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FCP text is square pixels, why?

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Beau Tardy
FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:19:29 pm

Everyone knows that SD video uses rectangular pixels. FCP generates text in square pixel mode, why? Is there a way to convert text generated in FCP to rectangular pixels? Also is there a way to generate text as an interlaced clip so it will display properly in an interlaced video?

Thanks for any tips.

Beau Tardy /
Award winning Editor & Director
Apple Certified Instructor
http://www.beautardy.com


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:34:25 pm

FCP text isn't square or non square. It's essentially vector, and it is scaled and distorted automatically to fit whatever sequence you are using.

If you're working in a DV sequence and create a text, it will be 720x480 (non-square). Create a text in a 1920x1080 canvas, and it will be square. Copy and paste those texts from one sequence to the other and they will conform accordingly. In other words, the same text will fill the same vertical space in either canvas at 100% size. A text created initially at DV settings in a DV canvas will be 100% in that canvas. Paste into a square pixel HD canvas and it will still reatain the same size without having to be blown up 200%. 100% is 100%, and the canvas itself determines the pixel aspect.

As for interlaced text, there really is no such thing. First, it would only apply to movement of the text across the canvas, and how text is rendered as it moves across the canvas is controlled by the canvas settings themselves. If you have a progressive canvas, the text will be rendered progressive. If it's interlaced, it will move at 60i, interlaced.


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adam taylor
Re: FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:24:20 pm

[Bret Williams] "As for interlaced text, there really is no such thing. First, it would only apply to movement of the text across the canvas"

not quite so...if you have text which has horizontals only 1 or 2 scanlines high, then you will get flickering when viewing it on an interlaced screen. Nothing to do with moving the text.
Whilst there isn't interlaced text, it becomes interlaced in an interlaced sequence, and so you need to account for this when creating the text.

adam

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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Beau Tardy
Re: FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Mar 1, 2011 at 6:06:25 pm

Thanks for the response Bret. Why then if I create a text clip in the viewer and edit it into an interlaced SD sequence, does the clip remain a square pixel non-interlaced clip, as indicated by the item properties? Also, when I screen text generated in FCP on an interlaced monitor it strobes. I understand that type is vector originally, but FCP creates a square pixel progressive scan clip out of it. Remember, text is computer generated, hence progressive scan, and I don't see where bringing it into an interlaced sequence changes that...

Beau Tardy /
Award winning Editor & Director
Apple Certified Instructor
http://www.beautardy.com


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:15:48 pm

FCP doesn't make text any differently than photoshop or After Effects or anything else does. You place a text in the timeline and it isn't like it's missing data on either field. It's just like putting progressive scan media in an interlaced timeline. The odd lines get mapped to one field, and the even get mapped to the next. If the text/media is stationary, then the end result is no different than progressive. There is no change to the end result between fields.

If you move the text in a interlaced sequence, then the same is going to happen. The odd lines get mapped to one field, and the even lines to the next. But since the text is in motion, the position will change from one field to the next. Giving you 60 different positions/images per second. Grab a freeze of that and you'll see the combing effect on the text. Each field is of course only half the resolution (sort of) of a progressive frame, but the motion (and perceived resolution) will be smoother and clearer.

As for the other comment on flicker of small text or lines, that's just the big downside of interlaced. If you have a line, pixel, or object that only occupies one pixel high, then it will only get drawn onto the screen every other field. So as the 60 images a second go by, the small detail flickers. And if it's small and moving up or down (like a credit roll) at an inappropriate speed, then it will appear to kinda slowly disappear and reappear in a wave pattern.

And FCP text, like boris text, does remain vector. It doesn't get rasterized when you place it in a sequence. You can always change the size of the text and it will remain clean. You can even animate the size, but it doesn't interpolate well. It tends to size in jumps. In boris text you can animate the 3D distance smoothly. Animating in the motion tab occurs downstream from the effects, so it is animating the rasterized result of the text controls and scaling past 100% will of course result in soft text. Scaling down isn't too good either as it tends to get the flicker effect because FCP's sub-pixel render engine kinda, well, sucks.


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John Pale
Re: FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:20:35 pm

Stop overthinking it. While the FCP title generator is very limited and bare bones as features are concerned, there are no pixel aspect ratio issues and it just works. It's the same titler from version 1...if this was a problem, everyone would have raised hell long ago.


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Beau Tardy
Re: FCP text is square pixels, why?
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:46:15 pm

John, I teach FCP to a lot of professionals and this gets raised all the time. Bret, I totally understand what you are saying. FCP text does behave like a progressive, square pixelled graphic in a interlaced environment. This is very different from the way Chyron and other made for video text generators work. So my point is that while it may be fine for YouTube videos, its a problem for professional broadcast use.

Beau Tardy /
Award winning Editor & Director
Apple Certified Instructor
http://www.beautardy.com


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