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NTSC ProRes project wrong

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Oliver PetersNTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 2:15:35 am

FCP X project setting is NTSC 720x486 29.97i. The render format is ProRes.
Source is 720x486 29.97i ProRes rendered out of After Effects.

When I place this source on the FCP X project timeline, spatial conform kicks in and needs to be rendered. It is set to "fit". When I set it to "none", I see a slight picture change. Maybe 1 or 2 pixels worth. The render bar goes away. The exported file is slightly softer than the original source.

When I render/export this exact same clip in After Effects as uncompressed (instead of ProRes) and place it onto the same FCP X project timeline, there is no spatial change and no colored render bar. The exported file matches the quality of the original.

It seems like FCP X somehow does not correctly understand NTSC ProRes files. The exact same files function as expected (no visual quality loss) in FCP 7.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter SoykaRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 2:18:52 am

Might it be resizing from 720x486 to 720x480?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 2:39:46 am

[Walter Soyka] "Might it be resizing from 720x486 to 720x480?"

Nope. All size, field order and frame rate settings are correct. They also all match when you view the inspector. One thing that's odd, though, is this. When I place the ProRes and the uncompressed file back-to-back on the same timeline and view the clip properties in the inspector, the uncompressed file is only displayed with an NTSC "badge", but the ProRes file is displayed with both NTSC and 1080p "badges" (NTSC highlighted).

In any case no such quality issue occurs when these exact same files are used in FCP 7.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 3:54:22 am

A further interesting issue seems to be that this has something to do with the After Effects export. When I "wash" the ProRes file from AE through FCP 7 and re-import that version into X, everything is fine. Maybe the metadata for PAR from AE is somehow incompatible coming from AE. If so, it only seems to affect ProRes renders, as the same AE settings rendered as uncompressed are OK.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 4:09:06 am

FYI - here are two screen grabs of the timeline with the same test pattern clip exported from AE. The first clip is ProRes and the second is uncompressed. Note the differences in render bars and the inspector info.





- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy GarchowRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 5:05:08 am

I rendered out of AE CS6 and this is what QT Edit reports.

This is lower field first out of AE, FCPX hasn't been used yet.



d1_ntsc_ae.png




Here's a file generated out of FCPX:



d1_ntsc_fcpx.png




And FCP7:



d1_ntsc_fcp7.png




AE UC 8Bit:



dq_ntsc_uc8bit.png


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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 1:10:28 pm

Thanks for that info. Yes, I agree that AE is somehow encoding different attributes, though not actually different content. This is AE CS6. But in FCP X the correct field dominance at least is recognized (or at least set in the inspector) when I look at the file. It is interlaced and correctly displayed that way. Nevertheless the exact same set of files have no issue in FCP 7 and I can export the same comp in AE, simply changing the encoder between uncompressed and ProRes and there's a difference in FCP X. Granted AE may not be encoding ProRes right, but as in other cases, I presume it's really just handing off the encode to QT under the hood.

This is the second time FCP X has been problematic for me with SD media. The other is that it does not properly handle 480 media in a 486 timeline. I would recommend not working with compressed SD formats in FCP X and sticking to uncompressed and 720x486 (NTSC D1) in the future. Or use a different NLE for your SD projects. As I said FCP 7 works better for this.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy GarchowRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 2:44:24 pm

[Oliver Peters] "This is the second time FCP X has been problematic for me with SD media. The other is that it does not properly handle 480 media in a 486 timeline"

FCP 6 (?) did this too, or whenever the auto scale was released. It was fixed in a point release.

What's interesting to me is that Ae is encoding the wrong aspect, but only for ProRes, and for some reason av foundation is not liking it, but qt/fcp7 is fine with it.

Unfortunately, there's no option to change to regular D1 aspect in QT Edit. If you change the aspect to widescreen, is shows up as anamorphic in fcpx, but there's no render bar. The aspect is set to D1 with an anamorphic flag.

So, we can tell Apple to be less strict with their importing options, chase Adobe to see what they can do on their end, and ask Digital Rebellion to add a normal D1 option.


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Jon ChappellRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 29, 2012 at 9:08:36 pm

I just wanted to mention that the Pixel Aspect Ratio field in QT Edit is editable so you can enter 10:11 manually and it will work.

My software:
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Pro Media Tools - Edit QuickTime chapters and metdata, detect gamma shifts, edit markers, watch renders and more
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Tapio HaajaRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 4:03:28 pm

Well this same PAR problem exists also with PAL files. Actually it's currently impossible to work correctly in SD between Adobe softwares (AE & PPRO) and FCPX when using Prores as your files because:

1) Like you noticed PAR is not exactly same in Adobe & Apple softwares and this leads to light softening in FCPX.

2) Color profiles (HD709, NTSC, PAL) are not tagged to Prores files. FCPX is first program that actually uses that metadata and at least in PAL lands this leads to problems because FCPX assumes that even PAL sized Prores files (rendered from AE) have NTSC color profile and this leads to slightly shifted colours.

Also one thing why FCPX in current form is not suitable to SD workflows is how it handles non-square material and effects. FCPX engine scales everything to square pixel before motion template based effects are processed in it. So for example when I'm cutting SD PAL Anamorphic (720 x 575) and add motion template based effect to it -> FCPX first scales it to 1050x576 -> Processes effect in 1050x576 -> Scales it back to 720x576 to timeline. And this naturally leads to very bad softening.

There seems to be some intelligence because this doesn't seem to happen in some very simple motion based effects (some looks that only have levels in it). But all 3rd party filters have this problem. Add for example Magic Bullet Looks (without any actual look) to some anamorphic SD material and material gets badly softened.

So currently FCPX works nicely if you work in square pixel HD but in SD it's bad...

Best
Tapio Haaja

On-Air Promotion Producer
http://avseikkailuja.blogspot.com/


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Jon ChappellRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 4:05:52 pm

QT Edit can fix all of those problems:
http://www.digitalrebellion.com/promedia

My software:
Pro Maintenance Tools - Tools to keep Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro running smoothly and fix problems when they arise
Pro Media Tools - Edit QuickTime chapters and metdata, detect gamma shifts, edit markers, watch renders and more
More tools...


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Tapio HaajaRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 4:16:25 pm

[Jon Chappell] "QT Edit can fix all of those problems:
http://www.digitalrebellion.com/promedia
"


True, tested and works! Highly recommended :) And it's okay for me to change parameters in QT Edit if I'm working alone but it's not one thing I'm going to teach to everyone in our department. So this problem is one reason why we're not using FCPX.

And even that QT Edit can solve all Prores problems we still have non-square materal + motion template based effects = softening problem.

Tapio


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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 4:20:09 pm

The bottom line seems to be that FCP X should be avoided for SD jobs, unless you want to do a few workarounds to make it work. I guess Apple feels that SD, along with tape, if simply a legacy format, best left behind. Can't say that I disagree in concept, but it makes it hard to use X in the real world.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tapio HaajaRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 4:34:52 pm

Even that SD is legacy there are lots of HD programs (documents etc.) that will use some SD material in it and this same "non-square material + motion template based effects = softening" happens also when you've SD material in HD timeline and add effects to SD clips. So there's no really excuse for Apple if they want FCPX to be professional program.

And there's also HD formats (HDV, DVCPRO HD 1440x1080) which aren't square pixel and this problem happens also there. I really hope this will be fixed in 10.0.6 or 10.1 whatever comes next.

Tapio


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Mathieu GhekiereRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 5:12:15 pm

Have people also sent Apple feedback about this?
I didn't know about these issues, and I can only hope that people that do know, provide feedback so the chances that Apple fixes them, is bigger.


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Jon ChappellRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 5:16:17 pm

I suspect that they may be issues within AV Foundation rather than FCPX.

My software:
Pro Maintenance Tools - Tools to keep Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro running smoothly and fix problems when they arise
Pro Media Tools - Edit QuickTime chapters and metdata, detect gamma shifts, edit markers, watch renders and more
More tools...


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Chris HarlanRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 8:03:39 pm

[Jon Chappell] "I suspect that they may be issues within AV Foundation rather than FCPX."

I'd agree with that. The shift to QT X created all kinds of anomalies for SD Broadcast formats. I can only imagine what the transition to AV Foundation introduced.


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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 8:16:56 pm

[Jon Chappell] "I suspect that they may be issues within AV Foundation rather than FCPX."

I'd agree. I ran into an audio issue related to C300/PIX240 recordings that I posted in another thread. Every application I used EXCEPT FCP X played the files fine, but X added digital glitches. The original problem seemed to stem from metadata related to sample rates, so there was some sort of problem. Nevertheless, every "standard" application passed clean audio and didn't make it sound bad.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy GarchowRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 4:46:53 pm

[Jon Chappell] "I suspect that they may be issues within AV Foundation rather than FCPX."

While I agree that it might be AV Foundation, doesn't Adobe have any culpability in this?

If you batch process all the clips through Qt Edit, everything work as normal and shows up with the proper color space.

Is Adobe not injecting the right metadata or is AVFoundation not flexible enough to notice what's going on when there's missing metadata?


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Tapio HaajaRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Sep 30, 2012 at 5:30:08 pm

[Mathieu Ghekiere] "Have people also sent Apple feedback about this?"

At least I've sent couple feedbacks regarding this issue but I hope more and more people will give feedback so Apple have to take it seriously.

Tapio


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Bernard NewnhamRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 8:23:08 am

I see that Digital Rebellion are looking for bete testers -
http://www.digitalrebellion.com/blog/posts/our_crossplatform_future.html

Bernie


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Joseph OwensRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 3:20:57 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The other is that it does not properly handle 480 media in a 486 timeline."

I have to wonder if this is rounding error in a non-hexadecimal-compatible picture aspect ratio. 480 is divisible by 16 but 486 obviously is not.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Rafael AmadorRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 4:24:53 pm

During the brief timeIi used FCPX, I made few tests on downscaling HD to SD for DVDs, and for small web videos.
I found a noticeable difference in quality when using "Fit" than when downscaling manually. When setting the downscaling manually the picture looked much better, kept much sharper. With "Fit" the picture always looked softer.
I'm a "downscaling maniac"; I always use SHAKE, and i found FCPX (no Fit) of similar quality with SHAKE. Better than compressor with best settings.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Oliver PetersRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 5:11:42 pm

[Joseph Owens] "I have to wonder if this is rounding error in a non-hexadecimal-compatible picture aspect ratio. 480 is divisible by 16 but 486 obviously is not."

In the DV-into-486 case... When you use "fit" it looks soft, as it's a slight blow-up. If you use "none", then FCP X centers the image vertically, so a pad of 3 top, 3 bottom. This means field order is wrong. If you use transform to shift it up or down, there's no correlation to lines or pixels and a Y-value of 1 is too much. I think the last time I did this .2 looked correct. Much easier to deal with this in 7.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Rafael AmadorRe: NTSC ProRes project wrong
by on Oct 2, 2012 at 5:02:10 am

[Oliver Peters] "In the DV-into-486 case... When you use "fit" it looks soft, as it's a slight blow-up. If you use "none", then FCP X centers the image vertically, so a pad of 3 top, 3 bottom. This means field order is wrong. If you use transform to shift it up or down, there's no correlation to lines or pixels and a Y-value of 1 is too much. I think the last time I did this .2 looked correct. Much easier to deal with this in 7."
in FC.7 was 4 on top and 2 at the bottom or the other way around.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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