[ This article was first published in the Sept/Oct, 2007, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
Justin Ascott started a discussion last month about the Canon HV20 camera and the best workflow to use for HDV.
First, Allan Tépper writes:
I am writing to offer help for Justin Ascott’s 24p workflow with the Canon HV20. The 24p recording of the Canon HV20 has much in common with the 24p recording of the Sony HVR-V1.
Because of the incomplete way that 24p (23.976p) is recorded with the Sony HVR-V1U (USA NTSC model), HVR-V1N (Latin America NTSC model), or Canon HV20 (USA NTSC model), approximately 16 extra steps are necessary before editing in order to get your 24p footage on a 23.976p (a.k.a 23.98 or 24p) timeline in FCP. [This is not the case with higher-priced 24p cameras than the V1, since they have advanced pulldown.] On the other hand, if you use the 50Hz version of either the V1 or the HV20, no extra steps are required before editing, since 1080/25p works directly with FCP, whether you capture via FireWire or via HDMI.
I recently published a comparison chart covering progressive HD cameras under US$5k for the South Florida Final Cut Pro Users Group. This was in response to many inquiries after they learned advantages of progressive over interlaced video. In the process of creating and posting the chart, many issues resurfaced about the many benefits of using 25p as opposed to 24p (23.976p) when desiring any or or of the following outputs: Film-out, 24p NTSC DVD, full 1280×720 AppleTV playback, and SD broadcast tape for either NTSC or PAL.
If you view the comparison chart, which has within itself a link to a new chart which compares the 24p versus 25p workflow with these cameras.
To answer Justin Ascott specifically: The FCP Easy Setup called HDV-1080/24p will not work with 24p footage from the HV20 or the Sony V1. While you have the 60Hz version of the HV20 (and you really need a 24p timeline for one of the specified reasons), you’ll have to go through the extra 16 steps mentioned in the chart.
Then, Adam Lloyd Connell sent in the following:
[Regarding] Justin Ascott’s question about the Canon HV20:
I have one myself. It is not a progressive frame camera. The sensor records the video which is encoded in NTSC or PAL. The Cinema Mode and the HDV Progressive frame mode can be used to create a progressive look, i.e., the look of 24/25p, but the actual signal that is recorded to the tape, and then output when you capture in FCP or playback on TV is in fact a standard 60i/50i signal that has just been de interlaced. Therefore, to capture whatever footage you have recorded with the HV20, you need to use FCPs 1080/50i or 1080/60i preset.
Then, Justin wrote back with more information:
I’ve recently been using the Apple HDV intermediate codec in FCP 5 with my HV20 rather than capturing native HDV because it allows me to preview my edits in the timeline. The image quality is still fine for my purposes – better than DV. I intend to use the camera to primarily produce short personal films that will be encoded using the Quicktime H264 codec and then uploaded to YouTube and my website. I’ve pimped my camera out with a wide angle matte-box purchased from CineCity in India very cheaply (through eBay) and am also using a wireless lavaliere mic bought from B&H. It’s a great little setup.
Larry replies: Thanks to all of you for your thoughts. I’m completely ambivalent about the benefits of shooting 24 fps material. Just because Hollywood has been shooting film at 24 fps for years doesn’t mean this is the best format for your video.
If you are distributing for broadcast, cablecast, or DVD distribution in North America, all TV sets only display 29.97. Shooting 24 fps means that all your video will have pulldown frames added to it before it gets displayed on a TV.
If you are distributing for broadcast, cablecast, or DVD distribution outside North America, almost all TV sets only display 25 fps (PAL). Shooting 24 fps means that all your video will need to be slowed down 4% before it gets displayed on a TV.
If you are going to the web, 24 fps saves on file size, which is a good thing.
If you are distributing on film, 24 fps makes the film transfer much, much easier.
If you are distributing internationally, it is easier to convert from 24 to PAL and NTSC than from any other format.
If you are shooting 24 fps simply because “someone told you that’s what all the professionals shoot,” I’d suggest you consider spending your money on a 1/4 warm black ProMist camera lens filter and improving your lighting, both of which will do far more to improve your look than shooting 24 fps.
You are, of course, welcome to disagree…. 🙂
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