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Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?

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Phil SmithDelivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 6, 2012 at 10:24:21 pm

Backstory: I just received all of the footage from a shoot for an upcoming event. I was told that the footage that I would be receiving would be from Alexas in 29.97df. Instead, the footage is in 23.98.

The client states that the goal here is to preserve the "film look" that they saw on set. Fortunately, the DIT did save the LUTs for me, so I can see what they saw.

This piece will be round-trip from an edit in FCP7, and effects will be done in AE. We are now finishing color in SpeedGrade. There will be clips in 29.97 SD, some in 1080i HD29.97 , and now this 23.98p footage.

Since I will be delivering this spot to domestic outlets like DirecTV, Dish, Cox, etc. etc...
My question is: Can I deliver these masters to most outlets as a 23.98 HD spot? OR would it be a much better idea to start with the idea that I should deliver these at 29.97 (and take all of the 23.98 and add pulldown now, etc).

I have had numerous conversations with engineers etc. and have been given a wide range of opinions - everything to "Stations and trucks will not accept anything other than 29.97..." to "23.98 is no problem at all!"

For this project, I have all kinds of tools at my disposal, including Telestream Episode, Compressor, AJA Konas , AfterEffects CS5 & 6 and more. I can even buy something else if needed. I'm just looking for some opinions as to how I should conform all this footage going forward.

Thanks in advance for any help.

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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Tom DaigonRe: Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 7, 2012 at 2:23:32 am

You need to contact the distributors you mentioned directly and get a spec sheet from their engineers or programming department. They might all have different requirements. Dont assume anything.

Tom Daigon
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http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com





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Dave LaRondeRe: Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 7, 2012 at 5:13:15 pm

[Phil Smith] "...I was told that the footage that I would be receiving would be from Alexas in 29.97df. Instead, the footage is in 23.98....
This piece will be round-trip from an edit in FCP7, and effects will be done in AE. We are now finishing color in SpeedGrade. There will be clips in 29.97 SD, some in 1080i HD29.97 , and now this 23.98p footage."


I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you consult with the editor on the delivery frame rate. Frankly, it's a good thing that the Alexa footage is at 23.976. Please note that I wrote 23.976 and not 23.98; the latter frame rate designation is simply shorthand for the actual frame rate, 23.976. This is the frame rate at which you should do the AE work.

So why is 23.976 a good frame rate for you? Any motion in your AE project will precisely match the motion of the film-frame-rate footage. If it had been 29.97, you would have had to remove the 3:2 pulldown prior to AE work.

How tough is it to reintroduce pulldown should the delivery specs require it? It's very easy: add the 23.976 AE comp to the Render Queue, open the Render Settings, select "Add Pulldown" or whatever it says, and pick one of the 5 pulldown patterns. I like the first one you see. Don't forget the proper field order for 1080 if you do this: it's Upper Field First.

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


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 7, 2012 at 7:35:33 pm

For the Alexa footage I would do all my work at 23.976 fps and at the very end add the pull down and introduce those clips in my master.
To be safe I would keep the master edit at 29.97fps

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Bill StephanRe: Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 8, 2012 at 7:36:58 pm

Phil,

Delivery of commercial spots for broadcast is always done at the broadcast standard of the station/network/cable net (1080/59.94i or 720/59.94P for U.S. HD or NTSC for U.S. SD). Some outlets will require HD or SD only, and others require both an HD and an SD copy.

For an event screening, use any standard that the playback equipment will accomodate. To preserve the "film look" of the original footage, you probably will want to screen @ 1080/23.976P.

Standard production workflow for both long-form and commercial spots is to master @ 1080/23.976P and then standards convert the master to all formats required for delivery.

Bill Stephan
Senior Editor/DVD Author
USA Studios
New York City


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Dave LaRondeRe: Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 8, 2012 at 7:51:28 pm

I wholeheartedly agree: you deliver the file according to the delivery specs.

However, since the OP is delivering to an editor and not for air, his delivery specs may differ from final delivery specs. Hence the reason for consulting with the editor, who presumably knows what's needed.

If not, there are more fundamental problems in this AE Artist to Editor collaboration.

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


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Phil SmithRe: Delivering in 23.98 - Easy or Hard?
by on Oct 8, 2012 at 8:02:14 pm

Yup, that's pretty accurate. I wish that I was the editor, I would just take the bull by the horns and go... but, political issues aside:

I was looking for a rather general idea of how to protect us against any delivery issues... this is a client that usually starts with delivery to around 20 outlets - and by the time the event promotion is done, we're up to 60-70 deliveries. Some of these are international outlets, so that further complicates the matter.

We have elected to go the route that Bill suggested, since everyone (esp. editor) is familiar with the process, and it looks like our client is on board now as well. The majority of the outlets have responded with an "OK" from the tech side as well.

Thanks again to all of you for the advice!

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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