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How to get the best output from dv captured material

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Paul Smith
How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 11:51:59 am

Hi,

I'm working in a pal dv-anamorphic comprised of nothing but footage ripped from commercial DVDs and then converted from VOB to DV-PAL using mpeg streamclip. I'm curious if there are ways to improve the quality of the final output. I understand a lot of people say exporting DV, when the footage is DV, is the way to go but I'm unconvinced. Whenever I select a point in the timeline and file--->export to QuickTime (or any other export method), I notice the image in the canvas 'sharpening,' if that makes sense. And if I create a .tif from the video in the sequence, the image looks much cleaner than it does playing in the timeline. I'm wondering if there is something within this DV-PAL, that I created from commercially encrypted DVDs, that is unrealized with the DV format. Keep in mind my settings for playback quality in the timeline are all 'best,' but my eyes aren't kidding me that when I select file-->export.... the image in the canvas suddenly 'crystalises' into something better.

Please keep in mind this will be primarily for dvi--->HDcapable projection straight off of a mac pro, so any suggestions can be as wild as you like as processing power/storage space is not a problem. We're also using max msp as an on-the-fly deinterlacer, as most commercial DVDs are interlaced.

Your help's greatly appreciated.


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 3:14:18 pm

I dont' think DV would be the best transcode in the first place... try ProRes instead.. at least it will maintain the original quality better I'd think.

Jerry

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Mark Petereit
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 3:58:00 pm

Don't judge the quality of your video by what you see in the Canvas. You're viewing interlaced material (DV footage) on a progressive display (your computer monitor). The only way to see what you're really getting is by connecting a broadcast monitor to a broadcast video board.

(But at least make sure you have your Canvas magnification set to 100%. That'll get you as close as it's able.)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 4:20:09 pm

[Paul Smith] "I'm working in a pal dv-anamorphic comprised of nothing but footage ripped from commercial DVDs and then converted from VOB to DV-PAL using mpeg streamclip. I'm curious if there are ways to improve the quality of the final output."

In the same way a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your video will only look as good as the worst codec it has encountered along the way.

A codec basically throws away video information to make a smaller video file.
How much information gets thrown away?
What's the strategy for throwing away that information?
That's why there are so many different codecs. And the more a codec compresses, the more damage it does to an image.

One thing is sure: there is no codec that can re-build missing information. Once it's gone, it's gone. Expensive hardwareand software exist that try to recreate information using a variety of mathematical algorithms, but they have limited success.

So you CAN to take your work to a post house, spending major money for minor gain. If you work solely in FCP, you're pretty much stuck with what you have.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Paul Smith
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 4:30:31 pm

I understand that DV is DV, but why, when outputting the Dv timeline to uncompressed 8bit or animation codec does the image look so much sharper? For instance, I've outputted this dv footage from a dv timeline as an animation coded'd movie - the edges are sharper, the image is significantly less softer than when I export as current settings DV. Granted, the interlacing is more pronounced at times, but wouldn't the image look sharper and better if I'm using maxmsp to deinterlace on the fly this sharper picture?

Also, if uncompressed or animation be the way to go - keep in mind this is for a dvi projection and NOT broadcast -how is it I get the same gamma/coloring as the source? I've noticed that, when outputting same as source, that the color is closer to the original DVD footage. If I export an animation codec it appears ever so slightly darker.

Thanks to everyone for their kind help


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Paul Smith
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:30:17 pm

What I'm asking, less convolutedly, is why these DV files ripped from VOBs look softer and less detailed than what I'm seeing in the final cut canvas. Is this simply an issue with my QT player? Is it not showing me the file's true DV resolution, but Final Cut is? I can't understand it....I export current settings DV and the image looks softer compared to 8bit uncompressed.


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Mark Petereit
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:38:50 pm

I guess you missed the point where I said Canvas can not give you an accurate depiction of your video. That fact is even more pronounced if you have the canvas sized to anything other than 100%.


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Paul Smith
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:44:54 pm

But exporting this DV timeline as 8bit uncompressed, prores, animation gives me an image that's exactly what I'm seeing in the canvas at 100%. When I export current settings (DV Pal) I get an image identical to the source dv clips (smoother, but not as detailed). I'm wondering if this is simply Quicktimec10 not playing the footage at high resolution or if, indeed, another codec or uncompressed is giving me a sharper image.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:58:08 pm

QT 10? How to put this charitably? Let's call it a "work in progress".
Open up QT 7.x, which comes bundled with FCP and look at it.

The only other thing I can think of is that in either QT version, the "high quality" check box isn't checked, and it should be.
That check box is a holdover from the days when a fast machine had a single core blazing along at 512 mHz. Go figure why it still exists today.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Paul Smith
Re: How to get the best output from dv captured material
on Oct 8, 2010 at 12:54:12 am

Thanks! It looks like QTPro is now giving me a better image.

Because my sequence is comprised of ripped DVD material (pal, NTSC, all over the place but all conformed to 25fps), I've had to rescale every 4:3 and letterbox image to fit a 1024x576 pal dv anamorphic canvas. I'm wondering if creating an uncompressed pal 8bit timeline and rendering/outputting from there would be more ideal than dv. Any thoughts?


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