Faking PF24 Pulldown Removal with Vegas

UPDATE, November 2009: This method doesn’t work anymore, I am investigating why. It only works if you export at 960×540 instead.

Sony Vegas does not have a proper way of removing pulldown removal on PF24 streams, but there is a hack/workaround that can work just fine for some users. There are limitations to this “fake” PF24 pulldown removal, but if someone is willing to live with these limitations, the result is acceptable.

So, basically, by telling Vegas that this is HDV-24p footage (and if you run the Pro version, by creating an HDV-24p SMPTE timeline), it attempts pulldown removal. Because Vegas only supports pulldown removal from streams that have attributes (e.g. from Sony’s cameras rather than the consumer Canons), the removal fails.

However, if you drop the project properties *and* exporting quality to “preview” quality, Vegas drops a field and the pulldown removal is successful. Not only there are no duplicate frames used, but you get a clean output (no ghosting). In fact, the pulldown removal is frame-by-frame sync’ed to a Cineform’s pulldown removed version of the clip — which tells me that the timestamp output is correct. Not only that, but Vegas does pulldown removal even more correctly than Cineform (my Cineform NeoHD seemed to completely ignore and crop-out the last 4-5 frames out of a 14 sec PF24 clip, while Vegas didn’t).

Here are the advantages:
1. No need to transcode to any other format. You edit as you normally would, directly.
2. It’s the easiest method to deal with PF24’s ghosting.
3. Works with both PF24 from HDV and AVCHD Canon cameras (possibly the consumer Panasonics too).
4. Works with both Vegas Pro and Platinum (although the Pro has the additional ability to set an SMPTE 24p-HDV timeline).
5. Faster exporting at the end, at “preview” quality 720p. Will look just fine on Youtube/Vimeo HD or on PS3/XBoX360/AppleTV.

And, here are the limitations:
1. You can only edit/export in “preview” quality. This means that color grading, effects, and added text will NOT look as good as if you had used “best” quality to edit/export.
2. You can’t export above 720p. In fact, because the “preview” quality drops one field, the real resolution you get out of this trick is 540p. But upresizing to 720p from 540p, is not a big deal. However, you can NOT export in 1440×1080 or 1920×1080, or the interlacing will kick in, as shown in the images below.

Exporting in “best” quality will result in the default PF24 look when pulldown is not removed: ghosting whenever there’s movement in the scene.

Exporting in “preview” quality at full 1080p, interlacing kicks in, since the “preview” setting doesn’t take deinterlacing into account.

Exporting in “preview” quality at 720p (or 540p) does the right thing: no ghosting, no interlacing, and no duplicated frames. Pulldown is removed.

If you are good with these limitations (quality/resolution), here’s how to go about it:

First, make sure your footage was shot in PF24 mode. Then, set up project properties exactly like the following image (use 1920×1080/1.0000 if you are using AVCHD sources). Vegas Platinum users, ignore any fields that don’t show up in your version.

This step is for Vegas Pro users only:

Then, edit. After you are done editing, export using the SonyAVC filetype. I simply modified an existing template below, some of these form fields are editable:

If you decide to export using the MainConcept h.264 encoder instead of SonyAVC’s (available for customization only in Vegas Pro), then you can use VBR bitrate to achieve better quality (e.g. 5 mbps average, 9 mbps max).

So, test it, and see if you are happy with what you get. In most cases, it should look fine enough. Otherwise, buy Cineform NeoSCENE ($129), or use the freeware method tutorials (HDV, AVCHD).


Eddie Johnosn wrote on July 2nd, 2009 at 6:09 AM PST:

Hello, On the template for rendering “Internet 4:3 SD 25p” is that your custom template because I can’t find it in my Vegas (pro 8). I tried this tutorial but I’m still getting a lot of lines. I’m using an HG20 at 1920×1080. Thanks for all the great tips. Have a great Day. Eddie

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 2nd, 2009 at 10:39 AM PST:

The template used/edited is from Vegas Pro 9, but you can always create your own in your version of Vegas.

As for the lines, if you still get them, then you didn’t follow the tutorial 100%. The tutorial works, others already tried it successfully.

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