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HD to SD broadcast - workflow

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Todd Wiseman
HD to SD broadcast - workflow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 5:58:08 pm

Hello. So I work for an online news website and we do all our video with Sony Ex-1's. We shoot 1080 30p and usually export to 720p h.264 for use on the web. This has always worked fine for out needs.

Recently we partnered with Time Warner Cable though, and will be supplying them some material weekly for broadcast on a special channel. The station will be broadcast in standard definition.

I'm wondering about workflow here. We've shot some HD material already for a promo we're running to promote the show.

I made a NTSC DV timeline in Final Cut Pro 7 and added the HD clips (careful not to conform the sequence to the XDCam format at HD resolution) and resized them to fit neatly in the 4:3 frame.

I wondering now about export settings. I've included some graphics made in After Effects and exported in the "Animation" codec. I want everything to look crisp and as good as possible for broadcast, so my sense is not to export the sequence as is (i.e. DV). I had thought of maybe changing the sequence compressor to "uncompressed" and then export.

Any thoughts on this? Is there a better way to accomplish this task? Am I on the right track?

Thanks in advance.
Todd


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Dave LaRonde
Re: HD to SD broadcast - workflow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 6:33:09 pm

[Todd Wiseman] "I made a NTSC DV timeline in Final Cut Pro 7 and added the HD clips (careful not to conform the sequence to the XDCam format at HD resolution) and resized them to fit neatly in the 4:3 frame."

You need to find out what these people use in their systems for editing. You may have to provide them with something in an intermediate codec. However, DV is NOT the thing to use: it treats carefully-crafted graphics the way a baby treats a diaper.

At first blush, I'd say you want to go with DV 50 or DVCPro 50. They're much better. Or use the codec the Artbeats folks use to distribute their footage: Photo JPEG.

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


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Dave LaRonde
Re: HD to SD broadcast - workflow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 7:30:38 pm

Please disregard this post.


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Walter Soyka
Re: HD to SD broadcast - workflow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 7:57:18 pm

As with any good workflow question, I think the answers are a lot of "it depends."


[Todd Wiseman] "Recently we partnered with Time Warner Cable though, and will be supplying them some material weekly for broadcast on a special channel."

Are you supplying them digital footage for further editorial, or a final piece to air? If it's footage, you should find out what their editorial workflow is and accommodate it. If it's a finished program, do you need to supply digital files or tape? Either way, they should provide clear delivery specs to you.


[Todd Wiseman] "I made a NTSC DV timeline in Final Cut Pro 7 and added the HD clips (careful not to conform the sequence to the XDCam format at HD resolution) and resized them to fit neatly in the 4:3 frame."

Is your 16:9 content all 4:3 safe? If so, you can cut in HD and downconvert after the edit in Compressor. (Bonus: you can archive an HD master for future re-use.)

If you must reframe shots, your method sounds reasonable, but I'd work in a ProRes timeline instead of DV or Uncompressed. That said, Compressor has adjustable scaling quality settings (and Final Cut's scaling is not great), so you might see a benefit to reframing your shots in your HD timeline and cropping/scaling with Compressor.

Of course, if you're going out to tape, you can do the downconvert in realtime with certain AJA or BMD cards.

As long as you're shooting progressive, you shouldn't have to worry about interlacing/scaling issues. If you switch to interlaced acquisition, be sure to test your workflow from start to finish to make sure you don't have any field-related drama.

Good luck with your project -- sounds exciting!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Todd Wiseman
Re: HD to SD broadcast - workflow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 8:06:41 pm

Thank you to all of you for the prompt response. I'm getting in touch with their tech person any day now so it's good to know what my options are ahead of time. Hopefully they can take 480p ProRes.


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Walter Soyka
Re: HD to SD broadcast - workflow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 8:08:41 pm

[Todd Wiseman] "Hopefully they can take 480p ProRes."

If it's going to editorial, possibly. If it's going to air, they will probably want either tape or MPEG2. You might check out the Digital Delivery forum, where this comes up pretty frequently:

http://forums.creativecow.net/digitaldelivery

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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