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Thread: Movie Formats

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Movie Formats

    Perhaps someone can help me or point me to where I can get such help.

    I plan to convert my old 8mm celluloid movies to digital, and there is one outfit which claims they modified their telecine machines to handle 8mm. Their offers talk about raw files, high definition, transfer rates, and stuff I just started learning. I plan to ask them questions, but before I do I prefer to learn more so I can understand their answers.

    Their High Definition Transfers turn me on, but I am a bit confused. All their 1080p transfers will be delivered as QuickTime .mov files, in JPEG-A format, which of course will play nicely on any reasonable computer. They are 50GB/hr.

    But then they floor me: "The higher data-rate file types (component, animation or raw) require more powerful computers, and are recommended only for professionals with very fast computers that employ a high-speed RAID". Say what?? I particularly like the component 4:2:2 (290GB/hr), but are they saying this file won't show on my 8core G5 (2008)? What do they mean by "high data-rate"? Their outputs will be returned on external hard drive. I do not have RAID.

    My plan is to use iMovie to arrange various sections and add titles, then use iDVD to make DVD high definition movie, burn it on DL disk, and watch it on my 40inch LED TV. If I target only one hour per disk, i.e. 7+ GB/hour, will I still preserve the high definition? Do I have to use the high-rate type or will the plain .mov files be enough?

    My worry: high definition image of a blurry/ dirty image will still be blurry/dirty. If the frame by frame scanning in their souped up machines displays a faulty image, all I will have is high definition faulty image. But that's MY problem. The help I need is some hints on using .mov outputs vs. the high-data rate variety. How much will I gain from the latter? And what's the difference?

    marrand

  2. #2
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    I have this type of conversation all day long, since we design, build, sell and support storage for this purpose. This is complex enough it may take more that a simple answer.

    Every format has a data rate. That rate is determined by many variable - frame size, frames per second, color channels, codec or compression used. SO many variables that there are a bunch of places you need to go to just to find out approximately what your data rate is. Example: Forret

    When you get a company offering to save your film to disk at such and such a format, and they are kind/correct/professional enough to also offer the data rate, that is SUPERB customer service. Most don't bother unless you ask.


    When they state 290 GB/hr, that works out, if I haven't screwed the pooch on the math, a little over 80 MB/sec. That means at least a 2 drive RAID to maintain the throughput required to play the video. No problem on your G5. But you will need the RAID. And it won't playback well on Firewire 800 at all since it is right at the edge of what Firewire 800 is capable of.

    Realtime editing can require a substantially higher throughput.

    Your G5 is fine at 300 GB/sec, let alone 300 GB/hr. You would need a mongo RAID to achieve 300 GB/sec, but it can be done as long as you have an 8 RAM slot G5. (I don't know what an 8 Core G5 is? - or do you mean a MacPro?)

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
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    I assume you mean an 8 core Intel processor since the last G5 was produced in 2005. Your processing power is so far above what you want to do that you have no worries there. It's data rate... which means how fast your drive can supply the data.

    SO it becomes a simple question of do you want to buy a raid to support this. If no then tell these people that you have a single drive with (whatever) data rate and you want the best you can handle and let them choose.

    If you DO want to buy a raid then tell Rick how much speed you want and how much you can spend and let him find a balance there. Then go back to these people and tell them of your UBER-SPEED raid and let them give you the best you can handle
    Damien,

  4. #4
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    I am no film guru, but I would think HD would be way overkill for any old film. I would be curious to know what the frame rate was on 8mm......maybe 30-40 FPS? To my untrained eye, there would be no need gain in transfering/editing/outputing soft focus film to HD.

    Kinda like taking a 300dpi image, tweaking it in photoshop, and then saving it as a 1200dpi image. Would not look any better or more detailed.....cause the pixels just ain't there. If I am wrong about this, somebody tell me.

    To clarify Rick's point, they are referring to specs for editing or capturing HD, not watching HD.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  5. #5
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    Talking

    Hey guys, thanks a lot for speedy answers.

    My computer is MacPro G5 8cores (two quads), 2008 vintage. I had no idea I had to add the "MacPro" word to describe it. Sorry.

    Yes Rick, seems I lucked out: this company is kind/correct/professional as evidenced by their detailed answer I received by email within several hours. Since I am primarily "viewing" oriented, not editing or capturing, seems I won't need the fast RAID. Their answer had a few little gems which I didn't know (but which may be obvious to you).

    1. iMovie and iDVD does not support component 4:2:2. Also, DVD made in iDVD will be standard def even if I use the high def JPEG-A file (.mov) they send me.

    2. Quote: "The advantage of the higher data rates is minimal and only required in very specific professional situations". I was pleased to hear that.

    3. Although the burned DVDs I make using iDVD will show only as standard def, the gentleman was kind enough to offer me the straight forward advice of connecting my MacPro G5 directly to my 40" LED TV using DVI-D to HDMI cable. And then I will actually see the high def they give give me in their JPEG-A files. Otherwise, the high def part will show up only on my computer.

    Regarding unclemac's observation, the man speculated that my 8mm film rate is either 24 or 18. I have no idea, except the films showed very well on my old projecter and screen. The 300dpi image being tweeked to higher value obviously won't be better, but as a sideline, another outfit I contacted for scanning 35mm slides claimed that 3000dpi is their standard, even though some pros prefer 4000. So, by my simple minded logic, if 35 mm positive looks best at 3000dpi, then smaller 8mm may require even more dpi's. The limit, of course, if the graininess of the film. The movie man does say explicitly that the uncompressed images are processed to reduce noise due to graininess and enhance sharpness prior to conversion to JPEG-A or any other final format.

    He also claims that in ten years the standard def will be obsolete anyway. Specifically he illustrates: standard def scanning produces 720x480, but HD produces 1560x1080p. Their explanation is rather interesting: the true frame in 8mm reel has 1.44:1 ratio, not the 1.33:1 we think of. In any case, I rather go for the overkill and get more pixels than I need, and not lose any for best viewing.

    He agreed with damien: my MacPro G5 has more than sufficient power to work with the 50GB/hr format.

    I may not need RAID now, but in a few years my room wil be full of terabyte drives.

    marrand

  6. #6
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    1) A RAID that would guarantee you enough performance would be just 2 drives formatted into one big RAID0 volume. This you can try and play with just using either 2 internal drives or 2 external. 2 Drive RAIDs are created easily and no big deal. If you need one, it is easily within reach.

    You will need an external box with tray mounted drives eventually so you can swap in all the drives you are planning on filling up.

    2) Always plan for everything in pairs. If you build a 2TB RAID, then you need another 2TB volume to back it up to.

    3) A G5 is a PowerPC processor. A MacPro is an Intel processor computer. They look alike but are 2 entirely different computers. You own a MacPro - not a G5.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  7. #7
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    I do film conversions and here are a couple tips. Regular 8mm film (Beginning 1930's) runs at 16fps, Super8 film (Beginning 1966 or so) runs at 18fps and has a slightly larger frame, and therefore smaller sprocket holes. 16mm and 35mm run at 24fps. The files you receive may be at native frame rate, or converted to 30fps through pulldown or telecine operations. If you are new to film work I would recommend making sure the files are already 30fps. 8mm is slightly higher resolution than standard definition and 16mm is higher than HD. I believe iMovie only supports SD DV files, or HDV with iMovieHD, at 30fps interlaced or progressive, but that may have changed. A DVD that fully conforms to spec is also only SD. (There are some programs that will put HD [h.264] onto DVD for playback on BluRay players, but their playback isn't assured on all players.) You may gain some resolution by transferring 8mm to HD files instead of SD, but if your end product is a SD DVD, the downconversion from HD to SD can sometimes look worse than if it was transferred to SD to begin with. So if you are only going to do straight cuts editing and adding titles and such onto a SD DVD, then receiving the film in SD DV.MOV at 30fps ensures compatablility with iMovie and iDVD with no scaling or frame rate modifications needed by you. IMO, transferring 8mm to HD is only useful in codec matching, effects or enhancement operations, or when an HD final product is needed such as BluRay.
    Last edited by despaxas; 05-24-2010 at 12:30 PM.

  8. #8
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    Red face

    These comments are most valuable.
    When Ricks told me what computer I have had for two years, all I could say was..... duh! Good thing I mentioned it and had it corrected. Thanks.

    I am beginning to understand data rates. Their HD sample was 340MB, it ran very smoothly on my MacPro, lasted 23 sec, corresponding to about 120Mb/s (= 15MB/sec = 54GB/hr). It was a JPEG-A .mov file, made from 16mm film and at the orginal 24 fps rate. So, all this makes sense. When I played the same file on my older G4 (1.25 dual MDD), the movie stuttered. When I played it again on my very old G3, 500MHz, the display slowed down to a slide show. The effects of computer's data rate capability were so visible and clear that even I could understand it.

    despaxas really went into it deeper, and I appreciate the advice again. I do want to have the file in HD because in a few years I will buy a BluRay device and appropriate software for HD viewing on my LED TV. In the meantime:
    1. I will enjoy the HD viewing on my computer
    2. Show the SD equivalents to the family on TV using regular DVD's.

    Yes despaxas, all I will do is straight cuts with titles, nothing else.

    But your reference to 30fps puzzles me. How can you take a 16fps movie, run it at 30fps and expect the same normal motion? There are so many frames per foot; are you implying that extra frames are added by some sort of interpolation? And suppose by same magic they do, how can I make "sure the files are already 30fps"??

    Another point: can rented movies on DVD's be viewed in HD? I thought the optical transfer rates are just too slow.

    marrand

  9. #9
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    Question

    Don't know if this helps any but ..... I download many movies of the Net. Not sure what format is being used but ....

    It takes somewhere between 20 - 30 minutes to download a 700 mb file.

    If I burn a DVD with no compression ....... takes about 5 hrs a throw.
    If I use a compression application like DIVX .... can burn 5 movies on one DVD at near 100% resolution .... 5 min.

    Five hr. burn for 1 DVD or .... five minute burn for 4 or 5 movies on 1 DVD .... depending on size.

    Interested parties should check out DIVX.com.

    Very fast burns ...... don't know if you can burn a HD movie to divx.

    This might not relate too what your interested in, but .... best give it a look! .... divx.com.

    There are a few forums out there .... search time.

    With my eyes, I can't tell the difference .... poor eye site may be an asset .... you'll have too decide!

    h

  10. #10
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    Ok, so you're sticking with HD for computer and future BluRay viewing, that's good. If you're going to edit in iMovieHD, it only works with HDV footage which is either 720p or 1080i. You should let them know you plan on using iMovie so they don't send an unsupported file like JPEG-A.mov. Once you get done editing in HD, Toast10 does an adequate job of downconverting HD files to a SD DVD.

    The 30fps requirement comes from the television standard NTSC used in the US and some other parts of the world. Everything television related in the US from the 1950's through BluRay is 30fps, either 30 full progressive frames, or 60 half frames (called fields) interlaced together. (BluRay and DVD both support 24fps progressive content, but it is still stored on the discs as 60 interlaced fields per second.) So if you wish to edit with iMovie or use DVD or BluRay, the file must be 30fps. If done correctly, the frame rate conversion does not change the original speed or motion of the film. This can be done one of two ways, and it should be performed by the transfer company. Since they are scanning frame by frame, they would probably use a method called "3:2 pulldown" It works by displaying the first frame of film two times, the second frame of film three times, the third frame of film back to two times and so on. What you end up with is still 24p, but it is now stored in a 60i "wrapper" now able to be edited or displayed on any NTSC TV or editing program.

    The other way is to use a Telecine, which is basically a low-light projector that shoots directly into a camera via a condenser lens. The shutter is modified to produce an effect similar to 3:2 pulldown. This is the only way film conversions with sound can be done, so this is the method I use.

    8mm and Super8 methods are similar, but must be done if you want to edit the footage with iMovie.


    Rented DVDs will always be SD, but they can be viewed on an HD TV. If played from a DVD player, the TV will change it's resolution to SD, but still fill the entire TV image area. (Some higher end TVs may upconvert) If played from a BluRay player, the player has the option of upconverting SD to HD, but the quality of the conversion will vary from manufacturer. It's important to remember that 1080p is only available if using an HDMI cable.

  11. #11
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    Simply brilliant, despaxas! Thanks.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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    Wink

    despaxas,
    thanks again. You have no idea how much you are helping this newbie; why, in time I will sound partially intelligent! To echo Rick, simply brilliant!!

    Yes, I want the best current technology, and convert to the best HDTV can offer later, using whatever means available, be it Blue Ray or some other means. The movie man I have in mind will send me the output in JPEG-A.mov (50GB/hr). And I don't care if iMovie won't handle it!! I will get whatever software needed (like, say Toast10) to produce SD DVD for immediate viewing, and later upgrade for the pleasures of High Def.

    Your explanation of 30fps was superb; again, I felt like a dunce. Of course you can add frames by duplicating them. How elementary. Duh. The man I am dealing with uses Telecine modified for 8mm. Now he has a small test film (50ft) which he will process for free. I will certainly be asking about conversion to 30fps; I may even use your words to make a good impression on him!!

    Again you introduced something which puzzles me. You say iMovie doesn't support JPEG-A.mov?? I downloaded his short JPEG-A clip (380MB), imported it to iMovie, exported as MPEG-4 video and it played fine on my computer. Isn't that downconverting HD file to SD? Actually, both played fine but the original HD sample was much much better.

    As of today, I am not ready to display HD on my LED TV; my DVD players are old and have component cables only. The connection from my cable supplier to TV is HDMI, and I will have to buy new "player" for HD later.

    Another interesting point you made. Rented DVD shows only as SD (as I suspected), yet some higher end TV's may upcovert? Upconvert SD signal to HD? TV can do that?

    marrand

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    Excellent thread gentlemen. I recieved a new toy recently, and this is very educational.

    Carry on......

  14. #14
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    Hey, pretty neat. You even get to try it for a month.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  15. #15
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    Talking

    Toast and divx is what I've been using for about the last three yrs.

    BTW .... I've taken a divx burned DVD .... drag the file to the desktop .... burn a SD using Toast .... no problem.

    I couldn't tell the difference between the two!

    Good enough for me .... and I'm damn picky.

    If your video card has HDMI, I believe you could just plug into your tv set .... maybe!

    Also I'm 99.99% sure that divx can convert JPEG-A.mov to either divx file / or SD file to burn using Toast.

    I use Toast 9.... and divx 6.5 (for playing DVDs on the computer) .... toast 9 comes with a DIVX app.

    I like to keep things simple and fast! .... as long as the file (audio or video) doesn't suffer ANY noticeable changes.

    AS soon as DIVX becomes very consumer popular, you'll start seeing players that have HD, SD and .... Divx capabilities.

    There are a very few around now .... but you'll be searching.... for a reasonable price.

    h
    Last edited by Hazkell; 05-26-2010 at 03:10 AM.

  16. #16
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    Wink

    Movie software and all the codeces always baffled me, but recently I had to dive in and slowly I am learning. The real challenge started with my decision to digitize the old 8mm movies from the sixties. There is a lot of stuff there, and I sent small sections to three places just to test them out. In all cases I requested the best they have available. One movie man impressed me a lot by his service, but his sample hasn't arrived yet.

    Yesterday I received four 200ft reels from the first outfit I tried. They do not use telecine, but claim to scan frame by frame. Their technique was not well specified, but as advertised the output arrived in four avi files on a hard drive, almost 80GB total. The man explained: "Since most our customers do not have the resources to work with full uncompressed HD video, we encode the transferred material using a lossless codec such as Blackmagic, Cineform or Pro-res HQ. The resultant output is about 60GB/hr, or 16-20GB for a 200ft reel".

    Ok, I have the resources and I have macgurus to improve them, but my editing is merely cut, clip or crop and does'nt need the huge real time throughputs discussed earlier in this thread.

    So I bought iSkysoft Video Converter (only $35); I liked its versatility in the trial download, and of course it can handle all types of HD files. I took one of the huge avi files (20GB) - yes, it was 30fps - and converted the first 3 minutes to HD QuickTime Movie(.mov) using HD H.264 encoder, 1920x1080 resolution, set to 30fps and max bitrate. The estimated compression for full file: 23.5GB to 5.6 GB. However, the 3 min clip, after cropping the edges was about 320MB. Then I used iDVD to create a new project, burned it on DVD, and watched on my 40in LED using old fashioned DVD player (SD only).

    It played very nicely, as good as one can expect from a nervous young man holding an old fashioned camera and filming his first baby. In fact, I enjoyed the show as much as the uncompressed file on my computer.

    I don't know if anyone ever used iSkysoft, but for the price it is a very neat piece of software; I could preset the crop size exactly prior to conversion and get the final result in the form I wanted. Also, you may be interested to know: while it was converting, all eight (8) cpus were working 90%; I was almost maxed out. It took about 10 minutes to convert 3 minutes to HD movie. Not bad, I say........not bad.

    Thanks you guys for educating me a bit; now I am able to talk semi-intelligently with the experts who digitize these films.

    marrand

  17. #17
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    Talking

    Thanks for the heads-up on the iSkysoft Video Converter.
    I picked up a copy here http://express-downloads.com/downloa...201.9.6%20(Mac) for 10.4.11 and my lowly G4.

    I know I'm wanting to use this app. somewhere in my chain of manipulation.... but .... will have to give it a "test drive".

    Didn't you say you were going to pick up a copy of Toast 10?
    If so .... got any feedback?

    Doesn't toast 10 have divx and HD burn/converting capabilities?

    I also see using divx somewhere at the tail- end in this chain.

    thanks again, h

  18. #18
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    I have iSkysoft and it does as advertised though I am not patient enough to work in HD conversion. One nice bit though, since it KNOWS it's going to take forever it has an option that it will trigger a shutdown when it's done processing so you can set it and go to bed and your Mac won't be running for no reason after it's done.

    iSkysoft and about 8 other of its clones appear to be a quick port of what is probably a linux app. Therefore they do not look very Mac-like. They function fine and are mostly intuitive though.

    I highly recommend if you are running this on an iMac or a laptop, that you get SMCFan Control and increase the speed of your fans to your hard drive and CPU/PSU. Also turn off the preview feature and sleep your screen if it isn't being used.
    Damien,

  19. #19
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    Here is what I learned about HD the last month.
    1. True HD clips will not run on G4 - data rate requirement too high. I made one of them display its motion but ONLY at 1/2 speed on A/V controls.
    2. As Rick so wisely pointed out there is a wide variation in data rates and quality of display among the various codeces and formats. Many of them claim HD but there seems to be a degree of HD. A lower grade HD will run on G4 but when I tested on mine, it stuttered a bit.
    3. The best techniques to digitize old 8mm film coupled with the highest HD outputs will still look blurry if the original was blurry. Duh.
    4. Regular DVD players cannot display any HD. One needs BlueRay or equivalent and special cabling. If you have an intel computer with sufficient horsepower, then download the files from DVD and convert to HD directly on your computer, were the I/O rates of best drives and bus speeds can accomodate the data rates. You will get nice viewing, but no real editing.
    5. HD on best TV's is also very variable. If you have a true HD movie on your computer, you must use special connections to the TV to display the full HD. For good TV the only sure way to view true HD is to use HD channel AND watch a Hollywood made HD movie, like Avatar; then you will appreciate the difference! But not with a talking head like on news shows.

    Hazkell:
    I have no plans to get any Toast yet. First I must get BlueRay player, with its HDMI cable for TV viewing. Even when I do, the HD movies I receive after digitizing old 8mm movies still display novice level photography, and by messing around with iSkysoft (short clips only) I learned that SD level formats appear just as good, on my 8core machine and LED TV. Problem: I wasn't was good photographer when I filmed my family. I still am not. Until then I archive the best I can get, but enjoy them now only in SD.

    I thought iSkysoft is for intel computers only.

    Damien:
    Before buying iSkysoft I test two others. I like it, and to me it appears mac like. I fooled around with various output formats, and the lower the format, the less cpu power I need. Thus converting 20GB movie to an SD format, say about 1GB final, will not tie up my 8 cores too much. I take my time drinking coffee. But I can see how an iMac could get too hot if you use it overnight.

    Also, I tried many of final formats, and the best I found so far has 4:1 compression; i.e. original avi 20GB to HD H.264(MC) 5.6GB. But as I said, I plan to go lower for SD viewing. But divx appeared a bit "too low" for me (i.e. too compressed).

    marrand

  20. #20
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    Seeing as this thread is a very good crash corse on video ......
    If you ever have the time, I'm sure .... besides myself .... someone would like to know your views between SD and a DIVX movie (viewing wise) .... but there's only one way to find out .... burn two movies, then play both side by side .... is there a lot of resolution noticeable?

    Inquiring minds would like too know!

    My friend "google search" brings me many opportunities like http://express-downloads.com/downloa...201.9.6%20(Mac.

    Would have never know unless I'd done some research .... I have a couple of brain cells still firing.

    h

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