Panasonic Cameras Forum
need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by Kim Rowley on Jun 13, 2008 at 8:47:00 am

I am in PAL land and work for a worldwide non profit organization. We are both the client and the shop so all raw footage and Masters are archived for future use. I have worked for years in video production and for the past 10 years we have been able to sustain a DigiBeta SDI workflow through and through. Now however our DVW700 after 10 years of faithful service is ready to retire and we need to replace it. Logical step is to inch into HD, right? I am writing on this forum since we are interested in replacing the DVW 700 with the HPX3000.

We have an OB Van that shoots live events, recording to DigiBeta 4:3. The fotage of the current 700 is integrated into projects and documentaries. I'll add that we have always strived to maintain great picture quality, though cannot afford to go full HD all at once. So we're looking at a hybrid situation for the near future.

I's necessary to note too that all our archive (5000 or so tapes) is all on Digibeta 4:3 and we constantly access archive tapes for current projects. Our final Masters for the time being will still be SD. We will be able to go 16:9 slowly but surely, but remaining in SD.

Before considering workflow, how does the 3000 measure up to DigiBeta as far as quality goes. I know that depends on codec... Say I shot SD 4:3 with the DCPRO50 codec. Would that be totally ludicrous?

What other options do I have? Shoot HD and then downconvert? Where and how does the downconversion happen? I guess I could archive both the HD footage as well as the SD converted footage.

Could anyone with more experience on these issues offer some guidance?

Let's just start with these questions for now.

I thank anybody who has taken the time to read this and also those who respond!
Cheers!




Dual 2.7 GHz G5, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9650, Xserve RAID, AJA IO, 2 20" Cinema Display, FCP Studio 2 (6.02), OS X10.4.11


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by Nate Stephens on Jun 13, 2008 at 12:11:16 pm

Shooting SD with a 3000 will put you at the top of the comics page.

Why not set your non-profit sights a little more reasonable. Get a HPX500 buy the end of June, $2K-rebate, and then have enough money left over to go all HD... The HPX500 will not disappoint your eyes if you are used to digi-beta. It is 422 color and very clean.


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by David Wulzen on Jun 13, 2008 at 6:20:20 pm

[Before I start, I would cross-post this in both the FCP and Kona forums. There are a lot more, and experienced, minds in both]

Surprisingly enough, I'm in almost the same exact boat as you. I also work for a non-profit with a huge archive of footage, mostly on BetaSP for some of the older material, working up to DigiBeta for the last several years or so. We are slowly working our way into the HD field, emphasis on the slowly...

In our quest to search for the proper HD format to shoot in, for ease of use and relative low cost hardware wise, we have been shooting in Panasonic's P2 format with an HVX-200. Personally this poses a couple issues, especially when it comes to combining the newly acquired HD content with the existing SD material, as well as the matter of archiving. One step at a time though.

I work with FCP, importing through a Kona LHe, which for the most part does everything I need it to do, execept for seamlessly combining HD and SD. I should start off too by saying I don't know the ins and outs (no pun intended) of the Kona IO, but I believe it's in the same boat as the LHe, if not worse off. If you are shooting HD in a P2 format, and want to combine it with SD footage, I have found one viable (and realistic) option, and that involves downconverting your HD content to a Digibeta through a Kona card and then re-capturing it into an SD timeline with your pre-existing SD footage.

Needless to say, this is not ideal. In my situation, we are shooting one to three hour interviews and this is a huge consumer of time when dealing with several of these. Ok, plan two:

Get a Kona 3 card, and upconvert all of your SD footage to match your recently shot HD content. That way you can work natively with P2 material using log and transfer (already a time saver) and you aren't doing mass downconversions to tape. Herein lies the issue though: archiving.

Granted, digital storage is becoming cheaper and cheaper, but on a personal level keeping all of your footage archived in a digital format such as P2, no matter how many different locations you store it, makes me unspeakably nervous. You will find just as many people out there that feel the opposite, but it freaks me out.

Soooo, here's my suggestion, which is the direction I think we are going to head in as well: move to HD Cam, get a Kona 3 card to do up/down/cross conversions across both SD and HD formats, and get a legacy VTR that can play and record HD Cam, as well as do playback of DigiBeta. This is by no means the cheapest way to do things, and will continue to keep costs up since you are not moving in a tapeless direction, however I think it gives you the best of both worlds. And if you do shoot anything in P2, you can still maintain the HD quality (and your peace of mind) by dumping it off to an HD Cam tape for archival purposes.

I hope that this wasn't too longwinded, and if anyone reading this has any input as well, I'm more than happy to hear it. This is only one way of looking at things, and if there is one thing I have learned making the transition to HD is that there are endless combinations depending on your situation.

Good luck and keep me posted!

-David Wulzen
Editor/Assistant Producer, Film and Video
Experience Music Project
Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
Seattle, WA


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by John Fishback on Jun 13, 2008 at 10:30:47 pm

I second Nates suggestion about the HPX500. We've had one about a year and couldn't be happier. The savings between that cam and a 3000 will buy you a lot of additional gear as suggested by David.

However, as far as P2 goes, once you treat it as an IT workflow, you can be safe. Tape or film can burn up, be stolen, etc. Files stored in multiple locations are more secure IMO. In a year of P2 shooting we've had no issues. The workflow is considerably faster than tape, particularly when injesting selects, since you capture faster than real time from P2 media.

We have produced a number of projects in DVC Pro HD. We have a setup similar to yours with 2 Cinema displays. We have used one of the displays with a MXO to monitor HD which worked rather well, but there are times we really need the screen real estate and so we're upgrading to a Mac Pro with Kona3 and TV-Logic monitor.

We intend to produce everything in HD, even though most of our clients currently request SD relesaes. We see that changing over the next few years, so client archives will be compatible with HD releases in the future.

Good luck with your decisions.

John

Dual 2.5 G5 4 gigs RAM OS 10.4.8 QT7.1.3
Dual Cinema 23 Radeon 9800
FCP Studio 5 (FCP5.1.4, DVDSP4.1.1, Comp2.3, STP1.1, Motion 2.1.2)
Huge U-320R 1TB Raid 3 firmware ENG15.BIN
ATTO UL4D driver 3.50
AJA IO driver 2.1 firmware v23-28
Pro Tools HD w 192 Digital, SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neuman U87s, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by Kim Rowley on Jun 14, 2008 at 7:40:17 am

Thanks to all three. Hearing the different options backed up by your personal experience is valuable and gives great food for thought. If we did decide to upgrade all 4 edit stations to Master in HD, what is the best way of finishing to DVD. At present we are doing the encode via hardware in a separate workstation straight from the Digital Beta Master. The authoring is done then with DVD studio Pro. In other words once the final edit is laid back to tape, the job is off to other departments - quality contro included.

What are you all seeing that "works". Since we have worldwide distribution (to many third world countries as well) the DVD still needs to be distributed in SD.

Then there is the whole archiving issue that would need addressing (as you so knowingly agree David) but one issue at a time!

Thanks all.


Dual 2.7 GHz G5, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9650, Xserve RAID, AJA IO, 2 20" Cinema Display, FCP Studio 2 (6.02), OS X10.4.11


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by David Wulzen on Jun 15, 2008 at 7:27:03 pm

Hi Kim-

Again, I think we are more or less in the same boat. Currently I also do all (well, most, depending on the project) of our DVD encoding through an Optibase hardware encoder straight from the DigiBeta master. Compressor works alright but it also takes up time from my edit machine and honestly I have never gotten it to look as good as what I can get out of a hardware based encoder.

Maybe someone with more experience can chime in, but it sounds like the best option still resides in getting a Kona 3 card, and having that flexibility of doing down/up/cross conversions. By keeping your existing DigiBeta decks hooked up, you can take your HD master and downconvert it to a SD DigiBeta for DVD encoding. Granted, this does create one more step in the process, but I think it would yield the best results.

I guess I should also ask if you were planning on making an SD master tape for archiving as well? If you are then it almost seems like a given to go this way. If not, well, then it's still an option.

One thing I don't know however is whether or not an HD hardware encoder would have the capability to make an SD version off of your HD master. My guess is no, but if somebody knows...

How are you doing archiving at the moment? That would be a good place to start.

-David Wulzen


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by John Fishback on Jun 15, 2008 at 7:56:56 pm

Another thought is to take the downconverted SD from the Kona card and send it directly to the hardware encoder. This would work if the Kona card (via FCP) is able to control the hardware encoder with RS-422.

John

Dual 2.5 G5 4 gigs RAM OS 10.4.8 QT7.1.3
Dual Cinema 23 Radeon 9800
FCP Studio 5 (FCP5.1.4, DVDSP4.1.1, Comp2.3, STP1.1, Motion 2.1.2)
Huge U-320R 1TB Raid 3 firmware ENG15.BIN
ATTO UL4D driver 3.50
AJA IO driver 2.1 firmware v23-28
Pro Tools HD w 192 Digital, SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neuman U87s, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by Kim Rowley on Jun 16, 2008 at 7:32:06 am

As always, thanks David and John. I m going to start voicing all of these ideas this week within our organization. It's incredible David how our workflows are so similar. We, for the same reason as you, don't tie up our edit bays with the encoding and authoring process.

We archive all Digital Beta Masters (which is usually) the same copy as the one used for encoding. We also archive EDL's and on particularly complex projects we'll save the different audio channels before mixdown to CD's. Sometimes too we'll output a Digital Beta master with audio tracks kept separately.

We also shotlist and archive all raw footage. The shotlist is done with Imagine Product's WinTEP. Then that data is dumped into Access for now where we have a makeshift database which allows for very basic searches (date, place, names ecc) all dependent on how specific the shotlist was done. We are a small shop of dedicated people but the archiving side of things is a mammoth task. We are currently researching archive solutions to put everything on server. Just that research in and of itself is time consuming. I'd love to hear how you are going about this if you get time...

So up til now the Kona solution seems like the best option. I'd have to see then though the best way of archiving the HD Master without buying a HD CAM recorder. I don't know anything about that end of things yet. That is (now that the SD DigiBeta master is taken care of) once I've finished my edit what is the best way to output and archive the tapeless HD master?

Have a great week!



Dual 2.7 GHz G5, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9650, Xserve RAID, AJA IO, 2 20" Cinema Display, FCP Studio 2 (6.02), OS X10.4.11


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by Joe Trepanier on Jun 19, 2008 at 1:25:33 pm

Hi John,

About needing the extra real estate and having the MXO taking up an extra monitor. One option available to you is the product DualHead2Go from Matrox Graphics Inc.
This unit attachs to the primary head of the graphic card and is seen by the system as a monitor with the ability to do larger resolutions such as 3840x1200 (dual 1920x1200). You can then attach two monitors to the DualHead2Go and be driving both off the primary head leaving the secondary head for the MXO.
With that set up you can have your 2 monitor desktop real estate and the MXO.


cheers,


Joe





Joseph Trepanier
Matrox Video Products Group
Product Specialist


Re: need direction! - migration away from DigiBeta SD
by John Fishback on Jun 19, 2008 at 3:43:14 pm

Thanks, Joe. I hadn't thought of that.

John

Dual 2.5 G5 4 gigs RAM OS 10.4.8 QT7.1.3
Dual Cinema 23 Radeon 9800
FCP Studio 5 (FCP5.1.4, DVDSP4.1.1, Comp2.3, STP1.1, Motion 2.1.2)
Huge U-320R 1TB Raid 3 firmware ENG15.BIN
ATTO UL4D driver 3.50
AJA IO driver 2.1 firmware v23-28
Pro Tools HD w 192 Digital, SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neuman U87s, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN





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