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Tutorial - High Definition Video Workflow in Video Studio 9

Tutorial - High Definition Video Workflow in Video Studio 9

Postby jchunter » Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:20 pm

Santa brought me a Sony HDR-HC1 high definition camcorder for Christmas. The pictures are stunning when played back on an HDTV set. Ulead released software (the HDV plugin) for Video Studio 9 to capture and edit high definition from the HC1 and I am pleased to say that it works amazingly well. The following describes ONE workflow that succeeds.

The HC1 captures high definition (HD) video on the same standard mini-DV tape cassette that most DV camcorders use. Instead of recording in DV format, which is only slightly compressed, the HC1 records to tape in more compressed Mpeg2 HDV. The net result is that the HC1 can store 60 minutes of HD video on the same cassette that currently records 60 minutes of standard definition (SD) video in a DV camcorder.

Computer Configuration: VS9 performance, when editing HDV is “acceptable” on my computer, which is a 2-year old Dell 8300 with 3.0 GHz. P4 HT CPU, 1GB memory, 76GB Western Digital Raptor (SATA, 10,000 RPM) and 130 GB WD (7200 RPM).

CAPTURING HDV
(1) The first step is to download and install the HDV plugin for VS9. Note that the Mpeg4 plugin interferes with the HDV plugin if it is installed later, so be sure to install it before you install the HDV plugin.

(2) Start VS9, select menu File/New Project, select menu File/Preferences/Capture tab: check “Stop Tape When Capture Stops” and “Show Drop Frame Information”

(3) Connect the HC1 to your PC using the firewire cable, select the CAPTURE tab and click “Capture Video” on the leftmost panel. Set the HC1 to Play/Edit mode.

(4) The Capture panel slides out and the Source control should display “Sony-HDV” (if not, see (1) above), the Format control should display “Mpeg”. Leave the Duration control set at “00:00:00.” Note that Mpeg2 HDV is the native format on the tape and I recommend capturing in this format to place the least computing load on the computer.

(5) The capture properties can’t be changed in the capture module and are locked to the following values, in NTSC land:
NTSC drop frame (29.97 fps)
MPEG files
24 Bits, 1440 x 1080, 29.97 fps
Upper Field First (just the opposite of DV capture)
(MPEG-2), 16:9
Video data rate: 25000 kbps
Audio data rate: 384 kbps
MPEG audio layer 2, 48 KHz, Stereo

(6) Use the tape controls on the Capture screen to position the video tape and click “Capture Video” button to begin capture. My CPU loafed along at 10% – 20% busy during capture. Hit “Stop Capture” to end the capture process. Ignore the stalling that is evident in the playback window during capture. The capture file will be perfect. Use the HC1's LCD screen to monitor capture progress. Ulead should fix its capture display because there is ample CPU power available to provide a smooth video in 16x9 aspect ratio.

Image

(7) Select the EDIT tab in VS9. Click “Yes” to the message “Do you want to set Project Settings to Match Video Properties…”

EDITING HDV
The usual editing controls work well when editing HDV. You can do “virtual” cuts with the “Multi-Trim” control, and real cuts (making a video file) with the “Save Trimmed Video” control. Transitions (I tried “Cross Fade” and “Flying Flip” worked well, although VS9 had trouble playing back the project around transition points, it did not crash. (Speculation: AFAIK, the transitions are the original standard definition ones and thus may be forcing VS9 to convert properties on the fly, during playback.). Audio clips work as they should with no problems. Everything that I tried worked quite well, however, playback of the edited project was quite uneven from time to time. The final project video file, however, was perfect.

CREATING PROJECT VIDEO FILES
There are some additional considerations with high definition because Mpeg2 HDV files are HUGE, compared to standard definition Mpeg2 video files and conventional DVD disk formats are not compatible with high definition bitrates or frame sizes. High definition DVD players and media (e.g., the long awaited Blu-Ray) don’t seem to be a viable option because they are barely existent, priced out of sight, and/or mired in squabbling about standards.

However, a clear alternative is to store highly compressed high definition video files on conventional DVD media. Mpeg4, H.264, Divx, and Xvid are far more efficient video compressors than Mpeg2 and can fit a full-length movie, as a file, on an ordinary (non-HD) DVD disk. The downside is that playback requires a new DVD player with a more powerful processor. The good news is that these products are available now and reasonably priced.*

Another playback method is from miniDV tape to HDTV through the HDR-HC1 component video cable. However, Ulead’s HDV plugin does not (yet) support the export of a high definition project back to an HDR-HC1 tape. IMO, this is a mixed blessing because the HC1 is too expensive to wear out the tape heads using it as a playback device.

Yet another playback option is to use an external hard disk with a USB2 interface. Some of the new DVD players have a USB2 interface connector for this purpose. Note that some players require disks to be formatted in FAT32, which imposes a rather small file size limit of 4GB - about 20 minutes of Mpeg2 HDV but poses no problem for Divx, Xvid, H.264, Mpeg4, etc. formats, which can store 1-2 hours of video in 4GB (depending on video bitrate).

CREATING MPEG2 HDV VIDEO FILES

The first step is to create a video file from your HD project. If you have followed the above workflow, your video clips are in Mpeg2 HDV 1440x1080 frame size, 25Mbps video bitrate. Your project can be quickly "smart-rendered" directly to a video file in the same format. Remember the limitations on file size mentioned above.

(1) With the project file open in Video Studio 9, select SHARE tab and click on Create Video File

(2) Start Video Studio 9, open your project, select SHARE tab and click on Create Video File/Custom,

(3) In the “Save As Type” control, select “Mpeg Files”. Click the “Options” button to open the “Video Save Options” window. Select the “Compression” tab. This should default to Mpeg2 and CBR = 25000kbps.

(4) Select the General tab. Select the 1440x1080 frame size if you want the fastest render time for the HDR-HC1. 1280x720 and 1920x1080 are also selectable but will increase render time. Set Field Order to Upper Field First for fastest render. You can also select Frame Based for progressive playback, which will display smoother pans and fewer interlace artifacts.

(5) Name the file and hit the SAVE button. If you preserved the original capture video properties, rendering will not take long. However, the video file will be huge, compared to a highly compressed video file, such as described next.

CREATING DIVX HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO FILES (my preferred workflow)

(1) Download and install the Divx codec from www.divx.com. Version 6.1 is the latest as of today.

(2) Start Video Studio 9, open your project, select SHARE tab and click on Create Video File/Custom,

(3) In the “Save As Type” control, select “Microsoft AVI Files”. Click the Options button to open the “Video Save Options” window. Select the “AVI” tab.

(4) The “Compression” dropdown control should present a list of video codecs. Select the Divx codec,

Image

(5) Click the “Configure” button, which should now be enabled,

(6) The Divx Configuration window opens. In the Main tab, if you want best resolution (1080 lines), select Certification Profile = “Unconstrained”, select Encode Mode “Bitrate Based” and enter the number “5000” kbps (Edit: 8000kbps is better, yet) which seems to have very few compression artifacts. [If you want to produce 720 line video, Select “High Definition” profile and 3000 kbps.]

Image

(7) On the “Codec” tab, set Encoding Mode = “Insane Quality”

Image

(8. On the “Video” tab, select “Custom Resize” and enter the frame dimensions: width = “1920” and height = “1080”. Note: if you enter the HC1’s true horizontal frame size (1440), the AVLP2 displays incorrect aspect ratio. [For 720p quality, enter 1280x720 frame size.]

(9) On the bottom left, there is an Interlace control where you can select “Preserve Interlace”, “Deinterlace,” or “Progressive Source”. The HDR-HC1 has a native Field Order = Upper Field First. I have noticed a “comb-like” effect on vertical edges during horizontal panning with interlaced video, which disappears if I select “Deinterlace.” However, not all players can handle 1080p playback…

Image

(10) Close the Divx Configuration window. Set Audio properties as desired.

(11) Select Video tab, set Field Order to match what you selected in (9) above: “Frame Based” if you selected Deinterlace, “Upper Field First” if you selected “Preserve Interlace”. Frame Rate = 29.97. Frame: select “User Defined” and enter 1929x1080 for the dimensions. [For 720p, enter 1280x720.] Close the window.

Image

(12) Enter a File Name, select SAVE and go to bed because transcoding Mpeg2 HDV to Divx HD will take a long time. However, the resulting video file size will be 10% - 20% of the size of an equivalent Mpeg2 HDV file.

(13) Preview the playback using, for example, VLC Media player (http://www.videolan.org/) on the PC

(14) Use something like Roxio’s Easy DVD Creator to write the Divx video file on a Data-DVD. Playback using, for example, AVLP2 player on your HDTV set.


*Divx HD certified DVD and hard disk playback devices are already on the market and I expect so see Mpeg4 players soon. Here are links to several of them.
I-O Data Avel Link Player http://www.iodata.com/usa/products/prod ... P2%2FDVDLA
Buffalo Link Theater http://www.buffalotech.com/products/pro ... egoryid=18
Tivx M-3000, M-5000 www.tvixusa.com/
Last edited by jchunter on Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:49 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Postby tyamada » Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:38 am

Good article very informative.

Glad to see you finally got a HC1, I love mine.

Blue Ray is on the way: http://www.blu-ray.com/
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Postby jchunter » Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:13 pm

Terry,
Yes, I had been waiting to see if Panasonic or Canon would follow suit with a competitive HD camcorder but when nothing appeared by December and the HC1 had experienced no systemic problems, I decided to go for it! The picture quality is fantastic!

I performed the tabectomy on the HC1's lens hood and mounted the UV filter behind it, added an aluminum ring to fill the gap and the unit looks great. Note that the filter ring has to be shortened to prevent vignetting with still photos in 4:3 aspect ratio. See http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.p ... 705&t=3641

Have you tried the Divx HD method? IMHO, 1920x1080p Divx HD played on the I-O Data AVLP2 is the best playback method currently available.
jchunter
 

Postby tyamada » Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:44 pm

John:

I haven't tried the Divx method yet , I'm waiting for Pioneer to realease their blue-ray writer.

I don't know when there will be a DVD type format to write to blue-ray.

I bought a JVC HD-DH40000U to archieve my footage but the data rate has to be reduced to be able to record to the tape. Doesn't seem to loose any quality but it takes a lot of computer time to render .m2t file.

I read somewhere there is a program that captures in the m2t format but can't remember where I found it.

I tried to join the forum you linked to but I can't post to it.
The only problem I have with vignetting is with a cheap ($39.00) 2X telephoto lens. What is strange it doesn't vigenett when it's zoomed out it does it when it's not zoomed at all. I have another 1.5x zoom and two wide angle lenses that don't vigenett at any zoom setting.
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Postby jchunter » Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:00 am

Terry,
I used Womble to convert my Mpeg2 HDV videos to .m2t format but still don't know how to write the m2t to the HC1. I'm going to drop the issue because I think that using the HC1 as a playback device will put wear and tear on the tape heads.

I'm using the original miniDV tape as the master archive.

I'm going to archive all the intermediate project video production as data files on ordinary DVD disks. The capture files for my first HDV project totaled 3.5 GB for 17 minutes of mpeg2HDV. So a 1 hour project will need three 4GB standard DVDs to archive all the production assets.

BTW, I added some screen shots to the HDV tutorial to make it easier to wade through the Mpeg2 HDV to Divx HD transcoding setup.
jchunter
 

Postby tyamada » Sat Jan 07, 2006 1:27 am

John:

I used Womble to make .m2t files but they would not write back to the camera.
I even used Media Studio Pro 8 with the .m2t files I created with Womble. They display in the first export to DV screen but does nothing when trying to write back to the Camera.

The only way I have been able to write files back to the camera is to render them in MSP8 and create a .m2t file. This method works every time. I have yet to find another freebe that will write back to tape.

I noticed the graphics you included in your tutorial very nice.

I don't know if you noticed theis on the other forum but it looks very handy to get your footage into the computer. http://strony.aster.pl/paviko/
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Postby sjj1805 » Sat Jan 07, 2006 2:25 am

John,
I think you need to re-post this in the Tutorial Section
Regards
Steve J
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Postby jchunter » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:04 am

Steve,
Thanks, I posted over in Tutorials after cleaning it up a bit.

Terry,
I did a complete recheck of HC1 video smoothness while panning and have verified that HC1 video display is jerkier rendered as interlaced Upper Field First than when deinterlaced and rendered as Frame-Based. This happens when played back either on the PC or with my 1080 HDTV screen.

The comb-effect while panning is also very pronounced for interlaced video - maybe because the superior resolution of HD is able to display it clearer. I guess with standard definition, the comb was there but blurred out...

In any case, for HC1 video, Frame-Based video files display panning smooth as silk with no comb pattern. This is the way I will be making my HD project files.
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VS9 will arrive today!

Postby jfkeenan » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:01 pm

never mind...
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