that is in your area that will charge more than Video Guy or B&H Photo).'

Forgive me, by day I am a software developer and I have become accustom to dealing with fools in computer stores, the whole idea of finding a local dealer never really dawned on me. I will go look some up and deal with them rather then B&H. Again, thank you!

Thank you very much for explaining the issue of shooting at 23.98 fps. I thought folks simply abbreviated it to 24P, it seems easier to say and type, but now I think about it, doesn't the P stand for progressive?

What I know for a fact: standard film is 24 fps, which because of some 1% issue with broadcast is converted to 23.98 fps when broadcasting and NTCS TV’s show 29.97 fps. Is my understanding correct that all video cameras capture at 23.98 fps and pull down to the 29.97 for viewing on NTCS. Or is it that all the modern digital cameras capture at 23.98, the older analog cameras shot at 29.98 fps? Either way, from what you said, we will shoot at 23.97 fps and I will pull down with the VTR and IO card.

With respect to displays, I did see you blast the Sony HD displays in other posts, I was not sure if that applied to the SD ones, too. I see that it does:) I did see in previous posts you recommended a Panasonic Panasonic 42" Plasma - TH42PH11UK, so unless that has changed, I consider that your recommendation.

I understand the point of the broadcast monitors is to have a system that can be calibrated and will stay will not drift. Is the scope with plasma TV’s such that they don’t drift that much and using color bars from the IO card, I can calibrate it correctly? I am just concerned about making final adjustments that are way out of wake because my “program monitor” is way out of specs.

Bob, I would like to reiterate how much I appreciate your response. I am going to go seek out a local dealer now!

Sam




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Bob Zelin
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 2, 2009 at 11:52:45 pm

you write -
What I know for a fact: standard film is 24 fps, which because of some 1% issue with broadcast is converted to 23.98 fps when broadcasting and NTCS TV’s show 29.97 fps. Is my understanding correct that all video cameras capture at 23.98 fps and pull down to the 29.97 for viewing on NTCS. Or is it that all the modern digital cameras capture at 23.98, the older analog cameras shot at 29.98 fps? Either way, from what you said, we will shoot at 23.97 fps and I will pull down with the VTR and IO card.

REPLY - all modern HD cameras can shoot at 23.98. No one should ever work in true 24p (selectable on a Sony F-900, for example), except George Lucas who will do a DI out to film. Panasonic VTR's (and others) will instantly convert the 23.98 media to 59.94 (29.97 in standard def world).


you write -
I did see you blast the Sony HD displays in other posts, I was not sure if that applied to the SD ones, too. I see that it does:) I did see in previous posts you recommended a Panasonic Panasonic 42" Plasma - TH42PH11UK, so unless that has changed, I consider that your recommendation.

REPLY - The LMD-1410 is a rare (by today's standards) LCD SD display only. The last time I used a LMD-1410 was for a duplication rack for VHS machines, and my client kept saying to me "why does the video look so horrible" - so they went out to K-Mart (no joke) and bought some cheapo CRT monitor so they could monitor the output of the VHS machines. The LMD series is bad, but the LMD-1410 is simply unusable.

you write -
I understand the point of the broadcast monitors is to have a system that can be calibrated and will stay will not drift. Is the scope with plasma TV’s such that they don’t drift that much and using color bars from the IO card, I can calibrate it correctly? I am just concerned about making final adjustments that are way out of wake because my “program monitor” is way out of specs.

REPLY - the quality plasma displays has improved in recent time. I recommended a 42" Plasma from Panasonic. It's ok, but its not a critical montior. People that know better than I will chuckle and say that no LCD monitor is a critical monitor. If you have $3000 - $4000 to spend on a monitor, we can discuss better solutions. If you have $1300, I have used the Sony LMD-2030W, which is not great, but it usable, and is not a "big monster" like a 42" Plasma. Let others tell you if you are better off with a 42" Plasma, or a $1300 Sony LMD LCD monitor. I have no opinion here, other than standard def video will not look very good on any of the "cheaper" LMD series, including the LMD-2030W (HD is ok).

Bob Zelin








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Sam Carleton
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 3, 2009 at 12:53:33 am

Your wrote:
'I have no opinion here, other than standard def video will not look very good on any of the "cheaper" LMD series, including the LMD-2030W (HD is ok).'

Background and Question:

This winter/spring I am creating a standard def DVD for my client to distribute. It will be next winter/spring (2010) that I create the HD Blue-ray disk. So even though we are shooting HD, my focus right now is a standard def edit/production.

I am far, far more concerned about getting a standard def monitor that will be accurate then I am getting any type of HD monitor/TV, at least right now. I know the rules, you cannot have high quality, speed, and low cost, you can only have two of the three. I am willing to part with some extra $$$ to deliver to my customer the best looking standard def video, within reason. When I say within reason I am thinking within $1200 range. I am open to the idea of purchasing a used unit to save some money. Does this make sense? Or considering the video will often be played on laptop displays and projected am I going to be better off with the Panasonic TV or LMD-2030W?

Sam



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Bob Zelin
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 3, 2009 at 5:07:20 pm

I am not aware of any LCD monitor for $1200 that will accurately show standard def video without artifacts.

I did a job recently for the cable company recently, that used a Sony LMD-2050W. They called to complain to me that their FCP system was not working properly, and that their graphics looked terrible. Luckily, they owned a Sony PVM-20L5/1 CRT monitor (no longer manufactured). I simply moved the monitor cable from the Sony LMD-2050W (a lot more money than the 2030) to the Sony PVM-20L5/1 CRT monitor, and the "problem" instantly disappeared.

I dont' have a solution for you. Try a plasma that you can return if you don't like.

Bob Zelin




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Sam Carleton
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 3, 2009 at 5:21:29 pm

Bob,

One of the things I am wondering is, can I use an older CRT that I purchase off eBay? When I look in the Professional Video Equipment/Monitors and search for Sony, I find a long list of CRT's. Many of which are less then $100.

Would any of these work for my current SD DVD needs? I see how expensive just SD SDI cards are for monitors, so I am assuming they don't have SD SDI inputs, but will the inputs they have work for my current needs? If there are some that will work, I don't know which ones. I know some are 25+ years old, so if there is something on eBay that will work, the questions is which models should I be looking for?

Sam



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Bob Zelin
Re: help needed selecting IO card and Broadcast Monitor
on Jan 3, 2009 at 6:39:14 pm

CRT monitors are TUBES, and tubes become soft. Most PVM series Sony monitors developed the now infamous "capacitor" problem, that exhibited multi color lines in the top of the picture (an $800 fix not including shipping from Sony). So you cannot assume that you will buy someone's used piece of crap, and it will work.

So, how do you buy CRT monitors off ebay, and know what you are getting in advance ? Beats me - if you figure this out, you let me know.

Bob Zelin




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Sam Carleton
finding a dealer...
on Jan 8, 2009 at 9:31:51 pm

Bob,

In your original reply you said: "But you want to go to a mail order company so you can save every penny".

Like I said before, the idea of finding a local dealer did not dawn on me. I used Blackmagic Design's web site to locate a dealer in my area, ADK Video Editing. What a great group of folks!

Myself being a software programmer and annual about things, the owner (Scott) has been very help and is quite willing to work with all my quirks! The end result is that he has priced out a very nice Core i7 system at a reasonable price.

To top it off, I spend some time on the phone with another gentleman that explained the whole IO card issue to me and continued my education on the whole world of HD video editing.

Could I have saved a few hundred building it myself, especially now that I am clued in? Yes, but have friends and support like ADK Video Editing is well worth the extra $$$, even for a know-it-all like me :)

Bob, thank you for your above statement, you are the man!

Sam

P.S. I think ADK Video Editing does mail order too, if you are looking for a system, you might want to look them up.



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