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up-converting 480 footage

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Bleakley McDowell
up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:32:39 am

Hi,

I have some 480 footage from minidv tapes that I want to edit into an HD project in FCP.
I want to leave the 480 footage in 4:3 and have it pillarboxed in my sequences and the in the final output.

So, I took digitzed 480 files and in MPEG stream clip converted them to Apple ProRes 422, changed the frame rate to 23.98 and left the frame size the same (720x480).

The clips all work in my project sequences now, but the all look a little squashed and fat even though the frame size still says 720x480.

I'm obviously missing some crucial step here. Anyone fill me in on what that step is?

I currently don't have access to an AJA card (or anything similar) tho I suspect I may need to get one....

Thanks!


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Shane Ross
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 25, 2013 at 5:01:28 am

MPEG STREAMCLIP isn't the right app for this. It doesn't do the best job. You need to use Compressor. Adjust the frame size to Custom 4:3, and make it 1440x1080, square pixel. And in the FRAME CONTROLS, turn them all to BEST. And you change the frame rate in the Video settings.

Shane
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Bleakley McDowell
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 12:39:22 am

[Shane Ross] "MPEG STREAMCLIP isn't the right app for this. It doesn't do the best job. You need to use Compressor. Adjust the frame size to Custom 4:3, and make it 1440x1080, square pixel. And in the FRAME CONTROLS, turn them all to BEST. And you change the frame rate in the Video settings."

Thanks Shane. I think I'm going to need to get a Kona-type card for sure as doing all the video I have in Compressor will takes days. I can use the Kona card on already digitzed files, correct?

Also, why is it not possible to keep the frame size at 720x480 when making the conversion?

Thanks!


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Shane Ross
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 12:48:46 am

[Bleakley McDowell] "I can use the Kona card on already digitzed files, correct?"

NOPE! The Kona and other capture cards are IO cards...INPUT/OUTPUT. They take in video signals and output video signals. Any and all conversion they do is done then. None of these cards add processing speed nor power to converting already captured media.

[Bleakley McDowell] "doing all the video I have in Compressor will takes days."

You can also use Premiere Pro. It does a great job at scaling. Scale it up, export via Media Encoder as ProRes. Better job than AE in CS6 at least. BUT...if you have a LOT of footage, meaning you need to upscale a ton of source...don't do it yet. Edit first, using the footage as it, and then when you are done, media manage only the low res files using the COPY option with handles. Upscale those with Compressor, recut them into the show.

[Bleakley McDowell] "Also, why is it not possible to keep the frame size at 720x480 when making the conversion?"

Uh...that's the point of UPscaling. You are make the frame size bigger. You want to use 720x480 in a 1920x1080 project...you want to make it BIGGER. But you said you also want to keep the same frame dimensions, with bars on the side. To do that, you need to increase the dimensions to 1080...to match. But if you went 1920x1080, the image would be distorted...4:3 converted to 16:9. To keep it square, you go 1440x1080.

You can't upconvert and keep the frame size the same...that wouldn't be upconverting.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bleakley McDowell
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 1:06:50 pm

[Shane Ross] "NOPE! The Kona and other capture cards are IO cards...INPUT/OUTPUT. They take in video signals and output video signals. Any and all conversion they do is done then. None of these cards add processing speed nor power to converting already captured media."

Ah. Darn.


[Shane Ross] "You can also use Premiere Pro. It does a great job at scaling. Scale it up, export via Media Encoder as ProRes. Better job than AE in CS6 at least. BUT...if you have a LOT of footage, meaning you need to upscale a ton of source...don't do it yet. Edit first, using the footage as it, and then when you are done, media manage only the low res files using the COPY option with handles. Upscale those with Compressor, recut them into the show."

Cool. Thanks for the tip!


[Shane Ross] "Uh...that's the point of UPscaling. You are make the frame size bigger. You want to use 720x480 in a 1920x1080 project...you want to make it BIGGER. But you said you also want to keep the same frame dimensions, with bars on the side. To do that, you need to increase the dimensions to 1080...to match. But if you went 1920x1080, the image would be distorted...4:3 converted to 16:9. To keep it square, you go 1440x1080.

You can't upconvert and keep the frame size the same...that wouldn't be upconverting."


Ok. This may be an absurd question, but is there a way to use 720x480 footage in a 1080 project without upconverting it? I tried just changing the framerate to 23.97 and the compressor to prores and the pixels to square, but the footage came out slightly stretched.


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Shane Ross
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:54:46 pm

[Bleakley McDowell] " but is there a way to use 720x480 footage in a 1080 project without upconverting it?"

Sure...if you keep it small frame and surrounded by black. Or, small frame layered with other video, picture in picture, or video wall style. But if you want it to be full frame, that is called UPCONVERTING. And if you just blow it up in FCP, it'll look cruddy. That's the worse way to upconvert.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bleakley McDowell
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Oct 2, 2013 at 1:04:07 am

[Shane Ross] "Sure...if you keep it small frame and surrounded by black. Or, small frame layered with other video, picture in picture, or video wall style. But if you want it to be full frame, that is called UPCONVERTING. And if you just blow it up in FCP, it'll look cruddy. That's the worse way to upconvert."

Thanks Shane.

I'm definitely not going to blow it up in FCP.

What would be the workflow for keeping the footage in 480 and using it in a 1080 project?

My project is: 1920x1080/23.98fps/Apple ProRes 422/pixel aspect: square/field dominance: none

Some of my footage is: 720x480/29.97fps/DV-DVCPRO - NTSC/pixel aspect: NTSC-CCIR 601/field domniance: Lower (Even)

I figure at a minimum I need to at least conform the frame rate to 23.98. What else do I need to do to keep it at 480 but use it in my project?

Thanks,
Bleakley


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Shane Ross
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Oct 2, 2013 at 7:28:02 am

[Bleakley McDowell] "What would be the workflow for keeping the footage in 480 and using it in a 1080 project?"

Having it on screen very small, surrounded by black. Or, layer several of this type of footage so you have multiple windows of footage.

[Bleakley McDowell] "
I figure at a minimum I need to at least conform the frame rate to 23.98."


Yes, you will.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bleakley McDowell
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Oct 2, 2013 at 3:33:53 pm

[Shane Ross] "Having it on screen very small, surrounded by black. Or, layer several of this type of footage so you have multiple windows of footage."

I think this is exactly what I'm going to do.


[Shane Ross] "[Bleakley McDowell] "
I figure at a minimum I need to at least conform the frame rate to 23.98."

Yes, you will."


What about the compressor? Or the pixel aspect ratio? Changing the pixel aspect ratio to square squashes everything... can I leave everything else alone and just change the frame rate?


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Bleakley McDowell
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:10:45 am

[Bleakley McDowell] ""Having it on screen very small, surrounded by black. Or, layer several of this type of footage so you have multiple windows of footage.""

OK. Let me ask this in a different way.

Lets say I want to have my SD footage windowboxed in an HD 1080 project. But, 480 is too small of a frame for me. I want the windowboxing but I want a bigger picture than 480 and still keep the SD 4:3 ratio. 1440x1080 is too big because then I just have pillarboxing instead of windowboxing.

So, what are my frame size options in this situation? Can I choose any frame size that is a 4:3 ratio (say, 1280x960 or 960x720) or am I restricted to a few particular frame sizes?

Thanks


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Dave LaRonde
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Oct 7, 2013 at 5:56:30 pm

If you want to have that kind of flexibility, I recommend creating the shot in Motion. This woulde include the layer(s) beneath and above this SD layer.

And of course, taking the hit in comparitive image quality inherent when mixing HD & SD.

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


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Dave LaRonde
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 25, 2013 at 3:53:01 pm

[Bleakley McDowell] "I'm obviously missing some crucial step here. Anyone fill me in on what that step is?"

In addition to Shane's always-wise advice, I gotta ask: what was the reason behind changing the frame rate? Was the footage originally 29.97? Was it originally shot at 24p? 24pa? Was the frame rate conformed to 23.976, which means the footage now runs slower? Was a new frame rate simply designated in MPEG Streamclip in the vain hope that frame rate conversion magic would occur?

Questions, questions, questions.......

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


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Bleakley McDowell
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 12:42:58 am

[Dave LaRonde] "what was the reason behind changing the frame rate? " Part of the footage was shot in 1080 at 23.976 and I want to stick with that for my sequences and final output. The video I want to convert was shot in 480 at 29.97.

[Dave LaRonde] "Was the frame rate conformed to 23.976, which means the footage now runs slower?"
Yep.

[Dave LaRonde] "Was a new frame rate simply designated in MPEG Streamclip in the vain hope that frame rate conversion magic would occur?"

Yep. I thought MPEG Streamclip was good at doing rate conversions.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 6:11:21 pm

Shane gives you good advice on image size. I'll tell you that you can use Compressor to do the Frame Rate Conversion. It may or may not do an adequate job in your opinion.

FCP doesn't deal with mixed frame rates very well. Think about it this way... I'm dealing in whole numbers to make it easier:

Draw a line that's precisely one foot long. Divide it into 24 equal pieces. You have one second of footage at 24fps.

Draw a second line that's also precisely one foot long. Divide it into 30 equal sections. You now have one second of footage at 30fps.

Compare the two lines. You'll note that the divisions of the sections don't match up.

Now: what if you make each piece of the 30-section line as long as one of the pieces of the 24-section line? Eash piece would get longer, so the line would get longer: longer than one second. That's what happens when you CONFORM30fps to 24fps. Any motion in that one second now takes longer than one second: it's slower.

If you made each piece of the 24-section line as long as one piece of the 30-section line, the line would get shorter: less than one second. You would have conformed 24fps to 30fps. Any motion in that one second now takes less than one second: it's faster.

But remember how you compared the two lines, and they didn't match up? That's the challenge of frame rate CONVERSION: you change to a new frame rate, but you keep the time constant... and you have to keep making adjustments to the image as you compare frames, or the motion won't look right.

Many applications like FCP and MPEG Streamclip make very bad adjustments when converting frame rate, and the smoothness of motion suffers.

Compressor is a little better at it, but it's not totally reliable.

Frame rate conversion software like Twixtor are pricey, they're harder to use, but that's because hou have inpuit into the adjustments that they make to get the motion right. They do a better job.

You can also do frame rate conversion using hardware, and the motion is dead-solid-perfect. It's also the most expensive of all.

So I guess the question is this: how good does the frame rate conversion have to look, and how much are you willing to spend?

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


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Mark Suszko
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 7:45:21 pm

Shane Dave, maybe you guys have an answer for this: Smith Micro keeps e-mailing me ads for stuff like Poser and animation apps at a blow-outprice, but they also have an image-scaling application that looks pretty good for blowing-up stills. I reckon If I had the need, I could convert a chunk of SD video to image sequences of stills and process them thru this thing to up-rez them... but would the results, do you think, be any better than scaling in Compressor or AfterEffects? Or a hardware-based scaler?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 8:28:30 pm

Do you remember something sold by Red Giant Software called "Instant HD", reputed to do good conversion from SD to HD?

Adobe bought it from the software developer. It's part of their Creative Cloud version of AE. If you have it, you could try it.

But I wouldn't recommend getting Creative Cloud because I'm opposed to the notion of renting software, particularly when there are project files involved. If you have to suspend the subscription for some reason, your software goes inactive after 90 days and you lose the ability to open project files that you spent hours & days creating.

That's just wrong.

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


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Shane Ross
Re: up-converting 480 footage
on Sep 26, 2013 at 8:37:44 pm

That seems like quite a bit of working around to upscale footage. Personally, I wouldn't do it when there are many better options out there for video. Instant HD, as mentioned, is one. Compressor is OK, and believe it or not, Adobe Premiere CS6 and CC is far better at scaling than After Effects.

Going this still route will take lots of time, lots of effort, and still might not look as good as the video scalers...because they are designed for video, where as the one you mentioned is for stills...different pixels going on here.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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