Video Production Article from The Creative COW Magazine|
Lakewood California, USA
©2007 Michael Palmer and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
In this day and age where time is money, I've found a fast, affordable, all-digital alternative to native HDV workflows, featuring the somewhat clandestine and covert HDMI connection.
hile HDMI is a relatively new prosumer connection, it supports uncompressed HD signals together with multiple channels of audio. The only challenge has been getting a signal into your NLE using this HDMI connection.
Here's how to do it: the Convergent Design HD-Connect MI. I originally found information about Convergent Design
in the Cow forums over a year ago, and liked what I saw. I've always believed that digital hardware conversion offer advantages of quality and speed over software conversion, and the HD-Connect MI looked like the right fit for me.
(Although I use Apple Final Cut Studio
, the HD-Connect- MI has also been tested with Avid editing
applications, Adobe Premiere Pro
, Sony Vegas
, and Media 100
among others. It also works with the HDMI port on JVC products, not just the Sony gear I use.)
As a producer, I needed to shoot DV and deliver in DigiBeta for a national cable NASCAR program I created over 5 years ago. When the show started production, the highest-quality and most cost-effective way to convert on capture was with the Sony 1500a deck. I added an optional Sony SDI hardware decoder card to convert the DV to 8 bit uncompressed SD.
Now that our production has gone HD, I use the Sony HVR-V1U HDV camera to shoot. When I'm ready to edit, I send the HDMI signal from my Sony M25U deck into the HD-Connect MI. While the MI offers many conversion options, I use it to send HD-SDI into my Kona LHe capture card and on to Final Cut Studio 2.
The MI isn't just for capture. Both timecode and deck control come through RS-422, keeping all the timecode of my HD-SDI sources intact as it moves through FCS. The MI's cross-conversion does everything you'd want, so getting 1080 HD out of 720, or realt time downconverts are painless.
I found the MI's SD downconversion worked really well a few weeks ago on a local cable commercial I produced. We wanted to have HD for future use but needed to deliver in SD. The MI made this extremely easy from the start by simply capturing in uncompressed 8 bit SD: 1 step, all digital.
Another hardware conversion I regularly use is conversion to Apple ProRes inside my Intel Mac/FCS 2 system. I can capture my HDV footage to ProRes on the fly, to take advantage of the higher-colorspace rendering in ProRes, as well as the improved performance of I-frame video on my computer.
At the time I'm writing this, the MI's $595 MSRP makes it the cheapest ProRes capture hardware.
I believe I've also found the best way to use the Sony V1U camera with the HD-Connect MI for live capture to ProRes that bypasses HDV compression altogether. It's a bit of a “Ball and Chain” method, as you need to drag around a Mac Pro behind the camera, but here's how it works.
Let's say you have the Sony V1U connected via HDMI to the Convergent Design HD-Connect MI. Then you run a 100' HD-SDI cable into the Kona LHe card in a Mac Pro. The HDMI video and audio out of the live shot has never been processed at all, so the image is crystal clear.
You can use either FCP 6 or the AJA VTR Exchange software to capture to ProRes. You'll need proper storage, someone to operate the Mac Pro, and a constant AC power supply, but this is a small price to pay for live capture of the highest-quality images to ProRes.
The same workflow will work for capture directly to uncompressed HD. You won't need as new a computer or as powerful a processor - there's very little processing going on for uncompressed - but you'll need bigger and faster drives. Either way, live or recorded, you win with these products.
Michael's system specs:
- Apple Mac Pro 3Ghz,
- 5 Gigs Ram,
- 6-internal drives, 1-system drive and 5-500 gig Western Digital drives (2.5TB) set as RAID0 with specifically designed internal mounting hardware from www.maxupgrades.com
- AJA Kona LHe,
- Convergent Design HD-Connect MI,
- Apple 23” Cinema Display
- Apple Final Cut Studio 2
- Sony M25U deck and HVR-V1U and Z1U cameras
Los Angeles, California
Michael Palmer has been a film production professional since 1981, working mainly as a Gaffer lighting for features, episodic TV and commercials shot on film. A member of the IA, Local 728 LA & 52 NYC, he started producing 5 years ago when he created a national cable NASCAR show for Fox Sports SPEED Channel.
Find more great Creative COW Magazine articles by signing up for the complimentary Creative COW Magazine.
Denver Colorado, USA
©2009 Mike Schell and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
Convergent Design's Mike Schell on HDMI
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is projected to become the interconnect for TVs, set-top boxes, DVD players, consumer camcorders, and digital cameras, with an estimated 60 million HDMI-enabled devices shipping this year.
HDMI transmits uncompressed SD or HD video (up to 1080p) and up to 8 channels of high quality (192KHz) 24-bit audio over a single digital connection.
Think of it as DVI + audio + optional HDCP (High Definition Content Protection), with some significant improvements to potential video resolution and quality. For example, HDMI offers embedded audio (up to 8 channels of PCM or Dolby 5.1/7.1 compressed audio), and 10-Bit YCbCr 4:2:2 or 4:4:4, as compared to only 8-bit RGB 4:4:4 on DVI).
HDMI is also an evolving standard. The most recent spec now has about 3X the required bandwidth for 1080p60 video and audio, plenty of room to grow for future formats.
|Related Articles / Tutorials:|
Best Nonlinear Editing System Report
As the three companies showing their best wares in the Nonlinear Editing System category vie for attention in the broadcasting and post-production world at NAB 2010, some of the glitter caught Walter Biscardi's eye, but others left him wondering if they can keep up. Read on for more insight on what he saw at NAB...
Review, People / Interview
|In-Stadium Sports Television|
In this article from The Creative COW Magazine, Matt Montemayor gives a behind the scends look at BravesVision, the in-house video production team for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. Matt describes the parts and process that makes the whole show happen from the switchers and software to the stats display and the largest HD display in the world.
|14 Terabytes of Burnin' Love|
Elvis Presley Enterprises took its video production in-house - into Graceland, one of the most famous houses in the world. But with 14TB of archived film and video, they're already running out of room...
People / Interview
|Non-fiction TV Production|
We often know each other in the Cow from the problems and solutions we share with each other, and very rarely the WORK that we actually do. Allow us to introduce then, a handful of Cows involved in various aspects of non-fiction television production. This covers everything from food and fishing to creating tasteful head wounds. With over 550,000 people passing through the Cow, this is only a brief introduction, but we have to start somewhere, dont we?
|11 Deadlines a Day|
Andrea found herself with her hands more than full during an unplanned personnel shortage at WJLA, Washington DC affiliate of ABC: so, responsible for creating all the news promos for the sweeps run of the ABC affilate, 11 times daily, she leveraged all her best methods. What happened at 5 PM on the last day of sweeps? Lets see...
|Read The Book! Real-world Broadcast Specs|
Your TV show isn't ready to air until the STATION says it's ready to air. The good news is that they're clear about what they want from you. Longtime TV vet and Creative COW leader Walter Biscardi tells you some of the things to look for...and some of the things to look OUT for.
|Recent Articles / Tutorials:|
Art of the Edit
TV Workflow Supervisor Kylee PeÃ±a: The Benefits of Pressure
TV workflow supervisor Kylee PeÃ±a (Jane the Virgin, Colony) visits Adobe's "Make It" talk show to chat with host Jason Levine about the evolution of motion picture workflows, from the days of film and tape to our modern digital world of crazy-high shooting ratios and constantly evolving technology. She also expounds on the upside to creative constraints and tight deadlines. And donâ€™t miss the lightning round!!!
Feature, People / Interview
Grading The LEGO Batman Movie: Animal Logic and FilmLight
Following successful collaborations on The Matrix, Legends of the Guardians, and Happy Feet, Sydney's Animal Logic worked with Warner Bros on The LEGO Movie from pitch to proof of concept to post. Animal Logic has gone even further on the latest LEGO animated feature, The LEGO Batman Movie, where they were embedded with the production for over a year. The range of their work pushed every aspect of the Baselight system for editorial, VFX, and HDR not just for post, but for the entire production process.
An Editor's Epic Journey, by Katie Toomey
What do you do when your company folds and there's no local work? Whatever you have to. For Katie Toomey, that meant emptying her savings and heading 2000 miles west to Los Angeles, with no job in hand. The only options were make it or break it. The journey itself was difficult, but the hardest part may have been the only thing that made it all possible: asking for help. This is a truly inspiring story with tons of real-world examples of how to accomplish what feels impossible at the time.
Fairlight + Resolve, Part 1: The DAWn of a Resolved Era
Marco Solorio of OneRiver Media gives an introductory overview to the rebirth of the Fairlight digital audio workstation (DAW) that is now part of Blackmagic Designâ€™s powerful DaVinci Resolve post-production system. Is this finally the solution to break away from the Pro Tools stronghold?
Review, Editorial, Feature