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Can you get telecine transfers to MiniDV/Digital - 8


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#1 Mark Wilson

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:58 PM

These are just some ideas I have been kicking around for some time.

Most of the current generation miniDV (or Digital-8) consumer digital camcorders produce very impressive results compared to what was available just a few years ago, and for a fraction of the price.

Windows XP comes with a program called Windows Movie Maker, which, if you keep your video files in the DV-AVI format throughout the editing process, eventually results in a DVD with image quality very close to that the original digital camera tapes.

(Windows Movie Maker doesn't support DVD burning directly, and so you have to turn the final edited .avi file into a DVD with a DVD "authoring" program in a separate step, but this is usually quite straightforward. Suitable software often comes bundled with DVD burners).

It has occured to me that this could be an excellent way for beginning cinematographers to get some high quality output without spending too much money. If there was some way to get your 16mm (or whatever) footage transferred onto the same tape format as a consumer digital camcorder, the rest of the process from raw footage to "presentation" DVD could be done for little more than the cost of a blank DVD. "Bulk" distribution via recordable DVD is dirt cheap and you can even make impressive-looking DVD labels for next to nothing.

If you have access to any sort of crystal-sync camera, the audio could be recorded on a standard cassette deck, or even better, one of the new personal MP3 players that have line record inputs. Windows Movie Maker lets you import separate audio files onto the video timeline, and you could sync these up by using a variation of the old-fashioned clapper board technique, simply sliding the audio clips along the timeline until the spike on the Audio waveform lines up with the frame where the clapper closes. Most consumer cassette decks have quite good record/playback speed stability as long as the tapes are played back on the same machine they were recorded on. For short takes they would be more than adequate.

The next step would be to let WMM convert all that to an "intermediate" avi output file, which would consist of a continuous a collection of wild takes but with the sound and image locked into sync. You'd then re-import that into WMM and then do your non-linear editing in the normal manner. You can also add music and titles and quite a good range of special effects.

Windows Movie Maker may not be the be-all and end-all, but it is a surprisingly sophisticated program for a piece of freeware. About the real deficiency is that it doesn't allow you you do insert editing (well not easily).
Apart from those limitations, there's little to distinguish a DVD made using Movie Maker from one made with a much more expensive editing program.

The question is, how readily available is telecine transfer to MiniDV or Digital-8? Or can you get it supplied as an AVI file on a DVD? MiniDV AVI chews up 1 Gigibyte every five minutes, so you'd only get about 20 minutes per disc, but that would be OK, considering the low cost of discs these days.

Edited by Mark Wilson, 16 August 2006 - 11:02 PM.

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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 04:42 AM

These are just some ideas I have been kicking around for some time.

Most of the current generation miniDV (or Digital-8) consumer digital camcorders produce very impressive results compared to what was available just a few years ago, and for a fraction of the price.

Windows XP comes with a program called Windows Movie Maker, which, if you keep your video files in the DV-AVI format throughout the editing process, eventually results in a DVD with image quality very close to that the original digital camera tapes.

(Windows Movie Maker doesn't support DVD burning directly, and so you have to turn the final edited .avi file into a DVD with a DVD "authoring" program in a separate step, but this is usually quite straightforward. Suitable software often comes bundled with DVD burners).

It has occured to me that this could be an excellent way for beginning cinematographers to get some high quality output without spending too much money. If there was some way to get your 16mm (or whatever) footage transferred onto the same tape format as a consumer digital camcorder, the rest of the process from raw footage to "presentation" DVD could be done for little more than the cost of a blank DVD. "Bulk" distribution via recordable DVD is dirt cheap and you can even make impressive-looking DVD labels for next to nothing.

If you have access to any sort of crystal-sync camera, the audio could be recorded on a standard cassette deck, or even better, one of the new personal MP3 players that have line record inputs. Windows Movie Maker lets you import separate audio files onto the video timeline, and you could sync these up by using a variation of the old-fashioned clapper board technique, simply sliding the audio clips along the timeline until the spike on the Audio waveform lines up with the frame where the clapper closes. Most consumer cassette decks have quite good record/playback speed stability as long as the tapes are played back on the same machine they were recorded on. For short takes they would be more than adequate.

The next step would be to let WMM convert all that to an "intermediate" avi output file, which would consist of a continuous a collection of wild takes but with the sound and image locked into sync. You'd then re-import that into WMM and then do your non-linear editing in the normal manner. You can also add music and titles and quite a good range of special effects.

Windows Movie Maker may not be the be-all and end-all, but it is a surprisingly sophisticated program for a piece of freeware. About the real deficiency is that it doesn't allow you you do insert editing (well not easily).
Apart from those limitations, there's little to distinguish a DVD made using Movie Maker from one made with a much more expensive editing program.

The question is, how readily available is telecine transfer to MiniDV or Digital-8? Or can you get it supplied as an AVI file on a DVD? MiniDV AVI chews up 1 Gigibyte every five minutes, so you'd only get about 20 minutes per disc, but that would be OK, considering the low cost of discs these days.



Hi,

Most telecine facilities will have DV/DVcam machines. I ususally put a mini DV tape in a Sony DVcam machine. It will play back on most Sony DV camcorders. Facility companies may tell you it is not possible and does not work, that was the advice they got from Sony Switzerland!

Stephen
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#3 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 07:33 AM

While transferring to MiniDV is an effective solution for beginning filmmakers (and the first choice of many people when I was in school), I find that too much information is lost in the conversion. I shot a short film on 7289 and had that transferred to MiniDV (I made the choice because I had a DV deck at home and couldn't eat the cost of renting a DigiBeta or other higher quality deck). Between the initial transfer and the re-compression that came with outputting audio/video synced files to edit, I lost everything about the stock that I was looking for, including the color rendition and grain (I had rushes made from the first day of shooting so that I was absolutely sure the camera was performing w/o scratching etc. Comparing the later DV dub to the dailies was... humbling.)

So while this method is very cost effective and fits into the desktop editing workflow, it certainly has its drawbacks. Of course I just saw a film I gaffed transferred to DVcam, and it looked significantly better... on a 13" monitor!
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#4 Mark Wilson

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 06:06 PM

So while this method is very cost effective and fits into the desktop editing workflow, it certainly has its drawbacks. Of course I just saw a film I gaffed transferred to DVcam, and it looked significantly better... on a 13" monitor!

Surely this will be a function of the actual editing technique. With Windows Movie Maker, if you just make simple cuts for editing, there should be no generation loss, since the output file is made simply by copying parts of the original DV-AVI import file, which is itself a direct copy of what is on th e miniDV tape. I've seen really excellent DVDs made from images originally shot on better quality miniDV camcorders.
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:40 AM

While transferring to MiniDV is an effective solution for beginning filmmakers (and the first choice of many people when I was in school), I find that too much information is lost in the conversion. I shot a short film on 7289 and had that transferred to MiniDV (I made the choice because I had a DV deck at home and couldn't eat the cost of renting a DigiBeta or other higher quality deck). Between the initial transfer and the re-compression that came with outputting audio/video synced files to edit, I lost everything about the stock that I was looking for, including the color rendition and grain (I had rushes made from the first day of shooting so that I was absolutely sure the camera was performing w/o scratching etc. Comparing the later DV dub to the dailies was... humbling.)

So while this method is very cost effective and fits into the desktop editing workflow, it certainly has its drawbacks. Of course I just saw a film I gaffed transferred to DVcam, and it looked significantly better... on a 13" monitor!


Hi,

The reason I gave my answer above is that many MiniDV machines have just a composite/SVideo/firewire in. A Digibeta will have SDI/YUV/Composite out. A copy using composite will look like poop, a SDI/YUV to SVideo a bit better.

A DVCAM machine should have a SDI input that way you will get a high quality transfer to miniDV.

Stephen
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#6 Dan Horstman

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 10:46 AM

Hi,

The reason I gave my answer above is that many MiniDV machines have just a composite/SVideo/firewire in. A Digibeta will have SDI/YUV/Composite out. A copy using composite will look like poop, a SDI/YUV to SVideo a bit better.

A DVCAM machine should have a SDI input that way you will get a high quality transfer to miniDV.

Stephen


But if you are capturing by firewire you shouldn't have any generation loss unless you are using a different compression codec (like an mpeg-4) for capture or output.

We telecine to MiniDV here at Colorlab using the highest quality MiniDV decks available.
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#7 Joe Sexton

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 11:35 AM

I have super 16 transferred to mini DV quite often by Alpha Cine here in Seattle and it looks just fine.
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#8 Stephen Williams

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 12:06 PM

But if you are capturing by firewire you shouldn't have any generation loss unless you are using a different compression codec (like an mpeg-4) for capture or output.

We telecine to MiniDV here at Colorlab using the highest quality MiniDV decks available.


Hi,

As a high end telecine is not a firewire device how do you capture?

Stephen
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#9 Dan Horstman

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 02:18 PM

I meant for capture into the computer for editing.
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 02:27 PM

I meant for capture into the computer for editing.


Hi,

My question is what input are you using on the MiniDV?

Stephen
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 03:24 PM

If you have access to any sort of crystal-sync camera, the audio could be recorded on a standard cassette deck, or even better, one of the new personal MP3 players that have line record inputs. Windows Movie Maker lets you import separate audio files onto the video timeline, and you could sync these up by using a variation of the old-fashioned clapper board technique, simply sliding the audio clips along the timeline until the spike on the Audio waveform lines up with the frame where the clapper closes. Most consumer cassette decks have quite good record/playback speed stability as long as the tapes are played back on the same machine they were recorded on. For short takes they would be more than adequate.


While using a normal cassette deck is possible it is not really a great idea. The cassette playback device will drift. If you are doing much shooting you will drive you editors nuts if you have to fix every take. Using a MP3 player/recorder could be better. All this assumes you may want to keep things low profile and for a low profile shoot it may be worth it. But a professional live action sound man will be doing more than that when recording good sound. Much of the good quality location sound recording depends on the experince on the recordist him or herself and the equipment they use. Many times a recordist will mix a radio mic with a mic on a boom of hidden on a set. So you can get sound on a cassette deck, but if you've gone into a hugh financial, emotional, and physical effort to shoot a film, you mave want to go the extra length to ensure you have no sound issues in post.

Best

Tim
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#12 Bruce Josephs

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 11:17 PM

DVD Infinity has been offering high quality frame accurate transfers from 8mm, Standard 8mm and 9.5mm film since early 2002.

See www.dvdinfinity.com.au
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#13 Sam Kim

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 12:19 AM

of course it's possible you just have to accept the loss in quality like stated by everyone. BUT, your point was that this is a great way for beginning cinematographers and you're absolutely. some film schools will have telecine machines which is a real added benefit. so yes, great way just understand what you're losing. for some films it might actually be better depending on what mood, lighting and color your going for because at the end of it all it's not good enough just to look good... it must serve and compliment the story.
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#14 Richardson Leao

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 11:04 PM

of course it's possible you just have to accept the loss in quality like stated by everyone. BUT, your point was that this is a great way for beginning cinematographers and you're absolutely. some film schools will have telecine machines which is a real added benefit. so yes, great way just understand what you're losing. for some films it might actually be better depending on what mood, lighting and color your going for because at the end of it all it's not good enough just to look good... it must serve and compliment the story.



I had recentely some footage transfered to DVCam in a miniDV tape, bought a cheap sony digicam (less than the deck rent per day) and I haven't seen anu perceptable wqew
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#15 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 08:40 AM

Sorry to ask a silly question but what does wqew stand for? I'm assuming that's an acronym.
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#16 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 11:47 AM

Hi,

My question is what input are you using on the MiniDV?

Stephen



We have a number of decks at cinelab, some of our DvCam decks are SDI and some are Component we also have a JVC 600 miniDv deck which is component in. JVC is the only company which makes a "pro" miniDv deck with component in and ext timecode in, etc. I think that it is important to note that DV, Dvcam, Dvcpro25 all have the exact same picture quality because they use the same compressor. Practically there is very little difference between a SDI in and a SDI to component converter which takes place 6" from the deck. MiniDv is a somewhat limited format but more of the resultant image quality lies with the telecine gear being used, if the telecine is in good tune and modern and making great pictures it will be able to stuff more of that good picture into the little minidv package.


-Rob-
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