Recapturing HDV, Can it be done?
COW Library : Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy Tutorials : David Battistella : Recapturing HDV, Can it be done?
CreativeCOW.net contributing editor and leader, David Battistella, explores the question of recapturing HDV. He'd seen so many posts, so much talk about HDV format and the problems incurred, so David has taken the time to test a couple of workflows. Here's David's report.
RECAPTURING HDV- Can it be done?
The night shots were good for exposing grain and pixel blocking. All of the footage was shot using the SONY HDRFX1 camera.
Once the footage was captured and cut, we went into online mode, using the media manager (believe it or not, it actually does work) I created an offline sequence for recapture.
Now many people have also said that media manager is broken in FCP 5.0, but as fellow grazer Michael Alberts pointed out to me: the media manager does not really work properly when the media is offline . If the media you are trying to create the offline for is offline, then the media manager will not trim properly. So make sure you create your offline with the project online . In this case the media manger worked really well.
So, next was to create the new project:
and poof!!! Here are the two projects before media manager:
Let's get the deck rolling.
For the first test, we had the deck recapture everything via the firewire stream. This is how HDV was designed so this was also a worst case scenario test, in that if you lost your media and had to recapture it, you could.
I selected the sequence hit batch capture and started feeding FCP the tapes it was asking me for. When we were all done we went to the timelines.
First I played back the original sequence from the original test. Then I played back the recaptured sequence as a comparison. They were SPOT ON! I was a bit taken aback. I had heard so many stories of slippage, dropped frames, on and on. Was it true? Only one way to find out. I started to copy TC from the original sequence and paste it into the new sequence. This is a beautiful way to compare frames in FCP and I do it all the time when I am comparing online and offline footage.
Here's how you do it.
Copy this TC value
Switch to the other sequence and paste it in there. Now just by flipping tabs you can see if you are in sync. Not quite as easy in AVID .
Now, I didn't do a frame by frame test but I checked about 20 frames at different sections and on different shots and they all were SPOT ON!! Imagine my shock and amazement.
So the myth was debunked and I had proved myself wrong! That is so satisfying! So the HDV was successfully recaptured via the firewire stream.
What if I wanted to recapture it using the DVCPROHD codec. Maybe that codec is a better color space for this online? Maybe I could do more effects with my KONA card? Maybe I would get more RT if I did that?
Following the same media manager steps, I created an offline sequence for the DVCPROHD codec and I captured that.
Gasp! I know some of you are saying, “how can that be, you can't do that via the firewire stream.” You are all right, you can't. This is where the DeckLink Multibridge comes in.
We took the analog outputs of the HDV deck the Multibridge and used it as out capture device. Then we realized that the HDV deck does not have an RS-422 deck control. At this point we though we were beat because when I selected HDV as the deck control it would not show up. Then I tried to switch to a regular firewire device control.
Neat trick, eh? This allowed us to capture the HDV source to any codec we wanted WITH DECK CONTROL. So we did two more tests. One with the DVCPRO HD codec and then we captured some 10-BIT uncompressed footage with the same workflow. WOW! An offline online solution for HDV .
There are a few oddities to report. One would assume that the 10-bit uncompressed footage would actually look better on screen than the HDV codec but this was not the case. The footage that we capture to the DVCPRO HD codec and to Uncompressed 10-bit was noticeably, visually “softer” than when viewing the native HDV .
A NOTE FROM THE
The HDV codec is what I would describe as a “playback” codec. It looks fine playing back, but once you want to do anything to it -- and let's face it, nothing leaves a post facility without being manipulated or trans-coded or rendered in some way -- then it starts to fall apart and reveal its weakness.
The DVCPRO HD and Uncompressed 10-bit codec's respond better to multi generational processing, so in the long run, finished shows will look much better. This is not just opinion but has been factually proven by color conversion experts.
I am sure by now there are many of you out there recapturing HDV footage on a daily basis. What remains to be seen is whether this format will be an acceptable Broadcast HD format. The biggest question is whether people will just accept it as a new standard. Right now it seems that it is kind of in "no man's land", it's not quite HD but it looks great in SD. While it is being widely adopted and looks great in SD, it remains to be seen if it is a true HD solution. I guess it is the same way people did not accept DV as a viable format on it's release. Then, of course there will be Panasonic's latest HD offereing sometime in the new year.
I may output this test to HDCAM and have the tape Quality Controlled by a QC house to see if this format will be accepted by the various HD broadcasters. Many specify that only a percentage HDV material can be included in the finished show. Of course, many of us will do what we can to find new solutions.
One thing is for sure. I proved myself wrong and discovered that all is not lost if the HDV needs to be recaptured. Since I did these tests a product has been introduced to get machine control out of the Sony Deck. Many users are now using the Addenda RS-4/L to give RS422 control to the Sony HDV VTR. You can view the adapter here, http://www.addenda-elect.com/controll.htm . It costs about 150.00 USD .
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