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My Edius to Avid 720p25 Varicam Workflow

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  • My Edius to Avid 720p25 Varicam Workflow

    I've been playing with this for a while now, and was initially interested in Edius as a tool to assist me ingest DVCPROHD footage, from Varicam, into Avid for editing. I've so far been very impressed with Edius in this respect and others.

    I'll post a little detail here - as I've detailed in my earlier thread there are significant workflow difficulties in using the Varicam at 25fps for the PAL world. As the Varicam always operates at a 60/59.94Hz system frequency it means that neither Avid nor FCP will communicate directly via Firewire with my deck (AJ-HD1400) while in a 25fps project mode. They will only capture from a 50Hz device in those modes.

    However Edius, very uniquely, is able to capture from a deck at 59.94Hz into a 25fps project. And while I am not nearly comfortable enough with Edius to try editing a broadcast TV series in it yet, it very neatly fill this niche for me.

    My workflow, so far, is this:
    1. Capture into an Edius "Generic OHCI HD 50Hz 960x720 25p over 60p" project
    2. 'Print to File' captured footage through ProCoder, as Quicktime using Avid DNxHD 720p25 codec.
    3. Import in Avid 720p50 or 1080i50 project


    There are a few hurdles in both Edius and Avid that I am working through.
    • In Edius I can't export clip through ProCoder directly from Bin, I have to build a sequence first.
    • Avid can't import Timecode from Quicktime movies (and I don't think it's being embedded in there anyway).
    • Avid has no 720p25 project type at present. This means I have to upres in software to 1080 or use 720p50, which means each frame is doubled, and requires care about where cuts are made (to avoid 'half-frame' edits).


    I haven't done any Full Tape test yet, so I don't have a really strong idea about processing time in these processes, but it's not too bad. So far it appears that the visual quality of the image is not compromised in the process.

    In Avid, to set Timecode I have to use the 'Modify Clip' function, for each clip, to set a Source name and then I can modify the timecode easily.

    There are a couple of things in Edius I need to play with too. If I capture with the 'Constant Rate Shooting over 60p' Edius generate 25 frame timecode, which is sensible, but isn't actually what the deck puts out (it outputs timecode that starts at 00 and ends at 29, but only counts 25 frames - 5 frames are simply skipped in the counting).

    This way it creates timecode that is probably not going to create an EDL I can use later (although I don't know for sure). It I use the '720/59.94p' capture mode, I also get a 25fps clip, but it does actually line up with the Tape timecode (00-29 with skipped numbers) - but there is no way I can get my clips in Avid to duplicate this, so that may not help.

    However one side effect of the Constant Rate (retimecoding) option is that it generates Divide Files (if I have 'On Timecode Break' selected) which make the export more difficult (as I can't export clips, I have to export a sequence) as it resets it's frame count each time the camera is stopped (between takes). However this may actually be functionality of the deck, I am not totally sure.
    Last edited by Sycophant; 10-31-2007, 11:36 PM.

  • #2
    Quite nice, thanks for sharing!

    If you capture into a ProCoder Watch folder, that'll skip your need to assemble a sequence, though you also don't get to name the file.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GrassValley_BH View Post
      Quite nice, thanks for sharing!

      If you capture into a ProCoder Watch folder, that'll skip your need to assemble a sequence, though you also don't get to name the file.
      Ahh, that's quite a good idea. Thanks! Although I can't see how to change the capture location, aside from changing the whole Project location? Can the media capture location be apart from the Project? This is something I really like about Avid's media management.

      What I'm also trying at the moment is the deck's built in SD downconversion mode, and capturing that directly to Avid for Offline, then seeing if I can use an EDL from that to pull the HD shots via Edius for a full res conform.

      In the 25(SD) mode the Firewire output seems to still be HD? Or at least I can't see pics from it in Avid, and the control is still getting 30fps timecode. If I connect via Composite or Component and control with RS422 I get 25fps timecode. So I'm hopeful that the 25FPS timecode Edius records in 'Constant Rate' mode relates to that.

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      • #4
        Can't specify capture location (aside from Batch capture) yet... but you're not the first to ask. :)

        Of course the referenced media can live anywhere, but EDIUS will want to capture to the Project folder.

        Not entirely sure on the timecode thing...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GrassValley_BH View Post
          Can't specify capture location (aside from Batch capture) yet... but you're not the first to ask. :)

          Of course the referenced media can live anywhere, but EDIUS will want to capture to the Project folder.

          Not entirely sure on the timecode thing...
          Yeah the other thing I've noticed is that there's no way to specify a tape name when capturing on the fly. Which seems problematic to me (although not in this circumstance really).

          I guess Media Management is one of those thing Avid does really well (although a look at the 'Open Letter to Avid' on the Avid forums will demonstrate that it's one of very few things no one has issue with). Other NLEs I've used always seem to be a little too reliant on the Filesystem for my tastes.

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          • #6
            It's all over now.

            After testing (and buying Edius) we've decided that the workflow, while it does work, isn't really suitable for the project in question. There are two major issues, only one of which is actually a dealbreaker really.

            Time
            It's not too bad, but the process does take time, obviously, with my test we were looking at about 5-6x realtime to get footage from tape, into Edius and then into Avid. The export and import perform well, but overall still take quite a while really.

            Cinegamma
            This was the deal breaker. Using the Firewire capture the VTR's post-processing to support the camera's gamma curves is bypassed. Which makes sense, as the Firewire output is more or less just a data stream from the tape, but makes the overall process somewhat unworkable for us.

            So we're falling back to plan B now. Offline is performed in standard def (analogue capture from downconvert 25fps mode on the deck) in Avid. And we'll be buying an FCP suite for the Online, which will be performed in 1080p25 from the 25fps HD output mode via HD-SDI from the deck.

            I will keep playing with Edius in the future I suspect (unless anyone wants to buy a barely used copy of Edius 4 Broadcast :) )

            Thanks to everyone here as well for your excellent and supportive responses to my various posts on these issues, I really appreciate it.

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            • #7
              Sorry to hear it didn't work out... but I'm sure you'll find something creative to do with EDIUS in the near future.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GrassValley_BH View Post
                Sorry to hear it didn't work out... but I'm sure you'll find something creative to do with EDIUS in the near future.
                I'll have to :)

                For the time being it's installed on my desktop workstation, so I'm sure I'll find something to do with it there.

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