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Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!

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James Bayliss-Smith
Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:38:57 am

Hi folks,

I have some questions that might be a bit of a blast from the past for some of you. It’s not really a specific question, I’m trying to get to grips with the system they have set up at my new workplace and I’m trying to educate myself. I’m a cameraman and editor who started shooting on DV and I’ve only ever used FCP. I now work at the ABC news bureau in Beijing and I’d like to understand more about their set-up. We shoot everything on Panasonic P2 cards using DVCPro25 or DVCPro50 if we think the footage will be worth keeping for archive. They used to shoot everything on BetacamSX and we have lots of old stock type footage of China that we are regularly using in current news reports. They have an Avid set up but we are now exclusively editing using FCP on MacBook Pro's. When we want to use any of the old archive we capture it as DV using a Canopus ADVC-1000 SDI-DV converter and then mix it in the timeline with more recently shot DVCPro footage. Once we finish the reports we compress them to H.264 then FTP the files to Australia. We put all the audio from the interviews onto track one and pan to the left and we put all the atmosphere audio on track two and pan it to the right. That way in Australia they can still split the tracks even after FCP has mixed them together during export. So that is our workflow. So far so good, it works and everyone’s happy. The problem is I’m an inquisitive type and I’d like to learn more about different aspect of this set up. I would appreciate comments on what people think of this workflow and ways to improve it. I also have specific questions about BetacamSX. Why are we converting BetacamSX to DV to edit? Surely we are losing quality, are we? What is the difference between BetcamSX and Digibeta. Is BetacamSX a codec like DVCPro50? How would one capture BetacamSX directy into FCP? I’ll leave it there for now but I’d love to start a discussion about our set up. I’ll be working here for a while and I’d like to get things organised a little better especially with the Archive. I’m also looking for suggestions about how we should archive our reports and good stock footage going forward. Is laying DVCPro50 back to BetacamSX tapes for archive crazy? Are we losing quality or is this a sensible approach? Apologies for my ignorance I’m self-taught and this is the first time I’m working with BetacamSX.

All the best,

James Bayliss-Smith


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Michael Gissing
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:16:39 am

Betacam SX is best captured in FCP via SDI as ProRes 422. In PAL you should always avoid DV 25 or 50 codecs as they are the only lower field SD codecs.

I see so many news stories with the wrong field order on Australian TV and I know it is down to people shooting or editing in DV and converting to mpeg2 or H264 and leaving the field order wrong.

So my advice is to always avoid those codecs. With P2 you could shoot HD which is upper field and downconvert to SD in the final H264. If you mix Dv codecs with ProRes you will have heaps of issues including lots of time wasted with rendering.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:31:24 am

[James Bayliss-Smith] " BetacamSX. Why are we converting BetacamSX to DV to edit? Surely we are losing quality, are we? What is the difference between BetcamSX and Digibeta. Is BetacamSX a codec like DVCPro50"
You are right.
Betacam SX is very closed to DVCPro50; 8b/422 compressed).
Betacam Digital is 10b/422 compressed
Yes you are losing quality if you convert to DV.

[James Bayliss-Smith] "How would one capture BetacamSX directy into FCP?"
Any old SD video card with components will do it.
Capture as Prores or DVCPro50.

rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:26:24 am

It's obviously all done on the cheap.
Laptops
Convert to DV
Quick and dirty

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 2:28:57 am

Hi Michael, Rafael and Chris

Thanks for getting back to me, I have some follow up questions.

[Michael Gissing] "Betacam SX is best captured in FCP via SDI as ProRes 422"

I thought so but am I right in thinking I'd need a capture card like an AJA or Blackmagic one. How would one do this into a laptop? A capture box? Any links to products would be appreciated. Also out of interest is ProRes422 HQ just not worth it for Betacam SX or is it technically better?

[Michael Gissing] "In PAL you should always avoid DV 25 or 50 codecs as they are the only lower field SD codecs. I see so many news stories with the wrong field order on Australian TV and I know it is down to people shooting or editing in DV and converting to mpeg2 or H264 and leaving the field order wrong. So my advice is to always avoid those codecs."

I have experienced this myself when I reversed some footage and didn't change the field order of the reversed portion. If anyone wants to expand on this I'd be very interested to learn more. I'm afraid I can't avoid DVCPro25 or DVCPro50 as this is what our P2 Cameras shoot to. So to understand this is PAL Upper field dominant? Should I be changing the field order of all my DVCPro Edit's? I'm a a little confused about this

[Michael Gissing] "With P2 you could shoot HD"

Our cameras: Panasonic AJ-SPX900's don't shoot HD unfortunately

[Rafael Amador] "Betacam SX is very closed to DVCPro50; 8b/422 compressed).
Betacam Digital is 10b/422 compressed
Yes you are losing quality if you convert to DV."


What is DV 8b/422? What is the data rate of DV 25? (i.e DVCPro 25/50)

[Chris Tompkins] "It's obviously all done on the cheap.
Laptops
Convert to DV
Quick and dirty"


Yes but I think the key word there is Quick. Being in news we have to work quickly and I'm guessing our work-flow is designed for this. The only bit I think should/could be improved it the way we use our archive. Converting to DV is clearly not the best option. I'm assuming if we had proper capture cards in our laptops we could convert just as quickly to ProRes (which flavour would be recommended?) or DVCPro50.

Do you guys have any other suggestions as to how we can improve our workflow? I appreciate your time

Thanks, James


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 10:47:07 am

Hey James,

DV50 Mode will yield much better results as it has much more color space. Avoid Plain DV if you can.
You're shooting P2 - then you don't need a capture card.
Are you out-putting to tape at all? Or is it all digital delivery?

Capturing the old stuff with the Canopus ADVC-1000 SDI-DV converter is fine. Can you choose a DV50 setup for this capture? That would be ideal. Or 8-bit uncompressed would really be nice. But maybe overkill.

BetacamSX captured to 10bit uncompressed would best preserve the quality chain but you don't have that option w/ your setup so capture it DV50 thru the converter and don't worry about it. It'll still look good.

Archiving would be best in digital form. Make digital masters of finished edits and keep on hard drives.
But, look into Canopus or AJA or BMD as I think they all have a Laptop able editing I/O device.
Depending on your laptop, you can get a SATA adapter card to go into your PCMCIA slot. Or a Firewire I/O will work for the devise and the card for the external raid you'll need. But if it's all compressed for mpeg delivery, DV50 will be fine, go with it.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 1:35:31 pm

Hi Chris, thanks for getting back to me

[Chris Tompkins] "You're shooting P2 - then you don't need a capture card."

Sure, understood but I thought I would need a capture card to capture ProRes 422 from Betacam SX for best quality as Michael suggested

"Betacam SX is best captured in FCP via SDI as ProRes 422."


[Chris Tompkins] "DV50 Mode will yield much better results as it has much more color space. Avoid Plain DV if you can."

So are you saying that, given my limitations (i.e no capture card) I should just capture the Betacam SX as DV50 or DVCPro in FCP? I have these options available but not ProRes

[Chris Tompkins] "Capturing the old stuff with the Canopus ADVC-1000 SDI-DV converter is fine. Can you choose a DV50 setup for this capture? That would be ideal. Or 8-bit uncompressed would really be nice. But maybe overkill."

Cool I'll try this but I'll probably capture at DVCPro-PAL not DV50 as we tend to shoot DVCPro to save file size as we often have to FTP stuff in a hurry.

So am I getting this straight, the SDI-DV converter spits out a digital signal and Final Cut Pro can capture that digital signal at varying levels of quality. DV, DVCPro and DV50 All flavours of the DV family?

[Chris Tompkins] "BetacamSX captured to 10bit uncompressed would best preserve the quality chain"

So just out of interest how would this differ to capturing ProRes 422?

[Chris Tompkins] "Archiving would be best in digital form. Make digital masters of finished edits and keep on hard drives."

Well what they do in the office at the moment is lay copies of our stories back to tape through the Canopus so I guess the quality will depend on when it was captured. But there must be some generational loss going back to Betacam SX?

[Chris Tompkins] "But if it's all compressed for mpeg delivery, DV50 will be fine, go with it."

I think that in hindsight someone has actually thought through our setup and the only thing we're doing wrong is capturing at DV and not DVCPro or DV50? Any thoughts. Hopefully this will all work when I get in the office.

Any advice much appreciated the main thing I want to get my head around is the following

So am I getting this straight, the SDI-DV converter spits out a digital signal and Final Cut Pro can capture that digital signal at varying levels of quality. DV, DVCPro and DV50 All flavours of the DV family?

Thanks!


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 2:26:43 pm

SDI "IN" allows for more options - Yes.

DVCPRO is no better for color space then DV ~ they are both 4.1.1

DVCPRO50 Codec is 4.2.2 - Much better.
Just do it. ;-)

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 3:27:25 pm

[Chris Tompkins] "DVCPRO is no better for color space then DV"

So what's this colour space all about then?


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 3:27:21 pm

Cheers BTW


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 3:32:35 pm

Oh My Goodness, That is what WIKI is for.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 3:50:31 pm

Fair Point, I do appreciate your answers. One final thing. Am I getting this straight, the SDI-DV converter spits out a digital signal and Final Cut Pro can capture that digital signal at varying levels of quality. DV, DVCPro and DV50 All flavours of the DV family?


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Beijing News Buerau setup suggestions please!
on Jun 28, 2011 at 4:05:11 pm

SDI "IN" allows for more options - Yes.

Look @ your setup and see what option you have coming in with that converter.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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