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Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?

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Benjamin Reichman
Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:04:13 pm

I have a problem with soft-looking footage. I'm on a deadline, the client's unhappy, and I'm not sure what to do. It's all screen-captured material. Here are the details:


I have Final Cut Pro 7.0.

I received screen capture video from the Screenflow app. It's H.264, 30 FPS, and a non-standard resolution: 1676 x 1028, Square Pixel, "None" for Field Dominance.

My sequence (per client's request) is 720p. Specifically, 1280x720, Aspect Ratio: "HDTV 720p 16:9," Square Pixels, Field Dominance "None," Editing Timebase 29.97, Compressor (in Sequence Settings) Apple ProRes 422 HQ.

The screen-capture video is placed at different Scale settings (from 68 to 96) and positioned in different places in the frame. There are Motion title overlays and some PNGs from time to time.

The main issue is that the screen-capture is of an app with detailed text, finely drawn views, etc. and it's looking soft with a bit of a ring around the lines, if that makes sense.

I'm viewing this on a Cinema Display. This video is only ever going to the web, so I don't think a broadcast monitor is helpful here (nor do we have one).

Any thoughts? Is it something to do with going from 30 FPS to 29.97? Is it something to do with interlacing??


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Matt Campbell
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:23:15 pm

First off, an external monitor is extremely helpful as FCPs Viewer and Canvas do not show full resolution. They will degrade the image for playback purposes as opposed to an external monitor or even TV playing through an I/O card. That will be 100% full res.

Secondly, try exporting your sequence or even just a small chunk of it at your current settings. How does that look through Quicktime 7?

Also, under your Sequence Settings, you could set the Motion Filtering Quality to Best under Video Processing Tab and under Render Control, Always Use Best Quality When Rendering Movies.

For 720p, ProRes HQ is overkill. ProRes 422 is completely fine. Other than that, not sure what else to try.

OS 10.6.7, Mac Pro 2 x 3 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 4 gb ram and AJA IoHD


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Benjamin Reichman
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:31:28 pm

Matt,

Thanks. However, I've already exported at Current Settings and found that I have the softening. In fact, just placing a clip in the sequence causes it. I've already made the Sequence Settings changes you suggest.

I appreciate your comments, but I'm still at a loss. Any other ideas?

Thanks,
Ben


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Shane Ross
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:33:41 pm

If you use Screenflow, the workflow should really stay in Screenflow. Meaning that you can screen capture and edit, add text, audio...everything, INSIDE of Screenflow. It is a fantastic app that I use all the time for tutorials.

The whole reason I went with screenflow is that when I did tutorials with SnapzPro or other screen capture software, I ended up with non-standard frame sizes and codecs I had to convert and frame rates I needed to lock. And I couldn't really zoom in all that close. Screenflow does it all.

But that is neither here nor there. You have a file and need to edit it. Have you rendered this file and it still looks soft? I mean, NO color bars at all...fully rendered. Other than that...not sure what to say. I had softness issues too, which is why I switched to Screenflow, and doing EVERYTHING inside of Screenflow, editing and everything.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Benjamin Reichman
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:45:44 pm

Shane,

Thanks--I've fully rendered. It's the small text in the interface that's soft. When I was fiddling with the Field Dominance settings (just because I'd tried all the things that made sense to me), when I chose something other than None the effect just got much worse, which made me wonder if somehow it was connected to that...? But that doesn't really make much sense.

Maybe if I apply a Sharpen filter? That might just make things worse, but I'll experiment.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:50:58 pm

Sounds like aliasing troubles, how does it look in progressive?


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Benjamin Reichman
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:55:29 pm

Mark, I know what 'progressive' means, but I don't understand your comment. Is there a setting I should change, or do you mean that I should view it on another monitor?


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Benjamin Reichman
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:58:07 pm

Also, I should add another oddity. When I export a self-contained Quicktime file, it comes out slightly cropped on all sides, so what I saw at the very top or side of the frame in the Canvas is now chopped off. But that seems bizarre, because it's a self-contained Quicktime!

Is this a clue, or another separate puzzle?

Thanks for the help!


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Steve Eisen
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 7:31:30 pm

Follow Shane's suggestion.

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


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Rafael Amador
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 17, 2011 at 4:03:46 pm

[Benjamin Reichman] "I received screen capture video from the Screenflow app. It's H.264, 30 FPS, and a non-standard resolution: 1676 x 1028, Square Pixel, "None" for Field Dominance.

My sequence (per client's request) is 720p. Specifically, 1280x720, Aspect Ratio: "HDTV 720p 16:9," Square Pixels, Field Dominance "None," Editing Timebase 29.97, Compressor (in Sequence Settings) Apple ProRes 422 HQ."

Convert your stuff to Prores with Compressor (resize it also if you don't intend to do any pan/zoom) and use CinemaTools to conform the Timebase to 29.97.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Rafael Amador
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 17, 2011 at 4:07:45 pm

Sorry I forgot:
Don fiddle with the field order: Everything Progressive (NONE).
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Screen capture (H.264, nonstandard resolution) is blurry in FCP: I need to fix this, but how?
on Nov 19, 2011 at 12:52:51 am

I would first suggest hitting the H.264 with ProRes422. Use Compressor or Streamclip.
Then I would go into Cinema Tools and conform the 30fps 29.97 so Final Cut isn't doing rate conversions. This simply changes the playback rate, no conversions, no rendering. Cinema Tools won't work with H.264.
Lastly, on your Sequence Settings, Video Processing tab, are you using BEST on the Motion Filtering Quality?


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