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Sequence settings for HD 16mm video transfer

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Eileen Kennedy
Sequence settings for HD 16mm video transfer
on May 26, 2010 at 9:16:04 pm

Hello all -

I've agreed to help a friend edit some old family films that were shot on 16mm in the 20's and recently transferred to HD. The footage was given to me in the following format:

Apple Motion JPEG A, 1560x1080, 18 fps, Square pixel

I'm not sure what my sequence settings in FCP would be to work with this material without having to do a huge render beforehand. I've tried compressing the footage to Apple ProRes420 HQ but still can't figure out the proper sequence settings to get me away from a giant render process. Should I be compressing to something else? What should my sequence settings be for this material?

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks so much!

Oh, also i'm working in Final Cut 7.0.1

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John Fishback
Re: Sequence settings for HD 16mm video transfer
on May 26, 2010 at 10:31:20 pm

That's an odd frame size. Usually, you'd have 1920 or 1440 (anamorphic) by 1080. Perhaps that's the exact ratio of a 16mm frame. In any case you want to get out of Motion JPEG and to ProRes, as you mention. I think you can live with ProRes442 or even LT rather than HQ. Although, HQ is used for film, with old family films a lessor ProRes than HQ will be easier to work with and probably plenty of quality. You are going to have to render at some point. Either before, during or after the edit. If you can drop a clip into a ProRes sequence set up as 1920x1080 and you can play without first having to render, do that. When the edit is complete, render it. If you have to render to play, then I suggest using Compressor first to do the conversion from Motion JPEG to ProRes. Be sure to turn on Frame Controls and use a higher-quality setting for the scaling. Getting 18fps to 23.976 or 29.97 is probably the biggest issue. I'm not sure which is the best to try. Encode a short clip as a test and see how Compressor does. Again, be sure Frame Controls is on and increase the quality setting of Rate Conversion. Compressor will take a long time to do this. Good luck.


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Michael Sacci
Re: Sequence settings for HD 16mm video transfer
on May 26, 2010 at 11:50:33 pm

I know zero about film transfer so if I say something wrong be gentle.

Don't try to edit that footage, I would convert it first, spend the time up front to get it to something that will be smooth the rest of the way. Which means there is going to be some padding or add cropping. I would vote for the add padding. This keeps the entire image and you can do custom cropping later on if you like.

With compress convert to ProRes for either method.
Here is a droplet

Changed the frame rate to Custom 23.976 (adds 6 frames to the 18fps)
keep it Progressive
In Geometry Tab Dimension set to 1920x1080 and Output Image inset set to Custom, Left: 180 and Right: 180

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