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NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50

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Patrick Fleming
NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 8, 2011 at 12:06:44 am

I've been searching for a few weeks on this current problem, so I hope I'm not repeating anything here. I am very new to the whole broadcast video, so some of the answers I have seen may be applicable, but I'm too green to know. My apologies.

Here's my situation. Until this year, the company I work for was basically a grass-roots type live sports DVD producer (professional pool tournaments) - all SD video, live edited to BetaCam SP - direct to DVD (in Pinnacle no less!!). We are now providing content to ESPN in Asia... They accepted SD video transferred to DigiBeta the end of last year, but only want HD for the future. So, we purchased a NewTek Tricaster TCXD850 Live Digital Switcher/recorder (PC based). Works great, overall, for our purpose. With the amount of footage, now and in the future, it's cost prohibitive to bring it all to a production house to have it transferred, so we are doing it in-house.

Our latest footage that we need to send them ASAP (and it's over 24 hours of footage) is shot at 720p60. The Tricaster's native codec is mpeg2 (.mpg wrapper). There are two realistic options to export it as .mov's: photo jpeg and HDV - I figure taking the native is the best to work with - although audio is Muxed.

Our client needs the programming at one of two codecs (mov wrapper)
- XDCAM HD422 1080i50 (50Mb/s)
- Apple ProRes 422 HQ

Realizing THIS, and realizing that Apple FCP seemed to be the only way to go, we bought a MacPro with Final Cut Studio with FCP 7. I am only familiar with PC's and Vegas Pro, so this has been a REAL HARD learning experience.

I've converted the videos to the formats needed, but I'm not sure if there's a better way. There IS degradation in the video, I'm figuring there's data that's being added to fill in pixels with the frame size increase, but the frame rate from progressive 60 to interlaced 50 makes it look a little jittery.

So, here's what I have done, my work flow, I suppose is what you say here? There's two main ways I've tried that worked best with basically the same results.

I take the native 720p60 mpeg2 file and either use compressor or MPEG Streamclip to upscale/frame change to the 1080i50 (the XDCAM HD422 looks better than the ProRes). But, both workflow results look the same to me.

If I do any of the cross converting/frame rate changing in FCP, it's not that good, and as I've read, it's not the way you should do it anyway.

With an all digital conversion, does this look like it's the best way to do it? Some movement still looks a little choppy. Could it just be that I'm used to 30 fps in the US? I thought 25 fps is similar to film - smooth.

I've been learning A LOT, but I'm still in the dark and need either confirmation or guidance!

ALSO, as an added bonus question, why does watching a 720 in "full screen mode" of Quicktime player (1080 monitor resolution) than a 720 video upscaled to 1080 in MPEG Streamclip or Compressor?

Thanks so much for reading my schpele!
Patrick


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Rafael Amador
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 8, 2011 at 9:16:28 am

Hi Patrick,
You must upscale your picture and change the time base and even re-interlacing the footage..
FC is not the tool to do any of those tasks.
Try Compressor (use the SEARCH button. The process has been explained here one million times).

I would avoid the XDCAM way if possible. The compression to that codec is very slow.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Andy Mees
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 8, 2011 at 1:54:28 pm

>Our latest footage that we need to send them ASAP (and it's over 24 hours of footage) is shot at 720p60.

Are you producing this content primarily for ESPN Asia or are they a secondary client? If they are the primary client for this content then you really should be using the Tricaster to record directly to 1080i50 as per your delivery specs, or at least 720p50 ... not recording 720p60. As you note, it's going to be cost prohibitive to have all this and future content properly converted with quality hardware, but its going to be time (and quality) prohibitive now to have to convert it all in software.

>The Tricaster's native codec is mpeg2 (.mpg wrapper).

Perhaps you should be looking at recording the switched output directly into a KiPro, nanoFlash or similar ie recording direct to the target codec?

>There are two realistic options to export it as .mov's: photo jpeg and HDV - I figure taking the native is the best to work with - although audio is Muxed.

When you say "native" is best, are you inferring that the internal MPEG2 format used for recording is HDV? And thats what you are exporting? And when you say there are only two "realistic" export options for MOV, what's the reasoning/constraints that make the other options unrealistic? What are the other options?

>So, here's what I have done ... I take the native 720p60 mpeg2 file and either use Compressor or MPEG Streamclip to upscale/frame change to the 1080i50 (the XDCAM HD422 looks better than the ProRes). But, both workflow results look the same to me.

What specific settings did you use? Try this. First off, create/save a short sample piece of your 720p60 footage to test with, 30 seconds should be enough, but make sure its representative of the kind of content and motion in the majority of the footage. Then, in Compressor, import the sample clip. Now, from the Target menu choose New Target with Setting... and choose Apple > Formats > Quicktime > Apple ProRes 422 (HQ). Now select that applied setting in the job window and switch to the Inspector window: In the Encoder tab click the Video : Settings... button and change the Frame Rate to 25 fps, click OK; In the Frame Controls tab, click the sprocket button to enable the menu and turn the Frame Controls to On, then set Output Fields to "Top First"; Then, in the Geometry tab, choose 1920x1080 from the Dimensions > Frame Size menu. You'll probably want to click the Save As button at lower right of the Inspector window at this point and save these settings as a custom preset for later. Now press Submit. Check how long it takes to encode with these settings ... if your source is 30 seconds then 24 hours of footage will mean you have to multiply however long that took by around 3000 to get an estimate of how long it'll take to transcode the whole lot. When its finished encoding play the result back through appropriate hardware ie something that can properly play and display 1080i50 to see if the quality of the conversion is acceptable. If not, rinse and repeat, but maybe set the Frame Controls : Resize setting to Best (Statistical Prediction) ... see if that improves the quality as needed, but also how that would affect the overall processing time.

Hope it helps
Andy


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Patrick Fleming
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 9, 2011 at 6:50:24 pm

Andy and Rafael,

Thanks for the reply!

To answer some questions.

[Andy Mees] "are you producing this content primarily for ESPN Asia or are they a secondary client? "
ESPN is our secondary client, so we need to have our source in either 720p60 or 1080i60.



[Andy Mees] "Perhaps you should be looking at recording the switched output directly into a KiPro, nanoFlash or similar ie recording direct to the target codec?"
Yes, we are realizing we need to record the Tricaster SDI out in the future, so for future jobs this may be remedied anyway. Would recording out of the Tricaster's SDI into, say a Kona LHi card on the Mac into FCP as ProRes work? Are there other cards out there that I should think about?



[Andy Mees] "When you say "native" is best, are you inferring that the internal MPEG2 format used for recording is HDV? "
Yes, I mean that I should use the source recording of the Tricaster (mpeg2, muxed audio, in an .mpg wrapper) to upconvert/frame rate change, since that's 1st generation.


The Tricaster has a strange way of exporting. No real way to adjust the settings of the presets. The HD export options on the Tricaster are: (quoting from the manual and through experimenting)

Export to FCP (.mov): very high quality m-jpeg encoding, full raster, 4:2:2 sub-sampling, high compatibility (though, in a file inspector (Quicktime or FCP), it shows Photo JPEG??)

Also, there is what they call RENDERLESS Quicktime Export (.mov) which they state "re-wraps" the Tricaster's MPEG2 file as a Quicktime audio/video file without recompression. Though, here, when looked at in a file inspector, it's HDV 720p30, not 720p60.



[Andy Mees] "What specific settings did you use? Try this."
Thanks for the detailed instructions. That's exactly how I did it - and even changed the settings to best just to get a gauge on what the "best" would look like regardless of time taken. Still a bit of stuttering in the motion, though. When done with XDCAM HD422, it's a bit smoother.



[Andy Mees] "playback on something that can properly play and display 1080i50"
Isn't playing it back on a LCD monitor in Quicktime going to give me "proper" results? If not, what do people do if they are given 1080i50 footage on a Mac? What are other options other than buying a PAL TV?


THANK SO MUCH!!
Peace,
Patrick


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Rafael Amador
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 9, 2011 at 8:49:03 pm

[Patrick Fleming] "Yes, we are realizing we need to record the Tricaster SDI out in the future, so for future jobs this may be remedied anyway. Would recording out of the Tricaster's SDI into, say a Kona LHi card on the Mac into FCP as ProRes work? Are there other cards out there that I should think about?"
The Tricaster should be putting out a 10b Unc stream, so you have all the options.
A Kona or Ki-Pro would be great if you want Prores.
If you prefer XDCAM 422 (At the date rate you prefer from 9 to 280Mbps), you should have a look to the NANO-Flash (http://www.convergent-design.com).



[Patrick Fleming] "[Andy Mees] "When you say "native" is best, are you inferring that the internal MPEG2 format used for recording is HDV? "
Yes, I mean that I should use the source recording of the Tricaster (mpeg2, muxed audio, in an .mpg wrapper) to upconvert/frame rate change, since that's 1st generation.


The Tricaster has a strange way of exporting. No real way to adjust the settings of the presets. The HD export options on the Tricaster are: (quoting from the manual and through experimenting)

Export to FCP (.mov): very high quality m-jpeg encoding, full raster, 4:2:2 sub-sampling, high compatibility (though, in a file inspector (Quicktime or FCP), it shows Photo JPEG??)

Also, there is what they call RENDERLESS Quicktime Export (.mov) which they state "re-wraps" the Tricaster's MPEG2 file as a Quicktime audio/video file without recompression. Though, here, when looked at in a file inspector, it's HDV 720p30, not 720p60."

The website info about the internal recording formats is very confusing.
The TCX300 version, claims to record "MPEG-2 Intraframe/100Mbps/422".
A high quality Photo-JPEG is a very good option too and very interesting for cross-platform.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Patrick Fleming
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 10, 2011 at 6:19:38 am

Thanks Rafael for more info!

I feel I've done things the best I could in regards to my current project! With the amount of footage we shoot at events, 30 hours or so, any portable device with Flash cards isn't gonna cut it. I figure, at ProRes 422 I'm looking at over two terabytes of data - over 3 if I decide HQ... (right?) So, we need to go directly to a computer.

I need to start researching the various ways to ingest... The Kona HLe?? Matrox MXO2 LE?? Looking at the $1500 range, I suppose... I should probably start another thread on that.

Thanks again!!

Patrick


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Andy Mees
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 10, 2011 at 7:12:41 am

Hi Patrick

[Patrick Fleming] "Also, there is what they call RENDERLESS Quicktime Export (.mov) which they state "re-wraps" the Tricaster's MPEG2 file as a Quicktime audio/video file without recompression. Though, here, when looked at in a file inspector, it's HDV 720p30, not 720p60."

That maybe suggests that what you are really recording is HDV 720p30 and not 720p6 ... and a 30p to 50i conversion will certainly look worse (more stuttering) than a 60p to 50i conversion. You might want to double check that your original source files are actually being recorded with 60 unique frames per second.

[Patrick Fleming] "Isn't playing it back on a LCD monitor in Quicktime going to give me "proper" results? If not, what do people do if they are given 1080i50 footage on a Mac? What are other options other than buying a PAL TV?"

Nope, not at all. Quicktime will not be properly handling the interlacing, what you'll be seeing is 25 interlaced frames per second, not 50 fields per second, so the motion will not be as smooth as it would be when viewed on an a monitor that is properly displaying those fields. Whats more, you may be looking at a scaled image too, so might see artifacts that are not present in the original, and worse, not see artifacts that are present in the original! What do people do when given 1080i50 footage on a Mac? Well they don't watch is "critically" on their Mac's display, they'll instead use a professional I/O device to view the footage on an externally attached reference monitor ... no need to by a PAL TV per se, you just need one that is multi-format capable. Even something simple, like a cheap Blackmagic Intensity card or an MXO2 Mini will allow you to view the content via HDMI to a suitable HDTV. It's an expense ... but if you guys have a Tricaster and are producing content for ESPN/STAR then you need to get all the supporting equipment for your post production chain. Comes with the territory I'm afraid.

Hope that helps
Andy


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Rafael Amador
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 10, 2011 at 7:46:37 am

[Andy Mees] "[Patrick Fleming] "Also, there is what they call RENDERLESS Quicktime Export (.mov) which they state "re-wraps" the Tricaster's MPEG2 file as a Quicktime audio/video file without recompression. Though, here, when looked at in a file inspector, it's HDV 720p30, not 720p60."

That maybe suggests that what you are really recording is HDV 720p30 and not 720p6 ... and a 30p to 50i conversion will certainly look worse (more stuttering) than a 60p to 50i conversion. You might want to double check that your original source files are actually being recorded with 60 unique frames per second."

That the files shows up as HDV, doesn't means that is plain HDV. The NANO files at 280Mbps I-frame, shows in QT as plain XDCAM 422/50Mbps.
This people may be using a modified MPEG-2 that QT identify as HDV.
Plain HDV is a too poor option for such a device.
Can you have a look to the file info in QT?
rafael.

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Andy Mees
Re: NEWBIE! Upscaling/frame rate change 720p60 to 1080i50
on May 10, 2011 at 7:50:21 am

[Rafael Amador] "That the files shows up as HDV, doesn't means that is plain HDV. The NANO files at 280Mbps I-frame, shows in QT as plain XDCAM 422/50Mbps."

Thats very true Rafa, good call.


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