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Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD

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Brian Thomas
Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 11, 2014 at 6:54:31 pm

I used to be able to do this quite easily on Premiere Pro but I’m not sure I understand what’s happening now.

My ultimate destination is a DVD. I’m shooting AVCHD footage (1920 x 1080) and in some fairly static clips I want to be able to pan and zoom. I imagine other people do this from time to time?

In Premiere I’d just create a new sequence setup with 1280x720, select all clips from my edited 1920 x 1080 sequence and paste them into the new sequence. At that point all clips would be automatically zoomed in and showing a scaling factor of 100%. I’d choose a clip, change the scaling to 66.7% (which would show the clip correctly in the viewing window) and then copy and paste attributes of that clip to all other clips in the sequence. Then I’d go through the sequence and pan and zoom certain clips up to maybe 90% - so as to feel safe although I suppose I could have gone all the way up to 100%?

Now, in FCPX, I tried creating a new project with Custom settings of 720p HD, 1280x720 and 25p (although the footage shows as 26i - does that matter?)

Anyway, I drag a clip into the new project and it appears at normal scaling i.e.. I see the whole image not just the middle zoomed in as I would in Premiere. In the Inspector, under the Info tab, I see the clip still has it’s 1920 x 1080 characteristics although it is in a 1280x720 project.

Assuming that FCPX has saved me the image rescaling step and that it’s doing what I hope it’s doing, how much do you think I should be able to scale up clips (from 100%) without them going too obviously ‘soft’? Or doesn't it work like that...?

I hope this all makes sense. Many thanks in advance for any advice in this area.

FCPX and PPro 6. iMac 24 + MBP 17". Near Geneva, Switzerland


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Bret Williams
Re: Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 11, 2014 at 7:14:33 pm

If you want to see true pixel to pixel scaling numbers, then switch the spatial conform to none in the inspector. Normally it's set to fit and scaling is shown as a percentage of the sequence resolution. This makes it possible to switch sequence settings between SD, and flavors of HD without the clips needing to be manually resized and rekeyframed. A major drawback in FCP legacy.

I'd just leave it at fit for those reasons and just do the math. 1080/720=1.5 so you can scale up your 1080 clips that you're using as fit in a 720 sequence to 150%. At 150% they're pixel for pixel.


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Brian Thomas
Re: Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 11, 2014 at 7:42:40 pm

Ah! So Spatial Conform not being "None" gave me the impression nothing had really happened. OK, I understand this better, thanks!

My 'workflow' (cutting all the edited clips from the higher resolution project into the 720 project) looks OK? Most people would do it this way if they wanted to do this sort of thing?

So it looks like I'll be able to do my keyframed panning and zooming in the same way as I did with Premiere - that's great!

Again, many thanks Brett!

FCPX and PPro 6. iMac 24 + MBP 17". Near Geneva, Switzerland


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Bret Williams
Re: Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 11, 2014 at 8:05:55 pm

Well sure I guess. If you're working in 720 just so you can blow up some images, to me it's kinda moot. Most every LCD is natively 1080 anyway, so while you may be bringing all your visuals down to 720, they're just going to get blown up on a 1080 screen. And so now your 1080 stuff that's 150% in a 720 sequence, is being blown up again by the TV. So technically, you've actually blown up your 1080 stuff 150% anyway since it'll be shown at 150% of it's native scale on a 1080 monitor.

Why not work in the highest resolution you have? IOW, you're not really gaining anything working in 720. You're just doing a disservice to the visuals that are 1080 that you aren't blowing up. You could always work in 1080 and output a 720 master if you want it all to be a little fuzzier (or more of an equal fuzziness.) :)

Unless you're on the web. Where 720 is 720. Until someone hits that little full screen button and watches it on their 2k computer monitor.

If you work in FCPx native fit mode, then you can always duplicate the sequence and change it's settings to 1080. Everything will stay where it belongs and scale up properly.


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Brian Thomas
Re: Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:13:24 pm

I really appreciate your explaining all this and I know I'm going to find it very useful once my 'clients' move on from DVDs but as ultimately everything ends up SD I think I'm fairly safe doing it this way?

FCPX and PPro 6. iMac 24 + MBP 17". Near Geneva, Switzerland


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Bret Williams
Re: Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:18:39 pm

Certainly. Lots of people do it that way. That was just my ramblings on the subject.


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Brian Thomas
Re: Panning and zooming on HD footage that ends up on a DVD
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:37:49 pm

Thanks Brett, it's great to know I'm in good company!

It occurred to me that if I get to grips with Motion sufficiently then I should be able to make an effect that, when dropped on a clip, would do the donkey work of zooming in over the duration of a clip by, say, 15%. It's really only to liven up things for the clips that come from a static camcorder positioned over to one side of an auditorium. What do you think - could work?

FCPX and PPro 6. iMac 24 + MBP 17". Near Geneva, Switzerland


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