13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 6, 2008 10:18 AM by Jeron Coolman

    Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.

    Level 1
      Hi all,

      Jeron wrote a reply to a topic on the CS3 windows forum that contained...

      "If you are really serious about HD and Premiere Pro, IMHO the only way to go is uncompressed with an Aja Xena card. I have the least problems and get the best quality."

      Ok,

      can i get some user opinions on what they think are increasing levels of quality with your idea of some hardware/software/editing configuration like the one offered by Jeron?

      For instance...

      Level 1 - capture compressed via 1394 firewire card and edit in HDV.
      Level 2 - capture compressed via 1394b firewire card / convert via Cineform / edit in HD.
      Level 3 - capture uncompressed via sdi Aja Xena card and edit in HD.

      Any opinions?
        • 1. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
          Harm Millaard Level 7
          Nelson,

          There are two approaches to ingest:

          1. Before MPEG2 compression, using HD-SDI or HDMI, getting 4:2:2 signal or
          2. Ingest after MPEG2 compression from tape/HDD/DVD using 4:2:0 signal.

          Your indicated examples are misleading.

          Level 1 is a digital transfer of compressed 4:2:0 MPEG2 material.
          Level 2 is exactly the same just using the 1393B connection, which makes no difference, since the camera connection is still 1394A. Whether you use Cineform after ingest is a different matter.
          Level 3 is only possible with HD-SDI or HDMI during live recording.

          What is the best signal to acquire:

          1. HD-SDI with 4:2:2 signal requiring around 1.485 Gb/s using at least a 4 disk raid0 array to keep up with the required data stream of around 200 MB/s.
          2. HDMI with 4:2:2 signal as above but with flimsy connectors and reduced cable length, the poor man's HD-SDI connection.
          3. Fire wire 4:2:0 transfer after the fact with MPEG compression.
          • 2. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
            Jeron Coolman Level 1
            Harm pretty much summed it up really well, Nelson.

            I've only ever shot HDV so I can only comment on that. If you are shooting HDV, you can...

            1. Edit it as HDV
            2. Edit it in an intermediate codec like Cineform's
            3. Get the hardware to ingest it as uncompressed HD by getting an HD-SDI converter (or use HDMI if you can).

            I usually just do #1. Lately I've been using Avid for HDV because it works better for my workflow, which is multi-cam with the audio recorded separately from the video. I'm hoping Adobe can fix the bugs that will make me productive again with PPro, because I miss dynamic link.

            I have a HD Connect LE which will let me convert the firewire to HD-SDI and ingest as uncompressed HD (10 bit or 8 bit) using an Aja Xena. I only do that as 10 bit if I want to tweak the image alot with special effects from Lightwave or particleIllusion and with my green screen work.

            I don't use #2 because I don't like Cineform's preset and the way it deals with non-Cineform filters and transitions. That is just a personal preference. I tend to use effects that are cross-NLE like Boris FX, so they work the same everywhere, Vegas, Avid, PPro, AE; etc. (Coming from an Avid background where their intermediate works better than native HDV with ALL filters and effects, Cineform was even more disappointing...)

            Most people should be fine with Cineform. Chances are you will be happy with #1 or #2. Number 3 is a huge expense which is really not worth it if you are shooting on a compressed format like HDV in the first place. For me it is a better solution than Cineform, though if I want the extra headroom of 10 bit media.

            (My comments in that other thread were a reaction to the OP ranting about Adobe not being "professional enough" for him to edit his "feature film" with a $700 HDV camera using "CINEFORM HD". I was trying to tell him if he is really serious, he wouldn't be shooting a "feature film" with a $700 HDV camera and editing in a compressed file workflow.)
            • 3. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
              Level 1
              Harm,

              Your Quote: "2. Ingest after MPEG2 compression from tape/HDD/DVD using 4:2:0 signal." I assume that would include after compression from the P2 and SxS sticks as well.

              So, your 1 HD-SDI & 2 HDMI precompression (uncompressed) options are (best or only) suited for live realtime recording to a raid0 array.

              Questions:
              1. Would you say that the Aja Xena would be the HD-SDI card to use with your options 1 & 2?

              2. Is Cineform required or needed for options 1 & 2?

              3. Option 3 would benefit from Cineform or like plugin by converting compressed mpeg HDV into uncompressed HD?
              • 4. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                Harm Millaard Level 7
                Nelson,

                1. Although I don't have it, so take my words with the necessary grain of salt, it looks like it.

                2. No, but it seems to make life easier.

                3. Not exactly. Cineform creates an intermediate codec that makes editing a lot easier, it does not convert to uncompressed. The problem most people have is understanding that any material, once compressed, be it to DV or HDV, can never regain the quality of uncompressed, because what was originally there got lost in the compression and can never be regained by uncompressing. An analogy I often use is you start out with a couple of apples (original material), compress those to apple juice (be it DV or HDV), there is simply no way you can get your original apples back by uncompressing.

                This figure shows you the fundamentals of the various ingest methods:

                • 5. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                  Level 1
                  Jeron,

                  Yea, i know what you meant in the other thread. I just didn't want to hijack the guys thread.

                  I understand that Cineform is a workaround for those who shoot in HDV but want to work in uncompressed HD without spending the bucks for a higher end camera that outputs an uncompressed signal like the EX1.

                  Since i'm currently eyeing the EX1, i'd like to be able to handle both pre (live) and post (recorded) compression capture. And since i'd like to stick with Premiere, maybe the best configuration for me might be:

                  1. EX1 or similar w/ HD-SDI output.
                  2. Aja Xena or similar w/ HD-SDI input.
                  3. HD Connect LE or similar for capturing from an HDV deck. (i don't think i'll have enough cash left for a HD-SDI deck)
                  • 6. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                    Nelson,

                    If you are - by your own admission - eyeing the EX1, I would not consider HDV but instead only 35 Mb/s XDCAM-EX material. That is what the camera is made for. Now you are getting me on the Mobutu trail again. Sorry.
                    • 7. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                      Level 1
                      Harm,

                      yea, i don't for one second think that converting compressed to uncompressed is going to get you better quality source material. But it would probably make editing, layering and compositing easer.

                      Anyway, thanks for the info and chart. That took some drawing. It was very kind of you to go through all that effort.

                      I know i could search, but, are there any HD decks that record uncompressed?
                      • 8. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                        Harm Millaard Level 7
                        Not that I know. HD decks are usually used to transfer data from A to B, not to UNcompress along the way.

                        PS. The drawing is rather simple. Use Visio and enhance with SnagIt editor and you're done. Couple of minutes.
                        • 9. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                          Level 1
                          This the only sony deck i found but it records mpeg4.

                          HDCAM SR

                          The HDCAM SR product line represents the worlds first full bandwidth 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 HD recorders. The HDCAM SR advanced chipset combined with the MPEG 4 Studio Profile compression scheme yields 440Mbps video payload to tape at 10 bits ( linear or Log)
                          • 10. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                            Jim_Simon Level 8
                            >Ingest after MPEG2 compression from tape/HDD/DVD using 4:2:0 signal." I assume that would include after compression from the P2 and SxS sticks as well.

                            Just a minor clarification here. P2 does not have the same kinds of MPEG artifacts that you see in HDV. It is also inherently 4:2:2 throughout the chain. So Harm's comment would apply to both tape and the SxS cards, but not to P2 cards.

                            Another slight correction in Harm's drawing. The top box pointed to by the red arrow should say HD, not HDV. There is a significant difference.
                            • 11. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                              Level 1
                              Jim, yea, i thought thats what he meant for that box so i didn't make a fuss about it since he went to all that trouble to make the chart.

                              in any case, thanks for the clarification on the P2.
                              • 12. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                                Harm Millaard Level 7
                                Thanks for the correction. You are right.
                                • 13. Re: Being serious about HD and Premiere Pro.
                                  Jeron Coolman Level 1
                                  Nelson,

                                  If you are serious about shooting footage with the EX1 onto the memory cards into the compressed format, find an NLE that either...

                                  1. Supports editing the footage natively

                                  or

                                  2. Offers a good intermediate codec that you will be happy working with; e.g. FCP's ProRes, Avid's DNxHD, Cineform, etc.

                                  Don't bother with the added expense to edit the already compressed footage (from the memory card) in uncompressed HD format, unless you have reason to; e.g. working with uncompressed HD media from other sources with your footage, don't like the Cineform workflow, render a lot of generations, tweak the image alot with color correction, effects, Magic Bullet; etc.

                                  OR if you are somehow set up to capture the footage streaming live from the camera via HD-SDI (don't know enough about the EX1 to know if you can do this) onto a computer from the camera into an uncompressed format, then of course you will want a capture card (IMHO Aja is the best), good RAID controller card (Areca is the best I've used and I've used most of them), and a lot of disks, to capture the media in the best possible format. Going uncompressed from beginning to delivery.

                                  Jeron