Several thing to consider when mixing clips on the timeline are....
1. What format (1080, 720, Standard definition) does your final deliverable need to be?
2. What format is the majority of your clips?
I would agree with your evaluation. 1280 x 720p30 is a good mastering size. Of course if you are doing a standard dvd (as opposed to Blu ray) when you encode it you will need also to adjust the size to 720 x 486 or whatever is appropriate.
Thanks for the reply. I would like to take advantage of the 60p framerate of the GoPro footage for some smoother slow motion scenes. I've just tested it and it seems that when I dump 720p60 footage onto an HDV 720p30 timeline, Premiere discards every other frame in the source footage. I'm not saying this is exactly what is happening (I honestly don't know), but I'm saying this is what appears to be happening based on what I see during playback. Right clicking the footage in the timeline, selecting speed/duration and putting 25% into the speed setting seems to slow things down nicely without any noticeable problems (playback is smooth). I assume at this point Premiere is smart enough to recognize that the source footage has additional frames available, and thus uses those due to the reduced speed requested for playback?
I'd work in a 720p/60 sequence and scale the other clips down to match. PP will automatically handle any frame rate differences. When you export for DVD, use the MPEG2-DVD option and select Scale to Fill.
I am a huge fan of using the Cineform codec. So are the makers of the GoPro cameras. So much so, in fact, that they bought the company.
The GoPro footage can be converted to Cineform for free. The software is on their site. If you want the other formats to be converted, there is a $199 product that can convert HDV and AVCHD as well as most DSLR cameras. They claim to be adding more cameras to their "tested" list every day and will take suggestions as to what they should test next. For more professional requirements, the software is $299. The 3D version is only $999, which is probably reasonable. I don't know. I am not into 3D at all. Yet.
Anyway, the point is that you can convert all of your footage to the same codec, and make it a LOT easier to edit on your computer (Mac or PC). You can even take it all to 24P though their software.
There are so many advantages to using Cineform, I can't begin to tell you about it here. I became a fan back when I bought an HDV camera and Premiere Pro didn't have a way to edit it yet. Cineform saved the day. Adobe used Cineform in Premiere Pro for one or two versions (I can't remember for sure if it was one or two). I highly recommend you take a look for yourself.
There is a free trial available for each product in the downloads section. I have not tried this, but you might be able to download the $299 program and convert all of your footage during the trial period. I know for a fact that Premiere Pro CS6 will continue to allow you to edit and export the Cineform codec because I haven't purchased the new products yet, but the free software allows me to edit my old Cineform files from 2004.
Oh, and yes, drop it all to 720 to make your life easier and maintain the quality.
the point is that you can convert all of your footage and make it a LOT easier to edit on your computer
Clueless didn't specify any editing difficulties. This answer seems a bit non-sequitur.
Cluesless, I wouldnt waste your time trancoding unless there is a real reason to do so. Thats the idea of using Premieres ability to handle clips natively.
True. I am still just so grateful to those guys for making my first editing experience with HDV possible. And when I came back recently, and upgraded to CS6, imagine my surprise that I could get free software to continue to edit old footage, and not only that, if I wanted to get the latest and greatest software for my needs, it is cheaper now than it was back in 2004.
I guess I go into "cheerleader" mode when I talk about Cineform. Mihi ignoscere tibi libeat.
I understand your point, but if GoPro thinks that it is the right thing to do for their footage, I am not inclined to argue. I have been transcoding HDV upon capture for many years and it has always proven to be a good idea.
Steven, you know more about the power of your computer, the nature of your projects, etc then Go Pro does. . To relinquish your ability to make decisions about transcoding just because Go Pro thinks you should do it seems silly to me.
The kind of computer you had a long time ago is nothing like the powerhouse you have now. Dont let old habits limit yourself from better workflows in the present.
Personally I would avoid Cineform. They have been unsuccessful so far in getting the NTSC to recognize them as a video standard. They also need to be wrapped in AVI or QT, which takes about 2X as longs as codecs wrapped in MXF.
I might feel differently about it if Adobe had bought them, since in my expereince they know what they are doing when it comes to developing software
It really comes down to your workflow and habits. If you are in the habit of exporting sections of a timeline to put into a new sequence, instead of nesting, then using the Cineform codec is much better than dealing with the the recompressing of the long GOP involved with MPEG video. Why not nest? Well, I find myself going out to After Effects with the clip and then back into Premiere Pro. Using Dynamic Link hundreds of times in a sequence can slow things down, even on a fast PC, so I somewtimes end up exporting from After Effects instead of using Dynamic Link. Using Cineform to avoid degradation of the content moving back and forth has been proven to be valuable to my workflow.
Not always. Mostly just on more complicated projects. If I am working on a short project, or a quick personal project that will only be seen on the web, I am not as inclined to worry about it. But for the cleanest high definition video I can get, I rely on Cineform quite often.
I don't explain it as well as they do, but I was dragged forcibly through the technical explanation a number of years back, and through testing multiple encodings I was able to see their point.
So, if you are just cutting, no sweat. Use the native format. But when you start to really put some pressure on the encoding/decoding/encoding process. I think many projects would benefit from Cineform.
Also, when combining lots of different codecs on the same timeline, I believe that there are more difficulties than I am willing to deal with. But, each to his own.
wow ok lots of information here. Thank you all for your replies. My machine specs are below. For the record I don't have any real speed issues, even with heavy dynamic linking between PR and AE.
16GB quad channel ram
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670
120GB solid state for programs and OS with multi-TB platters for data
and while we're on the topic: PC platform (Win 7 64), liquid CPU cooler, 750W power supply, box is on a UPS 'cause power in my area is pretty unreliable, and finally the mobo is capable of upgrading to a hex core which I'll be doing in about a year.
@Jim: I will try your sequence settings with the GoPro and HDV footage momentarily and report back. Regarding using Adobe for output to DVD - I'm sorry but no, I won't do that. The quality is unacceptable. My workflow for creating DVD's involves the largarith lossless codec through AviSynth using the hd2sd script, and finally using Encore for final transcoding and disc creation. Regarding that last step, I will be experimenting with HCEncode in the near future to see if that ups the quality of my DVDs any further.
@Steven: Regarding using Cineform, I'm not against that but will stay away for now - will keep it on the back burner though and will try it if I think it will help. I'm primarily concerned with the quality of the finished work. If Cineform only makes things easier, then I'm less interested. Based on what I read (breifly) on GoPro's website about it, I can't find anything about it that Premiere can't do for me already.
Thanks again for all the suggestions.
When Steven is referring to Cineform he isn't telling you to use their software, he's basically telling you that you can use their codec by installing their software program. You won't actually use their software for anything, everything will still be done inside adobe software. You're just going to take advantage of their free Cineform codec. Although if you're not having speed issues currently then I'd advise you to just continue working natively anyways like you're already doing.
Basically the Cineform codec is very easy on your CPU to edit with, so if you were indeed having performance issues Cineform is s a great idea. Cineform also doesn't lose any visual quality, it's a visually lossless format. But like I said since you're not suffering from performance issues there is no reason to do that. (Like you already mentioned)
Honestly I just wanted to clarify so you'd understand your future options fully. However if I just misunderstood and you already knew what I'm saying then just disregard my statement entirely and ignore me.
HC Encoder is a good addition to the mix. In my experience, the quality is visibly improved over Adobe's MainConcept encoder. Though I would recommend exporting out a UT version instead of Lagarith. I find it just encodes faster in HC than Lags does.
Though I personally have never used Dan Isaac's hd2sd script, I also didn't start working with HD until recently, and so far Adobe's ability to scale footage properly has given me no reason to complain about the results or to try the script.
@ComputerNovice25: thanks for the clarification - I thought he was asking that I use the Cineform editing suite so there was confusion there on my part. As my main goal is quality above all else, and I'm not currently having any speed issues, I will be avoiding Cineform for now.
@Jim: I hadn't heard of UT before, but will check it out. Seems it's a lossless codec, and if it encodes faster in HC that's great - provided there's no quality loss as well I'll be happy. I agree that Adobe can scale just fine, on screen. Have you created a DVD from your HD source yet? When I got my DVD into my player and viewed it on my HD TV, I was pretty taken aback at just how much quality was lost in the translation. Lags and hd2sd proved a life-saver. Your words on HC are encouraging - I'll be working on that next week but I'm very happy with the current workflow if HC doesn't work for me.
The 720p60 (from the DSLR sequence category) seems to work well enough for mixing the footage types. I'm not sure I see any difference from the previous setting (HDV 720p30) though....I'm thinking the ultimate answer to the original question may be: "pick a sequence setting that matches the majority of your footage and don't worry about the rest. Let Adobe do the math and figure it out for you." Anyone think this is wrong?
Anyone think this is wrong
No. That sounds right for most situations.
As for quality, if you feel that using the media straight from the camera is working for you, then that is fine. Great, in fact.
However, if you are downloading codecs, and scratching your head over the loss of quality on your exports, going through many steps to get to an output you can live with, I suggest that you have a serious conversation with some Encore gurus. I haven't had the need to scale HD to SD in a long time, so I am not up on the current methods. I find it hard to believe that people are still using the method you mentioned after all this time. However, if that's the case, I am glad I don't have that need.
Have you created a DVD from your HD source yet?
Several. No complaints from me or my customers.
(On a side note, DVD on HDTV? Really? With Blu-ray prices now less than $100, there's just no reason to be stuffing your big fat HD signal through that tiny little standard definition straw. The only reason to deliver SD these days is for folks who still don't have an HDTV, cause it's just wrong to have an HDTV without a Blu-ray player.)
Anyone think this is wrong?
I do. It's not quite as simple as "the majority of your footage". For example, even with only 10% at 720 and the rest at 1080, you should still probably be working at 720 because downressing is better than upressing. Or with 100 clips at 30 fps, and only 5 clips at 60 fps, you'll still probably want to work in a 60 fps sequence because doubling the 30 is better than halving the 60.
You need to look at what you have, and where you're going, and then make a decision based on several factors, not just "the majority of your footage".
I would work at 720p simply because like Jim mentioned most of the time, when you upres footage you end up seeing notable quality loss. So your end result ends up being much lower quality than if you just decided to down res the 1080 footage you had. However in some cases I have been able to upres 720 footage to 1920x1080 without it looking horrible, so sometimes you can get away with it. However as a general rule unless you have a hardware upconverter, I'd recommend that you downres your 1080 footage to 720, instead of the other way around. Software upconversion usually doesn't produce desirable results. (At least with stock adobe options)
Thanks Jim. Regarding creating DVD's from HD source, yes I should be making Blu-ray's by now, I just haven't picked up the hardware for it yet. When you do this though, are you taking your timelines directly into Encore? If I do that, it's then that I see significant problems with quality. As for which timeline settings to use, thank you for all your input. I've been wondering about what to do in this situation for quite a while and you've cleared it up for me.
If you make blu-rays with Encore you won't see any quality problems in my personal experince. In the recent past though I have seen encore/AME cause quality loss when I perform scaling using the program. (Unless I use the wierd workaround I've found out works)
But if I am simply using dynamic link and just created a blu-ray where I'm going 1920x1080 to 1920x1080 I never see the problems that get caused by scaling.
are you taking your timelines directly into Encore?
Not for anything. With DVD, I export out a UT file, then use HC Encoder, or I go straight to the MPEG2-DVD preset, depending on the cost of the project. For Blu-ray, I've been using the default H.264 Blu-ray preset and have not seen anything to complain about yet. (Take note than my source footage is from a hacked GH2, offering significantly better quality and higher bitrates then normal AVCHD is capable of.)