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Any advantage to upconverting SD footage to HD professionally?

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Stephen Kennedy
Any advantage to upconverting SD footage to HD professionally?
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:50:41 am

Hi,

I need to get some BETA SP footage converted to Quicktime files for a project.
The place I'm looking at to get it done are saying that it will cost $198 for an SD file output, or $498 for an HD up-conversion.

What I'm wondering is why it costs so much extra ($300!) to output an HD file, and whether there is any advantage to doing that step professionally?

To rephrase the question: why would that be better than simply taking the SD output myself, putting it into an HD sequence and turning up the scale so it fits? Or using MPEGStreamclip or AME or something to convert the clip myself into HD Prores?

Thanks so much,

S


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Ivan Myles
Re: Any advantage to upconverting SD footage to HD professionally?
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:58:57 am

The potential advantages of professional upscaling are as follows:

- Better image quality upscaling from the source footage instead of a compressed file
- Better image quality and/or more efficient encoding when working with professional software, equipment, and personnel

Two important considerations are the quality of the SD file and the capability of your encoder. If they give you a lossless SD file, preferably with 10-bpc depth, using DPX, RGB, or full quality JPEG2000/PNG, you should be able to produce acceptable results with a good quality encoder. The results may not be satisfactory using a highly compressed SD file and/or consumer-grade encoder.


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Stephen Kennedy
Re: Any advantage to upconverting SD footage to HD professionally?
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:59:06 am

Thanks Ivan. A couple of follow-up questions:

1. Do you think ProRes 4444 would be high enough quality?

2. What do you recommend in terms of a 'good quality encoder'? Are Apple's Compressor and Adobe's Media Encoder only 'consumer-grade'?

Thanks so much for your help.


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Any advantage to upconverting SD footage to HD professionally?
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:28:45 am

You can upscale it yourself. There is no advantage to it though, and the highest I would go is 720p not 1080p.

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Jeff Pulera
Re: Any advantage to upconverting SD footage to HD professionally?
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:28:44 pm

Hi Stephen,

Not a Mac user, but have worked with ProRes and would say there is no reason at all to be looking at 4444, that is overkill given the source. ProRes 422 should be just great.

I'm assuming you are working with an HD project with mainly HD footage, and you need to use some legacy SD footage in that project? Note that even converted to HD, the SD clips will still be 4:3, or rather I should say they'll be 16:9 (since all HD is 16:9), but the actual video will be pillarboxed as 4:3 in the 16:9 frame.

If you want to hide the pillarboxing, you will need to further scale the image up and that will crop the top and bottom and further reduce quality, since you will be throwing away a lot of the scarce pixels you had to begin with.

Regarding the outsource, do you have access to a beta deck? If so, you can do your own conversion. A Matrox MXO2 Mini capture device will do hardware upscaling - take the component SD input and capture direct to a 1080i file. I feel you will get a better result with a hardware upscale than just letting the NLE upscale an SD clip.

Or maybe the third-party uses something like a Teranex converter which does really high-end conversions, then that may be worth it.

Ultimately, it would help us to have a more thorough understanding of your workflow and intentions.

Thank you

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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