Export HD Final Cut timeline to MiniDV?
September 23, 2007 11:45 AM   Subscribe

FinalCutProFilter: What is the best method of converting footage captured on a HVX P2 and edited in Final Cut as an HD timeline onto a MiniDV for festival usage?
posted by idledebonair to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
It depends on your output mechanism. If you're going over firewire I would suggest nesting your final HD output timeline in a DV timeline, rendering and then doing a print to video.

If you have access to a system with a Kona or Blackmagic card you could have the card itself handle the downconversion and just play out via sdi or component depending on the deck.
posted by rollo tomassi at 3:30 PM on September 23, 2007

rollo FTW...I do this all the time with my AJA Kona LHe board. It certainly beats nesting and re-rendering, esp. for something as long as a film. But alas, this does not work over Firewire, only SDI or analog component, as rollo mentioned.

If you have Final Cut Pro 6, you now have the capability of playing back HDV (as well as uncompressed 8 & 10-bit sequences) out through Firewire in realtime. I Haven't tried this with DVCProHD (i.e.. your HVX200 P2 footage) yet, though. It would certainly rock if it worked with that format as well.

If it doesn't work with DVCProHD, then I'm afraid nesting and rendering is your only practical option. Just make sure you have high-quality scaling enabled for your sequences before you render.
posted by melorama at 5:13 PM on September 23, 2007

Just put your sequence in a DV sequence. If it the bar above it shows steel green (vs. bright green) it'll work in RT with no render. (FCP 6 required.)
posted by filmgeek at 6:52 PM on September 23, 2007


It's not really advisable to play back something like a downscale in realtime. Even in FCP6, your footage will be noticeably soft if you play it back without rendering (not to mention the risk of dropped frames).
posted by melorama at 8:10 PM on September 23, 2007

Hmm..neat. I just tried playing a 1080i29.97, native DVCProHD sequence (HVX-200 footage) out through my Firewire, and it does indeed downscale and playback in realtime. It looks like crap, though.

Looks like nest-and-render is your best option, unless you get yourself a Kona or Decklink board and master to a DV deck that has SDI I/O.
posted by melorama at 8:14 PM on September 23, 2007

If it's seriously important to you, I would really look at making an HD master.

Export an DVCPro HD Quicktime, or TIF sequence to an external hard drive and contact a friendly post-production facility. They will be able to make you an HD master (HDCAM SR is the best option, DVCPro HD will be second best for you). They will also be able to make a standard def master too. And could provide a Digibeta, which is much better than DV, if that's a suitable output format for you.

It won't be free, but most post companies are willing to help out a little on low/no-budget projects - they know that the people working for free now are often coming back with big bucks later on.

In the end you'll have a good quality SD version, and an HD master available should the need arise.

Also, while you're at it - consolidate (or whatever FCP calls it) the P2 media onto something you can store away for the future. P2 is a pretty volatile format as far as archiving is concerned, and if you ever need to revisit the project later you'll need the source material. External hard drives are a decent option. DVDs (dual layer ideally) are okay. Blu-Ray is better. LTO tapes are best.
posted by sycophant at 2:28 AM on September 24, 2007

Another option, now that I think about it, for you would be to rent/borrow a DVCProHD deck (specifically the AJ-HD1400) which should be able to record the 1080i29.97 signal to DVCProHD tape, and will then be able to downsample it (over Firewire) onto a DV deck. This would give you an HD master. And a hardware down-conversion to DV.

But I say should on the recording 1080i29.97 thing because I've found it's not as easy to get that deck to do things as you think it would be. You'd have to check that option with someone who works in NTSC world.

I suggest going to the CreativeCow forums, and posting in the Panasonic HVX and Varicam forums - there will be people there with the expertise and equipment to help you, if you ask nicely they may be prepared to come to bat for you.
posted by sycophant at 2:33 AM on September 24, 2007

Not to derail, but what would be the point in mastering to SR? P2 is DVCProHD, so it would make much more sense (and not to mention, be a hell of a lot cheaper and accessible) to master to a DVCProHD deck, like a 1200A, for example. Unless I'm missing something here...I don't see what you're gaining by mastering to HDCAM SR.
posted by melorama at 11:48 AM on September 24, 2007

Oops...I guess I should of read the rest of the thread before posting that :P

There shouldn't be a problem downconverting the DVCProHD master to DV with that deck (if it works anything like the 1200A), especially if the framerates match. I do it all the time...it's simply a menu option on the 1200A. You just need to decide on if you need to make an anamorphic DV master, or a letterboxed master. You might as well make both, considering how cheap DV is.
posted by melorama at 11:54 AM on September 24, 2007

It depends I guess on how you do it. I'm not that familiar with FCP lately, but if you originated in DVCPro HD and then did colour correction and compositing in FCP, for example, then mastering to SR (from a TIF sequence) might be best, as SR has better sampling than DVCProHD.

It's all just conjecture of course. Most accessible options, either getting a HD1400/1200 deck or taking it somewhere that has one, would be fine.

Either way, I think it is TOTALLY worth it to make an HD master. DV is pretty crappy really, and having your HD originated short exist only in DV would be a bummer.
posted by sycophant at 3:08 PM on September 24, 2007

Well, you're not really gaining anything simply by virtue of the fact that SR is 4:4:4 and DVCProHD is 4:2:2. As I'm sure you know, the other half of the missing 4:2:2 color-samples don't magically reappear just because you're going to a 4:4:4 format :)

I actually do color grading for a living, and for 90% of the DVCProHD projects I work on, i don't even bother promoting the footage to 10-bit uncompressed (and certainly not 4:4:4 RGB!) anymore, because most color correction apps (in my case, Apple Color f.k.a. FinalTouch) automatically keep color operations within a 16-bit or floating-point space, even with 8-bit sources like DVCProHD.

If were rendering the final project out at 10-bit uncompressed 4:2:2, then I would maybe consider an HDCAM SR master, but only for the fact that it's a 10-bit format, and not because it's 4:4:4.

One thing's for sure, you are absolutely right about the bummer that is a DV-only master. I'm surprised how many people are out there who neglect to make an HD master only because the final product is intended for SD transmission.
posted by melorama at 4:38 PM on September 24, 2007

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