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Adam Berk
making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 7, 2010 at 7:10:53 pm

I've got some tape deliverables that will need to be made soon for a 2hr program that we've conformed in 720p23.98 ProRes HQ. My deliverable formats are 1080i 59.94 HDCAM and 1080 23.98PsF HDCAM-SR. I'll be running the latest version of Final Cut Studio on an 8-core 2.26ghz nehalem mac with a Kona 3 card. As it sits right now, my final sequence is made up of five nested sequences.

Are there any specific workflow suggestions that I should follow when trying to make these long form tape deliverables? Should I be ok allowing the Kona to do the format conversion on output? I'll be pushing the clock on this one so I'm trying to be aware of all possible problem scenarios before I get the decks in here on rental.

thanks so much,
adam


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Shane Ross
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 6:12:31 pm

Take your five nested sequences and make your final SINGLE sequence. Make sure that everything meets the network spec in terms of bars/tone, slate, blacks between acts, show timing..everything. Make sure everything is fully rendered. Make sure your audio mapping is right. And yes, let the Kona do the conversion. From 720p 23.98 to 1080psf 23.98, there will be no frame rate conversion, but there will be a cross conversion of 720p to 1080psf. Because of this there will be a frame offset of 1-4 frames. So do small test outputs to figure out what that offset is, and adjust the deck control offset to fix it.

For the 1080i 29.97, there is TWO convsersions that is happening, and so there might be more of an offset. Let the Kona handle both (make the changes in the Kona CP), and test to figure out what the offset it.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Joey Burnham
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 7:46:59 pm

Not hijacking the thread I don't think as this is related.

Shane,
What to do if the offset isn't always the same? I've been downconverting 1080p 23.98 masterial to NTSC for years and it's always off by a different number. Eventually I just gave up as the material is for consumer dvd's and the encoding people don't really care as they just ingest it anyway.
Joey



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Shane Ross
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 7:55:05 pm

[Joey Burnham] "What to do if the offset isn't always the same? I've been downconverting 1080p 23.98 masterial to NTSC for years and it's always off by a different number."

You mean, every time you output downconverted, EACH OUTPUT offset is different? I haven't seen that...not regularly. I might get it 1 in 6 times, but usually I find the offset and that is it for everything that is converted from one format to another.

Although it is MIGHTY annoying to output an hour or two hour show only to find that your in point is off by 2 frames. A buddy of mine had a trick to detect that before we got far into the output, but I don't know what it was. Something he did in the machine room.


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Joey Burnham
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 8:00:12 pm

It varies generally from output to output. One day it might be four, the next day five...
This isn't a big deal to me, been waiting for software / hardware updates to fix it for me. :)


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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 11:07:17 pm

This seems like quite a major issue. Something like this, in my book, would be considered a show stopper bug and be moved to the top of the bug fix priority list. How long have you all been experiencing this? I'm entirely new to the world of final cut pro and kona-> we're a finishing house with flame and smoke. I understand that this is probably a limitation of the kona hardware but having the offset change randomly is what scares me. If the offset changes, any workflow or software compensation methods would be rendered futile. After hearing about this, I'll just plan to do the format conversions with shake or quicktime before I output.

Thanks so much for informing me of this frame offset thing. It's exactly the type of info I was looking out for. The cow rocks.

-ab


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Joey Burnham
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 11:12:57 pm

I just want to be on the record trying not to influence your decision. If you have a Flame and Smoke system at the ready then by all means. This isn't necessarily a problem for everyone. System configuration and setup vary from place to place and I know plenty of people where this isn't an issue.
Best,
Joey



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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 11:25:54 pm

Good to know. Hopefully I won't have any problems with it. We're just finishing up this job, which is our first using FCP and Color as the finishing platform. There have certainly been some snags, but it I've been pretty happy with it overall. I wouldn't feel comfortable using this platform with some of our commercial clients, but for independent feature finishing (a market we'd like to be more involved in), it seems like a great setup. I'll be excited for the next software update, and another opportunity to use it. If we could only get audio playback, better re-conform abilities, Color integrated tape i/o, realtime playback of rendered material, and faster rendering, I'd feel much more confident in using the system for spots as well.

Again, thanks so much for the advice thus far!

-ab


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Joey Burnham
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 11:41:02 pm

Well, FCP doesn't cost 6 figures, so not really comparing apples to apples.


[Adam Berk] "If we could only get audio playback"

Um, why not? This sounds like a setup problem.

[Adam Berk] "better re-conform abilities"

Not gonna happen any time soon.

[Adam Berk] "Color integrated tape i/o"

Not sure what you mean but I assume color timing on ingest???

[Adam Berk] "realtime playback of rendered material"

This shouldn't be a problem. As long as your sequence settings match your video, no rendering should be needed. Choose the easy setup that exactly matches your material.

Best,
Joey


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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 11:59:06 pm

Sorry, should have been more specific. My comments mainly referred to Color, not FCP.


[Adam Berk] "If we could only get audio playback"

[Joey Burnham] "Um, why not? This sounds like a setup problem."


Was referring to Color...

[Adam Berk] "better re-conform abilities"

[Joey Burnham] Not gonna happen any time soon.


Was referring to Color's dependence on shot number/order to re-conform a changed edit. You can change your edit, just don't change the number or order of the shots...(please correct me here if I'm wrong)

[Adam Berk] "Color integrated tape i/o"

[Joey Burnham] Not sure what you mean but I assume color timing on ingest???


No, what I mean here is that I'd like to be able to conform from tape right inside Color, instead of having to use FCP. I'd also like to be able to layoff to tape right from inside Color... either Insert or Assemble with source timecodes (like a re-transfer of selects).

[Adam Berk] "realtime playback of rendered material"

[Joey Burnham]This shouldn't be a problem. As long as your sequence settings match your video, no rendering should be needed. Choose the easy setup that exactly matches your material.


Again, was referring to Color. Not having any realtime issues with FCP. Having to take a sequence back into FCP each time the client would like to see realtime playback with audio would be a major show stopper for us with most clients.



But again, don't get me wrong. I've been enjoying working on this setup. Very much so, it's just not entirely appropriate for the majority of our work, which is really just too bad. I'm just hoping that Apple can up their game a bit and revert some of their attention back to all of us is the professional media and entertainment business. Yes, we all love our ipods, but we need the great tools we need in order to buy more for our friends and fams!

I apologize in advance for this digression of a thread.

thanks again,
ab


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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 12:23:33 am

[Joey Burnham] Well, FCP doesn't cost 6 figures, so not really comparing apples to apples.

And the thing with comparing FCS to something like Smoke is that cost should not be considered when deciding "which of these two systems will help me do the best work I can, for the clients I have, in the environment that I work in?" The cost consideration comes after that.

I just don't think that if we invited Steve Jobs to a town-hall meeting with finishing artists and colorists, and said to him, "Apple's tools are great for the price, but when it comes to having an elegantly designed finishing system with great tools, speed and ultimate reliability....well, you get what you pay for!" that he or anyone else involved in the development of FCS at Apple would be satisfied. People take pride in their work. People, in general, care about doing well at what they do. And what Apple claims to be doing is developing a software platform that can be used up to the highest scale of work..... national advertising, high profile feature film, etc. Look at their promo materials. Based on what Apple promotes FCS to be, I don't see why we shouldn't be comparing Color to Lustre, Resolve, Pablo, Speedgrade, Smoke, etc.

When we bid on a lower budget project and win, we don't say to ourselves that we're not going to do our best work. We may limit the scale of work to what the client can afford, but by no means do we give lower quality output. I don't see why software developers working at Apple, or Autodesk or Avid or anywhere else would think any differently.


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gary adcock
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 2:08:42 pm

[Adam Berk] " I'm entirely new to the world of final cut pro and kona-> we're a finishing house with flame and smoke."
FYI - That would be the same Aja hardware in FCP since Autodesk is an Aja OEM.

"This seems like quite a major issue"

I agree and I have not seen that issue in quite awhile and I layoff to SR multiple times on a weekly basis.
I see issues when I switch between PAL and NTSC frame rates, but not between different sequences with the same base settings.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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Shane Ross
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 2:25:37 pm

The issue only arises for me when cross converting formats, or frame rates. If I downconvert, I find the offset and then all is fine...it is the same every time. Only converting 720p to 1080p, or 23.98 to 59.94 causes this stuff to happen. And it is understandable, big conversions are taking place.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 4:42:10 pm

[Shane Ross] And it is understandable, big conversions are taking place.

It may be understandable. I wouldn't exactly say that it's acceptable. The less workflow snags we have around the office, the better off we are when trying to deliver top notch, top quality work, creatively and technically, every time.


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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 4:34:41 pm

[gary adcock] FYI - That would be the same Aja hardware in FCP since Autodesk is an Aja OEM.


What's interesting is that I've never seen any sort of offset issue like this when laying off from the Autodesk boxes. Although, the only realtime conversions they allow the AJA board to do are pulldown insertion and RGB <-> YCbCr. If you want to do a full resolution down conversion or cross conversion, you must do the output from the Nvidia SDI.

I wonder if Windows users of the Xena, or any other Linux based systems that use the AJA OEM-2k have these offset issues.

Have those of you who've seen this offset problem on the Mac had the same issue when using the card with apps other than FCP? For example, AJA's software, Premiere?


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gary adcock
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 6:08:26 pm

[Adam Berk] "What's interesting is that I've never seen any sort of offset issue like this when laying off from the Autodesk boxes."

hence the comment about the difference in price from Shane. With the Price difference there is traditionally a higher level of technical knowledge, so you understand what is happening when you have to do those kinds of conversions.

One of His issues is specific in DF vs NDF workflow and deliverables in FCP when using 23.98 NDF materials and delivering 29.97/ 60i DF content.

Since you ask most of these issues is not the Kona, but IMHO wholly within FCP and its obvious to people that work with the high level tools that those sorts of issues are treated with greater care when asking for the higher priced turnkey systems.

The other thing you need to think about is workflow- how many differing formats do you work in? It is not uncommon for some of us to have projects from differing sources, rasters and frame rates, something that is no so common in the higher end workflows were all content is conformed into the existing workflow pipeline.



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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Mark Spano
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 9, 2010 at 7:21:01 pm

When I was testing KONA 3 for offsets months ago, I found this info and checked it by AJA and they confirmed it. I created a document for my facility and I've copied it below. I apologize for conversions that I did not get to, but this should give a good idea what to look out for.

--
KONA 3 Output - Delay Compensation for Video Conversion

When not performing any conversion on resolution or frame rate, the KONA 3 is frame accurate in edit to tape for video and audio.

--
When upconverting (for example, 525i29.97 to 1080i29.97 - only resolution, not changing frame rate) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for audio and 1 frame late for video.

To compensate for this, shift video in sequence earlier by one frame.


When downconverting (for example, 1080i29.97 to 525i29.97 - only resolution, not changing frame rate) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for audio and 1 frame late for video.

To compensate for this, shift video in sequence earlier by one frame.
--

--
When converting (1080sf23.976 to 1080i29.97 - adding pulldown only, not changing resolution) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for both video and audio.
--

--
When crossconverting (720p59.94 to 1080i29.97) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for video and audio is one field early in 29.97i.

When downconverting (720p23.976 to 525i29.97) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for video and audio is one field early in 29.97i.

When crossconverting (720p23.976 to 1080i29.97) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for video and audio is approximately .4 frame early in 29.97i.

The only true solution to compensate for these types of conversions is to do a separate edit for video (at conversion) and audio (with no conversion), since audio can not easily be shifted accurately by less than a frame in FCP. Or open the audio track in Pro Tools and add the delay time to the beginning of the track, consolidate, and export, then import that into FCP and replace the audio in your sequence with your delay-compensated file.
--



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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 10, 2010 at 3:09:20 am

Thanks so much for posting that Mark. Super helpful. Thanks for sharing.



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Adam Berk
Re: making 2hr hdcam deliverables from prores hq - suggestions?
on Mar 10, 2010 at 3:17:18 am

[Gary Adcock] The other thing you need to think about is workflow- how many differing formats do you work in? It is not uncommon for some of us to have projects from differing sources, rasters and frame rates, something that is no so common in the higher end workflows were all content is conformed into the existing workflow pipeline.

Hmm. Definitely an interesting thought. Most of what comes our way is usually 1080 23.98psf HDCAM-SR film transfer, though every now and again we see 720p30 used in gaming spots for game capture and animation. This project though is a feature (our first) and it's entirely 720p23.98 with a few 720p60 cuts that came from mistakes made on set. We've only seen one job that was shot R3D. Keeping in mind that we are very new, and very small (just 3 of us full time with 2 suites). We rarely have a job that uses mixed resolutions outside of graphics, screen inserts, and other elements of that sort.

So does the Kona actually handle the number crunching involved with a mixed format sequence in FCP during output? I though FCP does this during final render.


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