Watson Street Lesson on Netflix/Itunes etc...

In a hard learned lesson, as technology seems to still be growing exponentially the camera I utilized during production of "Cannibal Possession: Heart of Ice" turned out to create a series of headaches down the road.

To make a long story short, to meet the requirements for online streaming services such as Netflix, the format and settings I had my camera at caused me weeks of headaches trying to get it all right. 

As a warning to fellow filmmakers, i thought I would share my pain with you. 

*WARNING* Technical jibber jabber ahead: 

Formatting for DVD is not really an issue, but for online streaming is another matter. You see I decided early on to keep the look as "cinematic" as possible I set my camera to shoot at 24 fps (frames per second) to keep in line with celluloid standards. Video shoots at 30 fps, but my Sony HVR V1U keeps it at 30 fps with foresight you can convert it later to 24.

The only problem, sometimes when you shut the camera off/change battery/change tape, the settings revert back to it default settings at 30fps. That or I'm just stupid. Down the road this causes problems when you transfer the footage into your editing timeline as "mixed footage". 

First the issue was "blended frames" , which is common for my footage as my camera shoots at 1080i, and mixes the frames to create a certain look. Well, online streaming doesn't like it. And frankly as you see below, it looks terrible in freeze frame:

 

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 3.50.42 AM.png
Screen Shot 2013-04-13 at 3.50.28 PM.png

So initially I tried applying a "deinterlace" filter, but this created problems when I converted the footage to the required Apple ProRes422HQ format that is required for online streamers. The footage became insanely "jittery".

I then went back to the original 30fps HDV timeline and turned off "blended frames". You do this by going into the Motion Tab and under "time remapping" there's a check box. I did this as a precaution even though "pull down" is another way to get around this.  (more later)

 

Much better

Much better

But there was still this insane "jittery" effect. Some footage looked fine, and other shots had the jitter. I would say 50/50. I searched and searched online forums for the solution and nothing worked. 

I contacted the aggregator and he recommended reconverting the original tapes to ProRes422HQ and reinserting them into the timeline. I thought to myself "My god what a nightmare" but decided what had to be done.

Before I embarked on this I decided to test a few shots from the timeline, and convert them individually as ProRes with "pulldown" at 24fps, and voila! It worked. 

Basically to get around the problems, I took every shot in the entire film and converted them individually to ProRes with pulldown and reinserted them, but converted through Apple's Compressor in a custom ProRes setting. 

Also fellow filmmaker, make sure you set the Aspect Ratio to 1980x1040. 

So for future reference, if working with HDV 1080i, transfer the footage to your disk then convert all the footage to ProRes422HQ 24fps then edit it within your editing with the same settings. It will save you weeks of torture! 

 

Christian