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Forums Broadcasting HD to SD for broadcast quality – Consultant?

  • HD to SD for broadcast quality – Consultant?

  • Dustin Dempsey

    March 5, 2009 at 4:08 am


    I’m looking for a consultant to help with export of HD video out of Final Cut pro to SD for broadcast on National Television.

    All the video we have was shot in 16:9 1080i but all action was kept in 4:3 and must be clipped to SD when we send it to the networks.

    We’ve also added animation sequences from other programs and images into the time line (they look excellent when viewing in Final Cut Pro).

    What would be the best way to export the whole project (around half an hour) as to keep the best quality for SD?

    Please note: We’ve tried doing export as quicktime movie and using quicktime conversion and aren’t seeing the quality that we were expecting so I’m guessing we may have some settings off which is why were seeking help. The quality is far inferior to video shot in SD. (Horrid!)

    Consultants are welcome to contact our studio and we’re willing to pay a top level expert for guidance and problem solving in this matter, time is of the essence.

    Any help would be appreciated.



  • Joey Burnham

    March 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Don’t know why you would need a consultant…
    Do you have HD Decks at your facility? If so just lay to tape and send off to a post-house for a downconversion. You could also probably get a hard drive and put your uncompressed QT on that and send to a post house as well, if you don’t have a deck.

  • Dustin Dempsey

    March 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Along side of sending it off to our production house we would also like to do it internally so we can burn to DVD and also some HD to BluRay.

  • Joey Burnham

    March 5, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    What equipment do you have to do the conversion?

  • Bob Zelin

    March 7, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Dustin –
    everyone who is responding to you is being so polite. I won’t be so polite. Your question is incredible to me, and anyone that works in broadcast television. As a simple overview answer (and this includes everything, from plumbing, to insect extermination, to carpentry, to electricity) – if you don’t know what you are doing you hire a professional.

    This means that if you don’t know what you are doing, you take your media to a professional post production facility in your area and let them deal with this for you. You don’t have to learn the process – you pay them, and they will do it for you.

    With that said, if you are doing a professional broadcast show for broadcast television, I can only HOPE TO GOD that you own professional broadcast equipment to accomplish this. If you are the type of company that has a HDV or P2 camera, and a bare bones MAC, and nothing else, and has the good fortune of being able to take your media and get a BROADCAST TELEVISION SHOW from your tiny investment, then you are one lucky guy, and many people, including myself are very jealous of you.

    With that said – I can only assume that if you own HD equipment, and an editing system, you already own all the wonderful equipment you need to accomplish what you want to do. If your show is in HD 1080i, and you edited this show in 1080i, I can only hope and pray that you have a professional editing system, like Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, or AVID Media Composer. With FCP or Adobe, you may already own a Blackmagic or AJA card or box, that will instantly downconvert your HD image to a SDI output with a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you own an AVID Media Composer, professional boxes like the Adreanaline or Nitris DX will do the same thing. If you own professional HD VTR’s, all products from Panasonic and Sony will instanly downconvert the HD-SDI 1080i signal to SD SDI, with a 4:3 aspect ratio, that you can output to assorted VTR’s. I do not know your delivery requirement, but all of these products mentioned above will allow you to output to Digi Beta, Beta, and Panasonic DVCPro50 VTRs for SD broadcast delivery.

    HOWEVER, if you think that you are going to be able to accomplish this without spending ANY money on hardware, and want a “consultant” to come over and show you how to pull this off with just your bare bones computer, and a software compression codec – you are DREAMING. If you want free advice on what to purchase (if you don’t own any of this equipment) – feel free to ask. And if you don’t want to invest in any equipment, then go to a local post production facility that will be thrilled to take your HD-SD 1080i footage, and convert it for you with the hardware that they own.

    There ain’t no free lunch.

    You are in Idaho –

    your state film commission will have a full list of post production facilities that are anxious to help you. If you want to buy some equipment, or currently own professional post production equipment, that includes capture and output cards, as well as professional HD VTR’s, just tell me what they are, and myself, and others on this forum will be happy to assist you.

    Bob Zelin

  • Dustin Dempsey

    March 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm


    Though your post was a little condescending at first I didn’t find it to be impolite, but yet very helpful.

    What should be evident from my first post is that post production isn’t my field of expertise, but me, along with those I work along side, were put into a position where we need to learn this stuff.
    I understand that we don’t have to learn how to do it and send it to a professional but at the same time, if there is something can be learned and we can do it in house, we would prefer to do it that way, especially if we have all the equipment to do so. We will ultimately be sending it off but at the same time we would like to be able to downconvert and put it on a DVD for our own use.

    Some of the equipment that we use:
    – Three Panasonic HPX500 cameras capturing to both P2 and FireStore
    – Two Mac Powermacs with two 3.2 Quad core processors and 16gb of Ram with video output to there 23″ cinema displays and a 52″ plasma television (each).
    – There JVC DTV broadcast monitors

    For editing we’ve been using mainly Final Cut Pro and After Effects.
    We have the full Adobe Suite and Final Cut Studio (We don’t have Avid).
    We do own a Blackmagic Card and an AJA Box but weren’t aware of what they were used for (we thought we could do the conversion through software).
    Tree House Media will be doing the DigiBetas for us.

    Thanks for the link, we’ll check it out.

    I appreciate your informative reply.
    I’ll search around on the process of using the hardware you mentioned for down conversion and I’m sure I will be back with more questions.


  • Joey Burnham

    March 7, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    If u have the kona 3 and the appropriate sync and decks, then u can do this on your own. But you said another company is taking care of the digi so I take it u don’t have decks.
    Yes it’s possible to downconvert thru compressor but that would be a waste of time (a LOT of time). Give this stuff to a post house.

  • Bob Zelin

    March 8, 2009 at 12:17 am

    you own wonderful equipment, that can do everything for you. Both the Blackmagic card, and AJA box (provided these are HD versions) will allow you to INSTANTLY downconvert your 16:9 HD 1080i show to a NTSC SD-SDI 4:3 format. Rent the Digi Beta from Tree House Media, and you can do the entire job in house ! Until the day comes that you rent the Digi Beta VTR, simply practice right now with the control panels from these products that will allow you to downconvert, and change the aspect ratio. You have the wonderful JVC DTV monitors which will allow you to see both HD-SDI and SDI downconverts on the same monitor. This way, you can practice, see what it looks like, before spending the money to downconvert.

    See – all you have to do is say what your equipment list is, and we can help!

    If you want details of exactly how to downconvert, please tell me the EXACT model # of the AJA or Blackmagic product you intend to use (the one you own), and I will tell you how to do it. It actually would be more useful to post a question like this on the AJA or blackmagic forum on Creative Cow, for a quick answer.

    bob Zelin

  • Dustin Dempsey

    March 8, 2009 at 12:38 am


    Thanks for your prompt and informative reply.

    Both the blackmagic and aja products are HD.
    Blackmagic Card: DeckLink HD Pro DL PCIe BMDPCB24 Rev D 214286
    AJA Box: Model HI5 HD-SDI/SDI to HDMI

    It would be wonderful to know how to use the equipment that we have to see the conversion and what quality we will be expecting.

    After this project, would you be interested in traveling to North Idaho to share your knowledge and teach us some of this stuff that’s over our head? What would be your day rate plus expenses?


  • Bob Zelin

    March 9, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Both the blackmagic and aja products are HD.
    Blackmagic Card: DeckLink HD Pro DL PCIe BMDPCB24 Rev D 214286
    AJA Box: Model HI5 HD-SDI/SDI to HDMI

    REPLY – you have a Blackmagic Decklink HD Pro card. The AJA Hi5 converts an HD signal to an HDMI signal for a TV monitor (like a Plasma display that has an HDMI input). Now, you must tell me before I go much further – am I babbling “techno mumbo jumbo” to you, or do you understand what terms like HD-SDI and HDMI mean ?

    Your Blackmagic Decklink HD Pro card is your video capture card. It will allow you to DOWNCONVERT your HD timeline in FCP to SD SDI. The SDI output can go directly into a rental Digi Beta VTR, for delivery to a TV station. This will work wonderfully for you. You do not need an “on site” visit from anyone.

    This is the manual for the Blackmagic Decklink series of cards –

    guess what – YOU or someone on your staff has to READ this manual.
    You are not too busy to read this manual, and I know that you are smart enough to read thru this brief web based manual. This will tell you exactly how to do the downconversion.
    If you have this card in your MAC, and the blackmagic software for it is currenty loaded, you can right now go to the System Preferences/Decklink Control panel –

    look in the Processing tab –
    this is from the manual –
    HDTV Up/Down Conversion
    The Mac OS X™ software drivers included with DeckLink, can be used to downconvert high definition to
    NTSC or PAL video in real time during capture or playback. They also provide upconversion on capture.
    Select the desired option from the output or input processing menus under the Processing tab.

    WOW – it does what you want ! You own the equipment to do this.

    Output Processing for DeckLink cards with simultaneous downconversion.
    ‚‚ HD to HD and SD Letterbox 16:9
    ‚‚ HD to HD and SD Anamorphic 16:9
    ‚‚ HD to HD and SD Center Cut 4:3

    LOOK ! it does 4:3 conversion as well as downconversion !

    I do not want your money. I want you to READ THE MANUAL.

    Bob Zelin

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