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Reconnecting to timeline after up-conversion

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John Dentino
Reconnecting to timeline after up-conversion
on Aug 11, 2011 at 6:50:29 pm

I have a documentary that is 70% DV footage; the rest is mostly HDV. The final cut has been locked, and my goal is to make a ProRes 422 HQ timeline of the cut. I unconverted the HDV (and some DVCPro HD footage) to ProRes using Apple Compressor. But I wanted the highest possible quality for the SD footage, so I decided to up-convert them using a Teranex hardware box. After consulting with a local Los Angeles post production house, I used media manager to compile all of the DV clips in the timeline, took all the clips, and strung them out in a timeline, exporting the result as a long Quicktime file. The post house told me this would be the only way to do the job quickly, as I was on a micro budget, rather than up-convert each clip separately.

I have laid the Teranex ProRes high quality media over the string-out timeline of DV clips and matched scenes perfectly, then applied the razor blade tool to the ProRes footage. The problem is that the even though I've separated the high quality footage to match the original clips, they no longer have the original master clip relationship that the DV clips had. To make matters worse, they have no name and the time code is all new. I was told by the post house that the only way to conform the media is to manually go in and place the high quality media in the same place as the old DV footage.

I thought of doing an Export/Quicktime on each clip, thereby generating a new media file, which I could give the exact same name as the DV clip it corresponds to, but I don't know if that would work.

Does anybody have any thoughts or advice on possible workflow? Is my post house correct that it's a manual job? Would third party software like Video Toolshed's FCPReconnect help?

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Reconnecting to timeline after up-conversion
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:14:39 pm

It's too bad you came here with these questions after the fact. Your options are now very limited. You'll spend more time and effort at this point trying to figure out a way to replace footage via file names than you would eyeball matching and manually doing the same job.

BTW, just for the record, did you try a side by side comparison of the material up-converted via Teranex with a clip that you up-converted with Compressor? I'm not questioning the quality of Teranex hardware, I am questioning whether it's capable of a noticeable difference when dealing with DV footage.

If you haven't tested side by side, I'd advise doing so now... Even though you've already paid for the Teranex conversion, you'd be doing yourself a lot better to up-convert your original media yourself (if there's no big difference), because you'll be able to use FCP as it was meant to be used, rather than hacking apart a single QT file.

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John Dentino
Re: Reconnecting to timeline after up-conversion
on Aug 11, 2011 at 10:49:47 pm

Yes, I'll know in the future to come to this forum and ask questions first. I did what you suggested, comparing the Compressor up-converted files to the Teranex files. The Compressor files look darn good. At first I thought there was no difference. But I quickly noticed that there are small interference patterns (moire? aliasing?) in the people's hair on the Compressor uprez that are not present in the Teranex uprez. I've include two frame grabs below. I think you can tell from them. Another factor is that anything I do in Compressor will be magnified since I have decided to enlarge the frame to provide a wider aspect ratio, a feature that is part of the Teranex option list.

By the way, I kept everything interlaced. It makes sense since it's DV. We tried progressive up-conversion at the post house, but it left very small squiggly artifacts on the edges of the images. Most film festivals suggest HDCAM as an exhibition format and mention that interlaced is preferred anyway.

Here are the frame grabs:

Compressor Frame Grab

Teranex Frame Grab

By the way, the settings for the Compressor up-conversion were the following:

Name: Teranex vs. Compressor
Description: Apple ProRes 422 high quality with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame rate
File Extension: mov
Estimated size: 98.99 GB/hour of source
Audio: multi-track passthrough
Video Encoder
Format: QT
Width: 1920
Height: 1080
Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Crop: None
Padding: None
Frame rate: (100% of source)
Selected: 29.97
Frame Controls On:
Retiming: (Fast) Nearest Frame
Resize Filter: Statistical Prediction
Deinterlace Filter: Fast (Line Averaging)
Adaptive Details: On
Antialias: 0
Detail Level: 0
Field Output: Same as Source
Codec Type: Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
Multi-pass: Off, frame reorder: Off
Automatic gamma correction
Interlaced (bottom field first)
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 75
Min. Spatial quality: 0
Temporal quality: 0
Min. temporal quality: 0

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Shane Ross
Re: Reconnecting to timeline after up-conversion
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:04:22 pm

At this point it's a manual job. It really shouldn't take that long as it took to post the question and get all the answers really.

What I did when we did this was put all the clips that needed uprezzing on V2 in the main sequence. Then with the newly terranexed footage, that I too layered on top of the DV sequence I exported and chopped up, I went through clip by clip and replaced the DV footage with the new footage. Took less than an hour on a two hour show. And I had a LOT of Beta/VHS/DV footage to replace. But then again, I prepared to do it this way by moving the footage up a layer so I could find it easily.

Exporting the clips, renaming them and modifying the timecode will take you a LOT more time then manually replacing.


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