I typically shoot in 1080p and edit in 720p, which allows me to fake focal length changes in post using the extra resolution. It's been a great technique for the web video I produce.
Recently, I've been contemplating some projects that would require delivery in 1080p. Consequently, I've been ogling cameras with a higher native resolution, such as the BlackMagic 2.5k and 4k Cinema cameras. The extra resolution would allow me to continue to use my favorite technique!
I downloaded some sample 2.5k footage and played with it in FCPX. I scaled it down to 80% to fit the whole image in the 1080p frame, then simulated some close-ups by scaling up to 130%. Even at 30% above its native resolution, it looks good and sharp. The grain is larger, but it seems to be a viable workflow.
Then I decided to take the 1080p footage from one of my 720p-edited interviews and throw it into a 1080p project. I watched the two projects and compared the sharpness. In the original 720p project, the wide and closeup "angles" are equal in their level of sharpness. In the 1080p project with the same footage, the closeup "angle" has the same level of sharpness as the 720p project, but the wide "angle" is noticeably sharper. (I'm viewing full-screen on my 1920x1200 display.) This makes sense, because it's the only scenario where all the pixels in the 1080p frame are being displayed at their native resolution.
My next line of thinking was; "If the 1080p footage, scaled to 150% in the 1080p project, looks just as good as it does in the 720p project at 100%, perhaps I can add a touch of sharpening to it and make it match the unscaled 1080p!" I grabbed the built in 'sharpen' effect and applied it to all the scaled 1080p clips at it's default setting of 2.5. It looks dang good!
Bottom line: The scaling in "X" is terrific and I think I can get away with my scaling tricks mastering in 1080p, all while using only 1080p footage!
FYI: I'm shooting with the Panasonic GH2, which delivers some very sharp footage.
Sounds good- but even FCPX can't overcome physics. I'd recommend checking your 1080p outputs on a high quality 1080p monitor to confirm the scaled resolution is acceptable. Looking great on the desktop is not always the same but ymmv.
[James Cude]"Sounds good- but even FCPX can't overcome physics. I'd recommend checking your 1080p outputs on a high quality 1080p monitor to confirm the scaled resolution is acceptable. Looking great on the desktop is not always the same but ymmv."
I agree, but at this point I don't have anything else that will show me a native 1080p signal. My Panasonic 1700W will take it, but it's a 720p monitor. Any suggestions on a good 1080p monitor? I've got HDMI out from my AJA ioXT that is currently unused.
Yes, the pixels aren't as dense. The smaller the screen, the sharper the perceived image. But if you've got a 27" iMac, you're probably getting a reasonable determination of whether the image is getting blurry or not.
[Bret Williams]"Yes, the pixels aren't as dense. The smaller the screen, the sharper the perceived image. But if you've got a 27" iMac, you're probably getting a reasonable determination of whether the image is getting blurry or not."
I don't know what your deliverables are. If folks are only seeing your work on Youtube/Vimeo- than an RGB desktop preview is fine. If they are going to see them on HDTVs/Broadcast monitors and especially if you're scaling beyond 100% you really owe it to yourself to get a proper HD broadcast monitor and see it in REC709 color space and 1080p resolution. Not the same at all as your 17" desktop...
I am not sure I understand how it works when you crop 1080 and still can get the pixel density when it is scaled down to 720. What are the steps. If you import 1080 into a 720 time line, then crop, haven't the pixels already disappeared? So what is the work flow for this technique?