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HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying

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Luka Kito
HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 17, 2009 at 12:52:36 pm

Hi,

We have been working on multiple blue-screen portrait positioned DV footages inserted into DVCpro-HD 720p sequence to do our video art work. It has been working pretty good for what we wanted to do. Now, we are considering other footages which are from various sources. First source will still be DV footage on portrait position, the others will be HDV, and AVCHD footage and hopefully XDcamEX down the road (all in regular landscape position). As we use blue screen to make our composition, faster response is our at our highest concern. IOW, if we have to render for every single change, it just won't work for us too well. Our approach may not result in the highest quality, however, intuitiveness is really important for us. Using DV footage put on portrait position in DVCproHD 720P sequence allowed us to put 5-6 overlayed keyed footages to be viewed in RT in only slight image degradation. That, to us was totally workable. With two more codecs now being added, I was wondering w hether converting the HDV, and AVCHD to DVCproHD720P would result in the most responsive workflow, or upgrade our FCS to FCS2 and use ProRes422LT?

Our system is MacPro early 2007, 6GB RAM, video scratch is internal RAID-0 2GB. Prores422RT was too heavy for our use. With three to four clips overlapping on the timeline, it skipped frame because hard drive could not catch up.

One other question, will upgrading graphic card be any beneficial in this situation ??

Oh, and finally, I heard Media Composer uses hardware for graphic acceleration. Is there any such solution for FCS ?

Thank you very much in advance.


Luka Kito


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Alan Okey
Re: HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 18, 2009 at 4:34:32 am

Two things that you mention are particularly troublesome: you're shooting chroma key footage with a blue, not a green background and you're shooting it on DV. That's the absolute worst possible combination you could choose. You will have far better results shooting with a green background and using a better recording format than DV, preferably DVCPRO HD as it has 4:2:2 color sampling versus DV's 4:1:1.

As for working with a proper finishing codec, ProRes 422 is the way to go. Definitely upgrade to the latest version of Final Cut Studio. If you don't like rendering, then capture all of your footage to FCP as ProRes when you ingest, or transcode it after capture.


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Luka Kito
Re: HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 18, 2009 at 1:00:21 pm

Thank you for your reply.

We had hard time finding green fabric when we were searching, but thanks for the tip. Will search green.

Regarding codec. As I mentioned, regular prores422 was too heavy for our system, will the Proress422 LT be (a). higher in quality (b). as responsive as DVCPROHD 720P ? DVCPROHD has been very handy because of its file size is relatively small, so we could overlay 4-5 without dropping frame.


Thanks

Luka Kito


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Alan Okey
Re: HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:49:54 pm

[Luka Kito] "will the Proress422 LT be (a). higher in quality (b). as responsive as DVCPROHD 720P ?"

ProRes LT is an offline codec, not meant for finishing. If you're looking for a lightweight offline codec for editing and you're going to reconform the final edit using full-quality media, then you could use ProRes LT. Otherwise, stick with DVCPRO HD if it's working for you and you are happy with the quality.

If your system is bogging down with ProRes, you really need to consider using faster RAID storage. You mention that you are using a RAID-0 scratch for video. How many drives are in the RAID-0 volume? Are the drives internal or external? If external, what interface (Firewire 400, FIrewire 800, eSATA, etc.)?

Increasing your storage throughput speed will do wonders for your ability to work with multiple layers of HD.



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Luka Kito
Re: HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:43:44 pm

Hi,

Our Raid is 2-drive base internal Raid using Mac Pro. Drives are 1GB Seagate, if I remember correctly. Prores422, up to two or three overlay are fine most of the time. Anything beyond often got 'dropped frame due to slow hard drive ' error message. It has been a while I tested this, and we are about to get on our next project, so I will test again to see if there are any differences.

Regarding video playback other than hard drive issue, does FCP use any graphic card's GPU to help minimize the need to render ??

Thank you

Luka Kito


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Alan Okey
Re: HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 20, 2009 at 6:22:29 pm

[Luka Kito] "Regarding video playback other than hard drive issue, does FCP use any graphic card's GPU to help minimize the need to render ?? "

In Final Cut Pro, no. Color and Motion are heavily dependent on the GPU, but the only thing that Final Cut Pro really uses GPU acceleration for is FXplug plugins.

Realtime playback performance in FCP is directly proportional to storage speed. Buy the biggest, fastest RAID you can afford and you'll be much happier. I can't stress enough just how important storage speed is for performance in FCP.


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Luka Kito
Re: HD-editing codec recommendation for mixed sources and keying
on Nov 22, 2009 at 1:18:29 pm

Hi Alan,
Thank you for your respnoses. Too bad that FCP does nothing to accelerate regular effects, ( I am assuming chroma keying is not accelerated by Graphics) . On the other hands, that helps us focus our budget on the hard drive, which is probably a god thing.

Luka Kito


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