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Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD

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Timothy Eck
Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Dec 22, 2010 at 6:39:57 pm

We have been an SD-only shop until very recently, but now we have the opportunity to produce some HD promotional spots. We will be shooting in DVCPRO HD 720p on P2 cards and importing into Final Cut Pro via Log and Transfer.

Our understanding of DVCPRO HD is that the files we will be importing will be anamorphic (960x720 rather than 1280x720... and 1280x1080 rather than 1920x1080). Is this correct?

If so, we are not sure where to go from there, workflow-wise... Do we work on an anamorphic (960x720) sequence? or a square-pixel sequence (1280x720)? What makes things confusing is we have AJA Kona LHe cards in our Macs... and the stock Final Cut Pro sequence preset for 720p59.94 seems to be anamorphic (960x720), while the AJA preset for 720p59.94 seems to be square pixel (1280x720).

Furthermore, should we create graphic elements for editing these spots in anamorphic (960x720) or square pixel (1280x720)?

We will be delivering the final product via Quicktime .MOV files and uploading them to our regional master control. What's the best way to output the final product? DVCPRO HD encoded .MOV files at 960x720? or 1280x720? Is a square pixel Quicktime file even possible when outputting with the DVCPRO HD codec? From talking to one of our head-end engineers, the cable boxes with which our viewers receive the material output 1280x720 on their end.

In review:

FCP SEQUENCE: 960x720? or 1280x720?
GRAPHICS: 960x720? or 1280x720?
OUTPUT: 960x720? or 1280x720? codec?

Thanks in advance...


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Cody Walters
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Dec 22, 2010 at 7:39:25 pm

Timothy,

Your sequence settings will be...
960x720 frame size
Pixel Aspect Ratio: HD (960x720)

Really all you need to do is create a new sequence, add your video and final cut will automatically set the right settings for you.

I believe that you need to match your sequence settings for your graphics as well. Make sure same frame size and aspect ratio.

When you export, export with current settings. You will see that once exported, the video is now at 1280x720.

Cody Walters

Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8 Core Xeon
16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Final Cut Studio 3
Panasonic HVX-200


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Walter Soyka
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Dec 22, 2010 at 9:59:54 pm

[Timothy Eck] "FCP SEQUENCE: 960x720? or 1280x720?
GRAPHICS: 960x720? or 1280x720?
OUTPUT: 960x720? or 1280x720? codec?"


I'd prefer to produce the graphics at 1280x720 (square pixels) and edit in FCP in a 1280x720@59.94p ProRes sequence -- why throw away 25% of the horizontal resolution on your graphics to keep everything in thin-raster DVCPRO HD? Then again, I run a graphics shop, so surely I'm biased.

What are your deliverable requirements? Different broadcasters will have different requirements depending on their playout systems, and it may be a consideration in designing your workflow.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Timothy Eck
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Dec 31, 2010 at 7:22:41 pm

I agree Walter. The specs for delivery only specify 720p at 59.94. Nothing is specified about the horizontal aspect however. I made inquiries about delivering with the DVCPRO HD codec and they confirmed we can submit with it. When I inquired about the horizontal aspect question, they didn't seem to know or understand the difference.

I think before I press them further, I still need to confirm or deny whether the DVCPRO HD codec will even allow 1280x720 square pixels... or whether it FORCES 960x720 anamorphic.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Dec 31, 2010 at 7:32:21 pm

[Timothy Eck] "I think before I press them further, I still need to confirm or deny whether the DVCPRO HD codec will even allow 1280x720 square pixels... or whether it FORCES 960x720 anamorphic."

DVCPRO HD is a thin-raster format. It doesn't do square pixels.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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walter biscardi
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Jan 1, 2011 at 2:55:38 pm

[Timothy Eck] "
Our understanding of DVCPRO HD is that the files we will be importing will be anamorphic (960x720 rather than 1280x720... and 1280x1080 rather than 1920x1080). Is this correct?"


Yes. But for 1080 it will be 1280 x 1080 for NTSC and 1440 x 1080 for PAL.



[Timothy Eck] "If so, we are not sure where to go from there, workflow-wise... Do we work on an anamorphic (960x720) sequence? or a square-pixel sequence (1280x720)? What makes things confusing is we have AJA Kona LHe cards in our Macs... and the stock Final Cut Pro sequence preset for 720p59.94 seems to be anamorphic (960x720), while the AJA preset for 720p59.94 seems to be square pixel (1280x720)."

You simply set up a standard DVCPro HD 720 / 59.94 timeline. Just use the AJA Kona Easy Setup. As DVCPro HD is an anamorphic format, the Kona is setting you up correctly.



[Timothy Eck] "Furthermore, should we create graphic elements for editing these spots in anamorphic (960x720) or square pixel (1280x720)?"

I create the graphics in 1280 x 720 and then squeeze them horizontally for DVCPro HD timelines.



[Timothy Eck] "We will be delivering the final product via Quicktime .MOV files and uploading them to our regional master control."

Ah, well then this changes things. What you want to do in this case is edit in a ProRes 720p timeline. This is a full raster, square pixel format and you will edit in a full resolution 1280 x 720 timeline. You will need to render your DVCPro HD clips when you're done, but everything will be in square pixel, full 1280 x 720 frame when you export a quicktime movie.

That will be the easiest for someone who is starting out in HD. I'm not sure if the Log and Transfer Tool can change the clips from DVCPro HD to ProRes yet. I know it does for AVC-Intra codec, but not sure for DVCPro HD.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" Winner, Best Documentary, LA Reel Film Festival...

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Timothy Eck
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Jan 12, 2011 at 2:54:51 am

In my first test, I worked off a 1280x720 square pixel timeline, and exported to Compressor. I outputted using a DVCPROHD 720p60 preset that I edited to be 1280x720 square pixels (instead of 960x720 anamorphic pixels). But the resulting .MOV file seems to still be 960x720 anamorphic pixels.

Is the codec itself forcing the horizontal downsampling? Is 960x720 the only resolution the codec is able to produce?

Is there another delivery codec someone can recommend that can do 1280x720 square pixels?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Edit workflow when shooting 720p DVCPRO HD
on Jan 13, 2011 at 8:12:52 pm

[Timothy Eck] "Is the codec itself forcing the horizontal downsampling? Is 960x720 the only resolution the codec is able to produce?"

Yes. DVCPRO HD is thin-raster only. If you were to somehow produce a square pixel, full raster DVCPRO HD-encoded file, you'd have no guarantees that the recipient would be able to properly decode it.


[Timothy Eck] "Is there another delivery codec someone can recommend that can do 1280x720 square pixels?"

Uncompressed, ProRes, DNxHD, Canopus HQ, MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264 -- different systems have different specifications.

Unfortunately, we can only give you theoretical guidance. Specific information on acceptable deliverables should come from whomever you're delivering to. If they don't know, they should get their engineers involved in the discussion.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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