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Lower Thirds and Transitions

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egm
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:33AM
I was just wondering if iStockVideo will accept animated lower thirds with an alpha channel and or animated transitions with alpha channels. I have a great desire to develop media in this area I am just wondering its worth the time to learn.  

Thanks.
-Edward
Velk
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:45AM
last I heard the formats being excepted don't support alpha channels.
sjlocke
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:46AM
So far, no. No alpha. What is an animated lower third?
bkindler
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:52AM
Backgrounds for subtitles for instance.
We call it "belly band" over here...

(Edited on 2006-08-10 09:47:17 by bkindler)
cyberhawk
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:54AM
A "Lower Third" is an image used to key over your video that a person's name or some other type of data is added over. Like when the score comes up at the bottom of the football game.
sjlocke
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:04AM
Seems like that would be easy to overlay without worrying about an alpha.
Velk
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:15AM
It does seem simple, and for the most part it is. If you have a good editing package and if the background color is no where to be found in the lower third.

Consider, you create a lower third that flies in from the left; Its a cool swirl of moving green and blue. You add some text and throw on a drop shadow. No Issue, right? Wrong. More than likely your export will have black as the background color, and it should. Now we pop this into something like FinalCut and do a Lumi Key to kill the background. Perfect EXCEPT that now the dark drop shadow is now a opacity fall off, meaning that your lower third can now be seen through. Not a good thing.
JLPhotographix
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:47AM

I thought about doing some lower thirds and overlays, but the alpha issue is a problem.

Right now the only way is to sell a seperate alpha channel video. But no one is gonna pay twice for that. Istock could probably do something where if you bought the graphic element video you would get the seperate alpha included as a seperate movie.

 
sjlocke
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:57AM
Sorry, I was just thinking of a bar across the bottom with swirlies on it or something. Something you could just make a matte for the area above.
Dizzo
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:45AM

I too want to make use of embedded alpha channels for lower thirds, transitions, and design elements.  The only option we have right now is to upload the alpha as a separate file, but that would require the user download 2 files which is a bad experience.   I hope they reconsider the "standard" codec to address this issue.  Embedded alphas definately add a lot of value to our clips.
Velk
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:12AM
I'm not sure how or why Motion JPEG was chosen, it is great for broadcast interlaced TV signals. Not a good choice for smaller res or progressive scan clips.
Sean72
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:24PM
Posted By SentientPlastic:
I'm not sure how or why Motion JPEG was chosen, it is great for broadcast interlaced TV signals. Not a good choice for smaller res or progressive scan clips.


I was under the impression that as long as the clip was a .MOV it could be any one of the following codecs (as per the 'manual')


PhotoJPEG
MJPEG-A/B
HDV
DVCPROHD
DV


Does this not mean that we could submit DV footage in a .MOV container?


Sean
Velk
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:22PM

Posted By Sean72:
I was under the impression that as long as the clip was a .MOV it could be any one of the following codecs (as per the 'manual')

PhotoJPEG
MJPEG-A/B
HDV
DVCPROHD
DV

Does this not mean that we could submit DV footage in a .MOV container?

Sean

.mov is the container.

I haven't seen a good article on iStock yet about the formats, hopefully there is one in the works, if not I here-by offer to write it.

DV
Records video at 25 megabits per second; audio can be recorded at either 48k or 44.1k (though 48k is the pro standard). Chroma Keying is messy at best, just don't do it.

DVCPROHD
Don't be fooled by its name this is NOT High Def video. Records video at 100 megabits per second; down samples High Def footage.

HDV
Records video at 25 megabits per second; audio is recorded at 48k. Better choma subsampling than DV at 4:2:0.
Sean72
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:29PM
.mov is the container.

I haven't seen a good article on iStock yet about the formats, hopefully there is one in the works, if not I here-by offer to write it.

DV
Records video at 25 megabits per second; audio can be recorded at either 48k or 44.1k (though 48k is the pro standard). Chroma Keying is messy at best, just don't do it.

DVCPROHD
Don't be fooled by its name this is NOT High Def video. Records video at 100 megabits per second; down samples High Def footage.

HDV
Records video at 25 megabits per second; audio is recorded at 48k. Better choma subsampling than DV at 4:2:0.


Thanks for the reply.  If you don't mind my asking, in your opinion/experience, which of the five codecs would you choose for PAL 720x576 and NTSC 720x486 with the following options as first in mind:


Best quality?


Smallest file?


Most compatible?


Alpha (if at all?)


Sean
Velk
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:09PM
First let me say that I have no practical experience with PAL. My experience is based on my experience with NTSC.

Second Let me say that Video is much more complex than photography; so one thing that everyone will need to start thinking of is who is my audience? Are you targeting your video for the web, or broadcast TV?

For a web clip DV may be your best bet, the quality is (I think) the worst on the list, however the size will also be fairly small. The problem with this is that the web is a progressive environment, while DV is interlace; so de-interlacing will be required for smooth playback.

Broadcast 720x486 you may want to go with either DVCPROHD or MJPEG. Bigger file size but also better quality.

What is a downside to HDV? GOP (group of pictures). The standard is for there to be one 'i' frame followed by 14 'b' or 'p' frames. The 'i' frame is a key frame and the other 14 are predicted frames. These are stored in a container of sorts. Big deal right? Well, if you want to make an edit that falls on the 'b' or 'p' frames your software has to create a new 'i' frame. So it re-compresses that frame to make a key frame using MPEG II compression.
marcsublet
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Posted Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:37AM

Hi,

I have an idea to tweak the alpha channel issue but I don't know if iStock will accept that:

Instead of creating a true alpha channel (RVB + A), render the RVB, then the alpha channel as RVB and put it after the original RVB clip...

 The result will be (for example):

10
sec RVB file + 10 sec alpha channel as RVB = 20 sec clip submitted to iStock

Then you have to cut the clip in two parts and use the 2nd one as the mask for the first one...

Is it possible to to that or not?

 

marc

(Edited on 2006-08-11 07:39:26 by nostroom)
sjlocke
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Posted Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:02AM
I suggested that in another thread, and vcr suggested using chroma green for a bg instead. I think I'd still go with the two render thing.
Dizzo
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Posted Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:43AM
Great idea nostroom!!  It still creates an unnecessary headache for our buyers, but its a solution nonetheless...  I'd hate to be an editior who had to manually edit and set up the key for each clip I downloaded here. 
Velk
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Posted Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:02AM
At best you would be setting up a file that could be used as a lumi key, and you would still have to sync the timing up for it to work. Not a bad idea. If you are keying it out why not key on the same layer of video rather than a second? The upside is you could set the lumi value and then apply that as a mask on the other layer... Not sure if everyone has the ability to do this, but I know I can.
BMPix
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Posted Fri Aug 11, 2006 4:13PM

Posted By sjlocke:
I suggested that in another thread, and vcr suggested using chroma green for a bg instead. I think I'd still go with the two render thing.


The problem with using green (or any other colour of chroma key) is that you cannot use a linear (soft) key without fringing from your CK colour. Sometimes you want your caption box ("lower third") to have soft edges merging into your picture. To do this your key has to intrude into your keyed area and you cannot do this with chroma key - you need a seperate alpha or key channel.
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