Hi I'm finishing a documentary in FCPX in HDV 1440 x 1080. My project settings are 1440 x 1080. I am having an after effects animator do some animation on a map I am using in the film. Should I have him work on a 1920 x 1080 project or a 1440 x 1080 projects. Obviously the final export will be 1920 x 1080 but if I put that in my timeline then FCPX will render it to 1440 x 1080 then export it out to 1920 x 1080. will this effect the quality of the animation? Any insight or explanation much appreciated,
You would be better served editing in true 1920x1080. That way all your titles, graphics, animation, etc can take advantage of the full resolution. There's not much point in creating animation at 1920 if you're gonna down Rez it to 1440, and then scale the 1440 back up to 1920. That's what you're doing.
Thanks Bret, so what you are saying is I should set my project setting to 1920 x 1080 now? At the moment the whole documentary is SD but I have HDV master files. I am soon to re-link all my clips with HDV masters in a new project. Should I set that project to 1440 x 1080 or 1920 x 1080? FCPX will have to render every clip if I do this but I take your point about the animation. Fundamentally I don't understand how rendering works. it creates a new file right using prores 422? So it will do this for my whole project if I make my project setting 1920 x 1080 except for the animate elements. Would it not be better to get the animator to make a 1440 x 1080 after effects project with pixel ratio of 1.333 then export a full res master and use compressor to make a 1920 x 1080 h.264 version for web etc? Any thoughts appreciated
The ways of FCP X rendering are still mysterious and unknown. Sometimes exporting without rendering first is quicker than rendering. Other times rendering first then exporting is faster than exporting without rendering. It's a mystery. My guess is that depending on the codec used and the codec exported to, it will sometimes utilize the render files, while other times it deems them to not be appropriate and rerenders.
But as general practice, you'll get the best results hey editing in a sequence that matches your highest res footage or output needs. If you want to have a 1080p output then edit in 1080p. 1440x1080 isn't true 1080p. It's an acquisition format that is trading off anamorphic squeeze for a better data rate. It's going to be unsqueezed at some point for viewing, so why subject all the other elements of your edit to that.
I would assume that if you edit at 1440x1080 then that is the pixel dimensions that are used to upscale to 1902x 1080 on export. So even if your graphics were created at 1920, they'd be squished into 1440 and then that would be up scaled on output to 1920.
The differences might be slight, and it might be worth a more extreme test. Copy and paste your timeline into a 720x480 anamorphic 16:9 timeline. Export that as 1920x1080. See if it doesn't look like SD upscaled to HD.