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Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor

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David May
Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 29, 2011 at 7:25:52 pm

Alright so if this has been pointed out before I apologise, but I really wanted to see if you could help me clear something up.

I have video filmed at 1080i, imported into a FC project to use on a timeline with ProRes 422 1440x1080, upper filed order and editing timebase of 25 (the default settings for the footage when it is brought onto the timeline).

When I quicktime export, self contained or otherwise, I use the 'current settings' option. The output is terrible. Washed out, motion blur all over the place. When I view the exact same footage fullscreen in the timeline, the colours pop, theres no crappy blur and it looks like youd expect full HD picture to look (even if it is 1080i, not 1080p). At first I thought it could be interlacing in some weird way, but Magic Bullet Frames makes no difference. Obviously annoyed that my footage is being stripped of its beauty on export.

I almost lost all hope, then decided to do an export by sending to compressor. I made a h.264 export at a nice big resolution and it looks brilliant. Crystal clear as it should be.

So obviously Im really annoyed with myself for making all these crappy ProRes 422 exports out of final cut over the years, why should compressor provide such a better picture!?

Is it just my camera being old 1080i? Will I ever want to export out of final cut again? I almost want to open up all my old projects and make compressor exports of them now!

Ive always done prores exports because that seemed to just be the standard that everyone used, so I assume my problem with poor quality video is something to do with my footage specifically, but seeing as it looks so damn good in the timeline, Im at a loss.

Anyways, not urgent by any stretch, but some opinion on this could save me a lot of time and heartache in the future.

Cheers!

Dave


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walter biscardi
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 29, 2011 at 8:10:43 pm

[David May] "I have video filmed at 1080i, imported into a FC project to use on a timeline with ProRes 422 1440x1080, upper filed order and editing timebase of 25 (the default settings for the footage when it is brought onto the timeline)."

ProRes is Square Pixels, not anamorphic. So you should be working in a full raster 1920 x 1080 timeline.

When you go through Compressor, it's probably putting everything to Square pixels so your video looks correct instead of being anamorphic and then stretched back out by the Quicktime player.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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David May
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 29, 2011 at 9:33:47 pm

Thanks for the quick response!

So if the best settings for my timeline is 1920x1080, upper field order and square pixels, why does the footage automatically set the timeline to something different?

If I change the settings now to square pixels, all the footage ends up going into 4:3, needs to be rendered and Ill have to resize it, so this time Ill just export out of compressor. Just be good to know why this is happening so in future I know what to look out for.... Or I get a new camera, thats also nice to think about.

Thanks for helping out by the way, these forums are amazing!


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Steve Eisen
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 30, 2011 at 2:10:59 am

Your problem begins with the way FCP handles your footage. Part of the problem is your fault and the rest is FCP. You have to edit with FCP friendly codecs. When you drop a ProRes file into your timeline, FCP will choose the correct sequence setting for you. Proper monitoring will confirm the look of your footage. If your footage matches your sequence settings, you will not need to render.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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David May
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 30, 2011 at 2:39:32 am

I understand what your saying. The footage has always matched the sequence settings and I told FCP to make the timeline the same settings as the video when I started the project. However the files in my capture scratch are 1920x1080 and FCP made the project 1440x1080, so obviously its choosing the wrong settings for some reason.

For some reason though as soon as I change the settings away from ProRes 422, Upper, 1440 etc, the video needs to be rendered to be useable. Annoying

If your interested, the first image is captured from FCP's viewer, the second is the exact same video exported using 'current settings'. Big difference as you can see

http://s177.photobucket.com/albums/w219/thepumpkinslayer/?action=view&curre...

http://s177.photobucket.com/albums/w219/thepumpkinslayer/?action=view&curre...


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walter biscardi
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:12:31 am

[David May] "So if the best settings for my timeline is 1920x1080, upper field order and square pixels, why does the footage automatically set the timeline to something different?"

Because most HD formats are anamorphic. DVCPro HD 720p is 920x720. DVCPro HD NTSC 1080i is 1280 x 1080. If you allow FCP to set the Sequence based on the raw clip, then you've set yourself up incorrectly from the get go for ProRes editing.

With the ProRes codecs you want to choose an Easy Setup of 1080 ProRes. This will set you up for square pixel 1920 x 1080 Sequence.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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David May
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Sep 30, 2011 at 5:51:47 pm

Well Ive just started a new 1920x1080 sequence with square pixels, no field dominance. Annoyingly all my footage, which is 1920x1080 in the original files, needs to be zoomed to 133.3 scale and have the aspect ratio changed under the distortion option in the motion tab. At least its free of the blur and is the correct size.

If I do as you say Walter, the only option available to me in easy setup is one ProRes preset, 1440x1080 (not square pixel) and an editing timebase of 23.97.

Again, if I manually change the sequence settings to 1920x1080, square pixels etc, all the footage is resized. But if I have it set to 1440x1080, square pixels, all the footage appears 4:3. Frustration!

I dont want to have to make do with a zoomed in project, but its starting to look like I have no choice :(


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Christian Schumacher
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Oct 1, 2011 at 3:45:47 am

Couldn't you nest your prime sequence into an new one?


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David May
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Oct 1, 2011 at 11:02:44 pm

Not 100% sure what you mean, but if you tell me I could give it a shot?


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Christian Schumacher
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Oct 2, 2011 at 12:41:52 am

OK First create the new desired sequence, at full HD.

Choose square pixels and check your FPS too - that should match your original one. (29.97?)

Load your working sequence on the Viewer/Player.

Then, record it into the new one - if in FCP 7 it will ask you to conform to file (in this case your original sequence)

You would say "No" to that since you want it to be Full HD in the first place.

FCP will resize your sequence to the new one automatically if this is set in Preferences.

It should preserve the proper sequence settings while scaling your timeline to the new one at the same time.

Good luck.


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David May
Re: Inadequate Final Cut vs Beautiful Compressor
on Oct 3, 2011 at 1:36:24 am

Thanks for the advice, I can do the same thing by just copying the timeline into a new sequence. In both cases everything is rescaled to 133% and has its aspect distorted to fit. Bizarre seeing as the original files are 1920x1080 and shouldnt need to be zoomed etc

Anyways, its not a significant quality drop, just a minor frustration.

I appreciate all the help!


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