Some TV stations in my area require content to be 4:3. I just want to triple check to make sure Im doing this correctly.
It is my understanding that one should put off down converting as long as possible. That been said - in the end ... I have been simply dragging my content from my HD 1080i timeline (program) - to a 601 4:3 timeline (program) with 16:9 to 14:9 convert.
[Frank Cann]"Is this correct? - is there a better way?"
It depends on which hardware you are using. Most of the hardware boards (Kona & HDx for example) do have a hardware downconverter built in. So if you are going out to tape you could do the downconversion from your HD timeline in realtime to an SD SDI or component output.
If you are going to DVD or a file-based format, you could do what you described, or you could do the downconversion with a 3rd party app (like BitVice if you are going to DVD, Compressor if you are going to the web,…)
it is really too bad the excellent videohardware scalers can't be accessed filebased yet.
For a year now I tested nearly every software (freeware to ultra highend) and the most common
videohardwares for downscaling HD->SD.
Not a single software reaches the quality of the hardware scalers!
Using software scaling you have two possibilities what you will get:
1.) a video so blurry that every cheap SD cam would have delivered sharper images, or
2.) a 'too' sharp video with bad aliasing, so flickering at every movement.
According to my tests there are two softwares producing acceptable results.
Both are freeware:
- MPEG Streamclip (scaling better enabled) produces detailed images with no aliasing.
(you need to enable cropping at scaling; left 9Pxl right 8Pxl to remove the black bars)
- JES Deinterlacer produces very sharp images but with horizontal flickering.
Which one works better for you depends on your footage.
But be aware: none of them is capable in professional 10bit scaling.
If you need 10bit, use your nesting method within FCP; Motion estimation set to 'best'.
FCP scales significantly better than M100.
If you need to go to web, simply get a Matrox MAX hardware. It uses Matrox' hardware scaler
file based (!) within compressor when encoding to H.264.
Unfortunately MAX it is not capable in scaling to interlaced nor to uncompressed quicktime;
you only get this on live signals - Matrox, can you hear us???
Hope it helped.
PS: It is really time Matrox, AJA and all the others open up their excellent scalers for file based processing!
We're living in the 21st century. Video cassettes are 20th century :-)
Berhard, if you are going HD timeline to SD DVD I find that BitVice does the best downscale. The new versions seem to have improved a lot. I agree that the old Media 100 versions that had the board do the downscale were the best but that was with an expensive board no longer compatible with the new Macs.
I've also tested Purifier's scaling extensively.
The Purifier scalings are nearly indistinguishable - also on pixel level! -from FCP scalings.
These scalings are on the 'blurry' side of the scaling spectrum.
You can simply confirm this result by comparing to MPEG Streamclip (settings described above).
For the sharpest results at all you might test Streamclip without 'better scaling'
(which produces extreme aliasing).