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Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?

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James Bayliss-Smith
Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 4:49:36 am

Hi folks, I need to do this on zero budget so no fancy equipment just software, I have MPEG streamclip and compressor. I have a 4:3 SD DVD with some archive.

I have a documentary shot in HDV. I am editing in SD and will recapture all my footage as ProRes 422 once I've finished the edit. I want to use some SD 4:3 archive that I have in my project. I plan to zoom in on the 4:3 archive to make is display 16:9. What shall I do?

I'm thinking of converting the DVD with MPEG Streamclip into ProRes 422 1920 x 1440. That way when I use it in Final Cut Pro then zoom into the 4:3 footage to make a 16:9 image the resolution will be HD 1920 x 1080. This will match my HDV footage (well it won't exactly as that is 1440 x 1080 but you get the idea I'm looking for HD final version.)

Am I being logical? Does this make sense? The resolution of the original image was 768x576. Am I being fussy. My instinct is to upscale then edit with that (to avoid doing it again later). Should I just use the original SD footage in my final HD timeline.

Any other upscale Strategies/solutions for this problem would be most welcome, I also have some DV footage I need to do the same to as well.

Thanks,

James


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Michael Gissing
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 5:34:27 am

Your DVD footage is already SD, so you might as well rip it to ProRes 422 in SD. When you recapture the HDV later, then you can upscale all the SD footage in a few ways. Worst quality is to simply resize in FCP. Software upscaling can be via Compressor. There are third party upscalers. I quite like using Innobits video purifier to both upscale and clean some noise on SD files.

Mostly however, I prefer to upscale with hardware and I recapture SD material via the Kona3. If you have a DV deck with SDI and a Kona card then that is an option for the DV source footage.

Others may have opinions about MPEGStreamclip versus Compressor. If you do the upscaling as you rip, then of course you meant 1920 x 1080 (not 1440). Try a test on a short section.


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 6:40:44 am

Hi Thanks for your response.

You said: If you do the upscaling as you rip, then of course you meant 1920 x 1080 (not 1440). Try a test on a short section.

Actually I did mean 1440. When I zoom in to 4:3 in FCP then the 1440 will change to 1080 thereby giving me 1920 x 1080. I managed to do this with MPEG streamclip. That is what I meant when I said is this logical?

So I'll still be using FCP to zoom but from bigger resolution to HD resolution.

Does this make sense or is there a better way (I don't have access to hardware)

Cheers


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Michael Gissing
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 8:46:09 am

Ok I see what you are doing. You don't need to do that though as you can leave it as 1080 and add -33.3% distortion to bring the sides in for 4:3 pillar box.

Same deal really.


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 10:52:07 am

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your patience. If you take 33.3% of 1080 you are left with 680 roughly. With my method, encoding at 1440 when you crop the image to create a 16:9 image you will be left with an image that is 1080 lines of vertical resolution and 1920 horizontal. I may have confused you earlier with talk of zooming in. That is what I've been doing in Final Cur Pro but I mean is crop a 16:9 image from a 4:3 image. With a DVD ripped to ProRes 422 at 1920 x 1440 then if I do this then surely I will end up with footage, 16:9 images with no image distortion and HD resolution. I take your point about hardware but I have no access to this type of equipment and no budget. Does my workflow seem strange or is it logical?

I haven't actually tested it yet as I'm working in SD just trying to think ahead. What is FCP doing with my footage when I import into a 16:9 sequence 4:3 material then zoom in to get rid of the black side bars and then reposition for optimum framing. Am I really getting HD resolution after all that, given my above workflow?

Cheers and all the best

James Bayliss-Smith


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Michael Gissing
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 8:58:29 pm

[James Bayliss-Smith] " Am I really getting HD resolution after all that, given my above workflow?"

Not really. The resolution is limited by the source. Good scaling can help, so the less you do in FCP the better. If you have access to After Effects, then probably the best approach is to rescale and frame your SD material and then output 1920 x 1080 files with the final framing.

That way you can minimise rendering and avoid using FCPs scaling. Making non standard frame sizes like 1920 x 1440 means FCP will be doing the scaling back to 4:3 and then you are going to be zooming up in FCP to frame out the pillar box.


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 7, 2011 at 2:25:09 am

O.K. Thanks Michael,

I do have After Effects but have never used it as I still haven't mastered FCP so I've been putting it off but it seems more and more that it is useful for a variety of things that FCP can do.

So rendering in FCP is not great? I've kind of heard this before but didn't take it in as I've never really understood rendering. So the rendering process is better in After Effects for doing the same thing? Just a better programme for that type of thing, more specialized?

I've heard that the more rendering one has to do the worse the final quality will be. I can understand this if multiple different effects have to be applied but is this also the case If I change a transition multiple times. i.e. changing the length of a type of dissolve then rendering again? Or is it the case that you can change the same effect and render multiple times and have no cumulative loss in quality?

Thanks again,

James


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Michael Gissing
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 7, 2011 at 5:21:27 am

Nothing to do with rendering, just the quality of scaling that makes AE a better tool for this sort of work.


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James Bayliss-Smith
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 7, 2011 at 6:27:39 am

O.K. so we get back to my original question. What resolution should I rip the DVD at to import into after effects? I think your saying it doesn't matter and it is the quality of the scaling that matters so I should therefore rip at 720 x 576 (PAL DVD 4:3) and then let after effects deal with everything else. My whole theory of ripping at 1920 x 1440 then cropping (or scaling I think you refer to it as) was just plain wrong and weird. Not theoretical merit?

Sorry for all the questions I just need to understand this otherwise I'll never learn it properly.

Cheers

James


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Michael Gissing
Re: Should I upscale my 4:3 SD footage to 1920 x 1440 for 16:9 HD?
on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:53:10 am

[James Bayliss-Smith] "o I should therefore rip at 720 x 576 (PAL DVD 4:3) and then let after effects deal with everything else."

Yes that should yield the best results.


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