Re-ingesting 23.98 film material into 59.94 project
Here is the workflow:
My client cut a film last year. The dailies were transferred with pulldown to DVCAM tapes and the client ingested them into a 23.98 NTSC project (removing the pulldown). After pic lock, HDCAM SR tapes were made when we did the initial conform.
Present Day: The client shot a ton of video footage at 59.94 and inter-cut the film footage in the 59.94 timeline. Avid 5.5 had no problem with this, it added the timewarp effect and everything looked good.
I conformed the project: I decomposed the sequence and digitized all the 59.94 material from HDV Tape. I duplicated the sequence, decomposed it in a 23.98 1080p project, and batch captured that footage (HDCAM SR).
I went back to my 59.94 project, and relinked the sequence to bring the 23.98 material online. It worked like a charm.
Now the client is complaining about the pulldown. They think it looks terrible and "wasn't there last year" etc. To me, it looks fine. It looks like film footage in a 1080i sequence: not as good as an Alchemist conversion, but damn good. On top of this, it's all subjective because the footage is horribly shaky and almost every show has a "Stabilize" effect.
Any insight on my workflow would be greatly appreciated. I feel there may be some better practices to this type of project, which may help the quality in the end product (1080i 59.94 BluRay).
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You have actually done everything correctly considering they shot two very different looking formats to start with, before the hand-held shakiness...
Once these formats are intercut next to each other, the difference becomes even more noticeable. The 59.94i is probably more forgiving to the shaky hand held material as it has more motion resolution than 23.976p. Considering that most screens these days from mobile, to home, to theater are all progressive - the interlace material will be manipulated at some point on those screens depending on the quality of the processing that goes on. I would have considered a 59.94p format...
That being said, when you drop a 23.976 into a 59.94i project, the only motion adapter being applied is a 2:3 pulldown - exactly the same process an Alchemist would apply - so there should be no difference at all at the clip to clip level.
But - what an Alchemist can provide that Media Composer does not, is continuous pulldown from cut to cut. I believe that every event starts at the same cadence start (A?), I need to confirm that. Unfortunately the additional work of looking to last cadence frame and starting on next continuation one is not part of the algorithm. Also, if you have layers, their cadence alignment may be different to each other - and of course if you layer 59.94i and a 23.976p, they will be very different. An Alchemist type conversion pass takes all that into consideration when creating a new submaster and tried like hell to make it look as good as it can - that's where the magic of an Alchemist type product is used (as well as resize quality). And speaking of resize, that brings some level of quality hit, especially of the interlace footage was shot HD? It was unclear from your posting.