24 frames of sadness

I find it absolutely astounding that support for 24p/24f HDV video post production is so poor. Final Cut can’t do it right, Avid can’t do it right, Premiere can’t do it right.

I understand that something like Final Cut can’t be “turned on a dime” so to speak, but seeing as 24p was the buzzword to have in a product over the last few years, I can’t understand why support has been so slow in coming. As best I can tell, neither Canon or JVC do anything particularly unpleasant when they write the signal to tape.

I wanted to take a moment to quickly run through the different options for cutting 24p/24f on a Mac, to try and sum up why they’re all terrible. Follow the jump for more fun and depression!


First up, you can try capturing your video with log and capture. This will fail. But at least you can say you tried. Final Cut doesn’t understand the 24fps timebase in any HDV mode.

Next, you can buy a product like LumiereHD or HDVxDV. Lumiere HD will definitely work with the JVC, and rumors tell of support for the Canon. You are recompressing the video to a new format (DVCProHD most likely, though you can use other QT codecs) but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward. LumiereHD also gives you the option of going back to tape. It is, however, $180.

HDVxDV is a $100 cheaper, and definitely supports the Canon format, but does not seem to be as robust a product as Lumiere HD. Many folks who are using it are running in to showstopper bugs.

The next option is decidedly free-er but a lot more work. First, you use DVHSCap from the Apple Firewire SDK to ingest the video to M2T files. Then, use MpegStreamclip (a fantastic program) to transcode the video into DVCProHD 1080p24. Then (sometimes at least) use Cinema Tools to conform the file to a 24 or 23.98 timebase. Then modify a FCP sequence to be 1080p24 DVCProHD, drop the file in, and hope it all works. Usually it won’t.

Some folks are also hinting that you can use the HDV Apple Intermediate Codec preset in Final Cut Pro. While this will capture the video successfully, you’ll be working in a 29.97 timebase. You can use Cinema Tools to reconform your video so that the timing is right, but I still haven’t figured a clean way to make the audio match.

Truth be told, all these options are terrible. Recomressing is never a good thing, and going to DVCProHD creates the potential for some pixel-aspect issues as well.

Please, Apple/Avid/Adobe… we beg you. Support these HDV modes!

(the graphic is for the folks who said I needed more… graphics)

One thought on “24 frames of sadness

  1. Dear Colin,
    Thanks for adding more graphics, visuals! So what can we do?
    I want to use the 24P 24f but if there isn’t a great way to
    capture this and edit what is the point? This sounds way to
    frustrating to bother with. Thanks for putting the word out there.
    Thanks again for experimenting and sharing,

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