Earlier this week I worked with P2 footage from the Panasonic HVX200 camera. This is my first P2 project so I researched the format and workflow with Final Cut Pro version 6. Although we’re distributing for television, the D.P. informed me he was shooting 1080p24.
It was during a test import of footage that I discovered my research didn’t adequately reveal some important details.
Final Cut Pro identified the imported clips as 1080p30 yet there was visible interlacing in the Viewer (no on-set monitor for me). The D.P. gave me a hasty explanation but it didn’t make sense at the time and – being a techie – I needed to understand in greater detail. After further research, feedback from tweeters, some rest, and a follow-up call my questions were answered.
Using Log & Transfer I selected “Remove advanced pulldown and duplicate frames” to get the intended 23.98 fps clip. What resulted was 29.97. Various iterations later I could not attain 23.98 without forcing the clip using the pulldown option in the Tools menu.
There was something not quite right so I pushed on.
It’s important to understand the difference between shooting 24p and 24pA which – at the time – wasn’t clear to me.
The 24p mode provides a film-look yet is recorded at 29.97. When ingesting to FCP there is nothing further to do. There is no pulldown required because the 29.97 video only simulates 24 frames per second. In this case FCP’s sequence settings will have a time base of 29.97.
The 24pA mode provides a film-look, is recorded at 29.97, and requires pulldown during Log & Transfer (identical to a film-to-tape reverse telecine). Once pulldown is applied the clip’s frame rate (23.98) is extracted from the 29.97 video. The sequence settings will have a time base of 23.98.
Due to our broadcast system running on 60 Hz, the Panasonic camera records everything interlaced (60 fields) at 29.97 fps. Any user-selected modes are recorded inside of this 29.97/interlaced video stream and FCP knows how to extract them as intended.
It is this nuance of P2 which is confusing when compared with clip information inside of Final Cut Pro.