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Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality

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KB Burnfield
Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 30, 2017 at 12:06:11 pm

I'm going back to some tapes I shot with my Canon XL1s a number of years ago and capturing them back to my current Mac using it and a small prosumer level MiniDV camera. There's a lot of stuff that I'd love to see again and a lot of stock video I shot.

I am importing them using a Firewire 800 cable connected to the DV port on both cameras using FCPX's import.

I'm not sure if it's the original material or what but the quality isn't what I had expected. It's not sharp at all.

What's the best way to get a better transfer from tape to hard drive? Do I need to pick up some sort of higher quality player? I've looked through all the settings I can find in everything and can't find any additional options.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!



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Noah Kadner
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 30, 2017 at 5:20:58 pm

Firewire is a digital signal so whatever comes across Firewire is it. Perhaps you are looking at it in Proxy mode.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Mark Smith
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 30, 2017 at 5:55:35 pm

In the context of HD which is the 'new Dv', the original mini dv , I 'm assuming which is Standard def would look like sh....


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KB Burnfield
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 31, 2017 at 3:06:30 am

Yeah, it is SD considering the camera and this was shot back in 2003-2005 on the Canon XL1s... I suppose I expected more.

I guess even a better MiniDV playback unit wouldn't increase the output quality much, right?

I guess my next research is into filters and techniques to bring up the appearance / quality of the video.


Yeah, it's nuts that a camera I spent over $2-3000 on back in the day is outshot by the iPhone in my pocket and the $30 gopro knockoff I bought off ebay.


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Scott Thomas
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 31, 2017 at 3:39:23 am

You might be looking at the DV footage through whatever deinterlacing is in Quicktime player? If you play the footage back out to a SD broadcast monitor, it would probably look like your memory of it. There are also some higher quality deinterlace plugins out there. At least that's been my experience.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 31, 2017 at 3:13:04 pm

All DV units are by definition identical in terms of playback.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Joe Marler
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on May 31, 2017 at 9:35:09 pm

[Scott Thomas] "looking at the DV footage through whatever deinterlacing is in Quicktime player? If you play the footage back out to a SD broadcast monitor, it would probably look like your memory of it. "

This is a very important point. DV is interlaced and the deinterlacing behavior of various playback methods will vary. Quicktime Player will deinterlace sometimes, based on the metadata in the video file header. VLC by default does not deinterlace but has several user-selectable deinterlace algorithms. If DV content is imported to a progressive FCPX project, the viewer will usually display that as deinterlaced but if exported it may or may not be deinterlaced. If imported to an interlaced project the export will never be deinterlaced -- even if the deinterlace checkbox is set in Inspector -- since by definition the project is interlaced.

There are cases where DV content can be imported to a progressive project and if not manually deinterlaced, the export will discard alternate scan lines. FCPX behavior seems to vary based on the particular file metadata. As Scott said, the important thing is be aware of these areas, especially that the playback method can alter your perception of video quality. The quality issues do not arise from how DV is imported but how it's handled after the import, esp. regarding interlacing. Always check the exported quality vs the original files using different playback methods. VLC is good since it provides manual control over deinterlacing and various algorithms.

In general most content delivery is progressive except for ATSC TV which is mostly 1080i/29.97, although Fox and ESPN are 720p/59.94. Because of this it can make sense to "hard deinterlace" interlaced content such as DV. However it is really easy to "bake in" artifacts from poor deinterlacing, and then nobody downstream can fix it.

DV is also 4:3 so that's another complication. Some DV cameras could shoot 16:9 by matting the 4:3 frame. That in turn discarded scan lines which degraded resolution, so hopefully the content is at least 4:3 non-matted.


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KB Burnfield
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on Jun 2, 2017 at 1:42:56 pm

Joe, you were right. I opened the captured video in VLC and the sharpness and quality were much better but the interlacing was very apparent.

Are there any Deinterlace filters / plugins anyone would recommend? In the one video there's a fair amount of motion from a handheld camera.



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Joe Marler
Re: Import Mini DV - Best Method To Get Best Quality
on Jun 3, 2017 at 9:35:34 am

[KB Burnfield] "Joe, you were right. I opened the captured video in VLC and the sharpness and quality were much better but the interlacing was very apparent.

Are there any Deinterlace filters / plugins anyone would recommend? In the one video there's a fair amount of motion from a handheld camera."


Interlacing is not by itself wrong if the playback chain properly deinterlaces. E.g, in VLC pick Video>Deinterlace>On, and then pick Video>Deinterlace Mode>Yadif, or try several different algorithms. In some cases Youtube will automatically deinterlace uploaded content.

FCPX does a pretty good job deinterlacing by itself. I haven't tested 3rd-party plugins. BorisFX had one for Legacy FCP but I don't think it works in FCPX. To deinterlace in FCPX, add that content to a progressive project, then in Inspector, click the Info button at top, then at bottom click the drop-down menu and select Settings, then set the Deinterlace check box. Then export that as (say) 720p and compare it in VLC to the original content.

Always examine the output very closely using VLC or other tools which allow selective deinterlacing. It is very easy to accidentally "bake in" deinterlacing artifacts, not notice it, then the material is permanently degraded for downstream viewers.


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