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Best workflow for mixed frame rates and mixed delivery

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David Thompson
Best workflow for mixed frame rates and mixed delivery
on Jun 16, 2016 at 11:24:14 am

Hello all,

Reading around other posts on the issue of frame rates, I'm not sure how best to apply to advice to my own specific circumstance, so any help from wiser minds would be greatly appreciated!

I'm working on a short-form project involving archive film from a variety of sources - all in different framerates and resolutions, including:
SD Pal (50i)
SD NTSC (60i)
HD 24fps
HD 23.98fps

I'm likely to need to deliver to:
HD (50i)
HD (60i)
SD Pal (50i)
SD NTSC (60i)
Web (framerate doesn't matter as long as it's progressive not interlaced)

My workflow requires editing using low-res screeners and then replacing these later in the edit with full-res footage. On testing I've done so far, I've found that the frame-rates of the low-res screeners and full-res files always matches.

I am very happy to alter the speed of the clips prior to editing (e.g. using Cinema Tools or similar to conform 24fps to 23.98 - or even 50i to 23.98) as these relatively minor speed changes are nothing compared to the already greatly varying speeds the archive film plays at (depending on how fast the camera was cranked back in 1897, etc).

So: what project format am I best off working in: HD 60i or 50i as at least that will match one of my deliverables, and then do a conversion to create the other? Or is it better to work in 23.98 or 24fps, and conform to create a 25fps version (again, I'm not too worried about the speed change) and convert to make a 29.97 one?

And, having chosen a project format, what's the best way to bring all the different material into Avid? Keep it as is, and use different projects to create bins for each framerate? Or convert/conform the material prior to bringing it in?

Any help would be very gratefully received!

Thanks

David

System: Freelance, so various Macs inc. iMac and MacPro
Avid MC 8.5.2
Adobe CC
Final Cut Pro 7 (inc. cinema tools and Compressor)


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Shane Ross
Re: Best workflow for mixed frame rates and mixed delivery
on Jun 16, 2016 at 5:16:57 pm

[David Thompson] "I'm likely to need to deliver to:
HD (50i)
HD (60i)
SD Pal (50i)
SD NTSC (60i)"


That's a VERY WIDE list of possibilities. You don't know what specifically you need to deliver yet? Before I start a show for air, I know what the delivery specs are. But I guess this is a short form project, you don't have a specific delivery spec because you might not have a specific client yet?

What I would do, if I didn't have a client or spec in mind, is output what makes most sense. Since I'm in the US, and our deliverables are always 29.97 or 23.98 based...I'd aim at those. PAL conversions would be something I would do AFTER...with the show masters. And at a post facility with a Snell/Wilcox or Terranex.

The issue is that you not only have those delivery specs, but your project has those same frame rates, and then some. If you take a PAL 25fps master, convert it to 29.97...output 29.97...and then convert to PAL for delivery..what will that look like? Always a crap shoot.

Again, what I'd do is go with what is the most common deliverable...or take into account what the majority of footage I have is and use that. For example, I know that the networks in the US air everything at 29.97. Yes, there are exceptions that air 720p59.94 (ABC, ESPN), but most are 29.97. They require a 23.98 master in most cases, because that's the new norm..shooting 23.98 for the film look. So most camera masters are now 23.98...it's rare to have 29.97 unless it's news or sports related. So most places accept 23.98 masters, and then make a 29.97 interlaced master from that...which works out fine because 3:2 pulldown can be hidden well in 23.98.

So this one network had that deliverable requirement...23.98. But the show I was doing was ALL archival footage...85-90% of it SD, 29.97. Yes, a good chunk was film shot at 23.98 and telecined to 29.97...but the footage was 29.97. And the telecine wasn't designed to be removed, so trying to capture all that footage, remove the telecine to get 23.98 would be impossible with some of these masters. And then there were a few 24 and one 25 and a handful of 23.98 pristine HD film transfers. But most of the footage was 29.97. I knew they required a 23.98 master, but I also knew that they aired at 29.97. So I spoke with the engineering department and told them what our source was, and what the issues would entail to try to remove telecine...and if we didn't go that route, but edited 29.97, output 23.98...and then they converted back to 29.97 for air...that would make the film masters on SD tape look bad. Random frames removed, not properly, then added back...who knows what it'd look like. I sent them a test and it did not convert well. And the cost of trying to remove the telecine properly....in man hours alone...was cost prohibitive.

SO...since they converted to 29.97 anyway for air, it was agreed that we'd deliver a 29.97 master. ALL was good in the end.

So yeah, you need to take a lot of factors into consideration when you make your decision. It's not that easy.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Pat Horridge
Re: Best workflow for mixed frame rates and mixed delivery
on Jun 17, 2016 at 8:04:18 am

You can bring in and work with the sources at their original fps. But if you alter the finishing fps you will see different artefacts in different shots. I'd finish in one framerate and then convert to different rates as needed using alchemist or similar.

Pat Horridge
Broadcast & Post Consultant, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online http://vimeo.com/channels/752951
pat@vet.co.uk



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David Thompson
Re: Best workflow for mixed frame rates and mixed delivery
on Jun 17, 2016 at 9:09:30 am

Thanks Pat, this makes a lot of sense. I'll do as you suggest - pick the most sensible framerate for each cut based on the footage it contains, and outsource creating the variety of deliverables to a better-equipped facility.

Thanks again for your help,

David

System: Freelance, so various Macs inc. iMac and MacPro
Avid MC 8.5.2
Adobe CC
Final Cut Pro 7 (inc. cinema tools and Compressor)


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David Thompson
Re: Best workflow for mixed frame rates and mixed delivery
on Jun 17, 2016 at 9:04:24 am

Hi Shane,

Many thanks for your detailed reply - it's extremely helpful.

The trouble with the project is that it's being sold to a lot of different clients, all over the world - as well as containing archive footage shot and telecined in every format and process known to man. Fortunately, it's broken up into short-form chunks, so thinking through your advice, I think I'll edit each individual one in the format most of its footage is in (or can be easily conformed too) - either 50i or 60i, and leave Pal/NTSC conversions to a facility with the right hardware.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply - very much appreciated.

David

System: Freelance, so various Macs inc. iMac and MacPro
Avid MC 8.5.2
Adobe CC
Final Cut Pro 7 (inc. cinema tools and Compressor)


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