Find Your Format: The Ins and Outs of Video Converters

2-Pop by Marc Franklin

There are two basic kinds of video converters—hardware and software—each with variations that provide plenty of options for users. However, in the age of powerful nonlinear editing systems that accept all sorts of video standards, users do not need as many of the video standards-converting “black boxes” that have been used in postproduction since the 1980s.

Tom Funk of 4K Films recently used Matrox’s MC-100 on a 3D shoot of aerialist performers. He says, “The MC-100 was attached to a jib arm connected to the cameras, with the output 3D monitor alongside it. We used the MC-100 to do initial alignment, and then we used it continually throughout shooting to make adjustments. Thanks to the MC-100, I knew that we had proper alignment because I could see it on the monitor. So when the footage gets into post, we won’t have to do a lot of extra work to fix it.”

Production facilities that are still using tape and have the proper deck are probably using NLEs that process IEEE 1394 or HD-SDI, such as Adobe’s Premiere Pro CS6, enabling editors to use multiple resolutions and standards on a single sequence. If the project is completed in a 1080i 29.97 format and it needs to be sent to Europe—where 720p 25 is the norm—then Adobe’s Media Encoder is an option. Just load up the project and set the output. The Adobe encoder will provide a file that can easily be sent via FTP, burned to DVD/Blu-ray or output to tape. (Almost all HDV and DV VTRs record 50/60 Hz, NTSC/PAL.)

The primary use for hardware converters today is the integration of modern cameras with digital outputs into workflows with legacy equipment. Imagine a situation on a shoot where the show is mixed live; say it is shot with a Sony HVR-S270U with HD-SDI out and a Sony HVR-Z7U with HDMI out. Because of the distance of the Z7 from the HD-SDI switcher, an HDMI to HD-SDI converter on the switchers will be required to maintain the quality of the signal.

Here’s a look at some of the latest converters from AJA Video Systems, Blackmagic Design, Cobalt Digital and Matrox. read more...

Check out these items featured in this post and available now at
Matrox MC-100 Dual SDI to HDMI Mini Converter for 3G/3D/HD/SD $495.00 AJA UDC Up / Down / Cross Mini-Converter $695.00 Grass Valley ADVC G-1 Any In to SDI Converter $1,199.00

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