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High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers
A How To Guide for Digital Filmmakers
Welcome all! This is my blog to share my latest research,
thoughts, etc. on utilizing HD for independent filmmaking.
YES, I am available for consulting
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
From the article:
Xsan combines breakthrough performance with Apple’s legendary ease-of-use for customers who require scalable, high-speed access to centralized shared data for video workflow and storage consolidation. The 64-bit cluster file system for Mac OS X will enable organizations to consolidate storage resources and provide multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel.
Um, yeah, whatever. What we care about is high speed shared access to to an Apple X-RAID and the video files it covetously holds for us. Video frames. Ah, precious, precious video frames. My precious....
XLR8YourMac also has this article on trouble with inconsistent color on Apple 23" LCD monitors, and trouble resolving the issue with Apple.
In the ongoing war between the two competing formats for next generation, high definition DVDs (Blu-Ray and HD-DVD), HD-DVD today picked up a major coup - Paramount, Universal, Warner, and New Line announced that they will be using the HD-DVD format to publish high definition movies. To date, only Sony has stated that they will publish on Blu-Ray...and Sony is one of the inventors of the Blu-Ray format, intending to both build playback devices as well as publish movies in the format.
Mike's Comments: This is going down about as I've expected and been writing over the past 6 months or so. This is pretty much VHS vs Betamax all over again, with HD-DVD as the new VHS and Blu-Ray as the new Betamax. Blu-Ray is technically superior, in that it can hold more data per disk (about 25 vs about 15 GB per side per disc), but it is also more expensive to produce. HD-DVD discs will be cheaper to manufacture (and I've heard inklings that the players will be cheaper to build) and the same production line can be used to build regular DVDs as well as HD-DVDs. There was a demonstration earlier this year where they switched from regular DVDs to HD-DVDs in a matter of minutes in a production facility. Both formats will be able to use three different video compression technologies: MPEG-2 (same tech, higher res as what's used in current DVDs), VC-1 (based on Microsoft's Windows Media 9), and H.264 (MPEG-4, Advanced Video Codec, based in part on some QuickTime technology, and which Apple will vigorously support, including the codec in Mac OS X 10.4, due in mid-2005). When Blu-Ray was expected to support only MPEG-2, it made sense that the disks were bigger since MPEG-2 isn't as efficient as VC-1 or H.264 - the same video quality takes more megabytes in MPEG-2 as compared to VC-1 or H.264. But now that all three codecs are on both formats, and the manufacturing costs are lower on HD-DVD -- which would you expect a business to pick? Bingo - the cheaper solution. The only thing that could pull folks back to the Blu-Ray format would be if Blu-Ray had some kind of significant edge in copy protection - which I doubt since copy protection is done mostly in software/firmware these days, and any system could be implemented on either format, ASSUMING it wasn't Sony developed technology. ONLY if Sony builds/buys/acquires some significantly better tech will Blu-Ray have a strong shot at pulling other studios back into their camp. Sony has also publicly committed to having the Blu-Ray format be the disc format of choice for PlayStation 3 - which will certainly help their cause. X-Box 2 is expected to support HD-DVD. Sony has a history of sticking to it's guns all the way down - witness the Betamax experience, and witness their undying devotion to the ATRAC format for digital music? Huh? ATRAC? What's that? Exactly. Hellllloooooo, Sony, there's these things called MP3's out there? It was just THIS YEAR that they started to support MP3 on their portable players.
OK, enough of all that. Bottom line - I expect to buy an HD-DVD player in 2006 to watch high def movies on. The first players MIGHT be available at the end of 2005.
The players will probably be $1000 in the beginning, and drop to under $200-$250 within 2 years I bet. Regular DVD players will PLUMMET in pricing, much the way that regular standard definition TVs have. Have you priced a nice 30" TV lately? They are ridiculously cheap as compared to 3 years ago.
UPDATE MONDAY 10:45AM
...but opinions vary. Over on Engadget, they have an article titled HD-DVD not dead yet. Seems the sources on my prior article missed some details - Sony owns MGM, which also will publish on Blu-Ray. 20th Century Fox is also going to publish on Blu-Ray. So we have roughly a tie - 4 vs 3 studios for HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray, and each format has one upcoming gaming platform apiece. So it's still up in the air.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
From the article:
The colors you perceive on a display can be altered by many factors, such as ambient light, the position of the display and angle of the display."
They go on to discuss how to calibrate the monitor to get rid of a pinkish color cast, which has been a frequent complaint of many purchasers of the Apple 23" LCD panels (but not the 20" or 30" monitors).
Mike's Comments: I'm glad that Apple has finally come out with a formal statement on the problem, but it doesn't address the core issue - the REAL problem folks are complaining about is a color inconsistency across the face of the monitor - that it can look pinkish on the edges but neutral in the middle, or some variation thereof. Apple's recommended solutions address color across the entire face of the display, not localized variances across the display face. So this is NOT a solution for the core problem people have been complaining about, which seems likely to be a manufacturing or quality control issue (and possibly a subtle design defect that only shows itself in some units...but that's a wild speculation on my part).
Below is their press release on the new drivers.
Blackmagic Design releases HDLink v1.5 software update compatible with Mac OS X and Windows XP that includes new features for anamorphic display, and improved color control settings.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, - 26th November 2004 - Today Blackmagic Design announced the immediate availability of HDLink Utility v1.5 which provides new features for it's popular HDLink DVI monitoring converter.
HDLink Utility automatically uploads new firmware to USB connected HDLink devices and adds new features for color settings, as well as adding a new standard definition anamorphic mode for 16:9 display.
HDLink Utility v1.5 also adds the ability to save settings and lookup tables to the host computer for sharing with other HDLink DVI converter units, great when setting up multi display installations where color accuracy across many displays is critical.
Anamorphic 16:9 stretching of standard definition video is available and enabled through an new setting in the HDLink Utility. This feature can also be used in conjunction with double size display if the user's LCD display is high resolution.
New Color Control
Lift, Gain and Gamma controls have been improved and now allow for numerical entry, as well as increment and decrement buttons for fine adjustment.
Saving of Gamma Tables and Color Settings
10 bit Gamma tables can now be saved to a file so they can be loaded into other HDLink devices, and this allows for uniform color settings for various types of connected DVI displays. Color settings can also be loaded from a USB connected HDLink, and then modified, or saved back into the HDLink, or to the host computer hard disk.
HDLink v4.7 includes all new features and is available now to all registered users from the Blackmagic Design web site at no charge. Check www.blackmagic-design.com for download.
HDLink is available now from authorized Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide starting from a low US$695. Please check www.blackmagic-design.com for more product details and reseller locations.
HDLink connects post production quality SDI video directly to any supported DVI-D based LCD computer monitor for true HDTV resolution video monitoring. HDLink's compact design combined with full resolution HD makes it the perfect choice for post production studios, edit suites, telecine or even location video shoots.
Because every single pixel in the SDI video standard is mapped digitally onto the pixels of a 1920 x 1200 resolution LCD display, a perfect digital pixel for pixel HDTV image quality is obtained.
HDLink is perfect when working in HDTV, where even large 23 inch CRT based monitors can't display the full resolution of the HDTV signal. HDLink lets users see everything in a HDTV image, so you know exactly what your images look like.
HDLink is the world's first full HDTV resolution 4:4:4 monitoring solution, and supports both standard definition SDI and HD-SDI based inputs as well as Dual Link HD-SDI 4:4:4 input for full resolution color monitoring. HDLink also includes high quality analog audio outputs for a complete video and audio monitoring solution.
Dual Link HD-SDI 4:4:4 is the newest television standard using two HD-SDI video cables for twice the color resolution. Conventional SD and HD video is 4:2:2 based, which limits color detail to half the original image resolution. Dual Link 4:4:4 HD video preserves the full HD color resolution all the way through the production chain from film to broadcast.
HDLink supports all SDI-based formats from standard definition, HD-SDI, and Dual Link HD-SDI for the best image quality, and format flexibility. HDLink's SDI video inputs automatically switch between SD, HD-SDI and Dual Link HD-SDI video formats. Unlike CRT based monitors, HDLink supports all HDTV frames rates and formats. Standard definition NTSC and PAL video formats are also supported.
Video payload identification ancillary data, as per SMPTE 352M, is also used for automatic input format recognition and RGB/YUV color-space detection.
Color precision is the highest 10 bit in SD and HD formats, and up to 12 bit RGB or YUV in Dual Link HD 4:4:4 modes. Video data is automatically rounded down to the bit depth of the connected LCD display for superior quality.
For matching LCD display colorimetry, independent 10 bit RGB gamma tables are fully adjustable via a high speed USB 2.0 host computer connection. Customizable gamma tables also allow film industry log video to be converted to linear for monitoring when used for feature film work.
Control software is available for both Mac OS X(tm) and Windows XP(tm), with USB 2.0 connectivity allowing firmware upgrades via internet downloadable updates.
HDLink supports all DVI-D based digital computer displays. For 1080 and 720 HDTV formats a 1920 x 1200 (16:10) resolution display is recommended. However, if working in 720 HDTV formats only, then a lower cost 1280 x 800 resolution display is recommended. When working in NTSC or PAL, HDLink can 2x oversize the displayed image making viewing easier.
Adaptive pull-down processing based on a built-in PowerPC(tm) microprocessor allows support for a minimum display frame rate of 60Hz, as used on the Apple HD Cinema Display. However, any frame rate from 48 to 72Hz is recommended for LCD compatibility. HDLink will automatically adjust native display resolution using VESA E-EDID1.3 eliminating switch settings.
Audio outputs on HDLink are de-embedded from the SDI input and then converted to analog at an incredible 24 bit. Audio is output through consumer compatible analog outputs on RCA connectors, letting you connect to standard HiFi systems.
HDLink Features Summary:
* SDI 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 support.
* HDTV format support at 1080 lines at 24P, 25P, 30P, 48I, 50I, 60I,
* HDTV format support at 720 lines at in 30P, 50P, 60P.
* Standard definition format support: NTSC, PAL.
* Pixel-for-pixel support on LCD displays.
* Color precision support: 4:2:2 10 bit, 4:4:4 10 bit, 4:4:4 12bit.
* Color space support: 4:2:2 YUV, 4:4:4 YUV, 4:4:4 RGB.
* Gamma correction via independently adjustable 10 bit lookup tables.
* Support for video payload identification ancillary data as per SMPTE 352M.
* Supports DVI-Digital compatible displays.
* Automatic adjustment to native display resolution using VESA E-EDID1.3.
* Adaptive pull-down processor guarantees smooth motion display.
* 2x resize of NTSC and PAL on 1920x1200 pixel displays selectable.
* Analog 24 bit audio output using RCA connectors.
* Audio output employs soft-mute technology to eliminate audible glitches when input video modes change.
* Functions as a stand-alone audio decoder if no display attached.
* USB 2.0 High Speed (480Mb/s) interface.
* Firmware upgrade via USB on Mac OS X(tm) and Windows XP(tm).
* Interactive gamma table manipulation via USB.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
I again read with interest your latest blog about "First SATA II PCI-X capable silicon arrives"
First, this chip is for the PCI Express bus, NOT the PCI-X bus. PCI Express is the next generation expansion bus that is actually a very high speed serial connection, not he 32 bit or 64 bit parallel connection of the PCI and PCI-X bus. There is no compatibility between the PCI and PCI Express busses, completely different connectors, etc. There are PCI to PCI Express bridge chips that convert from one bus to another, but then you have the bridge slowdown issue. See http://www.pcisig.com/specifications/
Second, Marvell has shipped SATA II compliant silicon with a PCI-X bus interface since August 18, 2003, over a year ago (http://www.marvell.com/press/pressNewsDisplay.do?releaseID=375). See the complete features of the Marvell 88SX60xx at http://www.marvell.com/products/storage/sata/88SX60xx.jsp.
Third, you seem to hint that SATA II has some great new feature of adjustable drive current on the SATA connectors that will allow for better external connection. This feature is already present in most original SATA silicon. See the key features of the Marvell 88X50xx, http://www.marvell.com/products/storage/sata/88SX5080.jsp
Fourth, hot swap is really an issue of the OS and driver software. Again even the original SATA silicon will correctly detect drives being connected and disconnected, but since most Serial ATA work is built on the old ATA software stack, the old ATA software stacks breaks and doesn't handle the hot plugging. This again is software that is being addressed Apple in the Mac OS X.
Joel Vink, Engineer
Sonnet Technologies, Inc.
Mike sez: Thanks Joel! I stand corrected. As always, if you folks out there see me spewing forth incorrectly, please write in! email@example.com
after some careful wheeding and cajoling, I convinced Apple to send me their newest, biggest, baddest X-Serve RAID (aka X-RAID) to test. It's got 14 400GB drives in it. So far I'm still just setting it up - it has been formatting for about 12 hours and is only 36% done. Damn! A day and a half just to format.
I've also got an X-Serve with a fiber channel card in it as well.
A few initial thoughts:
-This thing really is just two 7 drive RAIDs. Two power supplies, two controllers, two Ethernet jacks, two fiber channel jacks, everything. Just think of it as two devices in one box
-Sucker is LOUD! Wouldn't want it in the same room to edit with. Even with the X-Serve (the 1U server) off, the fans on the RAID are distractingly loud. Even in a 65 degree room, they still run at a level louder than would be acceptable to edit in the same room with. Fiber Channel can run a log way, though (at least 30 feet as I understand it with the copper cables)
-The RAID admin utility has a very nice interface, very clean/simple/clear/logical
-The physical unit is HEAVY - over 100 pounds. Just lifting it out of the box onto a platform (two chairs pushed together) was a challenge, and I'm 6 foot 3, 180 pounds (and I run marathons, so not your typical couch potato)
-the unit is highly configurable, you have LOTS of choices in how to set it up. Once you get past the confusion of all the choices, it sorts itself out pretty quickly. If I were using this in a production environment (and why else would you spend that kind of money?), I'd set it up as two RAID 5's with a hot spare, and stripe both of those together to create a RAID 50. But it you do that, suddenly your 5.6TB of capacity drops to 3.72 TB. Why? RAID 5 requires the loss of one disk's worth of space to be allocated to parity data. So that's one in each set of 7. Then a hot spare for each set drops it to 5 disks worth of storage in each set. So two sets of 5, at 372 GB each, is 2*5*372=3720 GB of usable space. But that keeps you up and rolling at all times.
At present, I'm going to set it up as two RAID 5's and stripe them together and test that for speed.
I'll also test the following configs:
-two individual RAID 5 (see how they do as RAID 50)
-the 2xRAID 5 with hot spare I described above (RAID 50 w/hot spare)
-2 individual RAID 3
-2xRAID 3 (RAID 30)
-RAID 30 with hot spares
-and finally, just to see what it can do, RAID 0, even though I wouldn't use it in a production environment like that.
any other configs anyone wants to see? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
This will allow for the kinds of SATA products that we really want, that should really, actually, you know - WORK.
The original SATA spec calls for internal drives directly connected. To hook up external drives, with multiple cable couplings, is outside of the core spec. That it can be made to work is great, but it isn't MADE to work, if you follow my meaning.
SATA II will change that - besides a faster bus, it allows for variable signal strength to support externally mounted drives through multiple couplings, it's meant to handle hot swap drives, lots of cool stuff like that.
It will do things FireWire 800 could never dream of in terms of performance. FireWire 800 is topping out around 80 MB/sec, maybe 100 MB/sec if you get everything "just so." You can exceed that with just two SATA drives, and I've personally set up SATA arrays capable of nearly 600 MB/sec real world performance (a single large sustained read transaction).
So this is first silicon - a 10x10 mm chip. I'd think we'd see PC products based on this in the next 2-6 months (depending on how much of a lead manufacturers have had), and Mac based products in perhaps 6-12 months. Because we're perceived as low priority. Damn.
Of course, by that time, it's possible that the high end Macs will be on a PCI-Express bus. Maybe. Maybe.
Thanks to reader Chad Littlepage for pointing this article out!
The Apple can be found for around $1900 (Amazon), the HP around $1600.
The Apple seems to be brighter and have more contrast, but some users are reporting color consistency problems.
The HP costs less and can be used as an actual HDTV monitor (analog component inputs, SD inputs as well), but in that mode it stretches the image vertically across 1200 pixels (instead of the signal's 1080 pixels), so there isn't a pixel for pixel relationship between the video image and the display. Plus everything looks a little too tall/thin since it's stretched.
The Apple has USB/FireWire connections, the HP does not.
A review of the Sony HZR-Z1U. Available Feb 2005, $4900. Also includes details on the HVR-M10U deck for HDV ($3700, also available Feb. 2005) including pictures of both. Also mentions and has photos of the new 23" LCD Luma monitor ($4000). I'd be very, very curious to plant that next to an Apple 23" LCD/HDLink combo, because it's only 1280x720 res. Hmm. Doesn't sound like such a good deal...but I need to learn more. But it does let you play with tons of controls akin to regular Sony monitors.
Review of Marathon RePorter, a handy gadget to relocate all your computer's ports to a pod on a cable. Quite handy so you don't have to crawl around behind the computer, looks like a very useful gadget. Marathon has been making good Mac gadgets for quite some time. Costs $59 now, expected to rise to $99 (which would be a bit much I think). But how much is it worth NOT having to crawl behind the computer to attach FireWire 400 or 800 (one port each), analog sound in and out, and two USB ports?
Review of Power Mac G5 & Apple 23" LCD. More of a Photoshopper's perspective.
Also a commentary piece entitled What Sony’s HDCAM and XDCAM and Panasonic’s SDX900 and P2 Are Giving Users. Talks about who's using what in realworld terms, and what tools they are using.
Monday, November 22, 2004
From an email from Robert Morgan at BareFeats.com:
...even if you can squeeze the adapter in slot two, it's so close to the heatsink and fan of the GeForce that you can't route the cables to the adapter. And even if you could, they would probably be damaged by heat and abrasion from the fan and heatsink. And even if they weren't, there's the issue of signal integrity loss by going through four series of connectors.
....so that answers that. Drat.
It boils down to this: Motion is cheap ($300), powerful, quick, relatively easy to learn and use, and a great way to inexpensively add some production value up front to your indie project.
One of the things that can add production value to a film is an interesting title sequence. In the past, the clever/low cost solution for this was to hire a motion graphics artist (or be brave and learn it yourself) to use Adobe After Effects to create a title sequence or other motion graphics for your project. Now, I LOVE After Effects, I've been using it since it was called CoSA 1.0. And while it has my favorite user interface in the whole wide world, it can be pretty daunting for the novice to Get Things Done. It can also be a very time consuming process - After Effects has to render to RAM using the CPU to preview what you've created so you can watch it in real time.
That's the beauty of Motion - it is very, very simple and straightforward, and very, VERY fast.
If you need some interesting motion graphics, Motion can do TONS more than what Final Cut Pro can do, and it is MUCH easier to set it up and get it looking good and control it using Motion rather than FCP.
Plus, Motion does a tremendous amount of stuff in real time, NO WAITING REQUIRED.
Motion does have HEAVY requirements - to get good performance out of it, you need a G5 computer and a good graphics card. But once you have those things, you can do amazing stuff.
But if you are a budget constrained indie, wanting to do something graphically cool, Motion for $300 is a helluva deal and pretty easy to learn. Add in LayerLink from Ampede to import layered Adobe Illustrator files for quicker/better results, too) and you have a good tool to do some very cool stuff, fast and easy.
Reader Martijn Schroevers from the Netherlands said this:
Thanks once again for your report on SATA Raid and monitoring. I understand your frustration but it comes with running at the forefront of technology. The best solutions are always a little bit beyond the horizon... Like the SyncRaid SR5210 card that should ship this winter. To me it looked like the answer to our needs (66 Mhz, 64bit, more than 200 MBps sustained read/write) but I understand you're having trouble with the older SyncRaids. I hope they solve the G5 problems soon.
Regarding the 23" CinemaDisplay/HDLink vs. Panasonic discussion: Keep in mind the Panasonic does NOT have full 1080 resolution. It's 1280 x 720. Regarding the 'looks' of the Panasonic: pushing the blacks down gives a High Contrast 'sharp' picture, but does it show all your detail? Sony Trinitrons always looked much sharper than other CRT's, but at the cost of loosing detail in the blacks. As a reference I would prefer a monitor that shows every pixel and every luminance step, but I haven't seen the Panasonic myself. How does the HDLink picture compare to playing on a Cinamadisplay from within FCP in a window? In my SD setup contrast&brightness are equal on my Cinemadisplay and my Sony HR trinitron CRT. At IBC I saw many setups where HD was played on Cinemadisplays. I remember the Arri booth where they connected their High End digital HD camera to one. Looked stunning!
Mike, the items in your Blog are very relevant! You get the zillions of pageviews because of that. So keep up and remember: HD heaven is always one step away..
Mike's Comments: Good point about the crushed blacks and resolution of the footage. Now that I think about it, that particular shot with the hair light/dark issue - the contrast was better on the Panasonic, but the detail in the blacks was crushed. I'd need to fool with it some more to see if there was any calibration to be done to optimize the Panasonic. As I sat there trying to compare the two, I couldn't discern a difference in that shot between the two monitoring solutions. But then again, it was HDCAM interlaced footage, so it's only 1440x1080 to start with extrapolated to 1920x1080. So the 1280x720 Panasonic LCD TV had most of the horizontal resolution. The TV might have been only showing one field of the video signal, so that's only 540 vertical pixels (not sure if it showed one or both fields, guessing just the one). The Apple shows both fields simultaneously, but I read somewhere that 70% is the effective resolution of interlaced. Plus, the shot might not have been perfectly focused. Anyways, what I'm getting at is that wasn't the ideal comparison side by side to extract info from and about. I have some test patterns I should display.
As for SATA RAID stuff, I'm looking forward to future SyncRAID cards and I'm hoping to resolve my current difficulties.
Reader Oliver Busch wrote in to say:
My 2 cents:
The 24 bit output of graphics cards has nothing to do with
CoreGraphics/Video. CoreGraphics only uses the often quite enormous GPU
processing power of the graphics card (spec-wise, the NVidia GeForce 6800
GPU has more floating point processing power than a 2.5 GHz Dual G5), not
its display capabilities . Graphics card GPU's internally can calculate
everything in float color depth. This is actually quite an improvement over
both 8 and 10 bits. Actually over everything.
The only complaint I have is that everything inside the graphics card is
processed in RGB. But with float color depth the rounding errors from color
space conversions should be absolutely negligible.
Mike's Comments: A-ha! This sounds promising! Clearly I missed the Clue Train on what Core Video was about - if it's all about floating point on the GPU, that's awesome news. I especially like the bit about "the NVidia GeForce 6800GPU has more floating point processing power than a 2.5 GHz Dual G5." The fact that it is always RGB vs YUV is actually preferable for a lot of the stuff I'm working on. MAN, this sounds REALLY, REALLY GOOD for the future of FCP and realtime capabilities.
Graeme Nattress, writer of plugins for FCP, wrote in with this:
Motion and core video process video in floating point space, I think, and hence concatenated operations that remain on the card work very, very well, but it's the pulling it back off at the moment that's limited to 8bit (in Motion), not played enough with core video yet.
Still if you can do 8bit really fast, there's no reason you can't do it twice and get 16bit half as fast, is there???
BTW, which Apple 23" display do you have?? I'm liking the new one as it has a brightness control which helps a lot with black levels. Also, you panasonic suggestion, which sounds nice, BTW, has 1280x720 rez, which means you're back to the old issue of a the 23" cinema display having the rez, but not the colour, and even if the colour on the Pana is better, it's still not CRT colour quality, so I don't know if you're any further ahead in going that route. Just thoughts for you.....
(Mike's bolding for emphasis)
Mike's Comments: OK, now we're really getting down to the nitty gritty of what's up with this stuff. Core Video will clearly let you do all kinds of cool manipulation on the graphics card for display on your computer monitor, but what about for getting it out a video monitor, either via FireWire or some third party card? THAT'S going to be the challenge. If we're presently limited to 8 bits back out of the card to the CPU for further manipulation, that will hopefully change with Tiger once it ships.
And in answer to his question, I have the newer 23" Apple LCD.
Once again, if you know better than any of what's posted above, please write in to email@example.com
Saturday, November 20, 2004
So I don't see anything in there that would help 10 bits per pixel stuff for HD. I just don't see it happening.
So while Apple may add some extra capabilities around 10 bits per pixel, I do not, at this time, see any evidence that Core Video and Core Image is going to help 10 bits per channel HD stuff.
PS-this is a great article on why you can never assume anything to be true - as I've learned with SATA drive testing, you can trust/rely on extrapolated data...
Seritek 1S2(or 1SE2, the external port version I'd buy now)
I went back to try something I thought might work - earlier this spring I set up a 6 drive RAID using 2 Seritek 1S2 cards and the two internal SATA ports, booting off of a FireWire drive. I intentionally put the 1S2 cards on different PCI buses in the G5 - using slots 2 and 4. (The G5 has two PCI-X/PCI buses - slot 4 is a dedicated 133MHz bus, slots 2 & 3 share a 100MHz bus. In slots 2 or 3, putting a PCI card in a slot slows BOTH to the speed of the slowest card, so it chops a PCI-X card to PCI speeds. And that's bad.) I put a DeckLink HD card in slot 3, and since it was on the same bus as slot 2 with a PCI Seritek 1S2 card in it, the DeckLink card couldn't operate at HD speeds. Anyway, by using 6 wicked fast Maxtor Raptor 10,000 rpm drives, I got this 6 drive array (2 internal SATA, 4 external on Seritek 1S2 cards) to do about 390 MB/sec reads. Wow.
So I was wondering how well the cards could play together if I put two Seritek 1S2 cards in slots 2 & 3. Robert over at BareFeats had tried this in the past and said performance blew. But he'd used Apple Disk Utility, and I'd sometimes gotten dramatically better results in my early testing by using SoftRAID 3.0.1 rather than Apple Disk Utility, especially with arrays of 4 or more disks. So I hooked it all up. As a baseline benchmark, I set up one of my Poor Man's arrays - 2 internal SATA drives using the motherboard attached, built-in SATA ports in a dual 2.5 GHz G5, and two external SATA drives attached to a Seritek 1S2 card (the 1SE2 card is identical but for external ports). That simple array, when empty (the best possible performance), did 245 MB/sec reads and 243 MB/sec writes. Pretty impressive for a $720 add-on to my G5 (2x$210 for 300GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 drives from zipzoomfly.com, $100 for Seritek 1SE2 card, $100 for SoftRAID (not essential, can skip it), two $50 PPA, Inc. external SATA enclosures from Fry's Electronics. Oh, and I used a FireWire drive I already had sitting around to boot from - find/by one for $150 and up).
Then I installed a second Firmtek Seritek 1S2 card in slot 3 (next to the first one already in slot 2), and hooked up 4 of the same 300GB DiamondMax 10 drives to it.
Results: Sucky - 170 MB/sec reads, only 60 MB/sec writes
I had been thinking about using a Seritek 1S2, then running the internal SATA ports to the outside using one of the cables MacGurus sells on their SATA Cables page that is a PCI slot cover with 2 ports. But then I think I might know why I could never get Log & Capture in FCP to get video input from the BlackMagic card on one Mac and not the other - because one was booting from a FireWire drive. So it looks like that won't work, either. But for a low cost, low HD throughput, two internal drives and two external drives might work OK for HDCAM footage.
So blow off that option if you want an external/portable solution. My intent was to have a fully external SATA solution so it would be easy to move from one machine to another. With two drives mounted firmly inside that G5, that was no longer viable. But for a locked-to-one-workstation approach, it's an inexpensive solution. As with all RAID 0 setups, backup often and run Disk Utility Repair Disk even more often.
Highpoint RocketRAID 1820A
I am sooooooo frustrated with this card. It does so many things so right - 8 ports, PCI-X, can put multiple 1820A cards in the same Mac and they cooperate, RAID 10 support, that it drives me nuts that it doesn't quite work the way one would expect it to. RAID 5 performance still isn't working for me (perhaps it is for others) on my G5 at all (update since I wrote that - my 5 drive RAID 5 set up but corrupted files copied to it, I couldn't set up 8 drive RAID because it was too big - over 2TB); if multiple cards are installed RAID capacity is limited to 2TB per card (fine for 250GB and smaller drives, but 300 and 400GB drives are out now), and some other survivable annoyances like a quirky user interface. But the killer problem is this - drives don't seem to mount reliably unless you connect the drive DIRECTLY to the card - as in a cable running DIRECTLY from the port on the card to the port on the actual drive mechanism itself.(update since I wrote that - and even then, they STILL don't always mount! And might drop out in the middle of usage as well!) If you wanted internal drives this is fine (and this is actually what the card was originally developed for on the PC side, to be fair to the manufacturer), but if you want to attach external drives it creates a slew of problems. Promax actually drills/stamps a big hole in the PCI slot cover in the card to allow the cables a way out of the G5 case to attach external drives. I have been running the cables out an empty PCI slot cover in my own testing, or setting the G5 on it's side and closing the plastic cover as much as it would while running the cables out the open side of the case. The normal plan for attaching something like this would be to have a header (like the SATAport from MacGurus) that gave a nice, tidy interface to the outside world (outside of the G5 case) to plug in your cables that run to the external SATA enclosure. The SATA enclosure would have it's own header as well. Inside both the G5 and the external SATA enclosure would be cables that went from header to the card/drive. So that would be a total of 5 cable junctures - 1820A card/short attachment cable/header/external SATA cable/SATA enclosure header/internal SATA enclosure cable/SATA drive. Using only 3 cable junctures at present (card/cable/SATA enclosure header/SATA drive), I have problems several times a day of drives not mounting on startup. I have yet to do extended capture tests (now I have - 10 minutes at a time worked OK going to Maxtor Maxline III drives, my client copied all the footage for a 25 minute show OK), but I've heard others complain of drives dissapearing in the middle of a capture - which can wreck the whole volume structure in an unfixable way, requiring reformatting the array and loss of all data on the array. The fix for this? At the moment, the manufacturer is recommending a direct connection from card to drive - only 2 cable junctures, card/cable/drive. Again, to be fair to the manufacturer, that was what the card was designed for. But since the Mac can't easily/reliably have 8 more hard drives stuffed into it (the velcro tape guy who managed it notwithstanding), external is really the only viable way to go. And to do it as they recommend it would mean tethering the hard drive enclosure to the G5 in a way that would require opening the G5 or SATA enclosure to disconnect cables if you wanted to move them separately or move them apart - INCREDIBLY inconvenient. Plus, due to the direct internal connection, yanking or tripping on those connecting cables could be disastrous. Even picking up either device (G5 or enclosure) to move it without realizing the connection was there could damage/break stuff. Bad, bad, bad. Acceptable only for the most budget constrained, anything-to-get-it-done indie, not for a workaday solution. If there's a loose cable, you have to open the G5 and SATA enclosure to verify everything's plugged in tight. This is exacerbated by the card's habit of not mounting drives sometimes anyway - is it a loose connection or just a drive not mounting? Hard to tell. Imagine this happening with a client sitting waiting and you're trying to fix it...BAD.
I made this analogy to a friend the other day - if you have 5 parts in a thing you have to work with every day, it's not a problem if each part has a 1 in 1000 chance of failure. So long as you aren't flying an airplane, it's no big deal if one of those has a snag - maybe you just reboot the computer a time or two and it works. But if you have something complicated, like the Space Shuttle, with 2 million moving parts, having a 1 in 1000 chance of failure of each part is a major, deal-killing problem. Oh, and that thing needs to fly, such that a failure in use can be devastating (we've seen the video).
Even worse, conversations I've been having lately have been pointing out the vulnerabilities of RAID 0 setups - besides the need for frequent backups, directory damage can be irreparable - since the directory structure is striped across multiple drives, tools like TechTool Pro and Disk Warrior have no way to understand how to repair them. Disk Utility is apparently getting better, but still faces situations it can't fix. (Another reason to use it instead of SoftRAID, by the way, if you don't need SoftRAID's partitioning capabilities). Combining this RAID 0 vulnerability with the 1820A's penchant for losing contact with drives in midstream use (I haven't experienced this, a few readers have, don't know about their setups though), creates a serious potential to lose all your data on a regular basis. Not a viable production methodology. Even with daily overnight backups, you still might lose an entire day's work....and restoring a couple of terabytes, even from fast 1TB FireWire La Cie FireWire 800 drives, would take about 8 hours. Not production viable.
I'm being harsh on them right now because I want the 1820A to do something...it wasn't really designed for. It would appear that it's a hardware issue, I don't see a way for this to be fixed in software (but hey, anything's possible). Hopefully, they will release a future product that would address these shortcomings. Things I'd like see in an 1820E (external) product:
-more robust signal/voltage/whatever in the card, such that reliable operation could be obtained from external drives attached in a "normal" fashion.
-external SATA ports - if SATAport can fit that many ports in that small of a space, I don't see why they can't move stuff around on the card to make this viable - 8 external SATA ports on the PCI slot cover, facing the outside-the-G5 world for easy attachment of external drive
-rock solid drive availability - no more dissapearing drives
OK, enough bitching for now.
Further update since I wrote all of the above: My client successfully worked for a week with an 1820a and 8 Maxtor DiamondMax 10 drives set up as a RAID 10. After a major electrical storm killed power, a bunch of stuff got corrupted, either from the power loss/spike or from efforts trying to recover the data. In any case, since then we haven't had good success with the setup. The REAL test for me to conduct would be to set up the drives as they suggest, using the RAIDman utility, and NOT using the Apple Disk Utility directly, nor the SoftRAID RAID formatting software. I can't truly say the card doesn't work right until I test it that way. BUT EVEN IF I do test it that way, it still definitely, positively has problems with drives not showing up on startup. And I witnessed (TWICE) the array dropping offline when a certain clip was played - a bad clip/file kicking an array offline? That's the first I'd ever heard of that happening!
SyncRAID XL cards (from MacGurus and others, see post a few days ago for more details) look promising - I don't have mine yet but will receive it next week. They can do a RAID 5 like setup that offers data protection and avoids the directory stripe vulnerability mentioned above. But at a maximum speed of 114 MB/sec, limits their applicability to uncompressed HD work. Installing two cards in slots 2 & 3 doesn't seem to help the situation, because at 33MHz, they slow the PCI bus down to a speed that doesn't allow for much more throughput than what the card is capable of.
The following formats should work with a present SyncRAID XL setup (haven't tested yet, so this is theory):
Varicam or other 720p uncompressed footage at these settings:
8 bit 720p60 4:2:2 (barely, this is 105 MB/sec)
8 bit 720p30 4:2:2
8 bit 720p24 4:2:2
10 bit 720p30 4:2:2
10 bit 720p24 4:2:2
(NOT 10 bit 720p60 4:2:2)
There's no 4:4:4 720p source that I'm aware of, but if you were posting in that space, these would be possible:
10 bit 720p30 4:4:4 RGB
10 bit 720p24 4:4:4 RGB
8 bit 1080p24 4:2:2
THAT'S IT - no 10 bit anything, no 4:4:4 anything
So in the very limited, single stream editing context, it SHOULD be possible to use SyncRAID XL for the above uncompressed HD possibilities.
Then again, SyncRAID right now (assuming that it works right, could have all kinds of other issues) is my top pick for compressed HD work for BlackMagic's Online JPEG, AJA's Q-Rez, Apple's DVCPRO HD, and of course, any kind of standard definition compressed or uncompressed video work.
Update since I wrote the above: After many, many attempts I have been unable to get the SyncRAID to successfully set up on my G5, even after doing a perfectly clean factory fresh install of 10.3.4 from my install CDs that came with the dual 2.5 G5. I then installed the drivers. No joy - if the drivers are installed under 10.3.4 or 10.3.6, my Disk Utility won't get all the way launched - it says a background process needed was not available and locks up. So I tried installing it in my older G4. On my single processor G4/867 running 10.3.4, with synthetic tests (using QuickBench 2.1.1 and it's extended size tests), I could only get about 80 or 90 MB/sec out of it. But I still never got it working on the G5. I have a lengthy email from their tech support guys talking about Unix commands in the Terminal, but I'm not jumping up and down at the chance to mess with that.
If I had to start editing TODAY on an uncompressed HD project, I'd go with the Poor Man's HD RAID setup I explained earlier as my first pick. (Seritek 2 port card with 2 external drives, plus 2 internal SATA drives). With a possible capacity of up to 1.6TB (1480 usable TB of space), I have a pretty high degree of confidence that it would work. This weekend I'm actually doing "for real" testing with an HD-SDI source, rather than just using the BlackMagic Disk Speed Test application. Update since I wrote that - but I have concerns as to whether you can capture HD video in FCP HD when booting from an FireWire drive. Arrgh! It seems as if we are conspired against....
If I absolutely HAD to have more space than that, I'd use an 1820A card but connect the drives DIRECTLY from card to drive with a single cable, no headers inbetween. And I'd back up NIGHTLY if I had captured any new data.
If I were working on an HDCAM 24p project, I think SyncRAID XL looks promising and (unique among these offerings) SAFE to work with in the event of drive failure or (more likely) directory damage. But it'll take a future card to be fast enough - they aren't fast enough yet, and/or aren't working on dual 2.5 GHz G5 computers under 10.3.4 or 10.3.6 (or at least not on mine, if you have had luck email me and tell me).
SO IN REAL SUMMARY, I'd have to say THERE ISN'T ANYTHING ON THE MARKET I'D TRUST FOR REAL PRODUCTION WORK. It's that bad so far - nothing will work consistently for more than a week, or play back footage without dropping frames. MAYBE the 1820a card can limp by OK, but it still has availability problems, and quite possibly reliability problems. I don't want to sound like I'm holding out hope that the 1820a card can work - because I don't expect it to work out. It's just closer than anything else.
There are other options coming to market in the next few months that look interesting, I'll keep you all up to date as I can.
But I'm thinking future options are more likely going to be where it's at, rather than fixed current stuff.
My Own Real World Project Results with DeckLink HD Pro, HDLink, RocketRAID 1820a, and 8 drive Burly Box-UGH!
So he hired me as a consultant, and I recommended what seemed like a good idea at the time - the Highpoint RocketRAID 1820a card connected to a bunch of SATA drives. They announced Mac drivers for the 1820a the day I met the client so I suggested he try that, assuming it would work bigger and better than the Seritek 1S2 card I'd been using with the built-in drives.
I also recommended a BlackMagic DeckLink HD card, which has generally worked with some quirks, and an HDLink connected to an Apple 23" LCD display.
Here's what happened:
The Highpoint RocketRAID 1820A card: I've been getting reports from people saying that the cards have issues - that arrays don't show up frequently after reboot, or worse yet that arrays would suddenly go offline in the middle of usage.
My client experienced both of these problems repeatedly.
Even worse, after a power outage (big storm here last weekend), the array didn't come up, and RAIDman (the Highpoint provided disk setup utility) instead of letting us repair the array then listed THREE arrays, all with the same name. Now, two I could understand, since we set this up as a RAID 10 (two identical sets of 4 drives mirroring each other). But THREE? Don't get it. It said they were all unusable and to delete them. No fixing options allowed.
We deleted the prior array/s and set up a new one. After quitting RAIDman but before launching Apple Disk Utility (to initialize the newly created, differently named array), the old array suddenly showed up, but a lot of it's data was corrupted. Strange!
We re-established the array just using a simple Apple Disk Utility RAID setup (just to play it as simply and safely as possible, NOT using RAIDman), and it didn't play back our uncompressed HD footage consistently - dropped frames every 5 to 20 minutes. Now maybe we SHOULD have used RAIDman to do the array, maybe THAT would have worked reliably. Dunno, will test soon. Officially, that is NOT how they recommend working.
So she (editor) had to do an Assemble Edit in multiple chunks to get it to tape for their master.
BlackMagic DeckLink HD Pro card: worked, but had it's quirks - we finally isolated why we couldn't get log and capture to work correctly consistently - if you mounted or unmounted a FireWire drive, that killed the ability of FCP to see video in the log & capture window. FCP or BlackMagic drivers? Dunno, should test with FireWire. Anybody got any hard data on this? Email me.
But other than that, it worked pretty well, the problems we had didn't seem to be related to the card or it's drivers (that we could tell)
HDLink with Apple 23" LCD: Now, I still haven't seen the Apple 23" side by side with a proper studio monitor, but when I lugged my Apple 23" LCD and HDLink over to the client's office and set it up next to their Panasonic TC-22LH1 22" LCD TV connected via the analog monitoring outputs of the BlackMagic DeckLink HD Pro card (going into the component inputs of the monitor), it BLEW THE APPLE OUT OF THE WATER. The colors popped vividly, the contrast was MUCH deeper. I'd heard the Apple LCD solution had elevated blacks, but the difference was SHOCKING. A woman's hair looked very light brown on the Apple screen, it went to almost black on the Panasonic. As a viewing experience, the Apple looked washed out and flat. Now, which one is more accurate? Dunno, but the Panasonic LOOKED a helluva lot better. As a client monitoring solution, I'd now change my HDLink/Apple recommendation and go with this Panasonic and the DeckLink HD Pro card The difference between the basic $600 BlackMagic card and the $1500 DeckLink HD Pro 4:2:2 card is $900, the HDLink is $700, so the extra $200 is money well spent making the image look better. Oh, and the Panasonic can be had for as little as $1250, $750 less than the Apple monitor. So the monitoring solution is $500 less expensive, too. And you have a "real" TV to look at. Now, is it calibrated? No. Is it calibratable? Limited. Is it less costly? Yes. Is it a better choice for film, since you can't load custom CLUT tables? No. But for broadcast, I'd be inclined to go that route at this point. Again, I'd need to see some more side by side comparisons, but just eyeballing it, the Panasonic blew the Apple away in terms of contrast and saturation.
In summary: I still like the BlackMagic cards for HD capture and playback. Still some issues with Final Cut Pro, but workable. (The fix was to reboot to get video capture working, BTW). The HDLink/Apple 23" LCD for monitoring: no longer the least expensive option I've seen, I don't recommend it AS STRONGLY as I have in the past. More to be learned, but for broadcast folks on a budget, there are better looking, less expensive options. More accurate? Dunno, need to do some careful testing side by side.
And finally - barring some substantial increase in reliability, or some further testing that proves them to be more consistently capable of playing back uncompressed HD throughputs, I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THE HIGHPOINT ROCKETRAID 1820A CARD FOR UNCOMPRESSED HD CAPTURE, PLAYBACK, AND EDITING.
Maybe something will happen that will change my mind, but I've grown increasingly frustrated with this card, and have heard many complaints from readers suffering unsatisfactory results trying to get uncompressed HD to work with it. If you have an 1820a card on a Mac, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your experiences, good or bad. I think I got one positive review a month or so back, but most of the mail has been negative.
Friday, November 19, 2004
In short, they've finally added support for 720p24 capture via HD-SDI, improved monitoring options, simultaneous HD & SD output, all kinds of cool things. Their rapid progress feels really good - obviously they are paying attention, fixing deficits in their feature list, but also adding really cool and flexible options as well. Very psyched to see their continued strong progress. Bigger companies tend to sit on their laurels, these guys are working it hard.
Blackmagic Design unleashes new DeckLink Mac OS X v4.7 software update with powerful new HD features.
New Varicam support allows low data rate uncompressed HD editing on all DeckLink HD models, and new hardware down conversion on DeckLink HD Pro provides simultaneous HD and SD output of editing and design workstations.
TOKYO, JAPAN, - 19th November 2004 - Today Blackmagic Design announced the immediate availability of DeckLink for Macintosh v4.7 software update which is available today at no charge to all DeckLink users.
This update provides Varicam capture and over-cranking support on all DeckLink HD models. This new software update also adds a new hardware based HD down converter on DeckLink HD Pro 4:4:4 models that allows simultaneous playback in both HD-SDI and SD-SDI and SD analog component video. Also available is 14 bit 5x over-sampled composite NTSC/PAL video output on DeckLink HD Pro models.
New Features in DeckLink v4.7 for Mac OS X
All DeckLink HD series cards support full capture of Varicam material. Additional 720p Easy Setups have been provided, in Final Cut Pro HD and Blackmagic Deck Control, for speeds of 24, 25 and 30 Hz. The 720p/25Hz Easy Setup supports the use of Varicam at a PAL frame rate.
Over-cranking can now be performed with all DeckLink HD series cards for the smooth display of slow motion video. VariCam footage recorded at 59.94 or 60fps can be captured and played back by DeckLink HD series cards at a slower frame rate, such as 24fps, presenting a slow motion playback effect on screen.
To use this feature, users edit at a slow frame rate such as 24, 25 or 30 fps, and then shoot and capture higher speed clips such as 60 fps.
Composite Video Out on DeckLink HD Pro
Composite NTSC/PAL output available on DeckLink HD Pro dual link models. This output can be switched between RGB/YUV or composite NTSC/PAL when running in standard definition mode. This composite output is high quality 14 bit digitally synthesized and 5x over-sampled for high quality and low chroma crawl.
Simultaneous HD & SD Output
Simultaneous HD & SD output is supported on DeckLink HD Pro in 25 and 29.97 fps. DeckLink HD Pro Dual link outputs can now perform hardware down conversion enabling simultaneous output of both SD and HD video. Hardware down conversion outputs HD video through the HD-SDI output to deck (second top BNC port).
SD video outputs from both the HD-SDI Monitoring Output (top BNC port) and the analog video outputs in YUV or composite NTSC/PAL through the breakout cable. Hardware down conversion can be used with any HDTV 1080 material in any of the 8-bit, 10-bit, PhotoJPEG or DVCPRO HD formats. This format is great for down-converting and making a quick VHS dub via the new composite analog output setting.
Down conversion also works in desktop mode, as long as the desktop frame rate is set to 25 or 29.97 fps. This is important when users are working in Photoshop in 16:9, as the down conversion can be used to convert graphics from 16:9 to anamorphic output on SD.
Anamorphic Down Conversion.
All DeckLink cards can now perform HDTV to Anamorphic SDTV (16:9) down conversion in addition to Letterbox SDTV down conversion in both the hardware and software down converters.
New Down Conversion Preferences.
The DeckLink system preferences now include options for both software and hardware down conversion for easy setting.
DeckLink HD Family
Blackmagic Design features 4 models of dual rate HD-SDI and standard definition SDI video cards. Starting at an amazing $595, DeckLink HD is the perfect entry level SDI card for both HD and SD. Add genlock and AES audio in and out and DeckLink HD Plus is a great SDI based solution for larger systems.
DeckLink HD Pro models are available in two models, and include additional high quality analog video monitoring. DeckLink HD Pro single link 4:2:2 retails for US$1,495, and the dual link RGB 4:4:4 DeckLink HD Pro model is US$1,995. All models are shipping now, and available worldwide..
Since DeckLink HD Pro has been released, many people have marveled at the incredible quality of the RGB 10 bit 4:4:4 Blackmagic codec for editing and feature film production. Also popular has been the new high quality 14 bit analog 4:4:4 output, which allows users to monitor video at the highest quality available for digital to analog conversion.
The secret to DeckLink HD Pro's analog output quality is, unlike other off the shelf SDI to analog converters, DeckLink HD Pro's analog video output was designed from the ground up to support the quality of Dual Link 4:4:4 RGB, at the deepest 12 bits of precision as supported in the Dual Link 4:4:4 HD-SDI specification.
DeckLink for Macintosh v4.7 includes all new features and is available now from the Blackmagic Design web site at no charge. Check www.blackmagic-design.com for download.
Blackmagic DeckLink HD cards are available now from authorized Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide starting from an amazing US$595 for uncompressed 10 bit 4:2:2. Please check www.blackmagic-design.com for more product details and reseller locations.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design manufactures the world's highest quality video cards for the post production and television broadcast industries, and its founders have been developing SDI video cards since 1994. The latest DeckLink family of leading quality video cards has changed the industry and made uncompressed video and HDTV production tools more affordable for everyone.
Blackmagic Design is the industry leader with an impressive list of firsts. These include the first uncompressed 10 bit QuickTime™ video card for Mac OS X™, the first uncompressed real time effects on Mac OS X, the first 10 bit uncompressed video card to also offer compressed video modes, such as DV, and DVCPRO HD, the first Cinema Tools™ compatible film editing solution, the first HD real time effects, and the first film quality uncompressed 10 bit HDTV QuickTime™ card.
Blackmagic Design is the only company founded by leading editors and engineering people from the post production industry, and is the only video product manufacturer to have real world video production as a core part of its business. This industry knowledge and experience from our Singapore post production operations is constantly fed back into our products.
Blackmagic Design has sales offices in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and Singapore. Blackmagic Design's headquarters, manufacturing, and development facility is located in the post production district of South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
They are working on a professional version as well for early 2005 that will support up to 20 cameras.
The company, Digital Heaven, also offers other FCP plugins as well.
Both of these products sound like useful add-ons for live show production, and are another excellent example of FCP's extensibility through XML.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Worth reading, strongly recommend.
Found this on CinemaMinima.com, a cool movie related blog.
OK, it's not the end of the world if you miss it, but I unearthed my December 2004 copy of DV Magazine (here's their website) under a ton of catalogs. The cover story and 5 articles are all about HD acquisition & post.
If you are still fairly new to HD, this should give you a good primer in a short period of time (haven't read it yet)...or spend a week reading the 400 articles on this blog. Yeah. Right. Consider it six bucks very well spent.
High Definition in the Post-Digital Age
Moving into HD Postproduction
HD on DVD (as in what can be done today --mike)
HDV and the Future
Technical Difficulties (primer on the terminology of HD --mike)
Go git you some.
UPDATE: OK, so I read the whole magazine last night. Definitely worth reading! The articles on post, migration to HD, and especially the technical diagnosis of the formats at the end of the magazine make it a Must Read for anyone wanting to get into HD that doesn't already know everything (and who does?).
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
From that user success story the other day:
So after doing some research, I purchased a Radeon PCI graphics card and a VGA->Component transcoder made by a little company called Key Digital Systems. I downloaded an OS X software utiliity called Switchres that allows custom resolutions. So with the graphics card, the transcoder and the software, I am able to get full screen HD output on the SONY 36" WEGA at all times. And that is in addition to the two VGA monitors running the FCP interface. Cost of these items - under $500.
So I'm thinking - why can't I just screen in HD? Why even go to DVD? I did a test - exported my entire timeline (96 minutes) as a QT file in full HD resolution and put in on an external firewire drive. I hooked it up to my powerbook and with the KDS VGA->Component Transcoder patched it into my SONY HD set.
Yes - I'm screening in HD from my a powerbook!!!! No dropped frames. I can also change the resolution on the switchres program to standard NTSC and watch it that way. That's right - NTSC downconvert on the fly!!!!
So now I know I can screen either in HD or NTSC right from a powerbook. No need to burn a DVD and take a hit in picture quality.
This is inexpensive and convenient and flexible, all of which are good things.
The only things to watch out for are the following:
-It's still not a proper video signal - there can be erratic playback rates (at least on the 1080i footage I tested on dual 2.0 GHz G5)
-it may not be at full quality - it's FCP's fast realtime decompress. Ever seen DV in draft mode? Same kind of issues
-I wouldn't do ANY "for real" color correction looking at it this way, since it isn't calibrated to anything, white point and gamma are who knows where, etc.
But for an easy way to screen it? HELL yeah! And also an inexpensive way to look at it (assuming you have an HDTV, another large assumption!)
I have a client that is editing an HD project using a consumer flat panel LCD as their HD monitor. We'll see how it looks when done.
Upon further reflection, I'm remembering that this guy is on a dual G4. If you have a graphics card with dual outputs, no reason why you couldn't use the second output to feed the converter - then no need to buy the Radeon card. You might need to use a DVI or ADC to VGA adaptor is all.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
It's a thread on a discussion board. But read it to see if it is viable for your own productions. Renting the Varicam is expensive, but the quality is TONS better than DV or DVCPRO or DVCPRO50 or Digibeta.
And the post process is only slightly more expensive than DV.
He has details about some interesting monitoring solutions, too.
There's a great thread going on over on the 2K 4:4:4 mailing list (accessible via Cinematography.net website*** (see important note at bottom).
A guy there has been talking about the misuse of the telecine in DI process - some DoP's have been doing color correction in the dailies transfer instead of a straight "flat" transfer. That sparked a whole huge conversation on the proper way to handle digital dailies, what is or isn't the proper role of the DoP in DI workflow and where should he/she put their stamp on the process, etc.
Out of that a Kodak guy posted some links of interest:
LaserPacific has this page. See the left side of the page for about 5 links on various HD post workflow issues. Good stuff.
Kodak has a Telecine Calibration System stuff.
And here's another Kodak page of interest-Telecine Toolkit.
*** WARNING about CML lists: this is a professionals' discussion board and there is ZERO tolerance for newbie questions. You will be spanked and BANNED if you post inappropriately. READ THE FAQ. How high end is it? I haven't posted to it because I haven't had something of value to add. So lookee no touchee until you know what you're doing.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Update Saturday: Besides native handling of RGB and YUV color spaces (video is YUV), it will also encde to a Real SureStram and Windows Media 9. If I didn't say this before, there's a free, fully functional (for 20 days) version downloadable from their site.
Why should you care?
It's quite common to need to convert video formats to other formats, or to output to a different codec, or scale and crop to a a different size or frame rate. While Compressor does many of these things, it also does it poorly, especially when it is scaling (changing the size) of the video.
If you're serious about video encoding, discreet's Cleaner used to be the tool of choice, but they fired their entire Mac development team, so if it doesn't do something you need, you're screwed. No future version planned. Cleaner also has some problems and issues with incorrect color conversion when converting between RGB and YUV codecs, which you're going to have to do when working with video, since it's usually in the YUV video space (DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO50, HDV, DVCPRO HD, HDCAM, D-5, Digibeta, are all YUV).
I talked to their tech support guys and they were having to specifically hand code to support particular codecs at one point. I need to play with the demo and see if they openly support all QuickTime codecs now. Not sure that was going to happen in this release.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Digital Media Net is running a story about Canopus shipping Edius SP, a workstation with software bundle that provides for native HDV capture and editing.
-native capture and editing of DV, HDV, DVCAM DVCPRO50, and DVCPRO HD
-also has " variable-bitrate HQ codec for increased quality and realtime performance"
-can capture directly to the HQ codec and edit with that for a fast workflow
-more on HQ codec: "using intra-field coding with 4:2:2 sampling, to provide better-than-HDV quality and significantly increase realtime editing performance."
From the Canopus website:
EDIUS SP Workstation can support analog formats, DV, HDV, DVCAM, Betacam SP, DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD. Using EDIUS Pro, Canopus ' non-linear editing software, this solution offers realtime, mixed format editing unrivaled by other systems. EDIUS Pro can seamlessly edit, in realtime, any mix of HD, HDV, DV, uncompressed, MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 video, maintaining the full native format, resolution and color space quality of all video clips.
....EDIUS SP Workstation supports direct HD lossless capture and print–to-tape functions with the
Panasonic DVCPRO HD VTR in native 1080/60i/50i via an onboard FireWire connector.
As an option, EDIUS SP Workstation also has the capability of capturing DVCPRO HD footage over FireWire.
Mike's Comments I notice they don't mention 720p footage, just 1080i footage. Hmm.
But just based on these specs, this seems like a good solution for news types needing to capture and edit in a hurry and mix formats.
The Worstation 300 is $8000, the Workstation 500 is $9000.
Reader David Avendasora wrote in to point out the specs links are in the right hand column. Duh, I missed it.
EDIUS SP Workstatoin 300
Core specs from that page (there's more listed on the page):
• Canopus EDIUS SP for HDV video capture card
• Dual 3.2GHz Intel® Xeon™ processors (800MHz Front-side Bus, 1MB Cache)
• 1GB DDR2 memory
• 160GB system drive
• 160GB removable data drive
• 2x200GB SATA video drives
• NVIDIA Geforce 6600 128MB PCI-express video card
• 10/100/1000 Network Adapter
• Logitech Keyboard and Wireless Optical Mouse
EDIUS SP Workstation 500
Core specs from that page (there's more listed on the page):
• Canopus EDIUS SP for HDV video capture card
• Dual 3.4GHz Intel® Xeon™ processors (800MHz Front-side Bus, 1MB Cache)
• 2GB DDR2 memory
• 160GB system drive
• 160GB removable data drive
• 2x200GB SATA video drives
• NVIDIA Geforce 6600 128MB PCI-express video card
• Sony DW-D22A B2 16x DVD±R/RW drive
• 10/100/1000 Network Adapter
The big news is the price - instead of about $7000 as rumored, the HVR-Z1U will be priced at $4900, and the deck will be $3700. Both should be available by February (slightly later than anticipated).
Press release on HVR-Z1U & deck.
Press release on tech specs & details of HVR-Z1U.
The tech specs release is very informative - for a long time the only difference I'd heard of between the FX1 and pro model was XLR inputs, this article details a LOT of differences between the two.
-support for 60i, 50i, 24p, 25p, 30p all in the same camera
-proper SMPTE timecode with a variety of options (free run, etc.)
-lots of small, specific features necessary and applicable for professional production (read the press release)
Details on the deck were also announced. From the press release:
The HVR-M10U model is a lightweight, compact HDV 1080 VTR capable of record and play back of HDV 1080, DVCAM, and DV SP, as well as playback of video recorded in 720/30P. In addition to allowing backward compatibility to the standard definition DV world, the 1080 recorded image can also be down-converted to SD output mode directly from the VTR or camcorder in the digital or analog domain.
Again, this is great news for indies, although I hear that the 24p mode doesn't look so good (see sample footage links from recent posts). But the possibility of software conversion from 60i to 24p is still potentially viable.
Thanks to reader Martijn Shroevers for pointing these articles out.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
I found this. I thought it might interest you...
You don't need LumiereHD or Heuris to capture HDV footage.
You can capture HDV streams with Apple's sample application DVHSCap found in the firewire SDK at http://developer.apple.com/firewire/ . (Mike note - to immediately download, click here))
Then they can be viewed with VideoLAN
Transform the captured MPEG 2 transport stream to a Quicktime readable MPEG 2 m2v and aiff with MPEG Streamclip (download it at http://www.alfanet.it/squared5/mpegstreamclip.html ).
Convert the MPEG 2 streams to something else (DVCProHD or Uncompressed HD) with Quicktime and edit with Final Cut.
Yes, the process is clumsy, you can't (yet) natively edit HDV on a Mac and you will lose all timecode in the process (no batch capture, no recapture) but this is exactly what LumiereHD does.
Mike's Comments: I've heard that this works with the JVC JY-HD10 (the JVC HDV camera), but I haven't definitively verified that it'll work with the Sony HDR-FX1.
Immediate update 20 minutes after I wrote the above: Martjin wrote in to say he "converted the Japanese HDV footage in Streamclip to DVCPRO 1080/60. Then I could import it in FCP, edit and view in full res". So it works!
That said, this is a great on-the-cheap way to doodle with the sample footage I've been linking to and see what you think of it in the meantime.
But I'd also say it's sufficient for that - doodling with it. There are so many individual steps in the process, these tools would be somewhere between tedious and ridiculous for "real work." For any kind of actual project, I strongly feel LumiereHD would definitely be worth the modest investment, since it handles a lot of the batch work, conversion, and especially the relinking of the audio and video streams.
UPDATE: Martjin wrote back to say: Streamclip is not a big hassle. It doubles as a neat player for HDV footage with a scalable window. If you convert to QuickTime DVCPRO HD or Uncompressed, the audio stays in Sync and is incorporated in the new clips. Last but not least: It works with Sony HDV. Lumiere still does not. As I understand from their website, a new version will support the FX1
But to mess around and check out the sample footage, definitely download these free tools and start messing with the footage! Email me and let me know what you find out and what you think - I'm not going to have time to do any conversions and color correction tests until this weekend at the earliest.
You'll need the VLC reader (find it via versiontracker.com) or similar to play back these files.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
First reaction - WOW! This thing can do stuff in real time that would be an all day endeavor to set up in After Effects, and you'd feel very proud of yourself for having done so.
If you want to make cool looking motion graphics, THIS IS IT. I'm sure everyone's going to get tired of the seeing the presets on the air pretty soon (say, by spring), but DAMN, this thing is fast/cheap/good.
I just went tooling through the particle generator presets, just using the SciFi set, and was blown away by how cool this stuff was. Need a badass motion graphic rolling in the background? BAM! Just tool through the list and and have found what you wanted and saved out as a QuickTime file in 5 minutes. No joke - just as an animated background tool, Motion would be a DEAL for $300.
My second reaction - much akin to Roy Scheider in Jaws -
"We're gonna need a bigger boat."
I'm gonna need a better graphics card for the kinds of things I want to do with it. I threw a a few of the cool/glowy/wafty presets on top of each other and it stopped being 30 fps NTSC perfect. So looks like I will be chowing down in the big 6800 Ultra card after all.
Since that time I've had better tools to track my visitors. I can see how many folks are looking at the RSS feed using FeedBurner, and also get an overall sense of traffic with other tools. I was curious to see what kind of traffic could be generated by this niche specialty interest site, and it's averaged out to over 2,000 pageviews per day, with a one day peak of over 15,000 when I wrote that piece on 600 MB/sec sub-$3000 RAID systems for your G5.
Since I started this site exactly 8 months ago, I've written more than 380 articles, reviews, links, posts, editorials, whatever. I'd guess it's somewher in the vicinity of 150,000 to 200,000 words. Lots. There's probably a book's worth lurking in there.
It's too late and I'm too tired to put all the proper links on this page (it's almost 1am), but just wanted to say THANK YOU sincerely to all who've helped, submitted, or at least read the site to date. If you've contributed and I've left your name out I apologize, this is just a quick note.
So thanks again to all, good night! I plan to keep on with this.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
UPDATED Tuesday 3:45pm - a few changes made - all HDV cameras record to 8 bit at this time, and Sony's HDV format cannot be dubbed to D-VHS decks without re-encoding the data. Nor can Sony HDV data be recorded onto Blu-Ray discs.
This article discusses the difference in quality between what various video cameras and camcorders actually shoot versus the quality of what gets recorded to tape. A detailed explanation is given of what happens to the video image after it leaves the camera sensor and before it gets written to tape...and how it gets substantially changed. Concepts of RGB vs YUV, 4:4:4 vs 4:2:2, and interframe vs intraframe compression are explained and discussed with lots of explanatory links.
When I first started getting into digital video back around 1994 or so, before the DV format had been invented and popularized, it was very confusing to talk to vendors and try to get an idea of what kind of quality their video capture cards was capable of. I was just learing the difference between composite, s-video and component interfaces, and hearing vendors say
"Well yes, our video capture card captures at 640x480, and so does our competitor's, but ours has more resolution."
"Well yes, our product and our competitors both capture the same pixel resolution, and even though theirs has a higher data rate, ours is better."
It was very confusing. And, as with all vendor claims, sometimes they were right, sometimes they were wrong, and sometimes, as with many things,
"it just depends."
I see the same thing happening now with the various HD formats.
In a perfect world, shooting digital video would be akin to acquiring successive Photoshop documents many times a second. Poof! Perfect image quality at the size you want. This is not the case.
(For the picky ones of you out there, in a truly perfect world, you'd be shooting successive RAW camera format images to tape, or better yet in the new Adobe Digital Negative (DNG) format. But I obsessively digress.)
In the real world, especially when recording to videotape, this is far from what actually happens.
Most HD video cameras acquire the source image in 4:4:4 RGB, then reduce it to a 4:2:2 YUV image before it is fed to the videotape portion of the camcorder for compression to tape.
If you don't understand 4:4:4 RGB vs 4:2:2 YUV, read this short article to get the gist of it, or this longer one describing 4:2:2, 4:1:1, and 4:2:0 and this longer one talking about uncompressed and lossless video that isn't uncompressed or lossless to really understand.
If you plug a monitor directly into the HD-SDI connector on an HD video camera, it is usually a 10 bit, 4:2:2, full resolution image (1920x1080 or 1280x720) and it looks great - no compression or image quality reduction (in order to reduce datarate/bandwidth) has been applied at this point. There are no blocky chunky compression blocks, the image still has a potential range of 1024 possible levels of subtlety of brightness and color.
However...in order to get the potentially very large amount of video and audio data onto the tape, it has to be compressed. Just the video portion of 10 bit, 1920x1080 full 4:4:4 RGB at 29.97 interlaced fields per second takes up something around 220 MB/sec. Lots of data.
In order to reduce this down to something that can be recorded onto videotape, the following steps are taken in the most common HD tape formats:
1.) The image is broken down from RGB red, green and blue into YUV - luma (roughly speaking, the brightness) and two channels for the color information. Doing this allows the color information to be recorded at a reduced rate as compared to the luma information. Early TV tests determined that using 1/2 has much color data as brightness (black and white) was a reasonable compromise between image quality, human perception thresholds and bandwidth (aka filesize in the digital era).
2.) The image is downsampled (shrunk) in size horizontally, sometimes by as much as half
3.) The bit depth is reduced from 10 bit (1024 gradations of brightness/color) to 8 bit (256 gradations)
4.) A DCT based compression scheme is applied (DCT is short for Discrete Cosine Transformation, the same kind of compression done to JPEG images used on the web)
5.) Additional compression is applied which tries to minimize the datarate/bandwidth by looking for similarities from one frame to the next and essentially saying "That part? Yeah. Looks the same. Do that again. Maybe scootch it over a bit."
This brings the datarate down to something recordable onto videotape, somewhere in the 14 to 23 MB/sec range for the various vendor's solutions.
Let's look at the details of what we get in various video formats. I'll start with some familiar SD (standard defintion) video formats as a place of reference.
DV is a standard definition video format. It records 720x480 pixels in 8 bit, 4:1:1, then applies 5:1 compression on the results for a total of about 3 1/2 MB/sec of data (including audio). This means that DV throws away 3/4 of the color information that it might have kept. This is OK, since the human eye is much more sensitive to black and white detail than it is to color detail. So:
Input Resolution (camera acquires at): 720x480
Output Resolution (to/from tape): 720x480
Frame Rate/s:29.97 interlaced fps for NTSC, 25 interlaced fps for PAL (some cameras can do 24 progressive fps, sorta)
Bit Depth: 8 bit (256 unique levels or gradations of color and brightness)
Color Sampling: 4:1:1 (1/4 of color information retained)
Compression Ratio: 5:1
Camera Costs: roughly $500 to $20,000, sweet spot - $3000-$5000 for indies
Deck Costs: roughly $2000 to $12,000 - sweet spot - $3000-$8000 for indies
As a quick aside, there is also the DVCPRO50 standard from Panasonic, which uses 4:2:2 color sampling but twice the filesize, so a bit over 7 MB/sec. It's better than DV, but cameras/camcorders/decks cost much more than consumer DV gear. Many post production professionals consider it the best bang for the buck for SD (standard definition) video production.
Camera Costs: roughly $15000 to $50,000, sweet spot - I don't know
Deck Costs: $5,000 to $30,000 - sweet spot - I don't know
Digital Betacam, aka Digibeta
Digibeta is better than DV in a few ways. For starters, it's a 10 bit format, meaning it has a possible range of 1024 discrete gradations of color or brightness instead of only 256. Much more subtle detail can be maintained, especially in scenes with subtle color or brightness falloffs, like a sunset, or a sconce light tapering off against a wall. It uses 4:2:2 color sampling instead of 4:1:1, so it's capturing twice as much color data. For those trying to extract a color key from a bluescreen or greenscreen effects shot, the difference is HUGE. It also does a much milder compression - on 2:1. So:
Input Resolution (camera acquires at): 720x486
Output Resolution (to/from tape): 720x486
Frame Rate/s: 29.97 interlaced fps for NTSC, 25 interlaced fps for PAL
Bit Depth: 10 bit (1024 possible gradations of color or brightness)
Color Sampling: 4:2:2 (1/2 of color information retained)
Compression Ratio: 2:1
Camera Costs: $15,000 to $50,000 (cursory look)
Deck Costs: $35,000 to $50,000 (cursory look)
....but Digibeta decks and camcorders are MUCH more expensive than DV, and still quite a bit more than DVCPRO50 gear.
Digibeta: (quote swiped from this page on Ingenious TV
For the technically minded, Digibeta is a Digital format that uses mild 2:1 compression to record the full 4:2:2 component video signal on half inch tape. It has 4 digital audio channels (2 only on most cameras) as well as time code and cue tracks. Camera tapes run for up to 42 minutes and studio tapes run for up to 124 minutes.
The Digital Betacam format encompasses a DCT-compressed component video signal at YUV 4:2:2 sampling with 4 channels of uncompressed PCM-encoded audio at 48khz sampling. A 5th audio track is available for cueing, and a linear timecode track is also used on the tape.
OK, that should give you a decent grounding in how the color sampling and compression stuff works. Let's look at some HD formats now:
HDV is an interesting format. In theory it sounds great - either 720p (JVC) or 1080i (Sony) acquisition on sub-$4000 cameras, recorded onto standard miniDV tapes, copied over to the computer via FireWire in the native camera codec (a la Varicam footage with AJ-1200A Panasonic deck). But due to less than optimal imaging systems (current camera implementations, surmountable obstacle) and the extremely heavy compression used to record it onto miniDV tapes (inherent in the tape format, insurmountable obstacle), it doesn't work out quite as well as one might hope. But it's the best bang for the buck going in HD.
The creators wanted to have a low cost high definition format that high end consumers could work with. They decided to record in the same format that HD is currently broadcast in, namely an MPEG-2 transport stream. They also decided to record it onto standard miniDV tapes and load it onto computers via FireWire (also called iLink or IEEE 1394a), which is great for convenience and low cost. In theory the MPEG-2 interoperability sounds great, in practice it introduces a number of problems.
For starters, when the HDV format was introduced nobody's mainstream NLE system could edit this stuff. There's a PC solution called Aspect HD that converted it to a wavelet based codec, but then didn't have a (cost effectively) viable way to get it back out to tape. They may have fixed that, I just haven't paid attention since NAB. On the Mac side, there is a slick little application called Lumiere HD which handles the process a bit more elegantly but in a still non-traditional (for NLE operators) kind of way. But it works, and can maintain quality of the footage and get it back out to HDV or D-VHS deck. (D-VHS uses the exact same audio/video data structure as HDV, you just send the signal back over FireWire - it is possible to duplicate HDV tapes to D-VHS with a simple FireWire connection)UPDATE: The Sony won't dub to D-VHS - see other update below for details.).
There are two flavors of HDV now - JVC's in their 720p30 JY-HD10 (and lower end HD1) cameras, and Sony with their recently announced 1080i HDR-FX1.
This one's pretty easy. Everyone agrees the JVC, while first to market, kinda sucks rocks. Poor low light performance, poor color reproduction, lower resolution, poor exposure latitude, and one chip CMOS technology. Kinda icky. It also lists for about $4000 last I checked, which is MORE than the Sony. The camera shoots 1280x720 10 bit 4:2:0, but records it to the HDV format, which compresses it as an MPEG-2 transport stream, meaning it is (at present) awkward at the very least to edit with in most NLE (non-linear editing) systems. But Apple, Adobe, and almost all the other vendors have announced either future support or 3rd party shoehorn solutions to work with it now.
The $3500 Sony due in the US in November, has the same NLE interoperability issues but worse (since it hasn't shipped yet, and existing HDV solutions will have to be modified to work with the new size & framerate), but from what I can tell so far, it looks really nice. It shoots 1920x1080, but interlaced only. (But there will be a PAL version, and thus the possibility of 1080i50 to 1080p25 to 1080p24 exists). There is a pseudo 24p mode, but I bet it's doing some field dropping or interpolating to do it, which is less than optimal. But it is 3 CCDs, has better light sensitivity, tons of controls, and there will be a pro version with XLR inputs and other tweaks in Q1 2005 for about $7000. Some sample footage can be found via a FTP link described here, but because of the heavy compression, I'd be concerned about how scenes looked if there were a lot of fine detail, a lot of motion, a lot of color detail, or a moderate to heavy amount of color correction needed to be applied. This concern applies to the JVC, and basically ANY HDV camera ever made.
The HDV format, by acquiring (when you want maximum data) in a format usually used for distribution (when you want a minimum amount of data), I fear the footage might be "brittle" in that you wouldn't be able to do much to it in post (color correct, composite, etc.) without it "breaking" it and having it degrade heavily with a lot of visible ugly artifacts. Basically, the raw footage might look OK, but as soon as you try to color correct it, it might start looking "a little assy" as a friend of mine would say. Again, I haven't had a chance to play with any source 1080i footage from Sony, this is just a concern I'm airing with the format. The fact that the 720p30 format is using 19 megabits, and the 1080i60 format, with more than twice the amount of pixels, only uses 25 megabits, makes me worry about shots with a lot of motion - are they going to break up into a lot of little compression blocks? Try a fast pan with a DV camera and play it back, or shoot tall grass/waving trees moving in the wind and play that back and you'll know what I mean.
JVC's 720 progressive HDV format in their JY-HD10
Input Resolution (camera acquires at):1280x720 (I may be wrong on this if the CCD array is being upsampled/uprezzed)
Output Resolution (to/from tape):1280x720 (I may be wrong on this if it's recorded to tape differently)
Frame Rate/s: 30 progressive frames per second (no interlaced options, no 24p option)
Bit Depth: 8 bit (256 possible gradations of color or brightness)
Color Sampling: 4:2:0 (the two color channels take turns as to which gets recorded, then that data repeats for a field until it gets updated)
Compression Ratio: 19Mbits/sec = 2.375 MB/sec, that's about 27:1 compression starting from 10 bit 4:2:2, but it is MPEG-2, which is "smarter" and more efficient than the compression methods used in DV, HDCAM, and DVCPRO HD.
Camera Costs: $4000 list, probably closer to $3200 street
Deck Costs: I've yet to see/find prices, but I think I overhead $2000? $4000? See it here.
Sony's 1080 interlaced HDV format in their HDR-FX1
Input Resolution (camera acquires at):the CCD only captures 960x1080, this is upsampled to 1440x1080
Output Resolution (to/from tape):1440x1080 is recorded to tape, on playback it's upsampled to 1920x1080
Frame Rate/s: 29.97 interlaced frames per second, a pseudo 24p is offered (field doubling or interpolating to do so). Eventually a PAL version with 1080i50, which has interesting ramifications for independent filmmakers (better path to 1080p24 than does 1080i60 originated material)
Bit Depth: 8 bit (256 possible gradations of color or brightness)
Color Sampling: 4:2:0 (the two color channels take turns as to which gets recorded, then that data repeats for a field until it gets updated)
Compression Ratio: 25 Mbits/sec = 3.125 MB/sec, that's about 47:1 compression starting from 10 bit 4:2:2, but it is MPEG-2, which is "smarter" and more efficient than the compression methods used in DV, HDCAM, and DVCPRO HD.
Camera Costs: $3500 estimated for the HDR-FX1
Deck Costs: I understand that the JVC deck listed above should work with 1080i, but I can't prove it
Actually a reader informed me that the structure of the Sony HDV 1080i signal is sufficiently different that you cannot dub to a D-VHS deck directly from the Sony. Software fixes, such as the previously mentioned LumiereHD may, in the future, resolve that problem.
So you can see some things start changing with the way the HDV works as opposed to SD cameras. High definition video carries so much more data than SD that the manufacturer's are trying to find ways to shoehorn what could be up to 6 times more data onto the same tape formats. A lot of compression is required to achieve that. All but the highest end HD tape formats also downsample the source image horizontally, reducing the number of pixels it actually records to tape. This Sony camera, for example, also only has a CCD capable of detecting 960 pixels of detail per line, even though the final output needs to be 1920. The 960 pixels are stretched out to 1440, thus inventing some data by interpolating from what they already had. 1440 lines are written to tape in a heavily compressed format. On playback, they are stretched and interpolated even further out to the full 1920 pixels across. While the footage I've seen looks really good, it is not as good as it could be, since they are only picking up 1/2 the detail from the get-go. Sony could viably argue that the CCD is a good match for their lense they use. Let's face it, it's only a $3500 camera, and professional lenses for film can cost tens of thousands of dollars apiece in their effort to capture every little bit of detail. But for $3500, it's a phenomenal bang for the buck from what I can tell so far.
The Sony is the most interesting camera I foresee being readily available between now and NAB next year for independent filmmakers wanting to get into HD on a budget. Even though the CCD array only captures HALF of what the final display resolution is going to be, and then heavily compresses it, the end results are still impressive from the limited amount of footage I've seen so far. A $3500 camera, a $4000 computer setup (computer, NLE & HDV software, a computer monitor), and you can shoot and edit (but not monitor to color correct without spending another $1400 or so minimum). That's a sub-$10,000 setup to shoot and edit your HD movie. Damn. That's cool. If you want me to write a detailed list of the parts involved, email me at email@example.com and I'll do a write-up if there's demand.
OK, it's 3:30 AM and I'm beat. So if I got something wrong, email me but be nice. Tomorrow I'll get back on it and get into the "real" HD tape formats. Here's what I'll be covering in ascending resolution and quality:
HDCAM SR (4:2:2 and optionally 4:4:4)
SRW-1 double rate 4:4:4
I'd be interested in seeing if they can do a similar hack to the Sony HDR-FX1 HDV camera.
This is another link sent in by Australian Christopher Barry.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
DTS (Digital Theater Systems, Inc.) has unveiled DTS-HD as the new trademarked brand name for its lossless technology. Previously known under working name DTS++, the DTS-HD mark will denote media, source players and decoders that are compliant with the next generation high definition disc formats, Blu-ray Disc and High Definition DVD (HD-DVD).
The full article has more details, including details of how this is the only format that allows up to lossless encoding that will be required in both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, the next generation of DVD products that will handle high definition video.
Recently they've been tracking a thread about 1/2 second freezes in HDV recording.
This thread link sent in by Christopher Barry, thanks man!
I've also added SonyHDVInfo.com to my links section at the top right of this page. If you are looking to learn more about HD and HD post, I HIGHLY recommend you spend some time with those links at the top right of this site.
Go git you one and start shooting!
On Nov 6, 2004, at 3:33 AM, Christopher Barry wrote:
nice info on Avid DNxHD. I knew Avid promoting a low bandwidth robust codec, however, the data rate is really interesting (low) and cant wait to see the results on some tests, composites, etc.
DNxHD 220 8/10 bit 422 220 Mbps 27.5 MB/sec
Interested to see what a "Blackmagic HDTV 1080 23.98Hz - JPEG" setup with JPEG compression slider adjusted to represent a 27.5mb/s and then do an A/B on the DNxHD footage.
points of contention:
-DNxHD is a fixed rate codec, PhotoJPEG is not, therefore you can't predict/depend on PhotoJPEG's data rate
-DNxHD is 8 or 10 bit, PhotoJPEG is 8 bit
-DNxHD is 4:2:2, PhotoJPEG is 4:4:4....and DNxHD doesn't have a 4:4:4 option (but would you want one anyway?)
-XPress Pro can only edit, not capture nor lay back to tape (they are STILL protecting their high end!). Oh, and if I understood correctly, XPress Pro REQUIRES the Mojo hardware to process (play back and edit) DNxHD
DNxHD has all the other advantages, 10bit and Avids renowned and expensive RT on the higher end suite. Interesting, I could get my HD digitised by DNxHD owner, Nitris HD?, offline it on my kick ass Dell Inspirion 9100 laptop and a FW800 PCMCIA card and a LaCie using XpressPro, then back to edit suite for on-line.
In theory, maybe, if you had a Mojo attached as well and met the rest of the hardware requirements. I'm betting Mojo will dominate the FireWire bus - it would need it's own, electrically separate FireWire bus apart from any storage device.
I dont want to do this, however, the door is now opening to HD for the masses and those who do not want to deviate from the Avid paradigm and those who can afford and financially justify excellent and expensive turnkey babies...
Yeah, I see your point. Here's another perspective on it, too:
-the point of DNxHD is that it is a high quality, low bandwidth solution
-Avid is claiming uncompressed quality in a compressed codec, because it is full bit depth (can do 10 bit) & full raster (no pre-filtering, sub-sampling, downsampling, call it what you will). I call bullshit on that - CUZ IT'S STILL COMPRESSED 6:1
-The point of low bandwidth is to save money, right? Don't need all that expensive storage. Mojo is $1600. For smaller projects, that IS uncompressed storage! (Of course, Mojo does lots of other stuff too.) Or it certainly will be by NAB with all the new gear coming out.
-for larger projects, Mojo would pay for itself in storage savings, plus it offers a slew of RT (realtime) acceleration options that makes it cost justify it's existence to boot. But you still can't capture footage using XPress Pro with Mojo, you're beholden to supplicate at the altar of a Adrenaline or Nitris....not The Indie Way. If you have a lot of tapes, that could cover the cost difference to go ahead and buy yourself a fully self contained FCP HD with storage. Worth chugging the numbers to see how many tapes that would be. I hear $100 a tape to downconvert to DV is pretty standard.
And hey, can XPress Pro with Mojo let you monitor your footage for color correction? I don't think so! Again back to the online suite for final work.
Friday, November 05, 2004
...How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema, by Charles Koppelman. The book covers the decision to use Final Cut Pro, the relationship between the technology and art of movie-making, how Final Cut Pro was set up and configured for Cold Mountain, how it affected the work flow, and implications for the future of filmmaking. It also chronicles Murch's story, told through photos, journal entries, email musings, and anecdotes that give readers an inside view of what the film editor does. Behind the Seen is $39.99 [$27.19 Amazon].
Want to edit a feature on Final Cut Pro? This is probably worth reading, but I wouldn't take all of their technical approaches as gospel since the technology has moved on since then.
I just got my copy in the mail yesterday, will post notes as I read it.
Some of the highlights:
-DNxHD is an open format codec - the source code is downloadable and licensable for individuals, groups, companies, etc.
-DNxHD can be 8 or 10 bit, and is always full size (no downsampling/pre-filtering/sub-sampling). So your 1920x1080 footage is stored as 1920x1080, your 1280x720 is stored as 1280x720.
-Avid XPress Pro with Mojo will be able to play back DNxHD footage and edit with it, but won't be able to capture/playback to/from decks (edit only station solution)
-the big iron (Nitris HD) will able to do 3 layers of uncompressed HD
-from the demo, the realtime performance of the system was very impressive. Renders were quick.
-native support to capture and edit BOTH HDV and DVCPRO HD (they refer to it as DV100 internally) via FireWire. Very cool
-can mix ANY AND ALL media types on the same timeline! The only constraint is that they have to be the same time base
Mike's Overall Takeaway: The Avid Adrenaline is impressive, but damn, it's pricey. Compared to a Final Cut Pro HD setup, it can do more stuff in realtime - specifically, the bigger Avids can mix SD and HD on the same timeline in real time, which Final Cut Pro HD cannot do. For the money, I still think the Final Cut Pro solution is a better, more flexible deal, but it is slower. In terms of quality, once you're doing HD-SDI it's all the same. Avid does not have, at this time, a dual link HD-SDI solution to do 4:4:4 YUV or 4:4:4 RGB. The DNxHD stuff is a really, really good idea and the quality is impressive. They can't get the DNxHD hardware working on Macs at the moment but they're working on it, Apple apparently is dragging their feet according to the Avid rep. The Unity SAN solution, or the LANShare stuff, are all about doing group editing so everyone can get access to all of the footage all the time. Apple's X-SAN will be a very interesting challenger to this. Unity has about 2000 units installed and is four years old, X-SAN will ship a 1.0 version in the next month or so supposedly, and will probably have some teething pains as all 1.0 products do.
Here's my raw notes:
Mark Stephens, TM Television, based in Dallas gave presentation
Avid DNxHD Panasonic stuff
Digital Nonlinear Accelerator - a box that connects to CPU via FireWire
software can max out host performance, DNA box does media processing with programmable field gate arrays
Can do 11 streams uncompressed (on an 8 drive stripe) SD
performance scales with host - as faster CPU stuff comes along, system performance goes up too
ATSC digital TV standard for SD digital is 704x480 rectangular pixels
DNxHD infrastructure lets you stay on your existing SD infrastructure, including
XPress Pro through Nitris will let you edit DNxHD
Goal of DNxHD:
provide complete suite of tools
-maintain high quality ofver multiple generations
-work in HD with ALL the popular formats
-collaboarate in DV, SD, and HD environment
-future proof through field upgradability, scalable hardware, etc.
HW/SW combo for RT HD, works on existing SD infrastructure of storage and networking
can ingest DVCPRO HD, HDCAM, HDCAM SR, D-5, HDV, etc.
DNxHD = Digital Nonlienar Xtensible HD encoding
engineered for post:
-10bit for CC
-enables mutli-gen compositing
-no sub-sampling of the raster - it's full res 1920x1080
DNXHD IS 10 BIT - THAT IS COOL! ONLY 10 BIT COMPRESSED CODEC, it's also full size 1280x720 or 1920x1080
"pre-filtering and sub-sampling" is the downsample
Y=luma (brightness, black and white part of image)
Y goes from 1920 to 1440, chroma 960 to 480
DVCPRO HD 1080 Y 1920 to 1280, chroma 960 to 640
DVCPRO HD 720: y 1280 to 960, chroma 640 to 480
CLAIMING uncompressed HD quality at SD throughputs - sorta, since it's still compressed, just that it's still 10 bit and full size
DNxHD 145 - 8b422 145 Mbps= 18.125 MB/sec
DNxHD 220 8/10 bit 422 220 Mbps 27.5 MB/sec
DVCPRO HD 8b422 100 Mbps
HDCAM 8b311 135 Mbps
HDCAM SR 10 bit 422 or 444 440 Mbps
for the 220 Mbps 8 vs 10 bit, the 8 bit does less compression
17 versions of DNxHD resolutions possible, at different sizes, frame rates, bit depths, etc.
Using DNxHD, Unity is HD
-up to 16 clients simultaneously
seamless interop and intercahnge
DNxHD source code is free
-licensable, royalty free, from their web site
-hardware licensing underway for DNxHD processing
so if I can write a Mac DNxHD codec, can write to it non-RT perhaps?
MXF=Media Xchange Format - it's a wrapper around Avid OMF files. If you're MXF compatible, you can read it
-download the source and compile it for DNxHD?
Ikegami licensed DNxHD, developing tapeless camcorders straigtht to DnxHD on a hard drive or solid state media (P2 like) - working on CMOS imager for 1080i to 720, Ikegami has some 14 bit cameras
The DNA DVI, component analog out, trilevel sync, two HD-SDI outs, one HD-SDI in, one DVI out (what's that for?)
realtime multi-cam stuff - 3 streams of HD - episodic TV, etc. (9 SD streams)
the HD add-on board to DNA box can do:
native HDV over FireWire
native DVCPRO HD support over FireWire
future uncompressed HD add-on middle of 2005
CAN MIX HD, SD, & DV on the same timeline and do RT performance! That's way cool.
Works both ways - put SD on HD timeline, put HD on SD timeline
Avid DS Nitris
DNA looks the same from the front,
-multi-stream HD output,
-RT cc, DVE, titles & transitions, RT HD universal mastering, RT SD downconvert
RT 2K workflow
single stream 2K RGB playback
RT multi-stream editing & FX - HD proxies link back to original RGB files
Timecode from DPX files (automatic file-based conform)
native HDV editing,
DVCPRO HD native editing
he talks about Panasonic AJ-1200A deck and AJ-HDC27F (Varicam)
Varicam - film rec mode - changes the way camera works, changes the menu structure, takes all the available info in a scene and moves it into the bandwidth available (kinda akin to color reverse) - is it closer to the raw CCD output? Panasonic and ARRI have worked to do CLUTs for filmout by using filmrec mode and the CLUT
ASK ABOUT FILM REC MODE
AJ-HDX400 - available in early 2005
SD monitor out
small cassettes, 32 min record time
uses EX - DVCPRO HD EX - a new micron pitch and speed for longer record times on small form factor tapes
-92 minute record time on 1200A, 120 min on 1700 decks
Lee Fisher Demo Artist freelancer
1080i59.94 sample project
on a one monitor setup, can't go full screen
DNxHD plays back fine without HD card
Avid Nitris setup:
720p59.94, 1080p23.976, 1080p24, 1080i50, 1080i59.94
NO 720P24, NO 1080P true 24.000,
you get multiple timecode tracks for all your different choices. Keeps your timecode depending on what format you're working with
codecs to use: 220 X is the 10 bit, 220 is the 8 bit
CAN MIX RESOLUTIONS ON THE SAME TIMELINE - COOL!
her timeline has lots of RT effects, such as scaling non-native to timeline footage to fit on screen
OpenGL processing for 3D warps etc.
RT timewarping (speed up and slow down)
Illusion FX: non-RT FX - standard type fare
plasma wipes for RT stuff - uses an 8 bit map for reveal transitions
3D warp using Open GL: - RT no rendering, but when would you use it?
Marquee tool: 3D text, nice RT performance!
HD dissolve: have to render! but very very fast
CAN'T MIX FRAMERATES WITHIN A PROJECT! Can mix SIZES, but not FRAMERATES
to bring 24p into a 30i project, there are effects/filters to process it to hand it off, drop a timewarp plugin on the clip and process it
pulldown removal and pulldown insertion is RT
renders are VERY fast on this system - a 10 PIP composite is about 15-18 sec to render a 6 second clip to calculate the top layer - the rest was RT
There's a consolidate/transcode menu item - same as Media Manager in FCP to recompress all to a given codec
2K workflow: can bring in 2048x1536 10 bit log stuff, and the Avid will render down to HD proxies, and assign timecode to those sequences from DPX stuff
Q1 next year for 720p24 workflow
Dallas Dec 16th for working HD board more polished demo
Mov 18th for corporate show in evening
QUESTIONS FOR END:
film rec mode for Varicam
2K mode: 2048x1536 10 bit log?
does it have 720p24, 720p60.000
XPress Pro can edit but not capture, could edit off the Unity
LANShare is another sharing solution
Can't ingest into XPress Pro, it's a file transfer issue
TM Television is only Gold Premiere reseller in the state, he does turnkey EVERYTHING Avid, have a bunch of service reps
Dallas is main office
DN XL card - lists for $10K, pre-orders $7500 (this is the DNxHD RT card)
Adrenaline w/software and DNA hardware is $25K list, HD expansion card is $10K, Nitris is around $150K plus,
no DNxHD working on G5 now, it'll be next year at NAB for Mac based DNxHD, Apple has been dragging their feet
I had done some doodle tests with this over the summer to render to DVCPRO HD from 1920x1080 24 frame per second source material, but since it wasn't natively supported on any decks I didn't pursue it any further.
However, with the latest driver update from Black Magic, you can now capture directly to DVCPRO HD from an HD-SDI source (such as HDCAM, HDCAM SR, D-5, or non-FireWire DVCPRO HD deck). Now, while the DVCPRO HD 1080i60 codec can only be natively output over FireWire at 60i, for editing purposes you can use it at whatever framerate you want, such as 23.976 or 24 fps. And since the new drivers for the entire BlackMagic DeckLink HD line can capture to DVCPRO HD on the fly in real time from a deck, that's great news.
So now you say"So who cares Mike?" I say YOU do, because now there is a low bandwidth codec to use in Final Cut Pro HD for your 24p HDCAM projects that still allows for realtime transitions (update: no RT transitions!), color correction, and effects(maybe not these either)! And the DeckLink HD line starts as low as $595.
This is BIG for post workflow. Use this as your offline codec (or your online if you're REALLY poor and desperate) and you're good to go.
UPDATED: I originally came back to this because reader Brian Williams in L.A. wrote in to say he'd gotten it to work. After I posted, he wrote back to say he's got realtime transitions. We'll compare our setup notes to see why not. We're both on dual 2.5 GHz G5's, so I don't yet understand why his does and mine doesn't.
Also, in the "Credit Where Credit is Due" category a lot of the deep links (the HDR-FX1 manual, the Microsoft HD tutorials, etc.) came via my Aussie friend Christopher Barry, who's been the single largest outside contributor to the site so far.
If you find a cool link, send it in! I give credit where credit is due (or try to, anyway!).
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Dual 2.0 GHz G5: $2500 (apple.com)
additional 3rd party RAM: $200 (crucial.com)
3rd party 400GB SATA drive: $382 (zipzoomfly.com)
DeckLink HD: $595 (blackmagic-design.com)
HDLink: $695 (blackmagic-design.com)
Apple 23" LCD: $2000 (apple.com) or maybe HP 23" LCD ($1600, but I'm not sure I recommend this one)
Final Cut Pro HD: $1000
2 17" computer monitors: 2x$350 (wherever, or a 22" La Cie Eletron Blue IV for $700)
some decent self powered speakers: $150 or whatever (I'd say spend at least $300-$400 on some studio grade near field reference monitors)
IF you go with the HP 23" LCD, you could squeeze that down:
Other goodies you could add:
-Contour Designs jog shuttle controller, $50-$100 depending on model (contourdesigns.com)
-editing keyboard with keys labelled for all shortcuts ($80 for new keycaps, or $150-$200 for new keyboard)
So what will this let you do? DVCPRO HD 1080p24 takes up 11.2 MB/sec. So that's about 40 GB/hr. A 400 GB drive formats to 370 GB, so that's over 9 hours of HD footage. That should be sufficent if you don't shoot too much footage. If you need more room, buy a FireWire 800 drive for more space. It'll work fine for this kind of stuff.
You get to edit with realtime color correction, but transitions seem to require rendering in my testing so far, even with a simple cross dissolve. This is better than PhotoJPEG, since you can't even do RT color correction with the PhotoJPEG codec.
And, of course, with the HDLink connected to the Apple 23" LCD, you get to monitor your project on a 1920x1080 pixel sharp LCD, showing all the detail of your HD signal.
This is the "as little as" setup, you can obviously work up from here.
But if you wanted to use this as an offline workflow and go back and recapture the uncompressed for your final online, you could do it if you had a RAID setup fast enough.
Or, if you can live with the fact that this is 1280x1080 compressed, use it as your online to get in the festival. Rent the HDCAM deck for a day to lay it off to tape. You might want to rent an HD CRT monitor with HD-SDI input to double check your color correction too, but rent the monitor before the deck.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
If you read it and find something cool, let me know about it - email me at mike at hdforindies dot com.
HD Formats: The Infamous "Table 3"
Video in HD
Audio in HD
Recording Formats for HD
Storage Requirements for HD Capture
Backup Systems for HD Content
Apple released a new build of Tiger to developers this past week, the first in a few months as I understand it. So the boards have been busy with talks about what's new and what's fixed. Latest rumors I hear are that it might ship around late March (and no that isn't based on the Amazon slip). An editing friend boiled it down well:
What's Tiger gonna do for me as an editor?
First and foremost, there will be a new version of QuickTime released with Tiger. I don't know if it will come out before or with Tiger, let's call it QuickTime 7. The biggest improvement I've heard of, in terms of day to day practicality, is going to be support for more than 2 tracks of audio. With various HD tape formats supporting 4 to 8 tracks of audio, this is great news - no more multi-pass capturing just to pick up all the audio tracks.
Apple HAS publicly stated that HDV, Panasonic's 1080i50, and IMX MPEG will all be natively supported in the next version of Final Cut Pro HD.
There will be ancillary benefits as well from Tiger- an advanced search capability called Spotlight will help locate files (or clips) based on text content within the files themselves, and there will be various workflow assists as well, once they are integrated into applications. I'm going out on a limb here to guess that IF Apple ships OS X 10.4 in March, we might expect Final Cut Pro 5.0 in April at NAB, and that FCP 5 might incorporate new features taking advantage of Spotlight, Core Image (a new screen drawing and image manipulation paradigm), multi-channel audio capture, and more.
Since it'll be a full version update, I'm betting it will NOT be free, and will be a paid upgrade, and I'm taking a total wild guess that it will be $200-$300 to upgrade (I'm basing that on gut vibe, no hard data whatsoever). So if they announce at NAB, unless they have it in the box there, it'll take until late April/early May to get your hands on it based on how I've seen Apple ship software in the past....but Apple's been getting better, so who knows.
OK, that's enough raw, blind conjecture for one day...if you have further thoughts on Final Cut Pro HD 5.0, Tiger, OS X 10.4, and how it will or might benefit editors, please let me know, drop me a line at mike at hdforindies dot com.
Other Stuff That Could be Cool
The new Core Image technology could add some realtime filters (the same way Motion does), and opens the door for the possibility of 16 bit per channel (48 bit color) workflows - this could solve the 8 bits per channel (24 bit color) limit that is hampering high quality HD post and DI work presently. We have hardware and codecs for 10 bit RGB workflows, but Final Cut Pro doesn't support more than 8 bits per pixel in RGB. This color depth stuff is conjecture - the fact that we're dealing with a 64 bit OS makes it MUCH easier to have 48 bit color, because that fits inside a 64 bit "word" that the CPU can handle in one bite (as in chunk, not byte).
Automator could allow for batch processing of stuff, useful in all sorts of ways if FCP supports it in a deep/meaningful way. Need to do the same thing to a bunch of clips? Automator could help.
H.264/AVC Codec is a highly efficient codec that will probably be used in the next generation of DVDs that can handle high definition video. It's a distribution codec, not an editing codec. But the ability to encode to this codec and burn onto a CD/DVD that someone can play on a computer will be a great way to distribute roughs, and eventually (say, 2006) to be able to burn an hi def DVD so they can watch it on their set top player is a cool possibility. Assuming the next generation of DVDs DOES use this codec, it'll be huge for high def DVD production on a Mac.
In the "deep, deep speculation" category, somebody wrote in to say that we might get distributed processing in FCP 5. Hmm..that'd be cool, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon (but I'll cry happy tears if it does). The network throughput necessary to make that viable for realtime video solutions isn't feasible right now for Apple to develop and sell on a heavy prosumer/professional basis - I think it'd be too expensive to realistically deploy for enough users to be worth Apple's development time....yet. But distributed MPEG-2 or H.264/AVC encoding would be fun/useful/viable/cool....but I wouldn't expect it.
Monday, November 01, 2004
* (that's the Sony 1920x1080 pixel interlaced HDV format video camera, use the Search bar at the top of the page to learn more)
He used Lumiere HD on his Mac to import the footage, and he's posted the raw .m2t files from that conversion. You can use VLC Video Player to view these files on your Mac or PC.
The main directory containing all of the clips is here.
I was going to list out discrete links to each file with a description, but that would be work and stuff. It's late, time to post this sucka. Just go through and download'em. Right click and "Save Linked File As" or whatever your browser calls it - if you just click, you'll get a screen full of text garbage.
Download speeds are FAST - I was getting over 200 KB/sec.
I've started looking through the clips - very mundane, shot on the street stuff. The night footage is very, very interesting - it looks like it gets very nice detail on a fairly well lit city street, and doesn't blow out all to hell when a headlight points at it.
Yeah, this camera is going to be really, really nice for the indie crowd. Even if you plan on a standard def deliverable, it has several advantages. I want to see how the color reproduces, need to see some better shot stuff than what I've seen so far. I'll be converting these clips (over 2GB worth) to something I can edit with and see how well it holds up for color correction - the REAL test....