Avoid These 9 Video Fails

Want Award Winning Content? Avoid These 9 Video Fails

Top issues every studio must avoid around frame rate conversions, deinterlacing, retiming, image noise reduction, standards transcoding, HDR conversions, and image scaling.

Whether you’re bringing old movies, shows, or footage up to modern quality standards or converting last night’s game to a different format or frame rate, you want viewers to see the best possible outcome.

That’s why it’s so important to avoid audio and video issues that compromise the viewing experience. Your content deserves it, and your business depends on it!

As a longtime developer of enterprise-grade image processing solutions that solve just about every problem that plagues video, and a partner to audio industry-leader Skywalker Sound too, we’ve seen it all. Based on our years of experience, this guide outlines the top 9 issues to avoid if you want to keep viewers tuned in and engaged.

No. 1: Cadence Errors

If your 3:2 pulldown (telecine) process isn’t quite up to par, you may find that video converted from film appears jerky. Motion just doesn’t look right because frames of film haven’t been “stretched” across video frames in an effective way. While viewers may not be able to name the problem, they will notice the resulting cadence errors, and they may not be able to tolerate them. Broken patterns are very tricky to remove, especially when they are embedded randomly throughout the content. You want a proven solution that can remove those patterns, no matter how strange and bad they have become over time, so that you can ensure a fluid playback experience for the viewer.

No. 2: Inferior Deinterlacing

Yes, deinterlacing is still a thing! While OTT delivers content in progressive format, television archives hold tons of content in interlaced formats. To monetize those archives on OTT/streaming platforms, you need to convert from interlaced to progressive — and you need to do it well. To prevent the introduction of visual defects, you can use advanced, two-stage deinterlacing to virtually eliminate all aliasing in SD content and to extract every possible detail from interlaced HD sources.

No. 3: Rescaling

Anyone can upres or downres — but not everyone knows how to do it really well. Interlace-aware up/down rescaling between SD and 8K+ is a must to ensure the highest quality in the main processing step. Exquisite noise management is also critical during the scaling process, preventing the nasty pitfalls of turning film grain or signal noise “sand” into giant buzzing “marbles” all over your valuable images, for example. Advanced scaling algorithms are needed to perform special pre- and post-filtering to remove and minimize annoying effects such as aliasing and ringing.

No. 4: Frame Rate Conversion

Done well, it goes unnoticed. Done poorly, it ruins the viewing experience! Imagine you’ve got 40 different cameras bringing in a hodgepodge of formats with different frame rates. You need to normalize it — convert it all to one solid mezzanine format — so video is ready to use in editorial. (Solving this one is how we won our first HPA Engineering Excellence Award.) Frame rate conversion is an essential part of this process, and the faster and better you can do it, the sooner your team can get to work. Ideally, as you perform frame rate conversion, your system automatically calculates frame-accurate motion blur to prevent video from looking jittery or stutter — not a pleasing effect. Lastly, embedded framerates (like 24 telecine’d within a 60p timeline) can shift scene to scene and need to be handled differently when you’re doing global frame rate changes. This ensures creative intent is honored without distracting the viewer.

No. 5: Runtime Changes

Is it OK to change the runtime length of video to address business constraints and opportunities? Of course. But at the cost of video quality? Not so much. The stuttered action and jumping pans caused by dropped frames during retiming just aren’t worth it. But when you have more precision and control in adjusting audio, video, and captions, you can easily hit your target run length while maintaining the seamless experience viewers expect. Anyone can drop or repeat frames to shorten run time. We don’t! We completely resynthesize all new frames, captions, and audio sampling (with our friends from Skywalker Sound), ensuring beautiful retiming that can be done globally or scene by scene.

No. 6: Poor Noise/Grain/Texture Management

There is something about bad noise, grain, and texture management that makes it hard for the brain to ignore. And it’s not an all-or-nothing thing! Ideally, you need to remove noise while retaining all the detail; removing it entirely is a sin in some circles. While mechanical, buzzy, painful noise is difficult to digest, believable film grain texture adds to viewer comfort. It adds sharpness. It calms the brain down. It’s really amazing what a difference it makes, and your ideal solution performs this balancing act brilliantly.

No. 7: Inaccurate SDR/HDR Conversion

Without accurate SDR-to-HDR conversion, you don’t get the full benefit of higher dynamic range, along with increased brightness, contrast ratio, and number of colors displayed on screen — viewers pick up on poorly converted SDR<>HDR material. Find a way to automate conversion at a high quality, though, and you can affordably bring your SDR libraries to the HDR world of OTT delivery, editorial, and production workflows — even editing into native-captured HDR material. (We solved this problem by partnering with Technicolor, the most trusted name on the subject of color. It’s literally in their name!)

No. 8: Time-Consuming Audio Processing

Audiences dislike audio issues just as much as, if not more than, they dislike bad video. But optimizing audio can be a time-intensive process involving many steps: sample-accurate retiming, loudness standards analysis, correction, downmixing, upmixing, channel mapping, and segment creation/manipulation. Take advantage of our new automation and orchestration toolset, by Skywalker Sound, and you can get these tasks completed more quickly — and use proven signal processing tech so that you can be confident in the results.

No. 9: Transcoding for Modern Standards

Converting media never seems to get easier, especially with formats and standards shifting endlessly and customers choosing their own methodologies. That’s why a powerful, single-pass 64-bit transcode pipeline for image, audio, and captions can be essential to your ability to meet the challenges of modern delivery standards. Whether you run on prem or in the cloud, look for API-driven technology that can handle all key codecs and compression options — and promises ongoing development to support your future business requirements.

Perfect your content with confidence.

Find out how award-winning technology from Cinnafilm can help you create a fantastic playback experience.

Studios such as Sony Pictures, Paramount, Universal, and 20th Century Fox have used Cinnafilm solutions to revitalize some of the world’s best-known movie and television titles. Our tech has enabled companies ranging from boutique post houses to major networks such as Discovery, the BBC, CBS, and NBC Sports to enhance and blend archival footage into modern documentaries, or convert massive libraries and sporting event footage for international delivery. Skywalker Sound Tools add audio polish, supporting automated high-end audio pipelines for all modern delivery standards.

Our solutions have helped some of the best-known companies create jaw-dropping works.

Now it’s your turn!

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