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Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question

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Michael Brodner
Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 4:15:51 pm

Update on my first journey into submitting commercials to the broadcast world

I finished editing a 30 second commercial for a friends restaurant and I'm in the process of compressing it for Time Warner. The gentleman I have been in contact with says the best way for me to deliver the spot is to export it as DVCPRO-NTSC.

I tried export > quicktime movie > and then chose the DVCPRO - NTSC preset right from my Final Cut timeline and the result was very "jaggy" especially in the text. I mentioned this to the guy and he said to keep in mind that NTSC looks worse on a computer than on TV, especially text that has any motion right to left. He said Time Warner doesn't work in HD at all and that at some point it'll be converted to SD anyways.

So what should I do? My sequence preset is set up for 1080i HDV. I shot the commercial with a Sony HDR FX1 and it looks great in Final Cut. The NTSC export, as I said before, doesn't look as great. Do I export the spot as a self contained quicktime file and then compress it using quicktime pro or visual hub to DVCPRO-NTSC...OR... just give him the DVCPRO-NTSC export right from Final Cut?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 4:39:23 pm

Got an AJA Kona card? Simply record the HDV timeline onto SD tape. The AJA card will do the downconvert (your choice of letterbox or center punch)and make sure the interlacing is right.

I suspect certain Blackmagic cards can do the same trick, but I don'e know for sure.

The alternative: do it in After Effects.
  • Export the HDV timeline from FCP in Quicktime's Animation codec
  • Import into AE
  • Interpret field order as upper-field-first
  • Put the footage into a DV NTSC comp
  • Scale the footage to either a letterbox or center punch configuration
  • Render in DVCPro 50, LOWER field first

Then you can burn the file to a DVD or whatever... however they want you to deliver it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Michael Brodner
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:07:34 pm

Ah no I do not have an AJA card. Actually, I have no clue what that is, LOL. I pretty much have been shooting video/wedding stuff on my own. I'm at the "serious hobbyist" / higher-end amateur level if you will.

BUT...I do have After Effects and know my way around it pretty well. I actually used the suretarget plugin from videocopilot.net for my text layers and motion graphics. Your After Effects approach sounds like it would work well with my workflow. Any ideas on what kind of file size I can expect in the end?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:17:30 pm

Did they ask for it on DVCpro tape? If so, considering you seem to not have an i/o box of any sort, go to a post house and just pay for them to play your best quality file of it out to tape for you. Or you cna rent a DVCpro deck with firewire and play into it as if it was your home camvcorder.

Did they say DVCpro25 or DCVpro50, the distinction is important.


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Michael Brodner
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:31:22 pm

Well no, not exactly. It's an option. But they also said I could drop the file onto a flash card or even send it through Sendspace.com, which is what I initially did. The only problem with Sendspace.com is that it only allows you 300mb to send. If I had to, I could drop the file off at the station. Here's the exact email I got from him. All he said was DVCPRO-NTSC. Said that a quicktime would be fine

Heres what he wrote:

"A few things to consider:

1) We don't work in HD at all. Master Control can't accept HD.
2) It's going to be converted to SD at some point, and in some place.
Right now, it looks like you're the only person with that cabability.
3) NTSC video looks worse on a computer than it will on a TV.
Especially text. Most especially any text that moves right to left
(i.e., the opposite direction that the upper/lower interlace scan will
read it)
4) Even at its best, SD will look worse than HD.

My suggestion is to send the DVCPro-NTSC file, and let me tell you if
it's going to be acceptable on air. If it isn't we'll proceed from
there."

Thoughts?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 6:06:18 pm

The cable guy forgot about the difference between DVCPro 25 & DVCPro 50. Give him DVCPro50 on a DVD. It might even fit on a CD, if it matters.

I hope you double-checked your video chroma levels.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Michael Brodner
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 27, 2009 at 6:48:53 pm

Ill give this a shot. Thanks a bunch.


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Devin Crane
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:40:16 pm

How are you playing back the DVCPro Footage FCP or Quicktime? QT defaults to playback DV footage at low quality. If you go into preferences an check Playback at HQ then this might fix your problem.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut to DVCPRO-NTSC question
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:42:30 pm

Yeah, but DV video played even in High Quality is no treat at all for the eyes... especially if there are graphics involved.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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