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Questions about Working with Sequence Settings and Export Settings

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Eric McCarthy
Questions about Working with Sequence Settings and Export Settings
on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:50:16 pm

Hello all,
After years of viewing these forums, I am finally asking for a bit of help that I can't find on my own. If this specific issue has already been addressed, please direct me to the proper thread.

That being said, here is my situation:

I am working on a project for a client (an individual, rather than a big company). I am using a G5 PowerMac, Dual 2.5 Ghz, with 4 GB of RAM, running FCP 5.0.4. I think that this is a version that should work well on this older machine, as they were both released at about the same time.

My client has shot footage with a VIXIA HFS21, then imported them to iMovie at the 940x540 option. I have been given a hard drive with the various Quicktime files [clip info reads: Dimensions: 960x540, Codecs: Integer (Little Endian), Timecode, Apple Intermediate Codec], which I imported to FCP, and used in a sequence with the following settings:

FrameSize: 960x720 Aspect Ratio: HD (960x720)(16:9)
Pixel Aspect Ratio: HD (960x720) - Anamorphic is NOT checked
Field Dominance: None
Editing Timebase: 29.97
Quicktime Settings: Compressor DVCPRO 720p60

The clips had to be resized in the canvas window to fit the dimensions, and once resized, they fit without any black space on any of the sides.

Herein lies my first question. How does QT video that is set in 960x540 wind up with the same aspect ratio in the 960x720 timeline? I assume that this has something to do with pixel shape, but I am not sure...

The main part of my question deals with exporting though; when ever I try to export using a QT conversion (MPEG-4), I am getting a file that is "squeezed", and of really poor quality. I am currently using Handbrake as a workaround (exporting as a Quicktime file, then converting the file in HandBrake) but I would love to know how to set this up properly so my sequence can export directly in FCP.

I have the feeling that this is due to my sequence settings, so that is my final question. What should the proper sequence settings be for 960x540 video imported from iMovie?

As always, I look forward to hearing the wisdom of the "collective creative cows".



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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Questions about Working with Sequence Settings and Export Settings
on Nov 11, 2011 at 10:21:54 pm

The sequence settings should match the clip's properties exactly. I'll bet you need to change the pixel aspect ratio. The correct one will be displayed in the column labled "Aspect ratio" in the browser. All clips will likely be the same... Set the sequence's aspect ratio to the same setting...


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Eric McCarthy
Re: Questions about Working with Sequence Settings and Export Settings
on Nov 11, 2011 at 11:15:44 pm

Thanks Jerry. Yes, on subsequent episodes, when the sequence setting are set properly (and pixels are set to square) I am able to import the 960x540 directly into the TL without having to render. I would love to know how I can save my previous episodes work (including assorted L3s, Titles, Tails, etc.) without having to re-render and re-size the entire TL. I know this is a completely amateur mistake, but I was kinda thrown off by the whole "importing 960x540" thing. I had never had to work with clips from iMovie before... Again, thank you for your quick response.
Any idea what the frame rate for this iMovie imported QT video will be? Or is there a way to get detailed information about the QT file other than the "Get Info" command in the Apple Finder?

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