settings for a movie made with JPEG pictures?
I directed a short film formally inspired by Chris Marker's "La Jetée" and am in the process of editing it. For those who don't know La Jetée, this is a film entirely composed of still pictures, but edited cinematically. I prepared a rought draft, but before editing the real thing, I would like to make sure I use the right settings on FCP. Here is my question:
- aspect ratio of the still pictures is 4:3 (I shot with a 7D but used a cache to frame in 4:3 and processed my RAW pictures as 4:3 jpegs, 4608x3456). My wish is to edit a movie in 4:3, to retain a look of the 40's - 50's
- the movie will most probably first be released on vimeo, but DVD, TV and maybe theater release should not be dismissed.
- what settings should I use for my sequences? If I use Apple Prores 422 (HQ) 1920x1080, which I use to edit videos shot with my 7D, I get great results, but with black bars on the left and right handside + I end up with heavy rendering files for a still pictures project. Somebody suggested using Apple Prores 422 (HQ) NTSC 48 Khz, but I am afraid of its 720*486 definition: is it not too low for future use? If I finetune this setting (adjust it to 720*480 which is the real aspect ratio of my pictures and double the definition to 1440*972) it seems to work, but then I can't playback in realtime while I edit (clips appear in red), which is a real pain to work with.
There are a lot of threads about including some stills in a video project out there, but here I am opened to your advice concerning an "all stills" video project.
Stills are RAM hogs in FCP, so the more you put on the timeline the less available RAM you have for FCP and system resources, and that means loads of rendering. So, you're going to have to render often unless you drop the quality of your stills way down to a point that will either make your project less attractive or at least limit your ability to animate/zoom in on them.
Meanwhile, your stills at 4608x3456 are simply too big for FCP, which limits frame sizes to a max of 4000 pixels wide. So, your best bet is probably to first cut the resolution of all stills by 25%, making them approximately 3600 pixels wide.
Next, is deciding upon a 4x3 frame size in which to edit. ProRes is limited to very specific frame sizes, with the largest 4x3 being 601 or 720x486, which really won't do you any good in this day and age. However, 8-bit uncompressed HD actually does have an obscure and rarely used 4x3 HD frame size which was derived from the full-frame 16mm film frame. It's 1440x1080 square pixels, not to be confused with the 1440x1080 non-square pixel format of many modern HD cameras that displays at 16x9.
So, if your hard drive configuration can handle 8-bit uncompressed HD you're in business. If not, it's time to reconsider going SD 4x3.
BTW, now that I think about it, you're going to wind up pillar-boxed anyway, with black bars on the sides, because all modern TVs and projection systems are widescreen anyway. How would you screen 4x3 on a widescreen without the pillar-box.
David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™
A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.