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FCP Playing At Wrong Frame Size

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Brad Kester
FCP Playing At Wrong Frame Size
on May 17, 2012 at 12:21:00 am

I'm trying to edit some vacation video shot on my Samsung Galaxy phone. It comes off the camera as MPEG-4 with H.264 codec, so I converted to Apple Pro Res 422 using Compressor. The converted files look fine when I play them in Quicktime, but when I import into Final Cut, it squishes the frame size in both the canvas and the viewer. Also, the automatic prompt to match sequence and clip settings does not come up. I tried manually setting them but it still played back at wrong frame size, and still had to render. Here's the format info:

Camera shoots:
29.97fps
720x480
H.264
428.4K/sec
NTSC-CCIR 601

After Converting to ProRes:
30.97
720x480
Apple ProRes 422 HQ
7.7MB/sec
NTSC-CCIR 601

This may be beside the point, but I noticed that the frame rate changed after the ProRes conversion. It didn't seem to make a difference in picture quality, but I wanted to see if it had anything to do with the frame size, so I manually changed the settings in Compressor to conform to 29.97. This did not seem to make any difference, though, and took way longer to convert.

I'm using Final Cut Pro 6 and thought maybe it was having trouble with the ProRes codec, so I tried converting the MPEG-4 clips to NTSC instead. When I brought that into FCP, the "match sequence" prompt came up and suddenly I didn't have to render. BUT...the frame size is still off.

The only way I've gotten it to look right is by using the NTSC clip and, after dropping into the sequence, opening up the Sequence Settings and switching the pixel aspect ratio to Square. The trouble, though, is that the next clip I drag from the browser (even the exact same clip) shows up with the wrong frame size again. And the square-pixel-trick no longer works.

Anybody have any ideas? This is not going to be an intense edit, just wanted to throw the clips together and set it to music to give to my girlfriend. I don't really care whether I use ProRes or NTSC, I just want it to work! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Brad


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP Playing At Wrong Frame Size
on May 17, 2012 at 9:46:16 pm

[Brad Kester] "After Converting to ProRes:
30.97
720x480
Apple ProRes 422 HQ"


How are you checking that frame rate? In the QT player? Take it into FCP to get the real story.
For later reference, good ol' ProRes 422 would have been perfectly adequate. Unless you shoot on a RED camera or something, the only thing HQ boosts is file size... not image quality.



[Brad Kester] "The converted files look fine when I play them in Quicktime, but when I import into Final Cut, it squishes the frame size in both the canvas and the viewer."

Try this: Highlight the footage in the FCP browser, look for the Anamorphic column and click to put a check mark in it: see if it helps.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Brad Kester
Re: FCP Playing At Wrong Frame Size
on May 17, 2012 at 10:52:01 pm

Hi Dave, Thanks for the reply.

FRAME RATE:
The format info was checked using Final Cut (and just double checked). Is that weird for Compressor to spit out a different frame rate than the original clip? I selected the Compressor preset by choosing Apple > Formats > Quicktime > Apple ProRes 422. I did notice that the Frame Controls were turned off in the preset, so I actually ran a test, turning them back on and setting to 29.97. But I wasn't totally sure how to adjust all the other settings. Anyhow, that test didn't seem to solve the aspect ratio issue.

Does the frame rate have anything to do with the aspect ratio?

I also selected the standard Apple ProRes 422. Not sure why it ended up as HQ. My version of Compressor actually doesn't even offer HQ as a preset option.

ANAMORPHIC:
Checking the anamorphic box (for the clip) in the browser did not make a difference. Selecting anamorphic in the sequence settings changes things, but then it comes out too stretched.

EASY SETUP & FRAME RATE/FRAME SIZE:
Since the Match Sequence/Clip Settings prompt has not been appearing with my ProRes clips, I checked the Easy Setup to see if I could do it that way. I noticed that the frame rate of the sequence was then locked to 23.98. Wondering if ProRes does not handle 29.97 very well.


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Brad Kester
Re: FCP Playing At Wrong Frame Size
on May 24, 2012 at 12:01:00 am

Still having this issue if anyone has any ideas. I would love to solve it.

I realize this is not the best camera to use, but it seems like I should be able to make something work. Right?

Any tips, any thoughts would be helpful.

BK


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