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Mixing 1080 and 720 footage

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Colin Kelly
Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 1:21:34 am

I've looked over this forum and still haven't seen a suitable answer. I will be shooting with my Canon 60D. I plan on shooting the majority of everything at 1080 24p. I will also be shooting footage at 720 60p and conforming that footage in Cinema Tools for FCP to 24p for slow motion.

I'll also be using a GoPro Hero HD. The formats I'll be shooting with that are 1080 30p and 720 60p (which again I'll conform to 24p in Cinema Tools).

I'd like all of this to go into a 24p timeline in FCP. Obviously, I will not have an issue with the footage shot at 24p (or the conformed 60p to 24p footage).

My question is my sequence settings. Would I:

A) Make a 720p timeline at 24p and have the 1080p footage downscaled 37%?
B) Make a 1080p timeline at 24p and have the 720p footage blown up to 150%?

This is for web output only. No DVD or broadcast.

Will I see less quality loss by adding 1080p footage to my 720p timeline, or vise-versa?

Thank you.

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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 1:23:55 am

Use a 720p setting. Shrinking size is always better than enlarging it in the end.


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Colin Kelly
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 1:34:45 am

Thanks Jerry. So when I compress it at 720p out, it won't do anything to the 1080p footage?


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 2:30:23 am

FCP will automatically scale the 1080 down to match the frame size, unless you manually push it in on the Motion tab. Frame size conversions work far better than frame rate conversions. (Cinema Tools conform isn't a conversion.)

Also, I would suggest narrowing it down as much as possible on your source footage. You're all over the place with two resolutions and three frame sizes. Is this really necessary? Without knowing the specifics on your project I'm suggesting that you simplify life and shoot at 1080/24 or 720/60, then follow Jerry's advice and edit in 720/24.

Regarding frame rates and resolution don't be too distracted by "we could" and instead ask if "we should." Given GoPro's niche, I think the answer regarding 1080/30 will become pretty clear.

I think you're already on top of this, but be sure to convert everything to ProRes. You'll have to in order to use Cinema Tools, and with mixed frame sizes it will make life better. Also, in the sequence settings there's a resize quality option hiding under one of the tabs. Put that on best. I would make that one of your last steps, it does kick the render time up.

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Colin Kelly
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 2:38:41 pm


Yes it is since the GoPro does not shoot at 24p. If it did, this would not be an issue.

I can always conform that footage to 24p in Cinema Tools and then speed it up in FCP. That's not really a big issue. I've done it before and it works fine.

This was more about trying to find the right sequence settings that would be best for mixing slow motion (at 720p) and HD (at 1080p).

Of course all will be log and transferred to ProRes 422. Sounds like just making a 720p timeline @24p and making sure all of my frame rates match that is the way to go.

Thanks everyone!

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Shane Ross
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 2:31:22 am will make it 720p...

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Scott Wolfson
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 11:19:22 am

Hi All,

I have searched all over the internet trying to get "concrete" answers to this:

I have an upcoming wedding that I plan on shooting in 1080 24p for the main segments (ceremony, toasts) and 720 60p for footage that I plan to slo mo in the edit...b-roll action shots like bridal preps, dance footage, etc. My question(s) are:

(1) How will a 1080 24p timeline work with mixed 1080 24p and 720 60p footage? Will my 720p footage upscaled to 1080 look poor? My final output is for both Blu ray and DVD for the client.

(2) Do I use cinema tool to conform the 720p footage to 1080 24p first or do I have FCP 7 match the sequence settings when I drop the 720p footage onto the timeline? Having never worked with these two mixed resolutions and frame rates, I want to know specifically what I need to do. Do I need to slo mo my 720p footage in Cinema Tools or FCP?

(3) Till now, I have always shot my events at 1080 30p only and worked within a 1080 30p Pro Res timeline. The reason I am contemplating about using 720 60p is that I notice when I slo mo my "action shots" I notice an unpleasant "ghosting" effect around the edges of the subject. I've been told that 720 60p footage slo mo will help solve this issue.

(4) I want to shoot in 1080 24p as that is the setting most of the higher end wedding and event cinematographers shoot at. However, most of them don't slo mo any of their footage. I do plan on slo mo some of my footage though.

Finally am I better off shooting mixed 1080 24p and 720 60p video or do I stay with 1080 30p or 1080 24p all the way?


Scott Wolfson
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William Carr
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Oct 30, 2012 at 3:01:15 am

For web only, pretty much anything that's well captured at 1080 or 720 and scaled up or down will look pretty darn good. The real issue you may need to address is frame rate.

The 1080 GoPro clips at 30 which you will conform to 24 may stutter, depending on the action. If there's a preponderance of 30fps clips you might be better off bringing all the 24 up to 30, since adding frames is usually smoother than taking them away. Yes, that would mean your 720@60 GoPro slo-mo wouldn't be as slow, but mixing normal speed time base rates can be more of a problem for image quality if you're concerned about motion, more than mixing HD sizes would be for "resolution".

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Sascha Engel
Re: Mixing 1080 and 720 footage
on Nov 8, 2012 at 5:22:40 pm

One reason for down stepping to 720p I missed in all the feedback: If you only go for WEB and SD DVD, 720p timeline has a huge advantage: YOu can use your 1080p footage, and do Zooms, Pans and Tilts and even Vertigo Zooms without losing quality. It's a nice extra gift.


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