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Jason O'Hara
on Jan 21, 2010 at 11:34:27 pm

We’re in the midst of editing a feature-length doc and have been sitting on the fence as to whether we should be editing it in SD or HD – we’re looking for advice regarding upresing our SD footage to HD, but also want to better understand what to expect when we down res the final HD output to SD – for DVD distribution for example. Any other general advice is welcome and much appreciated

Our source footage is:

-70% 1080/60i
-10% 1080/24p
-10% SD/29.97 Anarmorphic - converted from what was originally recorded as 1080/24p (unfortunately by previous editor - from pile of 100+ tapes, and without his original log files, would be impossible to track originals down to recapture)
-5% SD/29.97/720x480
-5% archival footage from 1950s: some is SD/29.97/720x480 sourced from an archive house, some is MPEG-4, 320 × 240, 29.97 fps, 2.74 Mbps - downloaded directly from - despite the low pixel res, it appears to capture the full quality of the grainy original

Currently, our thinking is we will edit a final cut in 1080/60i for its primary showing at a conference, and to shop around to broadcasters – however the long-term fate of the video is realistically going to be distributed as a SD DVD.

I understand that upresing is best performed by a variety of hardware options but considering our limited budget, what about using Compressor? How does Compressor compare with other software options like Boris?
What can we expect in the process of dowresing our final HD output to SD – specifically with the footage that was originally SD – was upressed to HD – and now being downressed back to its original format? Or is this silly, would it be worth re-visitng the 20% of the film that was originally SD and re-inserting the original SD clips for the SD output? Obviously, we’d prefer to cut just one version (HD) and down-res the entire thing for SD distribution – we’re also short for time, so would prefer not to complicate our workflow with the need for 2 edits – but looking to better understand al the trade-offs that come with these decsions.

Thanks in advance for sharing your expertise, much appreciated.

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