Workflow DVCProHD & HDV (yes, I know)
I will be editing a feature length documentary that will be mainly shot on in DVCPro HD with a Varicam. Because of the nature of the subject matter, we will be giving high school kids consumer grade HDV cameras to shoot with, in situations where the DP will not be filming. Yes, I know that this is scary (and not a great HD codec to be sure), but it is how this story will be captured and told. I am not looking to make this footage more than it is. It seems that the Canon HG 20 is one of the only consumer cameras that will shoot a 24 frame rate (1080p), although embedded in 29.97. Our conforming house has asked that all source material be delivered on DVCPro HD tapes, which makes sense to me.
Now the workflow that I envision for this would be to ingest the HDV material via firewire, make a timeline of my selects, then output these timelines via HD SDI (Kona 3) to the Panasonic AJ-HD1400 (at 23.98 fps, 720p), finally recapturing my clips via the DVCPro HD codec to match the rest of the project. This would also set us up, hopefully, for an uneventful conforming session. This seems a bit convoluted to me and I respectfully ask for suggestions on a refined workflow.
I recently shot a doc using the Varicam and the HV20 Canon at 24p. I took in the HV20 firewire then just simply placed the shots from the HDV onto the DVCProHD timeline and off I went. Looked just as good as the original HDV, some had to render very quickly for color correct reasons but I don't think you need go through all that recapture stuff. The Kona does a good job of making it all look good on the putput.
Thanks for you thoughts and suggestions, Don. I would normally do just what you outlined, but in this case, I will not be responsible for the output of the film. It will be scanned for a DI and graded on a DaVinci. The conforming house wants to have all of the tapes and frame rates consistent for the online process. I just need to find the best way to work within this structure.
I work for discovery where we shoot our shows on HDV. When tapes come back we make dubs to HDCAM and the ingest those at offline resolution for editing. For the smoothest ride through HDV and its crappy Timecode I think you have a good Idea. Whether you decide to layback to DVCPRO HD at 1080i is something you might want to consider. HDV entusiasts will insist you can edit HDV natively and will try to pursuade you otherwise. I think making selects and then laying those back will be ultimatly smoother for your finish. Depending on the volume of tape you could just make dubs first but it sounds like you will be swiming in footage of peoples toes. By the way the consumer Canon should not look as good as it does. It is scary. Be carefull of the audio as the mic is right on the camera.
Thanks, James. Your workflow at Discovery seems to be exactly what I need to do on this project, both to have a single project codec and for the I frame editing. Because the main camera will be recording 720p, I will keep that consistent throughout post and not go 1080i; and also because of the toes, I will make my selects first.
The one other thing that I am concerned about is the ability for the Kona to pull the embedded 24p out of Canon's 60i (?) frame rate. I have heard that some of the consumer HDV cameras work out and others do not. Do you have any input on this kind of conversion scenario?
I am worried about the mic, but it is probably best to separate from that anxiety since there is not much I can do. The kids will be getting a primer in camera usage, so I can request that a special consideration to audio be conveyed to them.
I would definatley run a test to make sure the way Canon Flags 24 frames can be ingested by FCP. They have their own codec that in previous versions of FCP could not be ingested. You might have to use a camera to ingest as well. Although maybe the new Sony HVR-1500 might read Canon's flaging system but I would not count on it. I would shoot regular boring 1080i HDV 59.94 and use a Miranda box to do the cross to 720p. Or ingest everything through a Kona card at full 1080i, make your selects, then output back to 720p letting the card do the cross convert. You will need a lot of hard drive space or do tapes sequentially. I recommended the dub route because that makes all of your footage available for the offline just in case you need to grab something else. However, I work in reality TV whereby we have no script and we use anything and everything to cut scenes.
I have never done a film out so I will defer to your post house if that path will look like crap when it gets blown up. I also am very very very unfamilar with 24p in general. I do not know if mixing 24p and 1080i has implications in terms of cadence and motion jerkiness. I do know that HDV is a good acquisition format for the money but doing anything outside of 1080i 59.94 needs to be looked at closely. You might look into the DV rebel Handbook as I think they have detailed workflows for the Canon HV20 as well as 1080p. You should see the amount of crap they strap onto that little camera!
"You should see the amount of crap they strap onto that little camera! "
That is kind of funny. The producer/director on this job has a Canon HG10 with a similar ridiculous looking setup: a hot-shoe splitter with a mini-sennheiser mic to the left and a mini-litepanel on the right. Every time the pre-production stresses me out, I just think of that little rig and it brightens my day.
As you say, I don't think that there is much option other than really testing this workflow (and others) with the Kona (or Miranda) and and see what works best. The conforming house did say to give them everything in a single format, so I will adhere to that. Dealing with problems on my time is one thing, but possible hang-ups in the finishing stage is something that I want to avoid. The DV rebel Handbook looks like a great resource to have for this Canon, and I will keep your warning about HDV format acquisition in mind. I will have to see what comes in from the kids first before I determine whether to go straight to a dub or make my selects first. I just have no idea what to expect.
Thanks again for your help and time.