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Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?

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Michael Moreau
Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:24:55 pm

Here's the deal, 99% of my work is weddings and other events where the final product is going to DVD. Most folks apparently still don't have blu ray players and in the last three years have only been asked once to create a blu ray.

Well, I started using DSLRs a couple of years back and recently replaced a Sony FX7 with a Canon XA10 and now I find that I'm having to edit everything in HD (which slows down the editing process and consumes massive amounts of disc space) when it's totally not necessary.

So the question is, is there any way to force FCP to import the files from the XA10 (AVCHD 1920x1080) in standard definition? I've tried using MPEG Streamclip and several other conversion applications to batch convert them for me, but I can never seen to come across the perfect setting. The footage always seems to either come out blocky, pixelated, apparent interlace lines....something.

I've tried converting to DV codec...but I have to do 853x480 because of the way DV handles the strange "anamorphic" aspect of DV 16:9. DV codec also has nasty jagged edges which I cant stand. I've also tried going to 720x480 ProRes but it comes out 4:3 (which totally baffles me since 720x480 is the exact pixel size of a widescreen DVD, 640x480 being non-widescreen).

So pretend for a moment that you shot an entire job on an XA10 in AVCHD 1920x1080 60i and you want to edit for DVD. What workflow would you follow? (other than editing in HD and resizing it in compressor).

Thanks!


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Rafael Amador
Re: Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Dec 18, 2012 at 1:58:56 am

[Michael Moreau] "So pretend for a moment that you shot an entire job on an XA10 in AVCHD 1920x1080 60i and you want to edit for DVD. What workflow would you follow? (other than editing in HD and resizing it in compressor)."
I don't know why you don't want to edit in HD and downscale later on, but that's the proper workflow to fallow.
Other than that you can L&T and edit on an SD sequence.

[Michael Moreau] "So the question is, is there any way to force FCP to import the files from the XA10 (AVCHD 1920x1080) in standard definition?"No. L&T is just a transcoding process; no resizing.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Michael Moreau
Re: Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Dec 18, 2012 at 4:31:53 am

Ok, so how do I accomplish what I'm trying to do? I want to work in standard definition since it means smaller file-sizes and faster renders.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Dec 18, 2012 at 6:16:17 am

[Michael Moreau] "Ok, so how do I accomplish what I'm trying to do? I want to work in standard definition since it means smaller file-sizes and faster renders."
Yes, less time to render your final movie, but more time on downscaling the whole of your footage. Good quality downscaling in Compressor, may takes longer than rendering on FC.

If you want to edit SD, you will need to convert first your AVCHD stuff to Prores (FCs L&T, ClipWrap). Forget about DV (your footage is already compressed, if you convert it to DV, and the makes an MPEG-2 for the DVD, you will get crap).
Then you will have to downscale it. The best option is Compressor. MPGSTreamclip makes good job too. Probably you haven't used the proper settings. Export always to Prores. Other good option to get smaller files and easy FC editing, would be PhotoJPEG at 75% quality.

The only reason I would go the SD way is if had no storage space.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Michael Moreau
Re: Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:10:03 pm

Well, having spent years editing SD projects in the DV codec I know that SD stuff not only takes less hard drive space but also renders and exports WAY faster and I miss the speed. I just don't see the point of editing HD only to output to DVD each and every time.

A recent wedding project (all in HD) took up over 200gb of hard drive space and took HOURS to export from the timeline to a self-contained Quicktime file....when the same project in SD probably would have been less than 100gb of disc space and exported in like 45 minutes.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:32:48 pm

[Michael Moreau] "Well, having spent years editing SD projects in the DV codec I know that SD stuff not only takes less hard drive space but also renders and exports WAY faster and I miss the speed. I just don't see the point of editing HD only to output to DVD each and every time."
I've been years shooting DV and making DVDs for mi clients too.
Now I shoot HD, master in Prores HD rendering in "High Precision" color grade in Color and then I downscale with SHAKE to make my DVDs.
I could had keep shooting in DV and making things easier for me, but the quality I achieve now and the product I give to my client has nothing to with what I used to get when I shot DV. That's call evolution.

[Michael Moreau] "A recent wedding project (all in HD) took up over 200gb of hard drive space and took HOURS to export from the timeline to a self-contained Quicktime file....when the same project in SD probably would have been less than 100gb of disc space and exported in like 45 minutes"
You are right. Convert everything to SD before editing. See how long will take you to downscale everything to SD before editing and see which workflow is better.
I'm not trying to convince you which way is better. I just told you how I would do it and why. The rest is up to you.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Sascha Engel
Re: Any way to import AVCHD as standard definition ProRes?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 3:30:38 pm

Hi Raphael,

I totally have to back you up on this one...Shooting in HD and then immediately downscaling is a bit like driving a Ferrari with a VW Beatle motor inside.
I do agree with Michael, that most Compression Software does a crapy job in down scaling. Even MPEG Streamclip. I just did a whole test series: It does a nice job on edges, aliasing and moiret, but is totally unacceptable when it comes to truthfulness to Color and making the footage way darker, often crushing the Blacks.
If you do not have the money for a good Black Magic or AJA card to downscale hardware related, it's a tough call.
What is the story about Shake? I keep hearing that from you, Raphael.
Are there still copies to get? Shake is complicated - will I easily understand how to use it for downscaling footage? Because I am very sad about results I get from FC, Motion, After Effects, Streamclip and Compressor as well as Episode.

I love my HD projects, when I upload them on YT and VIMEO, but on SD DVD they look way worse than SD Footage worked onto a DVD - I have to agree with Michael there.


Greetings,


Sascha


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