Hi everyone! First post here. I recently became the videographer for my son's marching band. As a result I will be assembling a lot of video from various sources. My cameras are:
1. Canon Vixia HV40 in HDV 1440x1080 29.97 fps in a PsF format in 60i container
2. Sony HDR-UX7 in AVCHD 1440x1080 60i (true interlace)
3. Various DLSRs that shoot in AVCHD 1920x1080 interlaced and progressive formats
So my goal is to bring all these into one consistent codec before importing into PPro to build the timelines then render using AE (that is the workflow that works best for me). I especially don't want to mess with AVCHD for editing. So my plan is to convert them all to the HDV format. I am not too worried about loss of "resolution" for the full HD vids that I get because so far, the Canon Vixia beats the pants off of all the full HD video I have seen.
I have experimented with a bunch of tools, but ffmpeg seems to be the best in terms of a swiss army knife that can handle anything. The only problem is getting the settings right. So my plan is to post here my progress and solicit any feedback you might have.
Starting with the full HD true interlaced DLSR, as this seems to be the most troublesome:
AVCHD 1920x1080 29.97i to HDV 1440x1080 29.97p
$ ffmpeg -i input.MTS -vcodec mpeg2video -b:v 25000k -minrate 25000k -maxrate 25000k -bufsize 7000k -g 15 -bf 2 -r 30000/1001 -s 1440x1080 -aspect 16:9 -vf yadif=1 -acodec mp2 -ar 48000 -ab 384k output.mpeg
That's as far as I have gotten. I will probably tweak with the parameters some more. Anyway, that is all I have for now. Thanks for any and all feedback in advance!
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Last edited by SameSelf; 15th Aug 2014 at 19:33.
First, let me suggest that you stick with TRUE 1080i60 *THROUGHOUT*, on all your cams. The Vixia HV40 can do 60i, 30Psf60i, 24Psf60i, and native 24p while in 1080 HDV (acc'd. to the manual). It will be much easier to interleave images when they have the same motion-base. Also, since there is SOME motion going on, it's probably a good idea to do 60Fps (whether i or p) rather than a 24/30p.
Bearing that 1st part in mind, I would suggest using a higher bitrate near-lossless (but lossy) digital intermediate codec, such as ProRes, DNxHD, or Cineform. M*U*C*H easier to edit than AVCHD, and better at retaining quality than HDV. The only exception to that quality retention axiom would be if you kept ALL the clips as original HDV 60i and did few titling/fx/transitions, edited on the GOP, and then SmartRendered. With a multi-cam setup, I would think that scenario unlikely.
I just recently finished an extended (18+ hours) multi-cam festival/performance video, editing on PP CS3, using 720p60 AVCHD + 720p60 AVC/MP4 + 720p60 AVC/MOV (x2) footage up-coded to ProRes via ffmbc (actually the "ClipTooz Convert" Gui app) in WinXP. Yes, ProRes in WinXP. (I know, I know: time to upgrade this fall). Worked QUITE well, with the main exception being that I didn't ingest the AVCHD footage correctly in the field and so lost the timecode/timestamp (so had to do manual syncing).
(I was doing serious fast dance footage, which required the 60p, IMO, but didn't have 1080p60 across the board. Results were well above expectations.)
Last edited by Cornucopia; 7th Aug 2014 at 21:20.
HDV is less compressed than AVCHD and you can indeed convert all the other source files to it. HDV will tax PPro less, but it is still MPEG-2 with a maximum bitrate of about 25mb/s, so why not convert to an even higher bitrate, all I-frame file while you're at it? Apart from ffmpeg, try converting with HCenc, too.
I encounter situations like this also, but instead of converting to MPEG, I convert to an intermediate codec Cineform. This produces VfW AVI files that are 2x to 10x bigger than the AVCHD files they came from (depending on chosen conversion quality, among others). I don't know if you are amenable to spending some more for it, though.For the nth time, with the possible exception of certain Intel processors, I don't have/ever owned anything whose name starts with "i".
Cineform can be had free by downloading the gopro studio application at their website. Another good option is DNxHD, also free from Avid's site. There's really nothing wrong with HDV, but I have never gotten a fully compliant HDV stream out of FFmpeg.
If you have PPro (which version?) you also have the Adobe Media Encoder which can make "good" HDV streams. (As well as Cineform and DNxHD once they are installed.)
Wow, great advice guys! I had given some thought to an intermediate codec. The one that came to mind was XDCAM HD using ffmbc. I am using Win7x64 and, not having any experience with Macs, I just assumed Prores was only compatible on Macs. I looked at the ffmpeg documentation and it says it is only capable of decoding Prores, not encoding. But I haven't downloaded or tried ffmbc yet. But I was thinking that maybe it is better to up convert all 1440x1080 to 1920x1080 instead. But then I would need another codec other than HDV, which is why I considered XDCAM HD.
As far as 60i vs 30p, it's just I am going to be collecting the random parent video and the lowest common denominator is always 30p. While I can convert 60i to 30p, I am not sure how to convert 30p to 60i. I know it's a compromise, but I would prefer to have as many shots as possible versus one or two cameras that have uber-high quality. Also, the HV40 does a great job even with motion and only suffers when you do pans with the camera because then the video becomes obviously bit starved. But the HV40 will always be tripod mounted. And these videos are ultimately going to end up on youtube so I think progressive is the preferred way to go.
As for the 1920x1080 AVCHD video being more troublesome, I was merely referring to the fact that I need to change the resolution to 1440x1080 versus the two cams that are already 1440x1080. Upconverting to higher bit rate is pointless, no? None of the video I will be dealing with will exceed the 25 MB/s of HDV.
These are great suggestions as I try to firm up my workflow. I will definitely look into ffmbc.
On a PC, cineform performs better than prores or dnxhd (lower latency, faster scrubbing) , but either is fine
I too would keep it interlaced. The reason is it gives you more options:
a) you can always convert it down to 30p, but the reverse isn't true - once those fields /frames are discarded, they are gone
b) option for better slow motion
c) replacing bad frames eg. flash banding from CMOS cameras, especially if parts of this are an indoor shoot for the band. You have twice as many fields (or frames when deinterlaced), higher probability of getting a good fix easily without much work
You said it will end up on youtube - well youtube annouced support for 50p/60p a while back, it's supposedly coming soon and there are a few beta test videos that are 60p already
One of ffmbc's raison d'Ítres is the ability to use pro DI codecs (for encoding as well as decoding). ProRes & DNxHD ability is included. Cineform is not, for the simple reason that GoPro (owner of Cineform) doesn't wish to share the source, nor do non-commercial licensing ATM. So it would be up to some enterprising persons to reverse-engineer the Cineform codec formats (which wouldn't guarantee compatibility). That hasn't happened yet, AFAIK.
ffmbc is free, but ClipToolz isn't ($25), but well worth it for the straightforward GUI. Unfortunately for me, the new improved version is Win7-64 (or better) only.
HDV is 1440x1080 using wide 4:3 PAR. That is the equivalent of 1920x1080 using standard 1:1 PAR. So you SHOULD be converting to 1920x1080!
30p to 60i is easy! It's just a field separate+field2 time delay (can be done in AVISynth, problably ffmpeg as well). Or you could just maintain 30Psf in 60i while up-coding & editing. Personally, I think the reduction in temporal resolution would be worse than a reduction in spatial resolution at that level, but it's your call.
HV40 suffers during fast pans because of: 1.CMOS rolling shutter, 2.Compression low-bitrate artifacts, 3.SlowShutterspeed @24p/30p, 4.Pans too fast!
You can't change #1, probably not #2, but you can change #3 & #4.
Videos will end up on Youtube, but will Youtube always be 30p only? I think not. Also, if you're outputting AT ALL to DVD/BD, it'll look smoother motion at 60i.
Higher bitrate using same complex h.264 compression is pointless (as you get loss from 2nd lossy generation of lossy source), but a visually lossless DI codec can take advantage of the higher bitrate (and requires it!), because it "preserves" the existing quality generation (with slight non-noticeable mathematical loss) throughout the edit cycle (incl. processing, titles, compositing, FX), and because it is all Intra-frame so editing is spot-on & responsive for every frame. I guess the MPEG2-Intra/XDCamHD and/or AVC-Intra would kinda fall under this category as well. For all these codecs, expect to be in the 50-250kbps range.
I'm glad you know that HDV out trick, but at this stage in tech history, it makes more sense to just output a DI edit master, and then compress to MPEG2, Xvid, h.264 or h.265, etc., as needed for distribution.
Thanks for all the informative replies. There were certainly a lot of great suggestions from everyone that required some further investigation on my part. Some serious experience on this forum!
I downloaded ffmbc and have played around enough to get my hands dirty. But one thing puzzles me as I contemplate moving to a DI workflow. There are no presets available for ProRes in PP. According to this link you can create your own custom preset to bring it into PP, but then you can't export it out as ProRes because there is no ProRes encoder for Windows. So I am wondering, how do you create your DI edit master? Do you export as another format?
I have worked with QT files in the past. Basically, I hate them because of the fact Apple has avoided providing encoders for Win. This is what steered my towards ffmpeg in the first place because I prefer to encode mov to a Windows friendly format like mpeg.
In other words, I really would like an end-to-end workflow if I move to DI.
You could by a $$ plugin to use ProRes, but I just chose to export uncompressed AVI (or lossless).
If you don't like ProRes (and I fully understand the aggrevation w/ the NIH syndrome), use DNxHD or Cineform (though obviously not through ffmpeg), or MJPEG or MPEG2-Intra, or a lossless codec. You have lots of options.