[ This article was first published in the December, 2004, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Updated 2/211/05 with new info on capturing 24P. ]
[Larry writes:] I was involved in a discussion recently about the best way to capture from a DVX100 camera. Noah Kadner, one of the forum administrators on 2-pop generously shared his experience with capturing from this camera.
(By the way, you can check out his indie movie website, which features this camera, here: http://www.formosamovie.com).
Just got a note from one of our users at 2-pop saying he had spoken to you regarding capturing 24p Advanced DVX100 footage in FCP and you had advised him to capture at 23.98 FPS. That’s not the right way to do it.
I’ll give you a quick background on me. I wrote the very first review of the DVX100 and it’s use with FCP back in November 2002 and have been advising people on 2-pop on its use for the past two years. I’ve also worked directly with Jan Crittenden, the DVX100 and SDX900 national product manager for Panasonic during the past two NABs. So hopefully you’ll dig my credentials in regard to FCP and the DVX100. 🙂
DVX100 24pA footage should always be captured at 29.97 because that’s what’s on the tape. When a user wants to cut at 23.98 they need to properly remove the 2:3:3:2 pulldown introduced by the DVX100 during filming. The DVX100 flags these extra frames and embeds these flags into the Firewire data stream. FCP can read these flags back during ingest and conform the 29.97 pulldown footage back to the 23.98 captured by the camera. That is what the Remove Advance Pulldown from 2:3:3:2 sources checkbox in the capture settings is for. But in order to do this properly, the FPS setting in FCP must be set at 29.97 to give FCP the full firewire data stream and allow it to properly recognize the flags and remove the Advance pulldown frames.
If you set the capture FPS at 23.98, FCP will randomly delete frames to get from 29.97 to 23.98 but they will not be the correct frames. You’ll wind up with a 23.98 file that looks odd during playback from FCP because the 2:3:3:2 interlaced pulldown frames are still there along with randomly missing progressive frames. This has become the number one issue plaguing FCP users with DVX100 footage who want to cut at 23.98 and has resulted in a lot of confusion. I’ve hoped to lobby Apple on this issue so that they might include a warning pop-up in FCP giving notice that 23.98 FPS capture will result in improperly digitized DVX100 footage but haven’t made any headway and Panasonic hasn’t been able to either- maybe you can help with that.
I know it seems counterintuitive that one would use 29.97 as the capture frame rate in order to ingest 23.98 footage but that’s how it must be done because of the way the format is recorded to tape. And FYI- there are very few tape formats that run at 23.98 natively so it would be not be a proper FPS setting for most “24p” formats. The only ones I know of that actually can record to tape at 23.98 without introducing a pulldown are D5 and Sony HDCAM and HDCAM-SR. If you’d like, I can put you in touch with Jan Crittenden from Panasonic and she can give you more information on how the process works so that you can help spread the word on the proper settings to FCP/DVX100 users you consult with. Let me know.
Larry replies: I stand corrected and very much appreciate your letting me know the right way to capture DVX100 footage.
One of my readers asked how to capture straight 24P, rather than 24P Advanced. Noah responded:
For 24p standard you still capture at 29.97. Then if you wish to conform the captured footage to true 24p you do this in CinemaTools, according to the manual. That’s why 24pA was designed because it can be conformed automatically by FCP. 24p standard requires more work.