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Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??

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John Martin
Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 17, 2012 at 7:03:04 pm

Current workflow:

I'm receiving a 1920x1080 produced TV spot in animation codec, transcoding from 24 FPS to 29.97 Pores 422, Importing HD prores footage into a native 4:3 timeline (letter boxing), outputting at current resolution, and than using apple compressor to create an MPEG format for upload to broadcast using the broadcaster's exact required specs and preset

The result:
A 720x480 letter boxed .MPEG for the station, delivered to their exact spec.

The question:
I'm reading different opinions and suggestions that doing this workflow with an AJA KONA card will produce a better end product 640x480 .MPEG. How much of a difference are we talking about here and does this justify spending the $2,000 on the card, or is there a specific card that can do this.

If you are working in an HD timeline and export to 640x480 .MPEG2 directly from final cut and Kona, without using compressor at all? Does this output a noticeably better product than compressor?


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Jessica Muth
Re: Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 18, 2012 at 3:41:48 am

Honestly, I would set up your sequence as HD (just edit natively) and then set your Kona settings to the output you need. Let he Kona do the down conversion. It will optimize the resolution the best it can (for SD, anyway). If you make your own SD file, you run the risk of, unintentionally, creating low data rates. Plus, Compressor is not the greatest. It has it's perks, but let the Kona card do the work for you.

Also, are you converting 24fps to 29.97fps? If so, GOOD LUCK.

Jessica Muth
jmuth01@gmail.com


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walter biscardi
Re: Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 18, 2012 at 1:08:41 pm

AJA Kona hardware conversion is better than any software conversion we've ever tried. This is how we deliver all of our HD projects to SD broadcasters.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Bernhard Grininger
Re: Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 21, 2012 at 5:04:14 pm

Hello Walter,

since You are also a Smoke-user, did You had a chance to compare
Smoke's down scaling (Lanczos with Adaptive field processing) with Kona3 ?

(Bdw: Kona3's scaling seems to be better than KiPro's scaling.)

My impression is that Smoke produces significantly sharper images
(with automate Lanczos settings) than Kona3, but with a little bit of field flickering
that is not too disturbing.

So Smoke's scaling is the very best software scaling I have seen up to now.


Thank You and best regards,
Bernhard


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David Eaks
Re: Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 18, 2012 at 10:13:01 pm

I agree with Jessica and Walter, edit natively in HD and use hardware to downscale. While I'm not familiar with the Kona cards, my KiPro does a great job downscaling, as well as my Matrox MXO2 LE/Mini. I'd suggest you get a Matrox MXO2 Mini (with MAX if you ever intend on burning Blu-ray or posting to YouTube), the price is definitly right. As I've posted a few times, hardware scaling with these devices is the only way I've ever been able to get 1920x1080 down to DVD with results that I'm happy with... Until FCPX, it does a good job too! I export my HD timeline with current settings, then put that into an SD timeline to export. Then bring the SD .mov into Compressor for Mpeg compression. This FCPX workflow is now my preffered method. My old 2008 Mac Pro does it faster than real time, unlike the Print to video "Legacy methods".


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 22, 2012 at 8:44:21 am

There is a huge difference between different downscaling solutions. From my experience the Kona 3 hardware downscale is amazing at keeping solid details while removing issues like alining, moaré or flickering.

FCP7 can produce a sharp image but especially at the risk of moaré. Aliasing and flickering can be controlled with the "flicker filter" plugin quite well.

If you can I'd opt for going hardware out. It amazes me AJA hasn't yet allowed users use the Kona 3 hardware for a file to file conversion.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Is Kona Hardware HD to SD down conversion better than compressor software??
on Aug 22, 2012 at 9:11:45 am

Speaking of scaling FCPX seems to outperform FCP7 by a long shot. I can't say however if Compressor uses the same software engine as FCPX.


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