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Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant

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Tom Donnelly
Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 5, 2012 at 5:54:31 am

Primarily a rant, as this appears to be a bug without a solution - found several similar posts on here, some even recent, and none ever have a resolving answer.

Footage shot on Sony F3, 1920x1080 24p. Edited @ 24p in FCP 7, graded in Color, sent back to FCP. Export self contained files and import to compressor to convert to 29.97 for broadcast (30 sec spots), same codec, Prores HQ.

I have tried many, many methods, but of course the two that look the best, setting frame rate conversion to "Better" or "Best," the ones that employ Compressor's "Optical Flow Technology," inevitably are encoded with subtle - but quite noticeable and completely unacceptable - pulsating digital artifacts in random areas of the frame. It can happen on moving shots, or even still areas smack dab in the middle of still shots. It is MADDENING.

Of course I also tried "Fast" (every 5th frame is a duplicate), "Good" (the same crappy frame blending that I can get from FCP or After Effects, makes image look soft) and also tried After Effects with Pixel Motion (even crazier artifacts) and Adobe Media Encoder with all render options set to highest levels (comes out nearly identical to Compressor set to "Good," soft frame blending.)

I've tried it with interlacing and without. I've tried exporting to different codecs. I've tried "sending" straight from Final Cut rather than exporting the self contained file. I've even thought about rendering everything at "Best" and at "Fast and bringing them all BACK into FCP to try to cut around the artifacts, but they exist in several places in each spot, not even sure if it would be worth it.

With delivery on Monday and still SD versions of the spots to create, I am at wit's end, and have determined Compressor set to "Fast," believe it or not, is really my only option, even with the dupe frames. Thoughts???

Guys, please - Do I have anywhere else to turn to get a decent 24-29.97 conversion?


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Rafael Amador
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 5, 2012 at 10:50:38 am

Hi Tom,
Don't use optical flow for that operation.
Go to the easiest and faster option "Fast (nearest frame)".
That just will repeat the needed frames without re-processing and mudding all the picture.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Tom Donnelly
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 5, 2012 at 2:04:57 pm

Thanks, that's what I was resorting to, but if it's the correct workflow than that makes me feel better.

Follow-up question:

Several of the stations that I am submitting to said that they would accept a progressive frame file for delivery, but if I introduce interlacing myself at this point, is there less chance that something they do, beynd my control, would make the image quality not look ideal for air? Or progressive/interlaced delivery is irrelevant?


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Matt Lyon
Re: Compressor,
on Feb 5, 2012 at 3:00:47 pm

Another option is to convert using proper 3:2 pulldown. You can do this with compressor or after effects. I forget the exact settings, but if you search the cow, you can find instructions on how to do this with compressor. I would imagine that would look better then straight up frame duplication.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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Rafael Amador
Re: Compressor,
on Feb 5, 2012 at 3:57:46 pm

Hi Tom,
Matt points the other option which in the end is similar to the "Fast": repeating part of the image you already have without degrading the original picture.
"Fast" will repeat some full frames, "pull-Down" will make the new frames with half of the lines of the adjacent frames. The interpolated frames would be less noticeable.
This is how p24 stuff is played in NTSC TVs.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Tom Donnelly
Re: Compressor,
on Feb 5, 2012 at 5:52:45 pm

Thanks, trying pulldown now.

To confirm - I am frame rate to 29.97 in the PRHQ dialog box, set duration to 100% in Compressor, setting rate conversion to fast, deinterlace to fast/upper field first (staying 1920x1080), and also setting "interlaced" to "top field field" in the ProRes HQ-specific dialog box. This will provide correctly interlaced 29.97 footage, yes?

What should I see different than the repeated fourth frame - a blended 5th one (field of each image?) or a split frame if I view fields in a 59.94 comp in After Effects for instance? I would like to be able to proof that it is done correctly...

Thanks!


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Matt Lyon
Re: Compressor,
on Feb 5, 2012 at 8:33:59 pm

If you take your processed clip back into FCP, you can inspect the item properties and confirm that it is 29.97 fps.

Then you should view your clip in the viewer, while it is set to %100, so you'll be able to see the fields. The playback pattern should be:

AA BB BC CD DD

In other words, whole frame, whole frame, mixed frame, mixed frame, whole frame.

Find a section with a camera move or fast action, as it makes it easier to see the pattern.

HTH,

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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John Heagy
Re: Compressor,
on Feb 6, 2012 at 8:40:18 pm

Hi Tom,

Based on the conversations here I'm assuming you mean 23.98p to 29.97i and not 24p to 29.97i though in a 30sec spot it's not a big issue either way.

Here's the settings for Compressor:
- import 23.976p footage to Compressor
- apply Quicktime encoding profile (usually ProRes 422 or Uncompressed)
- in Encoder tab of inspector, click Settings button and under Motion, change frame rate to 29.97
- in Frame Controls tab of inspector, turn frame controls ON, set output fields to lower, select "Fast (Nearest Frame)" for rate conversion, duration is 100% of source
- render

The term "pulldown" is being used incorrectly in this thread. The process of adding 3:2 pulldown is really two processes. Pulldown is specifically slowing down aka:pulling down 24fps to 23.976fps. 3:2, or more accurately 2:3, is the process of creating and repeating fields to convert 23.976 to 29.97. If you are shooting 23.976 then all you need to do is add 3:2.

If you are in fact shooting 24p then ideally you do need to do both the pulldown and 3:2 processes. In which case change the the Set duration from 100% to 100.100% via the menu setting 24@23.976 in Compressor. Make sure you are encoding the audio and not doing a pass through so the audio slowdown is rendered as well.

30p... the new 24P!

John Heagy


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 6, 2012 at 3:46:27 pm

[Tom Donnelly] "Footage shot on Sony F3, 1920x1080 24p. Edited @ 24p in FCP 7, graded in Color, sent back to FCP. Export self contained files and import to compressor to convert to 29.97 for broadcast (30 sec spots), same codec, Prores HQ."

Since this is 1080, may we also assume that any pulldown present in the footage had been removed prior to editing?





[Tom Donnelly] "...I also tried "Fast" (every 5th frame is a duplicate), "Good" (the same crappy frame blending that I can get from FCP or After Effects, makes image look soft) and also tried After Effects with Pixel Motion (even crazier artifacts) and Adobe Media Encoder with all render options set to highest levels (comes out nearly identical to Compressor set to "Good," soft frame blending.)"

If the footage exported from FCP was indeed a proper 23.976 (aka 23.98) file, After Effects will do an admirable job of it; you just don't know how to use After Effects properly, that's all:
  • Import the 23.976 footage into AE.
  • Double-check the frame rate by highlighting it in the project window; it it is NOT 23.976, mistakes were made earlier in the workflow, and you have to track them down. But let's assume it's okay.
  • Drag the footage onto the Make Comp Icon at the bottom of the project window
  • Double-check the comp frame rate to ensure it's 23.976; we'll assume it is.
  • Add the comp to the AE Render Queue. Under Render Settings select the proper field order (upper first for 1080, lower for SD).
  • Still in the Render Settings, find the Add 3:2 Pulldown dropdown and select any one of the 5 pulldown patterns. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHICH ONE YOU USE.
  • In the Output Module, select the desired codec. If there's also audio, check the box and select the appropriate sample rate and bit depth.
  • Save the project, hit the Render button, go do something else, and view with satisfaction on a proper video monitor when the render is complete.


Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Rafael Amador
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 7, 2012 at 9:25:28 am

[John Heagy] "If you are in fact shooting 24p then ideally you do need to do both the pulldown and 3:2 processes. In which case change the the Set duration from 100% to 100.100% via the menu setting 24@23.976 in Compressor. Make sure you are encoding the audio and not doing a pass through so the audio slowdown is rendered as well."
I think for p24 the best way is to conform the footage to 28,98.
The audio slow down is physically unnoticeable.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Tom Donnelly
RESOLVED - Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 7, 2012 at 12:14:35 pm

Thanks, guys, all very helpful info. The spots were encoded and delivered successfully. Just wanted to point out that the last 3-4 few replies in particular were instrumental in proper encoding for this particular workflow for those stumbling upon this post 3 years from now...a lot of the search results that I came up with before posting were not clear in their success, wanted to make sure that others with this issue know that this worked.

And now, the best part - the final invoice!


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John Heagy
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:59:16 pm

[Rafael Amador] "I think for p24 the best way is to conform the footage to 28,98.
The audio slow down is physically unnoticeable."


For a 30 sec spot in this case yes. For a 5 min or longer interview, absolutely not as the audio will drift out of sync.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:40:58 pm

[John Heagy] "For a 30 sec spot in this case yes. For a 5 min or longer interview, absolutely not as the audio will drift out of sync."
There is not any drift when conforming on CinemaTools.
Video and audio track keeps the same duration.
Video changes the time-base and audio changes the sample rate.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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John Heagy
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Feb 7, 2012 at 6:17:10 pm

[Rafael Amador] "Cinema Tools changes the sample rate."

I didn't think Cinema Tools did that... good to know.

Since CT does not render out a new movie, it is just a sample rate metadata change. If audio was recorded at 48K, a 24 to 23.97 conform would "pulldown" the audio to 47952. To avoid this one could record audio at 48048 so it would pulldown to 48000.

Compressor can pulldown to 47952, re-sample to 48000, and add 3:2 in one step.

John


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Kevin Reiner
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Nov 29, 2012 at 8:46:47 pm

Dave, thanks for this workflow. It just helped me out.

My videographer insists on shooting 24p even though I argue for 30p to make my life easier. (filmic shmilmic)

So should I just start with a 30p sequence and edit the 24 footage into it? Or should I make your method be the final step and stay 24 up to that point?

... and if so, what if I have an AE sequence that is to be edited into the spot? Do I do that in 29.97 or 24.98?

Mac Pro 2 x 3 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
32GB Memory
Dual-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel PCI Express card
Dell Display (23" flat panel)
ATI Radeon HD 5770
AJA Kona LSi SD/HD capture card
Rourke 16 TB
Flanders 2460

SOFTWARE
Mac OS X 10.6.5
FCP 7
After Effects CS5
Boris Continuum
Sapphire Plug Ins
All Trapcode Plugs
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John Heagy
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Nov 29, 2012 at 9:09:05 pm

[Kevin Reiner] "So should I just start with a 30p sequence and edit the 24 footage into it?"

No, edit in 24p and then add 3:2 to the finished 24p master. This is the only way to create an unbroken 3:2 cadence across edits.


[Kevin Reiner] "My videographer insists on shooting 24p even though I argue for 30p to make my life easier. (filmic shmilmic)
"


The "Cult of 24" is strong.

Hoping the 48fps Hobbit is able to deprogram those who suffer from it.

John


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Kevin Reiner
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Nov 29, 2012 at 9:26:00 pm

So even if I make a smooth 30p AE movie to be inserted into the 24p sequence, frames will be thrown out, just to add pull-down frames on final export.

Makes total sense. ;)

Mac Pro 2 x 3 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
32GB Memory
Dual-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel PCI Express card
Dell Display (23" flat panel)
ATI Radeon HD 5770
AJA Kona LSi SD/HD capture card
Rourke 16 TB
Flanders 2460

SOFTWARE
Mac OS X 10.6.5
FCP 7
After Effects CS5
Boris Continuum
Sapphire Plug Ins
All Trapcode Plugs
Zaxwerks Invig


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on Nov 29, 2012 at 9:47:16 pm

Yup, listen to John's wise advice on the workflow....

....AND about that frame rate stuff, too!

Ask yourself who's the boss when out on a shoot: you, who has to actually cut the footage, or your photog, who simply states a film school bias?

Personally, I like to shoot at 720p 60. You can cut at 59.94 for realtime motion, 29.97 for 30p internet files.

It's even cool at 23.976; the footage comes into a timeline at a perfect 3 frames / 2 frames cadence. Since most NLEs only look at the FIRST bit of footage in a frame, it works. I can also conform 60p footage to 23.976 for perfect slo-mo. Nice.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jeff Jordan
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on May 8, 2015 at 5:59:41 pm

I've been wondering, is there any way to convert from 24p to 29.97i that automatically recognizes cuts and will not use a mixed frame at the cut? Even when using AE, whenever a cut lands on an interlaced frame, it blends the two different images together into one interlaced frame. Or do most people just live with this artifact?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on May 11, 2015 at 6:43:44 pm

If 23.975 footage has been cut in a 23.976 timeline, there will be NO mixed frames at the cuts. When you add 3:2 pulldown to the 23.976 timeline you will indeed mixed frames because you're adding frames -- you're going from 23.976 to 29.97.

Ever see a movie on TV? That's how they do it. Ever watch a DVD? That's how they do it. Sure, you live with it.... you've been living with it all your life and didn't even know it!

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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John Heagy
Re: Compressor, "Optical Flow Technology," 24p to 29.97 - horrid artifacts - semi-rant
on May 11, 2015 at 11:43:08 pm

I think he understands that. He's asking if the 3:2 cadence can be "reset" at cut points to avoid mixed cuts. The only way to do this is process every shot separately then put it back together. This avoids mixed cuts buy creates broken cadence potentially at every cut across the show.

The best way is to edit the 24p timeline on frames that don't produce the mixed cuts.


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