Plugin Solutions For Final Cut Pro, Color, & Motion
 
   
   
   
    STANDARDS CONVERSION
 

Standards Converter V2.5

New In V2.5

  • Improved conversion quality
  • Y'CbCr Native
  • Varicam 60p to 24p Conversion
  • 24p Advanced Pulldown to 24p Normal Conversion (DVX100, XL2)
  • Film Source NTSC to PAL conversion
  • DV NTSC 4:1:1 to 4:2:2 conversion
  • 60i to 60p conversion (works great for 1080i60 to 720p60)
  • New tutorial movies and instruction manual

 
   
 
 
   
 

G Standards Conversion package contains two complex filters that have been designed to convert between the three standards of NTSC video (29.97 frames per second), PAL video (25 frames per second) and 24p (24 frames per second progressive). G Converter deals with the video to video frame rate conversions, and G Film Converter deals with the video to film frame rate conversions. Both plugins will correctly scale the converted clips if necessary.

Standards Conversion now comes with some useful toolkit filters that work in a similar manner to the main filters. G Pulldown Removal and G Pulldown Addition allow you to add and remove pulldown in the timeline, and G Map Frames allows you to manipulate frames and fields and produce nice slowmo from interlaced footage. G Advanced Pulldown Converter can be used to help if you've shot the wrong mode on, say, a Panasonic DVX100.

The Standards Conversion algorithms have been refined to work with both interlaced and progressive PAL and NTSC. In Version 2.5 the algorithms have been further refined to work better with Y'CbCr (commonly know as "YUV"), 10bit video and the chroma sampling of 4:1:1 NTSC DV. Additionally, support has been added to convert 60p footage from a Panasonic Varicam to 24p. In this case, Final Cut Pro does quite a reasonable job of converting from 60p to 24p, but you may find the Film Converter's solution more visually pleasing.

Both G Converter and G Film Converter work in a very similar manner. This method of working is necessary to bypass the poor in-built Final Cut Pro / Quicktime frame rate conversion and allow the high quality algorithms to work effectively. Also, if a change of clip resolution (scaling) is needed, the clip on the timeline should be nested to allow the plugin to work correctly. Again, due to limitations in FCP, the plugin must be correctly informed of the Source Pixel size of the video that is to be converted. If you find that there is not a setting for the source media you are using, then please email me at graeme@nattress.com for it is an easy task to add in the required sizes. For subsampled HD sizes you can use the full raster size: HDV is 1440x1080, but you can use 1920x1080 instead, DVCproHD1080 uses 1290x1080, but you can use 1920x1080 instead, DVCproHD720 uses 960x720, but you can use 1280x720 instead.

Although conversion will work on a sequence in earlier versions of FCP, I have not found this route reliable enough to recommend it's use. From FCP5 onwards, the converter only works with clips. Please use the conversions on movie clips rather than sequences.

View the Tutorial Movies

 

 
 

 

Reviews:

Standards Converter Reviewed: Adolfo Rosenfeld has written an excellent review of Standards Converter for Aldea(Mac), the biggest Mac oriented web site in the spanish speaking world.

Industry expert Ned Soltz reviews Standards Converter for the LAFCPUG.

Codec guru Marco Solorio reviews Standards Converter for the Creative Cow.

 
 

 

The Technical Challenge - (PAL <-> NTSC) in FCP

For a long time, it was thought impossible to produce a Standards Conversion plugin for Final Cut Pro due to various technical challenges; when you drop a clip onto a timeline in FCP it is automatically adjusted to fit the timeline's frame rate. This poses the main technical challenge because any filter will act upon the clip after FCP has had its go of altering its frame rate. This would not be so terrible, but FCP does a really bad job of changing the frame rate - it drops and duplicates frames to make the frame rates match and this looks stuttery. What is worse, is that not only does FCP do this automatic conversion, but that it denies access to the original source media creating another technical barrier.

The Solution

The solution is to use the clip in the timeline as a "place holder" for the standards conversion effect, and to use an "image well" to gain access to the original media file at its native frame rate. Image wells are normally used to store images in the in-built FCP filters, but they can be programmed to accept video footage. Image wells are necessary because they do not trigger the automatic frame rate conversion discussed above, however, they are not "live", in that if you update the source clip placed into an image well, you must drop it back onto the image well again for it to update.

Standards Converter is not the easiest of FCP plugins to use, mostly due to the work-around outlined above to allow access to the original video data and the creation of an appropriate placeholder clip / sequence. It is strongly advised that you download the demo and make sure everything works for you before buying, although I will help any user to make it work. The new tutorial movies cover four of the modes of operation and show in detail the steps that must be performed to get a great conversion.

The only currently known limitation is that the Standards Converter does not like to work on clips that have a speed other than 100% due to FCP not passing to the Standards Converter the correct information for me to be able to keep correct sync. The current solution is to use the Standards Converter on a movie file made from the sequence or clip.

The Algorithm

The algorithm for standards conversion used by G Converter has been developed upon the same code base as used in Film Effects to ensure a high quality result. It has also been designed so that the audio will remain in sync because G Converter does not alter the length of the clip it is applied to. The conversion algorithm takes into account the interlaced nature of video, and scales each field independently so as to preserve as much quality as possible.

 

 
 

 

General Method

All frame rate conversions begin with making sure you have a project which contains the source movie clip which you wish to convert and a sequence who's settings match that to which you wish to convert.

Important
The sequence you are in must be set to the standard to which you wish to
convert!

For instance, if you wish to convert from PAL DV to NTSC DV, open a new project, and use the easy setups to create a new sequence that is NTSC DV. Using the easy setups in Final Cut Pro will ensure that the parameters for the new sequence are specified
correctly.

The general method of operation is as follows:

PAL to NTSC conversion

  1. edit the PAL clip to an NTSC timeline
  2. apply the G Converter clip to the PAL clip in the NTSC timeline (dropping the plugin from the bin onto the clip in the Sequence timeline is usually easiest)
  3. open the clip in the viewer
  4. select the filter tab in the viewer
  5. set the correct settings for the desired conversion. In this case, we select Source Pixel size to be 720 x 576 (PAL), lower field order for source (in this case a PAL DV clip) and destination (NTSC DV timeline).
  6. if you desire the NTSC output to be de-interlaced, this can be performed in one step by selecting progressive output
  7. if you would like to experiment with the conversion algorithm using "Smart De-Interlacing" then this can be selected in the De-Interlace options. The Tolerance
    control affects the smart de-interlace and it's effects can be seen by selecting "View Smart Mask" in the De-Interlace Options.
  8. the original PAL clip that was edited to the NTSC timeline must now be dropped from the project browser onto the Source Clip image well in the filter. The plugin will use this video clip for all the image data for the conversion. This is the important step that makes this plugin different from any other, and is vital to it's successful
    operation.

NTSC to PAL conversion

  1. edit the NTSC clip to an PAL timeline
  2. nest the NTSC clip to allow the plugin to scale the converted clip. Because the pixel dimensions of NTSC video are smaller than PAL, the clip will appear shrunk down in the timeline canvas viewer. This is normal. The nesting of the clip will allow the plugin to correctly scale it to PAL pixel dimensions. (select clip and go to the Sequence Menu and select Nest Items - make sure the pixels dimensions of the nest are PAL sized)
  3. apply the G Converter plugin to the nested sequence in the PAL timeline. Make sure the plugin goes onto the nest itself, not the clip that it contains.
  4. open the nest in the viewer (control click on the nest and select "Open in viewer" or select nest then press return)
  5. select the filter tab in the viewer
  6. set the correct settings for the desired conversion. In this case, we select Source Pixel size to be 720 x 480 (NTSC), lower field order for source (in this case a NTSC DV clip) and destination (PAL DV timeline).
  7. if you desire the PAL output to be de-interlaced, this can be performed in one step by selecting progressive output
  8. if you would like to experiment with the conversion algorithm using "Smart De-Interlacing" then this can be selected in the De-Interlace options. The Tolerance
    control affects the smart de-interlace and it's effects can be seen by selecting "View Smart Mask" in the De-Interlace Options.
  9. the original NTSC clip that was edited to the PAL timeline must now be dropped from the project browser onto the Source Clip image well in the filter. The plugin will use this video clip for all the image data for the conversion. This is the important step that makes this plugin different from any other, and is vital to it's successful
    operation.
 
 

   


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