At Moving Picture, here in Miami / Fort Lauderdale area; the workflows of television & film production has been very different. Our video productions are aimed at achieving the best possible picture immediately in the camera, while the film approach separates distinct stages. First capturing an image with a wide dynamic range and then manipulating the picture in either a filmlab, telecine or in post-production.
Based on our High-End Camera rentals, the Sony HDCAM SR Decks, ARRI D-21, Viper FilmStream, Panavision Genesis and the Sony F23 are pretty much the best of the best in high definition; setting the standard in High Definition production.
HDCAM SR has proven to be a workhorse technology for film and television production and post work. So the question is; how do we get our footage edited and Mastered cost effectively?
The Answer: ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 (HQ) CODECS has become a industry standard for sometime in the professional marketplace, by offering innovations in digital cinema and NLE workflows. As a matter of fact, Apple pioneered cost effect solutions to NLE, and the end result is Final Cut Pro 7. With a plethora of hardware and software options, let’s try and narrow down the best advantages offered by this emerging technology.
Developers and manufacturers are improving the quality of HD and SD with new camera technologies, more robust compression codecs, and the advancement of progressive vs. interlaced recording; at the same time reducing the file size and throughput requirement. This is a major achievement, for Final Cut Pro 7, and a benefit for all of it’s end users. The demands on drive throughput has come back. In the days of the 15,000 rpm Cheetah’s, quad stripped UL4D Ultra 360 SCSI drives, and fiber channel raids, it was a challenge to playback uncompressed SD media in realtime. We shelved our SCSI drives and replaced them with FIREWIRE. The holy grail of storage solutions. With the birth of DV and HDV, and the actual cost per gigabit was pennies per megabyte.
Now we have a new generation of storage and media requirements that are mammoth; because we all want and crave HD.
As the progression of technology forges ahead at lightning speed, it is hard to keep up with the advancements and technological breakthroughs…Now lets add a plethora of workflows, to add insult to injury. Starting with standard definition SMPTE 259M, single link SMPTE 292M and dual link high definition SMPTE 372M. From analog to combined SDI, HD-SDI, Dual Link SD and HD-SDI 4:4:4, 4:4:4:4, HSDL,CineForm Prospect HD/4K, Neo HD/4k and 2K just to name a few. Mix it up a little more with file formats such as DPX, Cineon, RED, TGA, TIFF, BMP, AVI and Quicktime. The add, multiple format support: 1080p @ 23.98-, 24-, 25-, and 29.97 frames per second (fps) 1080i @ 50 and 59.94 Hz -720p @ 23.98-, 24-, 25-, 29.97-, 50-, and 59.94 fps. Whew and that’s just the beginning…
Once again, it’s time to go back to engineering basics. The old waveform monitor and vector scopes have gone digital, and so has odd line interlaced scanning. And the plot thickens…
If you want D5 or better quality imagery using Final Cut Pro 7, I suggest using CineForm CineDDR. CineForm®, Inc., creators of high-fidelity compression-based workflow solutions, and Drastic Technologies, a developer of digital disk recording and data infrastructure technology to accelerate the migration of post production workflows away from expensive and cumbersome tape-based formats, towards more efficient and cost-effective file-based recording and playback. The result of this technology partnership, CineForm CineDDR. This partnership combines CineForm’s mastering- quality compression with Drastic Technologies’ DDR technology providing a software-based alternative for professional acquisition and playout. CineDDR delivers a high-end accelerated workflow, creating media files that are immediately usable in post.
This is a major breakthrough for those mastering their final edit in Final Cut Pro. There is one hitch; you need to add the AJA XENA/KONA 2K I/O card, a preferable 3.0 or better Quad core processor, and a external SATA Raid adapter with extreme performance RAID 6 engine, and double digit Terrabyte’s of storage.
For those of us on a more modest budget; The Final Cut Pro ProRes family offer new solutions; such as, ProRes 422 (Proxy), ProRes 422 (LT), and ProRes 4444, in addition to the original ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 (HQ). Three new versions of Apple’s ProRes codec joins the ProRes family. ProRes 422 (Proxy). great for editing or offline editing on a MacBook or MacBook Pro. ProRes 422 (LT). For projects such as news, sports, and multicam events that require reduced file sizes at broadcast quality. ProRes 4444. For compositing and digital workflows that require the highest-possible image fidelity. The ProRes Codec uses variable bit rate (VBR) encoding to minimize file sizes for storage efficiency. It also optimizes decoding to offer multistream, real-time editing performance of SD, HD, and 2K source video.
A lot of added value for an Upgrade. Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7 lets you edit virtually anything with the highest-possible quality, including camera-native editing of a wide range of leading SD, HD, and 2K formats. With expanded support for file-based formats and more ProRes options, Final Cut Pro 7 definitely offers maximum flexibility.
XDCAM, AVC-INTRA and DVCPRO-HD is gaining a lot of momentum and industry attention. No question, viable formats with endless possibilities, and it is gaining a lot of Buzz. Use the Log and Transfer function in Final Cut Pro to ingest Panasonic AVC-Intra and DVCPRO HD from P2 cards, Sony XDCAM EX, and AVCHD. Or Sony offers a free download of their XDCAM Transfer software to ingest XDCAM, 18, 25, and 35-Mbps XDCAM HD, and XDCAM HD 422 media. with this format you can comfortably run your project from a internal/external SATA II, preferably serial drive.
A major plus and feature is the open format Timeline, it lets you mix and match source material in a wide range of formats, and even different frame rates. Edit any combination of HD and SD, including NTSC and PAL, in a single timeline, all in real time. Final Cut Pro 7 offers real-time scaling, playback for video in various camera-native formats . Final Cut Pro 7 lets you edit any professional format natively, and there’s no need to transcode video from camera-native formats.
For those who want the best quality from your XDCAM, AVC-INTRA and DVCPRO-HD source, a software-based solution is available. You can assemble your own CineDDR recording/playout system. Add a Intel Core i7-based PC or Mac, SATA II RAID 6 storage, and a AJA Xena (Windows) or Kona (Mac) input card. The cost to build a dual-link recording and playout CineDDR system is less than $10,000. Building it would be approximately 1/10 the cost of purchasing a HDCAM SR deck. I think this is a worthwhile investment of time and money, and the end result will make you a believer as well.
Count on Moving Picture to offer you answers to your Rental and Technical needs.