I’m going to be cutting a project this weekend that will mix SD PAL footage from a DigiBeta deck hooked up through a Matrox box with XDCAM HD PAL footage from a card reader attached via USB. The ultimate goal is an SD PAL DigiBeta master.
I’ve got a bit of FCP experience, but not enough to know the best way to proceed in order to have the least amount of rendering as possible before laying off to tape. Can anyone give me any advice?
p.s. I apologize for the pretty vague system information, but I won’t see the setup until I get there, so I don’t know what particular version of FCP I’ll be using, or anything about the system it’ll be installed on.
Since you have digibeta material and you’re finishing to digibeta, you’ll probably want to match your sequence settings to that. That way, you’re working in the format you’ll finish on. Ctrl+q for easy setups, or Command+0 for sequence settings, match to SD PAL. You won’t need to render any of the PAL digibeta footage this way, and you don’t need to change anything for your output.
To avoid rendering you want to have all clips in the same codec. Prores might be the best choice. You capture the DigiBeta material as Prores. I don’t know if it’s possible to transcode the XDCAM clips to Prores as it’s transferred, but if so, you’d be golden. If not, you can transcode to Prores in Compressor. Make sure all clips share the same timebase.
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I would go with John’s advice. Prores is much better than DV-PAL and its upper field first, so that will match the HD footage. Just use the normal Prores setting, HQ is not necessary 99% of the time.
If your system can’t play back HD in real time, then you might save time in the long run by using compressor to transcode the XDCAM material to SD Prores, or using the Media Manager tool in FCP to Recompress your material.
Thanks again for all the good advice. In the end we wound up going with the Matrox MX02 – DV PAL Anamorphic @ 48khz setting, which handled the DigiBeta footage just fine, and required rendering for the XDCAM footage, which was expected.
The render times weren’t too bad; we had a 20 minute timeline, about 40% of which was XDCAM, and it took about 10 minutes or so to render it out.