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Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?

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Noam Osband
Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 8, 2015 at 9:23:13 pm

I'm working on a project shot in both 720 and 1080. Am I write in thinking of it this way: If I make the timeline 1080, then it means I get the full quality of my 1080 shots but the 720 shots are slightly worse quality since they're now expanded BUT if I do a 720 timeline, the 720 wont lose any quality but I don't get the full quality of the 1080. Ideally, this is something shown at festivals so I'm thinking of a big projector and how that might look. Also, if I toggle that timeline characteristic between 1080 and 720 with a full project when I'm done...would that screw up keyframing and other filters or can I do that without concern?


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 9, 2015 at 6:40:10 am

To be more accurate, if you do a 720p timeline then you will get the full quality of the 720p footage plus the full quality of the 1080p footage scaled to fit. Which is to say you won't have any issues scaling down but you will lose quality scaling up.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Loren Risker
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:33:14 pm

Something to consider:

No matter the size of the screen, the projector may only be able to play back 720.

An advantage of using a 720 project with 1080 footage is you now have an opportunity to recompose your 1080 shots without losing quality.

-------------
OutOfFocus.TV - Original series, music videos, mini-docs.


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Doug Metz
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 9, 2015 at 4:35:20 pm

"Ideally, this is something shown at festivals so I'm thinking of a big projector and how that might look. Also, if I toggle that timeline characteristic between 1080 and 720 with a full project when I'm done...would that screw up keyframing and other filters or can I do that without concern?"

Given the large-format delivery, I'd be inclined to take the hit on scaling up the 720 footage during edit - assuming your projection is 1080 (it may not be). That way, all of your 1080 footage will look cleaner. If you deliver a 720 file, everything will be a bit soft.

Changing size during or after the edit could affect your keyframing, since those values are numerical and based on the current value... let's say you set some text -200 pixels from center at 720. If you change the frame size, your -200 isn't going to be where you expect at 1080.

Doug Metz

Anode


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:25:06 pm

If you do decide to scale footage up, I'd probably do it in Resolve before importing it to Final Cut as Resolve has great scaling options and tends to give a better result than FCPX - important if you're projecting on a large screen and trying to squeeze out as much quality as you can.

As to the key frames not scaling... It only takes 30 seconds to duplicate the project and change the size to 720p to see what happens.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Noam Osband
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 9, 2015 at 11:37:48 pm

Jeff,

I'm not sure which 720 footage I'd use. Is it a bad idea to make the finished product....and upscale with Resolve at the end?

Super helpful thread guys. thanks as always!


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:38:07 am

Usually I just let FCPX do all the scaling as most of my work just isn't that critical but if I knew I was editing for 1080p delivery and it was critical, I'd have used Resolve to upscale all the 720p footage to 1080p. Hard drives are cheap.

Yes, you could edit in FCPX and then send the project to Resolve upscaling. If you are doing that be careful not to overdo adjustments and tweaking of footage in FCPX - a lot of that stuff will get lost once it's sent to Resolve so you're better worrying about that sort of thing afterwards.

The one thing I would be doing right now is testing the workflow before you get past the point of no return..

Render 1080p and 720p on the same timeline, watch it at 1080p. Can you tell the difference? If not, forget about it and get back to editing. If you can then upres a clip in Resolve, add it to the timeline. Can you tell the difference now?

If not, then Resolve is going to be the way to go.

If yes, then maybe you do want to edit everything at 720p. Projecting 720p may be a bit softer but is consistency important? Is it better to have a 720p master that looks the same throughout the entire film, or are you ok with inconsistency as it goes from 1080p to 720p sources?

Time to start a new project and do some experimenting, I think.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Joe Marler
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:41:41 pm

[Noam Osband] " If I make the timeline 1080, then it means I get the full quality of my 1080 shots but the 720 shots are slightly worse quality since they're now expanded BUT if I do a 720 timeline, the 720 wont lose any quality but I don't get the full quality of the 1080."

I'm not sure it will make that much difference. Many networks shoot and broadcast exclusively in 720p. This includes ABC, Fox, ESPN Networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews), A&E Networks (A&E, History, History International, Crime & Investigation, Biography), Fox Sports Net, Fox News, Fox Business, FX, CBS College Sports, MLB Network, Disney Channels (Disney, DXD, Disney Kids, ABC Family), Speed Channel, Fuel, & Big Ten Network.

Everything you view from those sources is upscaled 720p. I doubt most people notice the difference between that and 1080p on adjacent channels. In theory 720p/60 has higher temporal resolution, whereas 1080p/30 has higher spatial resolution but in practice other factors swamp this such as exposure, lens, post processing, playback equipment, viewing distance, etc.


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Noam Osband
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:55:52 pm

Why do so many industry types use 720 rather than 1080? I'm sure they could get 1080 if they wanted. What's the appeal of 720? Given the fact it makes little difference, perhaps I'll stick with 720 (although most likely....i do many different tests of timelines with imperceptible differences but get OCD about which is better....)


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Joe Marler
Re: Mixing 720 and 1080 footage in a timeline - am I thinking of it the right way?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:04:17 pm

[Noam Osband] "Why do so many industry types use 720 rather than 1080? I'm sure they could get 1080 if they wanted. What's the appeal of 720?"

Back when the entire TV broadcast industry transitioned from analog NTSC to digital ATSC, the technology didn't exist for a cost-effective dual resolution capture, distribution and switching infrastructure. As it was, the expense was incredible for each local network affiliate to upgrade all their equipment, and in fact some local affiliates only upgraded around 2012.

This was further exacerbated by the then-limited state of codecs, cameras, and other infrastructure to handle 1080i at the full 1920 x 1080 resolution. For years much so-called 1080i sources were actually shot and broadcast at 1440 x 1080, because the full 1080i data rate wasn't supportable.

Another factor was the predominate characteristic of the material each network owned. In the case of ABC, Fox and the sports networks, they had a lot of sports content which tended to favor the higher frame rate of 720p/60. They also knew that much of the competing 1080i material would not be true 1920 x 1080 for years, so this lessened the static resolution advantage of 1080.

Around the mid-to-late 1990s when the big decision was required, they had to go one way or another, so each network decided and invested as they thought best.

I don't know the situation today and haven't checked the broadcast parameters for the 720p stations. But years ago when ABC was definitely 720p, certain shows like "Lost" had beautiful, detailed cinematography. Much of it was shot on location in brightly lit conditions. By contrast a reality TV series shot at full 1080 with mostly interior sets and practical lighting will not look as good, despite the higher static resolution.

Under controlled conditions I can tell the difference between 1080i and 720p if I am prepared ahead of time and looking for it. However I seriously doubt most viewers -- unprompted -- would notice it. Ultimately we are making material for the final customer, not for critical analysis of fellow technicians.

Most of our material is shot at 1080p/30 (29.97) with some 720p/60 (59.94). In those cases we generally use a 1080 project and upscale the 720p (using FCP X).

I have read that Compressor can use a better quality upscaling algorithm, but this would require importing your 720p material into Compressor, setting 1920 x 1080, resizing using the Statistical Prediction option, exporting as ProRes 422 and importing the resized ProRes 60p clips in FCPX. I have not tested that personally.


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