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HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?

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Khashyar Darvich
HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 3:19:53 am

Hello,

I am working to finalize and master our commercial DVD release of an 81 minute documentary film that was in theaters in the U.S...

The film was originally shot in standard def. (BetaSP and miniDV). For the online edit, all of the standard def footage was upconverted to HDCAM codec and the final color grading and titles were done in HDCAM.

So, the final master of the film is on an HDCAM tape.

I also have a DVCAM dub (that was made from a DigiBeta down-converted dub of the final HDCAM master tape) that was made at a good lab in Los Angeles - Lightening Dubs.

My question is that since the SD DVD codec is a pretty compressed format, will it matter whether we use the HDCAM master (or the DVCAM dub of the DigiBeta downconverted dub), to create the Standard Def DVD codec?

I have the DVCAM tape digitized to Final Cut Pro (in a DVCAM codec), and was planning on using Final Cut Pro's compressor to create the DVD.

Thank you for your thoughts and feedback,

Khashyar


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Michael Sacci
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 5:46:06 am

If the final was graded in HD I would use the HDCAM master, if you are not using a hardware encoder you can capture the video as downconverted SD 10 bit uncompressed or 10 bit Pro Res this will keep more color information. DV/DVCAM is 4:1:1 color space so a lot of color info is lost doing down to that codec.

I would stay away from the DVCAM master.



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 5:22:04 pm

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your feedback and help.

So, is the color space of DVD (which I believe is 4:2:0) noticeably and visibly richer and deeper than the color space for DVCAM (4:1:1)?

If the DVD and DVCAM color space is about the same, would there be that much quality loss to use the DVCAM tape to create the DVD files?

I am using Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro.... I have a DVCAM deck, but not a DigiBeta or HDCAM deck (so I would need to use a lab to digitize a DigiBeta or HDCAM tape).

Would it make sense for me to ask the Lab to burn a SD DVD from the HDCAM master, and then import the DVD files to DVD Studio Pro?

(I believe that I cannot directly import DVD files into DVD Studio Pro), but there must be some way to bring in the MPEG files).

Perhaps I could ask the lab to make a Quicktime file from the HDCAM tape, and then import that into a Final Cut Pro project?

Thank you again for your thoughts and help.

Khashyar



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Michael Sacci
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 5:59:02 pm

4:2:0 is not better than 4:1:1, they are just throwing away information a different way, so if you convert 4:2:2 to either they results would look close. The problem is when you convert to 4:1:1 then convert to 4:2:0, you take a double hit.

If you graded your show at DV 4:1:1 I would not recommend you going up to a 4:2:2 timeline just for the sake of doing so, you are not gain anything, but you have up-converted and then grade (which is smart) so to do back to DVCAM would lose the benefit you gained with the method of grading you paid for.

All this depends on how much quality you want to retain. You may want to find someone that has a true Cinemacraft encoding system or another highend encoding.

To save money I would probably have the DBeta digitized to SD 10 Bit ProRes if you are using FCP 6xx, go 10 bit Uncompressed if you are still on FCP 5xx. You should be able to fine someone to do the digitizing for $75-150/hr. Then you could do the encoding with Compressor or BitVice.




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Khashyar Darvich
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 5:36:50 pm

Hello Everyone,

I just read this comparison of 4:1:1 (DVCAM color space) and 4:2:0 (DVD color space), which I've included below.

From what I am reading below, it does seem that there is some color depth loss when going from 4:1:1 to 4:2:0, and that going from HDCAM (4:4:4) to DVD (4:2:0) would result in less color depth loss than going from DVCAM (4:1:1) to DVD (4:2:0).

Thank you for any more thoughts that you might have about this.

Khashyar

************

"4:1:1 encoded to a DVD becomes 4:1:0 which is disgusting chroma. This is because with 4:1:1 every line has a new sample 4 pixels wide. Every line however does have a new value of chroma. 4:2:0 on the other hand alternates every other line. So when you encode 4:1:1 video to a 4:2:0 DVD every other line throws out the chroma information making it a 4:1:0.

It is true however that interlace does not do as well with 4:2:0. It is hard to have an interlaced source use a block that is 2x2 pixels in size since every other line is actually a new moment in time. With progressive video 4:2:0 is far superior.

If you do not plan on rendering multiple generations of your 4:2:0 source then you shouldn't have anything to worry about. If you do need to do some heavy effects work use a different format such as uncompressed. You will not gain any chroma detail but you also will not loose any with multiple generations of 4:2:0.

If second generation means encoding to DVD then the slight loss from 4:2:0 will be much much less then the loss of dropping down to 4:1:0.

This is yet another reason why 4:2:2 is better and not just for keying. 4:2:2 allows you to go in any direction in terms of format or compression without any loss beyond the limits of that format.

Besides 4:1:1 is kind of a dead format if you think about it. Really the only thing in the world that uses 4:1:1 is NTSC DV. PAL DV, digital broadcasts, both flavors of HDV, DVD and pretty much every internet format all use 4:2:0."



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Michael Sacci
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 6:12:17 pm

[Khashyar Darvich] " and that going from HDCAM (4:4:4)"

Very few people (other then really high end project) are using 4:4:4 color space, this is really for a film out project. HDCAM SR decks and tapes are needed to capture/playback as well as a dual link capture card and monitoring. Most HD stays in the 4:2:2 color space.

But your thinking is correct and it holds true for SD 4:2:2.



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 6:20:26 pm

Thanks Michael...

So, creating the DVD codec with SD 10 bit (from the DigiBeta with 4:2:2 color space) would create better and richer color than creating the DVD codec from DVCAM (with 4:1:1:)?

Do you think that the difference in color depth will be noticable to the average person watching the DVD (on a 46 inch LCD TV, for example)?

If the difference will be noticeable, then I will accept the expense and have a Quicktime file made from the DigiBeta dub (that was made from the HDCAM master).

Thanks Michael.

Khashyar



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Michael Sacci
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 6:42:38 pm

Without a doubt a m2v encode from the DBeta will look better then the same video on a DVCAM. Red, blues and blacks will hold up a lot better. It will retain a richness to the video, especially if it has been professionally graded.

It is not my money but I would think spending $200-300 at this point would be worth it. In the end it is your money and your choice. If you have the DVCAM deck and tape, go ahead and capture it and then encode it. See if you like what you get and can live with it.

To get the highest quality encode with what you have, capture the movie as DVCAM and place it on a FCP timeline. Then Export with Compressor. Make a new m2v preset with the settings of the Encoder tab (this is if you are not adding extra footage to the DVD, if you are you will have to author a DVD-9 to keep the bitrate up this high)
Mode: One Pass CBR
Average Bitrate: 6.5 Mbps
Motion: Good

Encode the audio to ac3 2.0 but change the compression preset to NONE on the preprocessing tab.





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Khashyar Darvich
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 8:03:07 pm

Thank you again, Michael.

Yes, the film was professionally color graded in HD (after the footage was upconverted from SD), and then mastered on HDCAM.

If digitizing the DigitalBeta downconversion will produce a noticeably better image quality on the DVD, then it is worth $200-$300 to create a Quicktime file from DigitalBeta.

Thank you for your suggestions for compressor settings. (I have used Compressor several times before from FCP, but your recommendations for the settings are helpful).

Actually, the film is 81 minutes long, as I was planning on adding about 30-40 minutes of extras.

I will look into how much it will cost to create a Quicktime from a DigiBeta tape.

Would it matter much if the Quicktime was made from BetaSP or DigitalBeta?

Thanks,

Khashyar



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 8:11:31 pm

Hi Michael,

I just checked with Lightening Media in Los Angeles, and they said that the charge to make a 10 bit uncompressed Quicktime file from an 81 minute DigiBetaSP tape would be $350...

So, I think that this will be the best way of creating the DVD, if the colors on the final DVD will look noticeably better.

I will have the 10 bit uncompressed QT made, create a new FCP project and sequence, and then use Compressor to create the DVD encoded files.

If I do plan on adding about 30 to 40 minutes of extras on the DVD (for a total of 1:50 or 2 hours of total footage on the DVD), do what settings would you recommend for Compressor?

(I hope that this will help others who have similar questions).

Again, I appreciate your time and help.

Khashyar



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Michael Sacci
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 8:30:50 pm

[Khashyar Darvich] "DigiBetaSP" There is DigiBeta and there is BetaSP, there is no DIgiBetaSP :-)

Before encoding you want to finalize what you will have on the disc and whether or not you will go to a DVD-9 (dual layer disc). That way you can get the highest quality encode by using the highest possible bitrate. The TRT of all the assets, including motion menus need to be accounted for.

120 minutes on a DVD-5 can only have an average bit rate of 4.4 Mbps (most also use ac3 audio) This is too low to get top quality with a CBR encode so you would have to use a VBR 2 pass. Average 4.4 / Max 6.5 Motion set to best (if there is fast action or cutting). If you are getting an Uncompressed QT file there is no need to go through FCP, I would just bring it into Compressor. It would be much faster, the from FCP was to gain a little quality from the DVCAM if that was used.

As you can see there are little ways to make things better depending on what you are using. This is not difficult but is does take some thinking through the process.

If you want like to email me I could give you a turn key quote of capturing and encoding.
onthecow (at) michaelangelodv (dot) com



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: HDCAM or DVCAM master to create SD DVD?
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:02:35 pm

Thanks, Michael.



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