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Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)

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Chris King
Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 22, 2012 at 12:05:48 am

Hey all,

I'm working on a doc for TV and have some questions about the online which is coming right up!

We're delivering to a network in two weeks, and they gave us a strict RT of 67:30 comprised of 8 acts. The length of the individual Acts are not as strict, but we do have to be sure our 3rd Act finishes by 46:40.

The issue is that we're editing in a 29.97 timebase but will be delivering to 23.98. I've heard that changing timebases will alter the length. Considering we have such specific guidelines for length that could be catastrophic were we to deliver a "correct length" to the online house, only to find out we're a minute over/under at time of delivery.

Anyone know if there are steps to deal with this, or if we can calculate those differences ahead of time?

Thanks!!


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Shane Ross
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 22, 2012 at 12:33:42 am

If you are delivering 23.98, why are you cutting 29.97? Is the footage 29.97?

You cannot just change the timebase from 29.97 to 23.98...not in FCP. That will cause issues. How do you intend to convert the timebase?

OK...the issue facing these two formats is that 29.97 can be...usually is...drop frame timecode. So that you have accurate timing. 23.98 is NON-DROP ONLY...so you can't get accurate timing. When I have to edit 23.98, I figure out what my non-drop time needs to be in order to hit the 29.97 drop frame time requirement. For when the network says "we want this TRT," it is always meant as REAL time. So you might be fine there, as you edited 29.97. so the timings should be right.

My concern about this post is how you are intending to go from 29.97 to 23.98...

Typically when we have a 23.98 master deliverable, we shoot and edit 23.98, and figure out what the time in non-drop needs to be in order to hit the 29.97 drop frame timing.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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jerry wise
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 22, 2012 at 5:08:25 pm

i'm curious why a U.S.A. broadcast tv station would want a program delivered with a 23.98 timebase? We always deliver 29.97 drop frame.


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Shane Ross
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 22, 2012 at 5:22:40 pm

23.98 is a universal mastering format. YOu can make 29.97 masters with it, and for overseas sales...which are a huge part of Discovery, Nat Geo and History CHannel shows (more networks too), 23.98 to 25fps is also an easy conversion.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Chris King
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 22, 2012 at 7:55:31 pm

Yeah you nailed it, Shane, the network (Investigation Discovery) is prepping for international delivery when and if needed.

To your question of why edit 29.97 if we're going to 23.98--it's an independent doc shot over the course of several years on varying formats (of course), and the finishing editor and I (assistant editor) only came on a few weeks ago after much of the work had already been done, and all of it in 29.97 which is what most of the footage is in.

So the plan is to deliver our 29.97 sequence to the online house at which locale our cut will be conformed to 23.98 for delivery to ID. The online house said this is fine, though how that happens I'm somewhat murky on---will they have to convert the raw files individually? What then of sync/RT issues? Things I hope to understand.

So you say TRT shouldn't be affected then if we're cutting in 29.97 drop frame (which we are)? Good to know, though I want to understand it a little better before locking. Thanks for all your help, hopefully we smooth these wrinkles of questions out.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 22, 2012 at 9:41:09 pm

Ugh, you're caught between a rock and a hard place, I fear.

Conforming 29.97 footage to 23.976 results in two unwanted things:
1) The footage slows down. This means existing timings are way off, and the entire program becomes longer.
2) Ugliness ensues from interlacing.

The best way to do this is with a frame rate conversion, and it won't be for the fait of heart. You're not going to like this....

....you have to use frame rate conversion software like Twixtor on duplicates of the footage used in the show, converting 29.97 to 23.976. Give yourself handles. Here's the really painful part: you have to re-cut the entire show in a 23.976 edit timeline. You can't do it automatically, because there will be no useful time code to facilitate some sort of magical re-linking.

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


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Joseph Owens
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:10:34 am

Ugh is right. I converted a 1920x1080 2997 feature (shot in original 2997) to 25PAL last year. Cut it into 5 reels cinema-style and used multiple machines to do the FRC. It was acceptable coming out of Compressor with the "better" filter, but it still took a combined 85 hours. Seemed like if I wanted to use the "best" setting, the render estimate was "add a zero" onto the total time, and three weeks seemed excessive.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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Lori Freitag
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Mar 5, 2012 at 7:13:00 pm

Actually, this is true that you can use Twixtor to do the frame rate conversion but you may be able to also use an option in Twixtor called "marking segments" to mark each edit point if it is cuts only. It is a little time consuming but less time consuming than re-doing the edit. Dissolves or other transitions won't work with Mark Segments though.


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Chris King
Re: Switching my editing timebase from 29.97 to 23.98----will my Act lengths change? (for TV delivery)
on Apr 5, 2012 at 8:35:26 pm

Hey guys, thought I'd follow up for everyone's reference in the future.

Looks like Dave was right about having to convert the footage shot by shot from start to finish. However I count my lucky stars because the online house ended up doing the entire process for us...I asked the head of the facility if they had to convert every piece of footage in the show from 29.97 to 23.98 and he just said, "Yep" and sipped his coffee. Good man...

A funny coda however is that--regarding my initial question--he said we had nothing to fear about timing. Since the broadcast will eventually happen in 29.97 anyway, the timing of our cut at picture lock should be perfect, despite any frame rate conversions done to create the master. Basically, the show's going from 29.97 to 23.98 back to 29.97. Making our original timing correct.

I didn't have time for get more info, but thought I'd share. However this now makes me curious about delivering a show that was shot in 23.98 that will be broadcast at 29.97. I guess Shane touched on it, with the method of obtaining TRT from the network and making the 23.98 sequence match that. Still, the prospect makes me anxious ages ahead of time.

Thanks for all the feedback guys


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