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Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor

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Kimberley West
Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:09:39 am

Hi, I hope someone is able to help with this.
I apologise in advance if a common thread is listed somewhere else, I've had a look and couldn't find anything relating to this problem.

I work at a very small TV station in remote northwest Australia. We get quite a few music video clips for content on our station, these come to us on DVD. We title the music videos in FCP (our broadcast software is quite low-end so there isn't the option of titling for individual clips there) so we rip and transcode the clips using mpeg streamclip (to prores422). We use lower third (and a background for the titles) in FCP to title them and then when we try and export using compressor.

We use the Mpeg2 Program Stream setting because that will give us the correct file to import directly into our broadcast software BUT when I open the created files in QT the titles are distorted like the aspect ratio is wrong. I have no idea why. I've created the titles in a 16:9 sequence and they look fine in FCP.

The way we're getting around this is to export a titled QT from FCP and THEN use compressor to encode it to Mpeg2 Program Stream. It's just an extra step that I would like to not have to do if at all possible (since the whole process is quite roundabout). And, yes, if we had the money we'd invest in a decent broadcast system that can title the clips on playout. But, alas, we don't and that's why I'm here pleading for help.

I'm running OS10.5 on Dual Quad-Core with 4GB (but we have various macs old and new)
FCP 6, Compressor 3

I will update if you need any more info.
Thank you again for your help.


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John Ward
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:30:17 pm

Hi, Kimberley -

we have noticed the same problem upon occasion but I can't say I've gone back to isolate it and track it down. If I remember correctly, however, ours seemed to be related to changing sequence presets after some titles were created. Or perhaps it was copying and pasting titles from one sequence to another, each with different presets.
The short workaround is to do exactly what you are doing. Before you lament the addition of another step, though, it is likely actually saving you time. With more complex timelines, different sized source material, lots of effects / titles / etc. Compressor can really slow down. Exporting a self-contained movie from the sequence using whatever the sequence is preset to and then taking that file through Compressor has made our workflow much faster despite the additional step.
The long-form solution is a little fuzzy but here it goes: we made a new bin, dragged all the title files from the sequence into it and exported an xml. We then opened the xml in a text editor and took a look at what the settings for the title files were and found that they didn't match the sequence exactly. I don't remember why but the size and/or scaling and/or aspect ratios were different because of changing the sequence preset after they were created or copying and pasting them into another sequence with a different preset or something like that. Anyway, we just changed the info in the xml in a text editor to match the sequence preset. We then imported the xml back into the project and replaced the old title files with the newer ones.
This method has also worked well for us fixing timecode mismatch problems and generating new title files. On bigger projects we create a title template and export an xml. Some lowly intern at the front of the building on a piece-of-crap PC can then open it, replace the character string section with new text and save it as a separate xml file. We then import the individual xml's later and each one is the correct font/color/leading/etc. based on the template but we didn't have to tie up an edit machine to do it.

Let me know if any of this helps.

Cheers,

John Ward

Editor / Animator,
Synergetic Productions

john@synergeticproductions.com
http://www.synergeticproductions.com
315.437.7533


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Kimberley West
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Oct 19, 2009 at 4:11:57 am

Hey John

Thanks for your response.

Every time I get new clips in I create a new FCP project and new 16:9 or 4:3 sequences (depending on the clips) and then I only create the titles for that specific aspect ratio - I would copy and paste the widescreen titles in the widescreen sequence but I wouldn't paste them into the 4:3 sequence (I've learnt from that mistake in the past).
It's good to know that what I'm doing is not insanely roundabout so I think I'll probably steer clear of your xml remedy - It would be a much longer way around this since I have no interns to palm the boring stuff off to. But thanks for the alternative.

It's a shame there doesn't seem to be a solution to this.
A colleague of mine has a theory that it has something to do with the FCP title not actually having a set number of video lines and so on export, FCP or Compressor TRIES to interpret this (not very well obviously) and that's why the aspect is slightly off. He thinks (and it's very probably true but I haven't tried it) that if I used Photoshop to make the titles it would probably work. I'll try it next time I get some music clips in.

Thanks for your help again John.


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John Ward
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Oct 19, 2009 at 1:59:23 pm

No problem. If I think of anything else or we come up with a better solution I'll let you know. In the meantime I think you're right: Photoshop, Livetype or Motion would all work pretty easily right from the timeline but Photoshop is probably the fastest.

Good luck,

John Ward

Editor / Animator,
Synergetic Productions

john@synergeticproductions.com
http://www.synergeticproductions.com
315.437.7533


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Kimberley West
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Mar 30, 2010 at 1:19:12 am

To anyone that was wondering about this issue from half a year ago:

I've just loaded up FCP 7 and thought "why not try this annoying title distortion thing again to see if Apple have fixed the problem...."

And it looks like they have!

I've only done two tests, one with the Boris titling tool and one with the FCP titling tool - and they both look correct in an aspecty kind of way...which is all good!



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Brad Minskoff
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:21:11 pm

Hello,
I am working on a FCP 7 project and I have created titles which are lower thirds using Photoshop. Some of the titles that I created in photoshop seem to look a little off maybe pixelated is the word. I was wondering if I am better off using the lower third text generator in FCP? For example I have a project with different locations, and people, so I am creating titles in photoshop that I am placing in the lower left part of the screen. I know Motion created lower thirds but I am not looking for the ones that you see on the news I am using very simple titles. If you or anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you,
Brad


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Kimberley West
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:17:40 am

Hey Brad
How are you previewing your edit? One thing I've seen (and done) is setting the preview out of FCP to full screen on a computer monitor - which is a higher resolution than SD and, depending on the monitor, also higher than HD.
Another thing it might be is conflicting pixel aspect ratios - i.e. PSD in non-square pixels and FCP in square pixels (or vice versa).

If the lower thirds are very simple then maybe the FCP lower thirds titler will suffice but if you want a bit more control over your text then maybe the Boris title tool would be better.

I hope this has helped.

Kimberley.


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Mark Chapin
Re: Titles in FCP distort when sequence is exported using Compressor
on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:58:06 pm

There have been a lot of lengthy solutions to this problem posted here. If this is any help, we have found the same problem while exporting to mp4 via compressor. What we did was to add a filter, any filter will do, to the problematic text clip and bring it's parameters to 0. This seems to have the effect of creating a more thorough render when the sequence is exported and that seems to have solved our problem with the occasional tile that looks odd upon export.

Hope that helps!


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