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Natalie Payne
Mixed format problems
on Oct 9, 2009 at 1:37:05 am

Hi clever moos,

Please would someone offer me some advice. I promise I have searched many forums, but I am still not quite clear. I normally search and always seem to find my answers that way.

I know there are lots of posts about mixed formats and I've read them, but I haven't quite found quite what I need specifically.

I work on many shows that have mixed formats (e.g DV, DVCPRO50, HDV, XDCam, lipstick cameras of all formats ). I need to make sure that I end up with the best quality possible as it is for broadcast. I will be sending the final edit to Color for grade and then mastering to Digi Beta. All the suites have external monitors using a Blackmagic HD Extreme decklink.

I'm working in PAL.

So, my issues are -

1. Firstly, what is the best sequence setting to work in? Considering it will end up on Digi Beta, should I make a 720x576 sequence and possibly Pro Res as a 'standard' for all of them, so that all the larger frame formats will reduce size to play out. Or should I stick with a full format 1920x1080 Pro Res, but then the SD footage is blown up 200% and it is ending up on Digi Beta, but does that defeat the purpose of shooting HDV or HD? Should I try and keep it as big as possible until after the grade? I know it won't make the SD any better, but will it keep the HDV and HD better?

2. I know that I need to transcode the HDV to (probably) Pro Res to go to Color. Considering it is 1440 x 1080, do I convert the HDV media to Pro Res at 720 x 576 or Pro Res at 1920 x 1080 (considering the SD final output) I guess this will depend on the above, whether I am going with the SD or HD sequence.

3. If there is XDCam in the mix as well, should I just transcode the whole sequence to Pro Res, not just the HDV as there would now by 3 different frame sizes (but again SD or HD Pro Res?).

4. I have one project where the editor has set the sequence to HDV, so the SD stuff has blown up and the HD stuff is smaller and and all are distorted to fit in the 1440 x 1080, so if I transcode the whole project to SD Pro Res will the SD stuff look worse because its been blown up on the timeline and then shrunk back to 720x576 in the transcode? Or should I transcode it all to HD Pro Res so that the HDV and HD stuff is at its best? But if the end result is SD Betacam, is the HDV going to be the same quality regardless of whether I send it to Color at 1920x1080 and play it out to SD or if I send it to Color at 720x576 and play it out the same? If I change the sequence settings now though (nearly locked off) to a 'real' frame size all the clips will be out of whack with the new sequence frame size. I know you can do a 'conform to sequence' but it seems to only work in small chunks and I am worried that any resizes done on any shots for creative purposes will be disca rded?

5. Also a problem is the external monitor view. Because in FCP you need to choose what you are viewing (either HDTV 1080i50 or PAL 8 bit in this case) the SD looks crap in the HD setting and the HD looks stretched in the SD 8 bit setting. Does the editor just need to cope with this until the final conversions in online? Or is the only way around to have had all the footage at the same frame size?

6. Playing out an HD sequence to Digi Beta through downconvert on an HD Extreme Decklink looks soft. Nesting it into an 8 bit sequence and rendering it out at 8 bit looks sharper, but the graphics seem to look jaggedy. Transcoding HDV to DV in media manager looks awful, so I'm going to do tests to see if transcoding HDV to Pro Res SD looks alright.

Woah, sorry this was so long. If you have read all this you must be a complete angel and I am eternally grateful. Any suggestions that anyone has would be extremely appreciated. I am basically just worried that I am might be doing things in the wrong order and losing quality, or in a non-efficient way and wasting time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Nat


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