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HD to SD Workflow recommendations

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Keith Betts
HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 26, 2012 at 1:58:04 am

I shoot dance recitals in HD at 1280 x 720p60. I need to deliver a finished product on standard definition DVD. I know I'm caught between acquiring in HD and delivering in std definition but I'm looking for some workflow recommendations to achieve the highest quality image results. I prefer to author in Adobe Encore because I can seamlessly edit my menus in Photoshop. I edit in Final Cut Pro and have primarily used Apple Compressor so far but I'm aware of other compression applications that are out there. Anyone else dealing with a similar workflow. What additionally makes this interesting is the degree of movement inherent in the dance routines. Any suggestions or current experience with this type of workflow?


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 26, 2012 at 2:41:28 am

Using FCPX, I have been pleased with the results from editing in HD (1920x1080 for me), exporting the finished edit with current settings, dropping the resulting .mov on an SD timeline and exporting again with current settings to make an SD version. Use these files to compress/author/burn as you please.

Do you have a Blu-ray Burner? Personally I would be doing my best to emphasize HD to the families. Feed live video to a ~40" Flat screen in the lobby (preferably near the table with cookies for playback during intermission). Run Belden 1505a HD-SDI to the TV and convert to HDMI with an AJA Hi-5. Hand out bibs so the parents can wipe the drool off their chins, and get yourself the Square (or similar) Credit Card reader for iPhone so they can give you the money while they are so impressed with the clarity and quality of your video.

Question for you, have you also shot recitals in 1080i 59.94 but found that the increased temporal resolution of 720p 60 gives a better result? Or just always shot 720p since you started in HD?


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Michael Sacci
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:00:59 am

Now that is a workflow.


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Keith Betts
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:41:05 pm

The camcorder I use is the JVC GY HM700. When I first got it I ran a post on Cow and got some advice that the camera was best set up to shoot 1280 x 720p. The response was not good for 1080i60. I guess I should shoot with both settings at the next dress rehearsal and compare. Do you think shooting interlaced vs progressive could improve the final standard definition product?


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eric pautsch
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 27, 2012 at 1:24:51 am

All depends on your final destination or what the client wants but if your final destination is DVD ALWAYS shoot 23.98



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Keith Betts
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:53:14 pm

When you say drop on SD timeline in FCP what settings do you suggest for (a) pixel aspect ration (b) field dominance and (c) compressor?


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:09:19 pm

Most editing software has a hard time creating a decent looking DVD output from a 1080i source, not just because of the downscaling, but because HD is Upper Field First and SD is Lower Field First.

I think you're better off shooting Progressive and keep interlacing out of the equation. That said, can you shoot at 30p? That might be a better starting point than 60p, when converting to a Progressive DVD format.

Jeff Pulera


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Michael Slowe
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 1:58:14 pm

Jeff, I think you'll find you are wrong, DV (SD?) interlaced is also upper field first. When I'm encoding for DVD in BitVice I set upper field first for my media, whether it's SD or HD - shot 1920 X 1080i by the way.

Michael Slowe


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 2:16:07 pm

Hi Michael,

You must work in PAL, NTSC DV is absolutely positively LFF

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Michael Sacci
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:41:53 pm

Yeap, every NTSC SD codec is lower field first.

But if/when you are starting with HD (which is upper first) and going out to DVD you want to keep you field upper throughout the process. DVD will play back sd at upper first if that is the way the footage was shot and edited.

All you are doing is keeping the temporal order of the frames constant throughout the process. Compressor will correct swop the flines if you turn on frame control. Episode also does a correct line swapping. Within Fcp you need a swap fields filter. So there are good ways to handle it but you have to know and test what you are doing.


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:51:14 pm

To elaborate on Michael's comments about keeping the field order consistent - this is one of the reasons I switched to CS6 recently. I edit in 1080i and have never been thrilled with the end results on DVD, and have tried numerous workarounds and downconversion workflows.

Encore CS6 now supports UFF for DVDs, so I can edit my 1080i Upper Field First video clips, then export to DVD, keeping UFF throughout the process. Definitely looks better on DVD now. Note that I manually set UFF when creating the MPEG-2 for DVD assets in Adobe Media Encoder. If left to defaults, Adobe will use the standard LFF formatting for DVD.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 11:14:27 pm

[Michael Sacci] "starting with HD (which is upper first) and going out to DVD you want to keep you field upper throughout the process"


[Jeff Pulera] " I edit in 1080i and have never been thrilled with the end results on DVD, and have tried numerous workarounds and downconversion workflows"

Thanks for this info guy's. It's probably the reason I have not been satisfied with the results of any software methods and workarounds that I've tried...


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 2:37:08 pm

[Michael Slowe] " Well, I use BitVice"

Thanks, heard of it many times. I'll have to checkout the trial.

[Michael Slowe] "You predict the death of DVD's, well they all say this but then it has to be files on drives for distribution, what a pain that will be"

Not so much predicting, as just wishing it, and I mean the death of DVD not Blu-ray. Hoping for Blu-ray to take its place. If (when?) it comes to distribution being "files on drives" (memory cards), the media will probably be the size of your thumbnail (like a micro SD card) and have even more storage space than BD's. If the price of cards is the same as blank disc's, I'm all for it. Either that or it all goes to the cloud and streams to the end user, but I think the consumers want to have their "thing on the shelf". On the other hand, with Netflix, iTunes and download-only games on XBOX/iPhone etc. kids are growing up without the traditional physical media we have always known. Soon they'll never even know that they are "supposed" to own a disc, everything is just there in their pocket wherever they are.


[Michael Slowe] "Jeff, I think you'll find you are wrong, DV (SD?) interlaced is also upper field first."

As Jeff said, you must be working in PAL. Over here it is lower field first for sure.


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EBond Francisco
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:02:43 am

This thread is a year old, but I just found it, and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for. I shoot with Panasonic Lumix G2 DSLR, and import the AVCHD .mts files - I think that's what they are. I'm very new at this. And I was having an awful time trying to make it look good for DVD. Really appreciate the depth of knowledge from the thread. I'll have to try some experiments with this. Thanks! ~Bond

E. Bond Francisco
Cascade AV Media Design


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:53:26 am

Hi EBond,

Just thought I should mention that you should be backing up your memory cards in their entirety. Not just pulling .mts files from the cards and saving individual clips to your computer.

Doing this will ensure you can do proper ingest to whatever NLE you choose. Every file and folder on the card is important, from empty folders to the .mts files. Don't even go into any folders and look at the file structure or copy single files, leave it alone. Just backup the whole card (backup each card to its own folder and name the folder to identify the content on the card) to your computer and point your NLE to that folder for import.


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EBond Francisco
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 27, 2013 at 2:58:41 am

Happy to say I'm doing that, but thanks for pointing it out! ~Bond

E. Bond Francisco
Cascade AV Media Design


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 27, 2013 at 4:27:59 am

Ah, very good then. Typically when someone mentions .mts files and "I'm new to this" in the same sentence, its likely they are copying just the .mts files and then formatting and reusing the cards. Just makin sure :)


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 28, 2012 at 12:17:45 am

When I say drop it into an SD timeline, I'm reffering to FCPX's magnetic timeline specifically.

A method I've seen reccomended for FCP7, but never been satisfied with in my own tests, is to export from your HD timeline with SD settings, then bring that SD Prores file into Compressor to compress for DVD.

Before I switched to FCPX I was down scaling by using FCP 7's Print to Video, playing out of a Matrox MXO2 LE/Mini to an AJA KiPro. Then bringing in the SD file from the KiPro to compress and author. Didn't really matter which device I setup to do the actual scaling, they both do a great job. Maybe the KiPro is a little softer/smoother look, and the Matrox slightly sharper and "jaggy" or "harsh". Nonetheless, hardware scaling is the only way I've been able to get DVD results from an HD source that I am satisfied with, FCPX aside.

Since moving to HD, clients have said that they noticed the improvement in video quality of their DVD's... Even though to my eyes every DVD I've ever made since moving to HD makes me nauseous, knowing that whoever is watching it could be seeing HD instead. Either a Blu-ray or a digital file or YouTube, even compressing the show to h.264 at 586x320 and playing with HDMI output of an iPhone is better than DVD IMO. Personally I want DVD to die, now. Unfortunately for me and my opinion, the format still has a decent grip on life.


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Michael Slowe
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Jul 31, 2012 at 1:55:03 pm

David, you've raised some interesting points here. First of all your workflow, HD to SD. You refer to a number of downscale options with the comment that you haven't found a good software conversion. Well, I use BitVice for all my DVD encoding and find that it does a brilliant downscale and it's not done with hardware. Very likely of course a good piece of kit from AJA would convert even better, I haven't tried.

As to distribution of productions that we shoot in HD, I agree, it's frustrating that people don't want them on BD. This is crazy because even if they play DVD's generally these are going to look better with the modern 'upscaling' BD players. So they might as well get BD players. You predict the death of DVD's, well they all say this but then it has to be files on drives for distribution, what a pain that will be.

Michael Slowe


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delphine morris
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Apr 9, 2013 at 10:44:13 pm

HI everyone sorry I jump on this at a later date, reading you and still struggling with the whole HD to dvd workflow. I HAVE to produce a DVD I only have FCP7 and compressor and dvd studio pro and none of the tools and sophisticated roundabout way you mention. How do I get a decent enough looking dvd please! footage shot in 1920 1080i imported in FCP pro res, edited in 1080i timeline, export as is to compressor in QT, dvd settings in compressor as below, then into dvd studio pro and it looks unbearably jagged, interlaced and jittery where I am going wrong please???

Thanks so much deadline looming and panicking here!
d

MPEG-2 elementary stream for DVD Authoring
File Extension: m2v
Estimated size: 2.48 GB/hour of source
Type: MPEG-2 video elementary stream
Usage:SD DVD
Video Encoder
Width and Height: Automatic
Selected: 720 x 576
Pixel aspect ratio: PAL CCIR 601 (16:9)
Crop: None
Padding: None
Frame rate: (100% of source)
Frame Controls Automatically selected:
Retiming: (Fast) Nearest Frame
Resize Filter: Linear Filter
Deinterlace Filter: Fast (Line Averaging)
Adaptive Details: On
Antialias: 0
Detail Level: 0
Field Output: Same as Source
Start timecode from source
Aspect ratio: Automatic
Selected 16:9
Field dominance: Automatic
Average bit rate: 5.5 (Mbps)
2 Pass VBR enabled
Maximum bit rate: 7.2 (Mbps)
High quality
Best motion estimation
Closed GOP Size: 1/2 second, Structure: IBBP
DVD Studio Pro meta-data enabled


and soun


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Apr 10, 2013 at 1:28:06 am

Michael, I have since been able to get good results with Compressor, see below.
I don't mean to predict the imminent death of DVD, just wish it.


Delphine, the article below gives a good walkthrough for HD to SD in Compressor, the "best of the best' settings do take a painfully long time, but the second best does a pretty darn good job too.

http://lumenosity.blogspot.com/2010/07/best-apple-compressor-settings-for-d...

In short:
-export current settings from FCP (not "send to" or QT Conversion)
-import to Compressor & apply Apple DVD preset
-make sure the Format tab matches what your FCP timeline settings were
-change to 2-pass & set bit rate (for longer projects I shoot for 3.8GB estimated size, in the info tab)
-ensure motion estimation is on Best
-enable Frame Controls and set resize, deinterlace & rate to either better or best
-enable adaptive details
-I think thats it

Do a short test clip at each quality and call me in the morning :)


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David Eaks
Re: HD to SD Workflow recommendations
on Apr 25, 2013 at 1:12:21 am

Larry Jordan recently posted this article- Convert High Definition to Standard Definition Video

Following the article, I just did a short test clip with 1920x1080i from FCPX. Then burned to DVD, tested playback on both a Blu-ray player/HDTV and DVD player/SD CRT TV, I'm quite pleased with the results all around and have some full-length files going now.

Looks like it takes about 2x real time for the downscale, then of course you have to compress mpeg-2 for DVD from the resulting file.


Article's method in a nutshell-

1) In Compressor, apply the Apple ProRes 422 codec to the HD source. Select the setting.

2) In the Inspector, click the Geometry tab. To convert a 16:9 master file to NTSC 16:9-

Set Crop to Custom and make sure all numeric entries are 0
Set Frame Size to 720 x 480
Set Pixel Aspect to NTSC CCIR 601/DV (16:9)

3) Click Submit


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