High Definition 1080i Primer

Update: December 7th, 2009

High Definition 1080i Primer

(The 11 Easy Steps)

Scott Thomas
Director of Engineering
the Victory Studios

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1080i/60 High Definition offers a picture quality that cannot be matched by any standard definition device. The sharpness and color will wow you. Here are some tips to make your journey into High Definition go smoothly.

Phase 1 Pre Production

Decide how you are going to deliver the finished product. When shooting HD, you have a wide, 16×9 screen that you can use. If your final product is going to be delivered 4×3, decide if you are going to deliver letterboxed or edge cropped.

Phase 2 Shooting

The rules of good image acquisition haven’t changed. Light well, frame well, have a good crew. The Sony HDW-700A or the HDW-F900 cameras are similar in functionality and size to the DVW-700 Digital Betacam camcorder. If the final output is going to be Edge Cropped, frame primarily in the 4×3 center area, but protect for the entire width.

Phase 3 Downconverting

Bring your HD masters to the Victory Studios for downconversion to BetaSP, Digital Betacam, DVCam, etc. We will convert your video and make sure that timecode is translated properly because that is the guide that will be used later in the online session. We recommend getting your downconversions in a letterbox format with the timecode window burned below the picture. This allows for the offline editor to make sure that the entire frame is acceptable for use in the finished 16×9 master, and gives a visual reference on the offline master that can be used in the online session later if there are any problems with the Edit Decision List (EDL).

Phase 4 Offlining

Spend your creative time working in the non-linear environment. Because you can use a standard definition non-linear system, it allows you to spend more time getting it right. It is cheaper and faster to do your creative work this way than offlining on a High Definition non-linear system. Take the downconverts  and digitize them into your non-linear editing system. For best results:

Label tapes with 6 character alpha/numeric preferable numeric (Example: A_0001, B0014A.)
Make your 1st video layer the main body of the program, spot or feature.
Video layer 2 and above are for effects such as PIP, (picture in picture), keys etc.
Make notes in list regarding color treatments, effect dissolves, picture flip, DME moves and any other anomaly in the show.

As you near the end of your offlining, output a sample EDL and send it to us so that we can look at it and tell you of any potential problems that may need to be addressed.

Phase 5 Online Prep

Once everything is finalized you should output an Edit Decision List (EDL) for the online:

EDL’s should be provided on a PC formatted 3.5″ HD disk.
We would like a CMX 3600 A mode EDL with B-Roll indication.
Layers need to be split into separate EDLs.
If you offlined on an Avid, it is useful to bring the whole project in on a zip, incase there is a problem with your EDLs.
For further information using Avid’s EDL Manager, click here.

Output the show from the non-linear system onto tape to bring to the Online session. This gives you a visual guide to refer to in case of problems during the online edit. Also you then have a scratch audio track to put down on the master.

Phase 6 Online

Bring your Camera Reels, EDL, and Offline Cut. The offline Master can be dubbed over the offline to the master as a roadmap. Then assembly process is started. There are two ways that we can do the assembly:

A-Mode – A sequential assemble mode, starts at the beginning of the show and goes to end in order. This allows viewing the show as it is being built, but is slow because it often requires changing tapes often.
D-Mode – Fastest assembly. This mode does all events on a particular camera reel, and then moves on to the next reel. This builds the show in a checkerboard fashion. Because the show is built out of order, it is hard to follow the events in the show as it is being built.

Phase 7 Audio Sweetening

Once the online is completed, make a downconvert and send to the audio house. They can begin the sweetening process while you go on to color correct.

Phase 8 Color Correction

Using both primary and secondary color correction, the Victory Studios’ colorists can color match the program to create the look that you want. These changes are stored for easy recall and changes.

Phase 9 Titles

Now is the time to add your titles. Pick your fonts, design your graphics, and compile the list of credits for your show. Titles and credits can be imported into the Chyron Duet-HD from a text document (for rolling credits, use our Credit Template). This saves time and the spelling will be correct.  Graphics and titles information can also be found here.

Phase 10 Audio Layback

Get the final audio mix from the sound house. The Victory Studios will join the audio with your final master usually with a Stereo or Dolby Surround mix on channels 1&2 and 5.1 mix encoded in Dolby Digital or Dolby E on channels 3&4. Audio can be delivered on DA-88, DAT, MMR-8, or most other devices that have a timecode track and can lock to video.

Phase 11 Delivery

Once you have your 1080i/60 master edited, color corrected, titled, and the audio inserted, you have completed your project. The Victory Studios duplication department can then make duplicates to deliver your program High Definition or Standard definition. All lists and effects are put on disc and enclosed with the masters for future revisions or rebuilds.

Sound easy enough, doesn’t it? The Victory Studios has completed many projects this way and have the experience to make your HD experience fun and easy.

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