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Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor

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Matthew Boylan
Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Jan 15, 2010 at 7:22:24 pm

When working with 23.976p footage, I know that many capture cards will add 3:2 pulldown when laying video off to tape, but what if you don't want to go to tape? What if you just want a 29.97 file, but have a 23.976 video? I ran into this issue when I began submitting video to DG FastChannel. They require 29.97 MPEG-2 files.

First I tried taking the finished 23.976 sequence and nesting it in a 29.97 sequence. This appears to work OK at first, but on closer inspection FCP uses the inferior 2:2:2:4 pulldown pattern to turn 23.976fps into 29.97fps. This looks pretty bad with any amount of motion going on in the video. There is no way to get FCP to change it's pulldown pattern when rendering files.

After much research into the issue and trial-and-error, I finally came up with a solution using Compressor. I thought I'd post it here to hopefully save others from bashing their head against the wall looking for a solution short of round-tripping to tape and back. Here you go!


1. In FCP, select your sequence then choose FILE > SEND TO > COMPRESSOR. Or you can export your sequence to a video or reference video then open that in Compressor.

2. In Compressor, select your video then right click and choose NEW TARGET WITH SETTING > APPLE > FORMATS > QUICKTIME > APPLE PRORES 422 (HQ). Or pick whatever codec you like to work with.

3. Click on that newly created compression setting to open it in the Inspector window. Click the Encoder tab. Click the Video: (Settingsā€¦) button. Make the frame rate 29.97. Check the interlaced box. Set it's drop down menu to Bottom field first. Click OK.

4. Click the Frame Controls tab. Set Frame Controls to On. Set Output Fields to Bottom first. Leave Deinterlace on Fast. Leave Adaptive Details checked. Leave Rate Conversion set to Fast. Leave the Set Duration to: on 100% and make sure it's radio button is selected and NOT the "so source frames play at 29.97 fps" button.

5. Make changes to the Filters or Geometry sections as needed. Those settings listed above are the ones critical to getting the proper 3:2 pulldown added.

6. Submit the compression, then bring the resulting video back into Final Cut Pro. Place it in a 29.97 timeline and make sure you watch it on an NTSC monitor to verify that it looks good. If you step through it frame-by-frame you should see the familiar pattern of 2 split/interlaced frames followed by 3 whole frames. This is a very important step. I tried many solutions that looked OK playing back on the computer monitor, but looked terrible on the NTSC monitor.

Yay! Hopefully you have successfully added the 3:2 pulldown and now you can compress it for DGFastChannel or do whatever else with it you need to do.


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Jeremy Belzer-Adams
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Jan 15, 2010 at 7:58:07 pm

I can attest to this working very well. I just used it to make some 23.98 footage cut well on a 29.97 timeline. It also worked well when plans changed and we needed to master in HD instead of SD. I had to convert the footage a second time and it matched perfectly with the SD offline.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Jan 15, 2010 at 10:06:45 pm

If you use Episode to create your DG fast channel files, it dies it there too.

Compressor also does a good job if you set it up correctly.

Jeremy


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Matthew Boylan
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Jan 18, 2010 at 2:14:50 pm

I tried using Episode to add the pulldown but it didn't work correctly for me. It looked pretty jumpy playing back on the NTSC monitor. It appears to be a simple setting within Episode but it just doesn't work. How do you add pulldown with Episode?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 3:37:27 pm

[Matthew Boylan] "How do you add pulldown with Episode?"

I posted a setting a while ago that I use all the time for Episode to make DG Fast Channel SD movies from 24p HD sequences.

You can find it here:

http://f1.creativecow.net/254/dgfc-720p24-to-sd

Jeremy



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Matt Killmon
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Jan 16, 2010 at 11:33:18 pm

I'm a big fan of using JES Deinterlacer for tasks like this. It's fast, free, and handy!



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Eric Hansen
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:51:12 am

hey matthew

thanks so much for this How To. i also have to convert stuff for DG and that's how i found this post.

thanks

e

Eric Hansen - The Audio Visual Plumber - http://www.avplumber.com


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Jim McNally
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 4:03:37 am

Does this method going through compressor give a better result than if you brought the 23.976 clip into Cinema Tools and used conform to change it to 29.97?

Jim McNally
The Commercial Factory
http://www.commercialfactory.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 5:44:34 am
Last Edited By Jeremy Garchow on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:18:37 am

While Cinema Tools can remove pulldown, it can't add it.

The results of using your proposed method will actually cause the footage to be played back at 30p which is a significant speed up.


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Matthew Boylan
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 1:38:50 pm

Not true. Compressor can do both. It can add pulldown and remove pulldown. Perhaps you meant to say Cinema Tools can't add pulldown?

Matt


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 3:05:25 pm

[Matthew Boylan] "Perhaps you meant to say Cinema Tools can't add pulldown? "

Duh. Yeah, sorry about that. Cinema Tools, not Compressor.

Compressor will do it, and do it well, it just has to be setup correctly.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 2:35:02 pm

Jeremy writes: "While comprssor can remove pulldown, it can't add it. "

using the process outlined by Matthew, Compressor does indeed add pulldown. maybe you mean Cinema Tools? i don't know the app that well, i've only used it to change the time base of footage to slow it down (ie. 60p to 24p slow mo).

e

Eric Hansen - http://www.erichansen.tv


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Matthew Boylan
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on May 18, 2010 at 1:35:56 pm

Jim,

Using Cinema Tools "conform" function will only change the metadata of the file, tagging it as 29.97. Play this back in Quicktime and you'll see that this is not at all what you want. It just makes everything play back faster, including pitching up the audio significantly.

So the answer to your question is yes. The compressor method is much much better.

Matt


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Wayne Marx
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Nov 18, 2011 at 1:59:10 pm

Thank you Matthew,

Going to give this a try - thanks a lot!

Wayne


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Kat Michaels
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Sep 20, 2012 at 4:41:53 pm

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'm not seeing the "interlaced box" mentioned in the instructions on the original post. My output format is XDCAM HD 1080i60 with 48kHz stereo. Thanks for your help! Also, not sure why I want to select "fast" for the deinterlace setting, but I'm willing to give it a shot. This is for broadcast, so I assumed I'd need to select a higher quality. Anyhow, I'll give it a shot if i can figure out the interlaced box thing. Thanks!


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Sep 20, 2012 at 5:01:31 pm

[Kat Michaels] "Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'm not seeing the "interlaced box" mentioned in the instructions on the original post."

Hi. That is codec dependent. Some codecs allow you to set the field order metadata, some don't. ProRes does, XDCam does not.



[Kat Michaels] "Also, not sure why I want to select "fast" for the deinterlace setting, but I'm willing to give it a shot."

With interlacing, there's no such thing a better quality interlace. It is either right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate. Using the "fast" setting means it's done accurately as long as you have set the field order properly.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Sep 20, 2012 at 5:18:45 pm

[Kat Michaels] "Also, not sure why I want to select "fast" for the deinterlace setting, but I'm willing to give it a shot."

With interlacing, there's no such thing a better quality interlace. It is either right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate. Using the "fast" setting means it's done accurately as long as you have set the field order properly.


it's because you DON'T want it to DEinterlace. you're actually forcing Compressor to interlace the footage to create the 3:2 pulldown cadence. i wish Compressor was set up a bit differently to make this more obvious. "fast" is what you want because it effectively shuts off the DEinterlace setting

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Peter Barrett
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 2:15:44 am

I'm intrigued by the suggestion of "Bottom field first", which harks back to the DV days. Given that "Top field first" is the preference for interlaced HD for broadcast, surely that's the one to pick? Or is "BFF" part of some interlacing secret sauce in Compressor?

Macs, FCP, Avid, Nitris DX, Color, HDCAM...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:20:11 am

[Peter Barrett] "I'm intrigued by the suggestion of "Bottom field first","

For SD, NTSC.


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Peter Barrett
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:33:51 am

Isn't standard NTSC top field first like everything else except DV?

Macs, FCP, Avid, Nitris DX, Color, HDCAM...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:47:18 am

No. PAL has Upper first uncompressed SD, but lower DV.

All NTSC SD is lower field first.

HD is upper field.


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Peter Barrett
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:53:31 am

I stand corrected. PAL had always been upper field first, until DV came along. Mixing formats was often problematic, hence the field shift filters built into FCP.

Avid's answer was to swap field order when rewrapping PAL DV into its MXF wrappers - and as I recall it resampled chroma to 4:1:1 from PAL DV's 4:2:0, further reducing chroma resolution. Nice!

Macs, FCP, Avid, Nitris DX, Color, HDCAM...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:05:00 am

Isn't it crazy how fast things have moved along?


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Peter Barrett
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:43:15 am

I've just run a test and Top Field first is definitely smoother, for HD (effectively 59.94i from 23.98p - just as a Nitris DX does on the fly). Bottom Field first looks just like old DV minus a field shift filter - jarring on movement on those frames containing fields from adjacent frames. My hunch is that it's true on SD as well - unless you're coming from and going to DV.

Good trick though - and with a decent deinterlace we have real 29.97p.

Macs, FCP, Avid, Nitris DX, Color, HDCAM...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:47:49 am

HD is upper field.


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Kat Michaels
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Sep 20, 2012 at 7:20:28 pm

Wow - thanks so much for the responses. I am waiting for it to output right now. Hopefully, all will go well with it. My final format cannot be Apple Pro-Res (they require XDCam), so I'm thinking I may just need to take my apple pro res file (assuming it plays smoothly) back into Final Cut, do the minor things I need to do to it, and spit it back out as an XDCam format. Anyhow, thanks again.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Sep 20, 2012 at 7:29:04 pm

I deal with a bunch of broadcasters that want either XDCAM or H.264 for their final delivery. so i make a master ProResHQ file and make the XDCAM and/or H.264 masters from that. the only time i wouldn't do this is if my entire edit was XDCAM. but that doesn't happen with the projects I work on.

another thing to remember is that you cannot correctly analyze a 3:2 pulldown addition on a progressive monitor (such as a computer monitor). you won't notice errors in field dominance. what you'll see in Final Cut is doubled frames, even though that's not technically what's there. i keep an older 14" Sony L5 monitor for this reason.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Kat Michaels
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Sep 21, 2012 at 6:37:02 pm

Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it!


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Eli Sanchez
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:07:31 pm

I don't seem to have the interlace button in video settings within the encoder tab thus no drop down menu either. I'm assuming this is why my footage looks bad when I set the output fields to bottom first. If I compress setting the "output field" to source it looks ok but maybe it could be better.

The client wants the video in 480x272 which are strange dimensions to me. Maybe this can account for the lower quality as well?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Feb 16, 2014 at 7:15:26 pm

[Eli Sanchez] "The client wants the video in 480x272 which are strange dimensions to me. Maybe this can account for the lower quality as well?"

Do you even need to add pulldown to this?

Jeremy


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Eli Sanchez
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Feb 17, 2014 at 12:09:28 am

I'm actually not sure, I have to convert from 23.976 to 29.97, 480x272, and the h.264 codec. I'm not sure why the footage looks degraded maybe it is how it's supposed to be given the specifications. I'm trying to find the best look possible for these specs. Any advice would help.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Feb 17, 2014 at 1:50:04 am

I highly doubt that you'd need an interlaced file for this. And do you really need it to be 29.97 if it's going to the web?

I would try a few options.

Set the output fields to progressive and in the "retiming control > rate conversion" section, I'd try both better and best.

Best can get super gooey, but when it works, it works really well.

Better is sometimes the best option. It depends on your footage.

Jeremy


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Eli Sanchez
Re: Converting 23.976 to 29.97 with 3:2 pulldown using Compressor
on Feb 17, 2014 at 6:54:19 pm

Thanks I will try this. This is going to be on small TV's in doctor offices on the East Coast.


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