#5320 DigitalFilm Q&A

Q: What kind of video can be digitized with DigitalFilm?

A: All video sources are legitimate. Off-tape, from a tuner, laser disk or camcorder/camera. The breakout box accepts all composite and S-Video sources. Some tape machines, like the Beta SP have composite S-Video as well as another type of connector called R-Y, B-Y. DigitalFilm will accept the first two signal types with good results.

Q: Is a special or particular monitor required for proper Digital Film operation?

A: Any monitor that handles the two standard Apple resolutions of 640 x 480 and 832 x 624. Some examples are the Apple 13" Color Display, the SuperMatch 17•T , SuperMatch 17 Multimode, and SuperMatch 20•T. The connector on the breakout box for the monitors is the Apple standard 'D15' connector with the same pin configuration as the Apple 13".

Q: How can I use the sound out of the DigitalFilm breakout box & do I need special cables?

A: First, make sure that you have Digital Film selected as the output device in the Sound Manager [ver. 3.0] control panel. Then connect an amplifier or speaker system to the standard RCA stereo audio out jacks on the breakout box. The signal is a line level [0 db] 'unbalanced' audio signal level.

Q: Is DigitalFilm compatible with QuickTime 2.0?

A: DigitalFilm v1.6 is compatible with QuickTime 2.0, but we recommend that you use QuickTime 1.6.1 or 1.6.2 instead due to various traits of QuickTime 2.0. If you are going to use QuickTime 2.0, we STRONGLY recommend that you use it in conjunction with Apple's new QuickTime Multimedia Tuner extension, version 2.0.

Q: Is DigitalFilm compatible with the Power Macintosh?

A: DigitalFilm 1.6 is compatible with Power Macintosh, however we do not recommend using the 7100 due to a speed issue concerning data bus transfer rates in that model. Therefore, the 8100 model is the only viable Power Macintosh/DigitalFilm combination.

Q: What is the standard recommended configuration for a DigitalFilm system?

A: For optimal performance, we recommends the use of a Quadra-class Macintosh or a Power Mac 8100, 64 MB of RAM, and a 2 GB disk array with a sustained data transfer rate of 3.5 - 4 MB/sec. In terms of the hard drive, spindle speeds of 5,400 rpm or greater and SCSI-II are strongly recommended, especially for digitizing at 640 x 480. DigitalFilm is not as CPU dependent as it is drive dependent, so if you have an option to chose between a faster CPU or a faster drive, choose the faster drive.

Q: I've installed all hardware and software correctly and confirmed that all versions are compatible. However, when attempting to capture or play back video, the frame rate is abysmally slow. Why is this?

A: Make sure that you have the proper display hooked up to the D-sub15, or DB15, connector on the back of the DigitalFilm breakout box. You may have mistakenly connected the display to the on-board video or to another graphics card. This forces the system to attempt to play video across the NuBus. This is not possible. You MUST have an approved display attached to the display connector on the back of the DigitalFilm breakout box. Finally, make sure you are using the DigitalFilm Player application or the Export module.

Q: After capturing video and while attempting to play back a clip, the audio jumps back and forth between the on-board speaker and the DigitalFilm output. What is happening?

A: You need to install Apple's Sound Manager, version 3.0. This will also require that you upgrade your system to QuickTime 1.6.1 and DigitalFilm 1.5.

Q: I upgraded the ROM on my DigitalFilm card to version 1.5 to make it compatible with my Quadra 840AV, but now the system repeatedly crashes.

A: If you're using the version 1.5 ROM, you must use version 1.5 of the DigitalFilm software, otherwise the system will crash. Please note DigitalFilm v1.0 is no longer supported by Radius.

Q: I've upgraded my DigitalFilm system to version 1.5 to take advantage of the 60 fields-per-second capability. Will I have to re-digitize all my old movies if I want to view them at 60-fields-per-second instead of 30-fields-per-second?

A: Yes, movies must be re-digitized under the new system in order to take advantage of 60 fields-per-second capability.

Q: Are there any simple steps I can take to increase the performance of my DigitalFilm system?

A: Yes. There are many ways:

(1) Turn off AppleTalk in the Chooser

(2) Turn off or remove any unnecessary extensions or applications that run in the background.

(3) Close all control panels during recording and playback .

(4) To record and play back faster at 640 x 480 frame size, use 13" mode instead of 16" mode.

(5) Finally, use two hard drives - one for your system software and applications and one fast, dedicated capture drive that is always kept defragmented and optimized.

Q: I'm experiencing dropped frames when I capture high-detail, high-contrast video. What can I do to prevent this?

A: The content of the video you capture can greatly affect compression ratios and the ability of your system to capture all of the desired frames to disk. To improve performance, you can decrease Sharpness (under the Image pop-up menu) to reduce jagged edges, lower the Brightness and Contrast settings for high-contrast source material, and adjust the Black level and White level to affect the overall image contrast.

Q: When should I choose between 60 and 30 fields-per-second?

A: Use the JPEG Interlaced 60 fields-per-second video capture if you plan to play back the video from tape, or when you're working with text and graphics-intensive content and you require smoother motion on interlaced displays. Use 30 fields-per-second video capture when the primary use of the system is for off-line editing or CD-ROM authoring.

Q: Does DigitalFilm support PAL systems as well as NTSC?

A: Yes. With a PAL system, you have the option of capturing 50 fields-per-second at 384 x 576 resolution, or 25 fields-per-second at 768x288 resolution.

Q: Will the S-Video connector give me better video quality when using Digital Film?

A: Yes, the S-Video connector carries a component signal, which means the chroma [or color] information has been separated from the luminance [or brightness] information. This makes for much higher image quality, a better signal-to-noise ratio, and clearer reproduction.

Q: What does Underscan and Overscan mean?

A: The images generated by broadcast television extend beyond the physical borders of a television screen. Therefore, these electronics 'crop' the image, allowing us to view only about 380 out of the 525 lines created. Lower resolution systems like VHS drop it down even further to around 270.

Overscan gives you this no-border image very similar to that seen on your own home video system. On the other hand, underscan generates a reduced image resulting in a video-less border on all four sides. Underscan should be used when you desire to have things such as the Mac pull-down menus viewable on screen.

Q: How does keying or matting work?

A: This is what we call the 'weather man' effect. On TV, the cameras shoot the subject against a blue screen. The blue is later replaced with their video of choice with a device called a keyer or matte device. There are several different brands and types and many are built into the video switcher itself. This is also a standard feature in Adobe Premiere.

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