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How are import resolution and export resolution related.

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Evan Stanfield
How are import resolution and export resolution related.
on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:05:12 pm
Last Edited By Evan Stanfield on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:14:32 pm

Thanks for reading!

About 2 years ago I was digitizing some beta footage into FCP via a kona card. While I was talking with one of the Avid guys he mentioned (or so as I recall) it was better to import in the highest res possible then export to the res you want. As opposed to importing at the res you want, and exporting at the same res.

Fast forward to now. I am getting ready to go into a production and the same question applies (with new tech though). Will filming in 4k, importing in 4k and exporting from FCP at HD look better or the same as filming in HD, importing in HD, and exporting in HD.

This leads me into a question about editing technique. Is there some sort of standard, or loose rule of thumb around how much you can zoom in FCPX before it degrades the quality of the image? For example, could I take footage shot in 1080 could I zoom from a long shot to a mid shot without losing too much definition?

I hope that makes sense, please let me know if I need to clarify anything thanks again!


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Joe Marler
Re: How are import resolution and export resolution related.
on Nov 29, 2017 at 10:40:37 pm

[Evan Stanfield] "Will filming in 4k, importing in 4k and exporting from FCP at HD look better or the same as filming in HD, importing in HD, and exporting in HD..."

With every other factor held constant, and if viewed on a large enough screen, filming in 4k and exporting at 1080 can look better than filming in 1080 and exporting in 1080. I say 1080 because technically 720p/60 is also HD by ATSC standards, and because ABC, Fox and ESPN broadcast exclusively in 720p/60 HD.

However there are many variables and it's easily possible to have better results shooting and exporting in 1080 vs 4k. If the 4k camera, lens, codec, lighting, cinematography or the distribution system to the final viewer is not good quality, then just using 1080 might be better. There are situations where 4k is just carrying around a lot of dead weight.

Another variation is if shooting 1080 on a camera optimized for 4k. In that case the 1080 image may be degraded vs. a camera designed specifically for 1080. E.g, my old Canon 5D Mark III shoots much better 1080 than my Sony A7RII, but the A7RII's 4k down sized to 1080p looks better (even in very low light) than the 5D3's native 1080p.

A good quality camera with a good lens that shoots 10-bit ProRes 4:4:4 at 1080p can look better than many consumer or even prosumer H264 8-bit 4k cameras.

However in many cases shooting 4k is a good idea, even if 8-bit 4:2:0 H264. If you don't crop it and export to ProRes, it will supposedly become true 1080p 10-bit 4:4:4 on output. See white paper by Barry Green "The Benefits of Shooting in 4k": ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/provideo/agdvx200pj/4kbenefits_techbrief.pdf

[Evan Stanfield] "...Is there some sort of standard, or loose rule of thumb around how much you can zoom in FCPX before it degrades the quality of the image? For example, could I take footage shot in 1080 could I zoom from a long shot to a mid shot without losing too much definition?"

If you assume the final viewer has 1080p resolution and the image is not degraded by encoding, UHD 4k can be zoomed 200% (using the FCPX scale factor) without losing effective resolution. If you are exporting 4k to 720 the limit is 300%.

If the original material is 1080p and the viewer is 1080p, you cannot zoom into this any without losing some quality. If the final viewer is using a smart phone via a streaming Youtube video, you might get away with a little zoom. In that case the viewer's effective resolution might be 720p or less.


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Brett Sherman
Re: How are import resolution and export resolution related.
on Nov 30, 2017 at 1:41:41 pm

[Evan Stanfield] "Fast forward to now. I am getting ready to go into a production and the same question applies (with new tech though). Will filming in 4k, importing in 4k and exporting from FCP at HD look better or the same as filming in HD, importing in HD, and exporting in HD."

Yes you will almost always get sharper images with less noise and compression artifacts by downsampling 4K to 1080p. But as mentioned, resolution isn't everything and different cameras look better or worse at 1080p. For example, I'd much rather be shooting on a Canon C100 MkII at 1080P than a Canon GX10 at 4K.

To bottom-line it, get the best camera you can, get 4K if you can swing it. Edit in 4K if your computer is up to the task. And export both 4K and HD.

--------------------------
Brett Sherman
One Man Band (If it's video related I'll do it!)
I work for an institution that probably does not want to be associated with my babblings here.


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