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Old Apr 12, 2007, 07:13 PM   #1
madmaxmedia
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Question about working with HDCAM format (Sony F900) and FCP workflow

I am going to shoot a short with some friends, and have access to a Sony F900 and F500 VTR. I don't know much about HD editing, but I think I've gotten the basics down. (sorry for the newbie questions, I've never edited beyond consumer DV.)

Between us we have a Power Mac Dual G5 and a MacBook. Here is the workflow I am imagining right now-

1. Shoot HDCAM video with F900
2. Capture video via F500 to hard drive at lab.
3. Take hard drive home. Convert to OfflineRT for offline editing.
4. Final output using 'master' footage on hard drive.

I think this should allow us to edit on both the PowerMac and the MacBook, assuming we stay on top of timecodes, FPS, and all that stuff. We could use something better than OfflineRT, I don't know what will reasonably work best on my MacBook (I have about 30GB free on the internal hard drive, would be nice to stay within that.)

We're going to have good technical help with the shoot and capture, so I'm mainly worried about computer setup for editing. I'm not sure if we'll be able to go back and use the F500 again, hence my desire to capture onto hard drive at high quality to use as master.

I have a couple of questions-

1. When I capture the video and save it to HD, what format should it be saved in? Assuming I have say 3 hours of footage, what format will keep me within a few hundred GB, and can work with FCP?

2. What kind of HD interface am I looking at here? eSATA? I know that offline editing is no problem, after I convert to OfflineRT.

3. For the final master/rendering, there are no huge technical or computer requirements, right? (understanding that it will take a long time, even on a dual 2.5 G5.) I assume this is the case, since it's not being done at real-time.

It's probably a bit overkill for us to shoot with the F900, but since we have access to one I want to know what kind of workflow will work, and see if we can manage it.

Thanks so much!!!
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 07:18 PM   #2
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hey madmaxmedia,

my friend is running a 3 bay FCP posthouse in silverlake. he knows a lot about HD workflow and has access to equipment.

Check out his website:
www.fancyfilm.com and give him a call. He will be able to answer all your questions. He posted a lot of HD shorts there.
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 07:24 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the tip! Which one is your friend- is it Bill?

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Originally Posted by artalliance View Post
hey madmaxmedia,

my friend is running a 3 bay FCP posthouse in silverlake. he knows a lot about HD workflow and has access to equipment.

Check out his website:
www.fancyfilm.com and give him a call. He will be able to answer all your questions. He posted a lot of HD shorts there.
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 07:27 PM   #4
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Yes, Bill. He is the owner/senior editor.
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 07:41 PM   #5
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Wow, an F900... I had the chance to try one at a show in Lisbon... Unfortunately, when I worked in the movies, everybody still used Arri 435 and you can't really "play around" with those things
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 09:19 PM   #6
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Unless you have a monster RAID yer not gonna be able to capture or cut HDCAM footage, and going down to SD to offline then trying to on line can very easily turn into a nightmare.

The most straightforward method is, if possible, to transcode on capture to DVCPro HD (which is pretty much the highest HD quality you can get w/o needing a big RAID). DVCPro HD can be very easily handled by your Mac.


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Old Apr 12, 2007, 11:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LethalWolfe View Post
Unless you have a monster RAID yer not gonna be able to capture or cut HDCAM footage, and going down to SD to offline then trying to on line can very easily turn into a nightmare.

The most straightforward method is, if possible, to transcode on capture to DVCPro HD (which is pretty much the highest HD quality you can get w/o needing a big RAID). DVCPro HD can be very easily handled by your Mac.

Lethal
Thanks for the feedback Lethal. What happens when you offline to SD, then online with HDCAM? (assuming that I was able to somehow capture it to a hard drive in the first place.) Just trying to get a handle on what it's like to work with these kinds of resolutions...

I've read up a bit on DVCPro, and will definitely look into that more.

Thanks
Steve
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 01:19 AM   #8
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There are just a lot of things that can go wrong working offline/online especially when going between different resolutions and most likely different frame rates. Not to mention that FCP's media management is one of the crankier aspects of the program. 3hrs of HDCAM quality footage is also going to take up terabytes of space. DVCPro HD is a very popular HD post codec because it hits a sweet spot between file size and image quality.


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Old Apr 13, 2007, 12:05 PM   #9
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Gotcha- thanks so much! That's just the kind of practical feedback I was looking for.

I'm assuming that we will be able to (or try to) maintain frame rates so offline and online can be synced. Everything I've read talks about making sure frame rates and timecodes are properly dealt with, so your cuts will be accurate. But of course the reality may be a different matter.
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 12:08 PM   #10
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Last question if you get a chance-

If we are capturing at DVCPro HD for post, then is there any advantage to shooting with the bigger Sony F900, or are we better off going with a smaller cam that shoots in DVCPro HD? (all other things being equal, such as choice of lenses, etc.)

Thanks, Steve

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Originally Posted by LethalWolfe View Post
There are just a lot of things that can go wrong working offline/online especially when going between different resolutions and most likely different frame rates. Not to mention that FCP's media management is one of the crankier aspects of the program. 3hrs of HDCAM quality footage is also going to take up terabytes of space. DVCPro HD is a very popular HD post codec because it hits a sweet spot between file size and image quality.

Lethal
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 12:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmaxmedia View Post
Last question if you get a chance-

If we are capturing at DVCPro HD for post, then is there any advantage to shooting with the bigger Sony F900, or are we better off going with a smaller cam that shoots in DVCPro HD? (all other things being equal, such as choice of lenses, etc.)

Thanks, Steve
Steve,

To my knowledge, the quick answer is no.
If your mastering format is going to be DVCPro HD, it doesn't matter if you shoot it with a bigger camera (the Sony one) or one that shoots natively DVCProHD.
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 12:31 PM   #12
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That would seem to make sense to me. I think the more important factor would be the picture characteristics of the cameras/lenses, rather than format. Which might still favor the Sony (or not.)

Thanks, Steve

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Originally Posted by artalliance View Post
Steve,

To my knowledge, the quick answer is no.
If your mastering format is going to be DVCPro HD, it doesn't matter if you shoot it with a bigger camera (the Sony one) or one that shoots natively DVCProHD.
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 01:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmaxmedia View Post
Gotcha- thanks so much! That's just the kind of practical feedback I was looking for.

I'm assuming that we will be able to (or try to) maintain frame rates so offline and online can be synced. Everything I've read talks about making sure frame rates and timecodes are properly dealt with, so your cuts will be accurate. But of course the reality may be a different matter.
Exactly. And there always ends up being a problem. Especially going between HD and SD you have to be super meticulous and do the right steps in the right order to minimize the problems. Even then something always screws up. Murphy's Law and all that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madmaxmedia View Post
Last question if you get a chance-

If we are capturing at DVCPro HD for post, then is there any advantage to shooting with the bigger Sony F900, or are we better off going with a smaller cam that shoots in DVCPro HD? (all other things being equal, such as choice of lenses, etc.)

Thanks, Steve
Assuming all other things are equal (camera quality, lens quality, etc.,) you could capture a better image shooting HDCAM then transcoding to DVCPro HD than you could shooting DVCPro HD natively... but the difference would be small (possibly not even noticeable to you) and probably not worth the extra effort. If your choice is between an F900 and a VariCam (both equally decked out) I'd go for the VariCam (it will also do variable speed frame rates in camera). If your choice is between an F900 and a HVX200 I'd go w/the F900.


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Old Jan 18, 2013, 03:26 AM   #14
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HDCAM for FCP

The Sony F900 Video Recording Formats are HDCAM 1080/59.94i / 29.97P / 50i / 25P / 24P / 23.98P.

They are all compatible for iMoive, FCP 7, and FCP X
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