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Best practice for editing multiple formats

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Lizi Hesling
Best practice for editing multiple formats
on Sep 27, 2011 at 5:50:00 pm

Hi all,
I'm editing in FCP 6 (PAL land). I have a documentary I'm working on that's been shot in various different formats - some of which I haven't been given the original files of. What I have is HDV, DV anamorphic, DVCPRO-PAL anamorphic, and H.264 HD (don't even know what this was originally shot on).
Obviously, all these formats have different compression codecs, field dominance, pixel aspect, and frame size. Some of the HD footage is also progressive, and 50 fps. So I'm worried. I don't want these different formats to come back and haunt me when I've finished the edit - giving problems like a jittering image that doesn't show up on a computer screen but will on a TV screen. I want it to be delivery safe when I hand over the finished film as a top resolution computer file.
This is what I've done so far: converted the H.264 files to pro res 422 (not HQ), 1920x1080, no field dominance, square pixels. Left the other files alone, put it all into a 1920x1080 pro res 422 sequence (square pixels, upper field - but don't know why I chose upper field). Everything seems to work fine - and I don't have to render to playback (arrrgggh).
What I want to know is:
1. Am I doing the right thing?
2. What is best practice when you're dealing with different formats like this?
3. Should I convert my DV and HDV files?
4. If so, what should I convert to using what conversion software?
5. Are different frame speeds something to worry about (all within PAL)?
6. What sequence settings are best?
7. What should I do when I'm ready to export - should I change sequence settings?
Thanks!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Best practice for editing multiple formats
on Sep 27, 2011 at 6:09:41 pm

[Lizi Hesling] "I'm worried. I don't want these different formats to come back and haunt me when I've finished the edit - giving problems like a jittering image that doesn't show up on a computer screen but will on a TV screen."

Lizi,

If you were baking a chocolate cake, I doubt you would close your eyes, pick a box of cake cake batter from the pantry, then bake it and hope for the best, that when it's done it's going to be chocolate and not some other flavor. Right?

Well, if you're cutting video with different frame rates and different fields without a video I/O device to properly display it all to a video monitor, you are essentially cutting blind. There's no one size fits all in this case, you've go to be able to see the results of your transcodes on a real video monitor, not a computer monitor, and teh only way to do that is to have one of the devices or cards from AJA, Matrox, or Blackmagic to display it on.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Producing Episodic TV with "24" Producer Michael Klick:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-1_Michael-Kl...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Lizi Hesling
Re: Best practice for editing multiple formats
on Sep 27, 2011 at 6:14:51 pm

Thanks David,
I will view the cut on a proper video monitor when I've finished - I don't have one of my own as yet, so will have to rent one (and can't afford to rent one for the whole editing process).
What do you advise I do now to prepare my footage?
Thanks - Lizi


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Best practice for editing multiple formats
on Sep 27, 2011 at 6:37:07 pm

[Lizi Hesling] "I will view the cut on a proper video monitor when I've finished"

Well, therein lies the rub Lizi - waiting until the end to see what you're doing in matters like this simply doesn't work. At the end of the project you are almost 100% assured of finding issues that will be exponentially more complicated to fix, and at a time when all money and available time have both been exhausted.

I understand that this puts you in a "Catch-22" position, where you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't, and I wish I had a "magic" bullet for you, but a video I/O device and and a true video monitor are simply "the price of admission" to anyone accepting a paid position cutting material with different frame rates and different fields. That's all there is to it.

You can, at he very least, test things as you go by making DVDs and checking out the results of transcoding on a set top player and TV, but that's not a perfect solution either. SD DVDs from HD sources often introduce artifacts too, so there will no way to isolate issues when and if you see them using that method.

In any case, transcoding to different frame rates and fields via the toolset in FCS is a hit or miss thing, as every type of video has it's own eccentricities. You'll have to test as you go, trying to get the best transcodes you can, while typically trying to make the video parameters match those of the material which comprises the bulk of your project.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Producing Episodic TV with "24" Producer Michael Klick:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-1_Michael-Kl...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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isolda heavey
Re: Best practice for editing multiple formats
on Nov 6, 2011 at 10:17:03 am

hi lizi,
how did this work out for you? i am in the same situation...doing a doc with multiple formats to edit


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