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very basic up/down/ cross convert question

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Samuel Frazier
very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 19, 2012 at 7:40:20 pm

Sorry, I'm a total newbie here. Have read up as much as I can, but I've never had any kind of capture card/ device like the Io and essentially don't understand how they work. I do think I'd need to up and cross convert a lot of material, as I get footage in many different sizes and frame rates. But, wouldn't I need as separate recorder or another computer and capture card to output these conversions to? I've read the terms "playback" and "output" used in this context, but am unsure what this essentially means. Alternatively, I would imagine I could capture the footage with the Io and do the conversion then, but that's never been how I work. I'm just given files from people and give them a finished file back. So, there's a lot of up/down loading files, Flash drives, and portable hard drives in use.

So, sorry again for the basic question. I've been out of this world for many years, firewire preview was the predominant thing in my price range then, and I'm honestly trying to do my research!

Thanks for any help.


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 22, 2012 at 2:44:29 am

Hello Samuel. I use a few video i/o devices/cards like the AJA IO HD, Matrox MX02, MX 02 LE and the AJA Kona. These connect to the computer/laptop via pcie or expresscard 34 (for laptops). Your storage (hard drives/RAIDs) are connected to the computer and are assigned as the storage drive by your capture software. Never use the computer's internal hard disks as storage for video. The video signal coming into the video capture device is up/down/cross converted (depending on what you've chosen) and sent to the computer which writes the up/down/cross converted video onto the hard drives. You can 'playback' the files from the hard drive using your editing software or media players. The video i/o device would 'output' this video signal to a external monitor/speaker for viewing/audio monitoring.
Hope this has been of help. Good luck.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Samuel Frazier
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 23, 2012 at 2:44:10 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write all that. I used to be a lot more familiar with this stuff, but that was years ago and the world (that I could afford) was mini DV. Much has happened since then.

Yeah, I was just hoping against hope that somehow one card could transcode footage that already on the computer. Yeah, no way. You need something else in the loop. Like need to capture the through a capture card/ device, send from one capture card and ingest into another, etc. I've got a lot of footage in a number of different dimensions and frame rates that I'd like to be able to convert well to HD 30p or 24p. But, looks like there no easy way to do that.

Thanks again for your help!



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Kannan Raghavan
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 24, 2012 at 6:48:37 am

There are good encoding softwares (like Telestream Episode, Apple Compressor, Sorenson Sqeeze)which can do what you want to do. But, it's still only software conversion and hardware conversion is ALWAYS better. Among the softwares, if you already have FCS, Compressor comes free with the bundle.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Samuel Frazier
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 25, 2012 at 5:53:53 pm

Thank you for that post. I've heard hardware is always better, but don't really know how it works in some ways. The problem for me is I have not only different resolutions to deal with, but also different frame rates. This current project is a total mess. The A camera is a Canon D60, but I'd also like to use footage from:

DVX100b shot at 480p30
iPhone 4 720p30
Kodak PlaySport 720p60
Kodak Playsport 1080p30

So, I was wondering:

1- if I should change the fame rate before the upres, or the other way around
2- if the Kona 3 or Io XT can do both the upres and the frame rate change at the same time (and if they're better at frame rate than something like Twixtor). I've read the manual, but couldn't find an answer. Sure would be a faster workflow if this is the way to go!

Thanks for any help!



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Jack Guthrey
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 25, 2012 at 7:58:57 pm

Anytime you enter a project with multiple formats there's a few questions you need to ask yourself.

Most importantly is what your output or destination format will be and what that entails.
HD or SD?
Web, TV, Theater?

Your eventual framerate and resolution are what you're trying to nail down as there is no use in upresing everything if you end up only burning out DVDs.

After you know that, you need to know resolution and framerate of your source footage to make the correct plans to get them in the most convenient format for your destination format.

It seems like you already got most of that but I figured it was worth posting.

As for where to go from here, what is your ultimate destination and what format was shot with the Canon? Luckily what you have right now will play well with each other framerate wise.

Was the DVX stuff shot widescreen or fullscreen?

As far as "capture/playback" everything you have is a digital format so you don't actually have to use an I/O device to access or convert any of it. Hardware manipulation is typically better (a Teranex type device would be well suited to this http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/teranex/) but none of your cameras have a digital output so you'd either be using a computer and I/O device (the I/O Express would do this) to stay all digital (extending capture time) or be forced to use the digital to analog converters of the cameras which typically are not great. Because of this inherent loss, I'd just take the files and use software to do the format changes. Since you're dealing with the same framerate family (hopefully - those Kodak cameras can be weird - it'd be worth running Mediainfo on the files to find the true framerate), there should be no noticeable difference.

Ok, now for your actual questions:
1. Shouldn't matter as your framerate conversions are simple. I'd suggest framerate before upres (though again, depending on output you may not need to upres).

2. I know the Konas can, I've never used the I/O but I'm assuming they can. Of course, this means a weird process of playing out and capturing what is already a digital source in which case I'd do a software conversion.

What editing software are you using?


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Samuel Frazier
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 26, 2012 at 8:01:19 am

Wow! Thank you very much for that extremely thorough and educational post! I really appreciate it. Yes, I should have explained myself and the project more. In the short term, I was planning on submitting the movie to film festivals and try to create some buzz. Ultimately, I’d like to make it a cable series. So, I’m shooting as many similar events as possible. As festivals now ask for HD more often than not and TV seems to struggle with anything not HD, HD is my target.
For this last shoot, we had a:

A- Camera: Canon D60 shooting 1080p24
B- Camera: Panasonic HVX200 720p24
C- iPhone 4 720p30; Kodak Playsport 1080p30, another Playsport at 720p60, and the DVX100b shot full screen at 480p30.

I’d like to use the D60 primarily, so I’m editing on a ProRes 422 timeline at 1080p24. I’ve already used Media Manager to convert the HVX200 stuff to 1080p24. Initially I tried Compressor to upres the HVX200, but it seemed a bit noisier than the Media Manager clips and also had some aliasing that that MM didn’t. To my eyes in FCP and Quicktime Player, MM seems to do a pretty good job. There might be just a smidge more color blur on edges than the original HVX200 DVC Pro HD files. Also, I think I’ll be able to cut b/t the D60 and the HVX. The D60 definitely looks better, has less noise in the dark area, and more depth of field. But I’ll probably have to do some power windows color correction to lighten/ highlight faces more, so while doing that on the HVX200 I thought I’d try adding a slow and gradual blur to mimic the depth of field. The C- camera are doing to stand out in comparison no matter what I do, so my thought was just to get them as good as possible and see what holds up and what doesn’t.

I haven’t tried Mediainfo, but will give t a go. The Kodak footage was pretty poor though. Lots of shutter roll and other issues. Looks like old VHS and the iPhone 4 stuff looks much better.

Regarding #1:
So I take it there aren’t any hard and fast rules to this, just trial and error, right? If I went the software route, for frame rate conversion I was going to use the long process suggested by Twixtor and others of Cinema Tool conforming 30p to slowed down 24p, then speeding the footage back up in either Compressor or Twixtor to the compensate for the slowdown. Tried this with Compressor and workflow Compressor and found it created a ghost frame every so often, so not crazy about it. Optical flow in Boris Red worked better, but I can’t figure out how to make it frame accurate. May download the demo of Twixtor and give it a chance.
For the upres, I was going to try Instant HD (Red Giant), Boris BCC Uprez, or Topaz Enhance. Compressor didn’t do it for me with the HVX to 1080p, so I’m probably going to dump it.

Regarding #2
I have a friend whom I might be able to bribe to borrow two of his work edit suites (both with Kona 3 cards) to upres the footage. So, he’d be sending out with one edit bay and capturing with another. My thought was to see if I could find some less expensive option to get similar results to his hardware by getting either 2 cards of my own, 1 card and something like a BlackMagic HyperDeck Shuttle, or just one card and see if my more accessible friend with a single Kona 3 card will share our equipment for transfers of this type.

So, I was wondering if there’s a good hardware option in the Io XT to do frame rate conversions as part of this workflow. But, if software would do a better job (short of something like a Teranex), then would it make sense to just do the hardware upres if at all possible and the frame rate after?

Thanks again for all your help!



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Jack Guthrey
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 30, 2012 at 4:37:58 pm

Why not go to 30fps? That's a much easier conversion. Also, 720 is HD. It might be worthwhile to use that as destination format. You'll gain "apparent" resolution in the 60D stuff and won't be pushing the other footage as far.

You probably can't make those software products frame accurate - that's why "broadcast grade" cost what it does. If they can take input from a sync generator you can try that.

Do all of your cameras have audio with them?

You could always try loading up an appropriate sequence, playing out of one machine and capturing on another through SDI.

Jack Guthrey
Carolinas Account Representative
Marshall Graphics Systems


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Samuel Frazier
Re: very basic up/down/ cross convert question
on May 31, 2012 at 7:51:36 am

Thank you very much for the advice. Let me take this bit by bit:

[Jack Guthrey] "Why not go to 30fps? That's a much easier conversion"

Good thought, and one I probably should have done from the beginning. However, at that time I did not think I'd be using other sources and formats much if at all. I'm using them more than I thought, but they're still just a fraction of the movie relatively. Also, I've logged, made subclips, etc in incredible detail and to redo that would be perhaps a week of work. But, the other formats have not been so marked, and there's not much to do there anyway.

[Jack Guthrey] "Also, 720 is HD. It might be worthwhile to use that as destination format. You'll gain "apparent" resolution in the 60D stuff and won't be pushing the other footage as far."

I thought about this actually. The problem goes back again to the lower res being a much smaller component of the material in the film. Also, when festivals screen movies, they seem to always ask for 1080p, so I'd have to do the upres again anyway.

[Jack Guthrey] "You probably can't make those software products frame accurate - that's why "broadcast grade" cost what it does."

That makes sense, but it would be a bummer. I'll shoot the Twixtor folks an email. Would be odd to advertise a solution which wouldn't be frame accurate, but from their tutorial compared to the similar one for Compressor, I don't think Twixtor has the right settings.

[Jack Guthrey] "If they can take input from a sync generator you can try that."

I'm sorry, but you lost me here. I've never worked in broadcast and really am familiar only with no budget filmmaking.

[Jack Guthrey] "Do all of your cameras have audio with them?"

They do, but I don't think the audio is critical in many of them--at least for keeping lip sync. I know I'm going to have to do more of this in the future though, so am looking for a solution that will work when this sync is important.

[Jack Guthrey] "You could always try loading up an appropriate sequence, playing out of one machine and capturing on another through SDI."

This is what I was trying to say about possibly bribing my friend to use the two edit suites at his office. Send through one Kona 3 and capture onto another. I'm not sure if the Kona cards will do the frame rate changes though. Personally, I was hoping to set up a home system doing much the same thing with an Io XT and either another Io XT (or other similar card) or something like a Blackmagic HyperDeck Shuttle.



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