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720 scaled to 4K???

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William Carr
720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 15, 2013 at 2:03:47 am

For several short documentary films we're posting, a delivery spec has been added for festival screening:

"DCP 4K resolution, Jpeg2000/mxf, 24 fps only, Audio: 5.1 or Left, Right, Center with dialogue localized to the center channel"

This would be the first time we've had to manage a DCP spec. I've got post facility quotes for around $200 per film. I've also researched the COW and found a DIY app, OpenDCP, which I could experiment with, although my inclination is to have the conversions done by DCP experts.

My main query here is about upscaling.

Our edit has started in earnest, and we're working all ProRes 422 on 23.98 720 sequences with 23.98 1080 clips because it allows for invaluable reframing and zooming without magnifying pixels.
The clips are mostly spontaneous action shots and the narratives benefit greatly from this flexibility.
A 720 edit master has always made everybody happy for web, small screening, and local TV broadcast.

But now this additional 4K spec.
I'm wondering what such a huge upscale will look like. I've done plenty of 720 to 1080 upscales and they've been plenty okay projected in small theaters with average equipment.

Is it worth foregoing the benefit of content resizing on the timeline, and instead use a 1080 sequence? The reason would be to incur less upscale pressure on the blow-up to 4K.

I have no experience with the practical realities of this issue, and there is no way I will be able to test results on a 4K projector in advance.
I know people have films shot on iPhones and DSLRs at fests every day, so maybe I'm worrying for naught as long as my 720 master is sharp, clear and beautiful.

Any experience out there with small HD formats to DCP 4K?


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David Roth Weiss
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:14:10 pm

Scaling is always best done via hardware, either via an I/O device such as a AJA, Blackmagic, or Matrox with built-in up-scaling capabilities.

Teranex is even better, and it's now only $2000 since being acquired by Blackmagic.

Scaling from 720p to 4K on the timeline in FCP is going to undoubtedly be a bit softer than hardware scaling, and it will certainly not blend in well with really 4K video footage. However, if it's supposed to look vintage or have that "verite" look, then it will work just fine.

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com

Sales | Integration | Support

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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William Carr
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:51:46 am

The upscaling would be part of the whole DCP creation that I'd have done out of house; I was worried about how bad it would be giving them a 720 master vs. a 1080 master since it's such an expansive upscale.

I will look into how the prospective facilities do the upscale as part of the package, and see who uses a hardware solution.

Thanks for the response!


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Terrence Meiczinger
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 17, 2013 at 4:48:40 pm

The specs the festival is asking for seem a bit strange. It doesn't really make sense to require 4K content, unless the point is to showcase 4K only source material. Scaling your content up to 4K could be worse than just creating a 2K DCP. The 4K digital projection systems are designed to handle 2K as well.

The other thing would be allowing Left, Center, Right channels. This is not a standard audio format. It should be Stereo, 5.1, 7.1. If you want Left/Center/Right you should make a 5.1 DCP with silence tracks for any missing channels.


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William Carr
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 17, 2013 at 4:52:15 pm

Thank you Terrence!

I will contact the fest and straighten it out. This is probably the same spec they give to Hollywood for their features and could probably be eased a bit for our short docs.


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Nick Meyers
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 18, 2013 at 12:06:56 am

how much re-framing do you do?
it might be better to work at 1920x1080.
that is just a very small blow-up to 2k


nick


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William Carr
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 18, 2013 at 3:11:53 am

You're right, Nick, staying 1080 is probably the smartest way. Often the repositionings and post-zooms are super helpful in smartening up some key shots, but in this case the final upscale quality may be the decisive factor for our workflow.


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Terrence Meiczinger
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 19, 2013 at 3:18:32 am

If your material is 1920x1080, then you'd be all set. You just make the DCP and no further image scaling or adjustment is needed for 2K digital projection.


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Nick Meyers
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 19, 2013 at 4:00:11 am

interesting, so where does the blow-up happen?


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Terrence Meiczinger
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 19, 2013 at 4:55:15 am

Flat 2K is 1998x1080, so 1920x1080 will result in 39 pixels of black pillar boxed on each side of the image. If you want to fill the entire 1998x1080, then you'd need to scale/crop your image. Depends on what you feel more comfortable with, but most people wouldn't even notice the pillar boxing.


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Nick Meyers
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Dec 19, 2013 at 5:42:50 am

Thanks, Terrance, i didn't know that.


nick


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Alex Vargas
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Jan 16, 2014 at 7:46:03 pm
Last Edited By Alex Vargas on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:55:05 pm

Hello Terrence,

Huge thanks to you and much appreciation for your work.

I am in post for my first feature, to be sent out to international festivals in about six months after I complete the edit, subtitling three languages, color correction, 5.1 Surround sound design and score (after which, a long holiday will be due). I am about 20% done with all post as mentioned above. I plan to test a 5 minutes scene into the different delivery requirements for festivals to be as ready as I can when all post is done.

I hope it is OK to ask, here, what may seem obvious to most, but not to me. This will be my first DCP work.

My timeline in FCP7 is set to Prores (HQ) 1080p 30fps. All my XDCAM (EX) footage is being transcoded, one scene at a time into Prores (HQ).

I will end up with an approximately 90 min movie in Prores (HQ) exported from FCP7 and 5.1 Surround sound edited in Logic 9. I will probably choose to crop it and then blow it up to fit the DCP Flat 2K (1998x1080), or maybe I'll check out how it looks chopped on the sides, which you mentioned most won't notice. I guess I'll meet some projectionists either way. :)

Being that the transcode will turn my current 30p into 24p, I would simply like to know if you think this will maintain the original quality or degrade it. I know I have to try myself and I will, but a word from your experience would be very appreciated.

However, a million thanks go in advance go for OpenDCP.

Alex Vargas
filmmaker/composer
Macpro 5,1 12 core 48GB RAM - 16 Bay RAID - ATTO
Macbookpro 15"
FCP 7+/Logic 9


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Nick Meyers
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Jan 16, 2014 at 9:35:38 pm

"Being that the transcode will turn my current 30p into 24p"

that's about the worst possible combo for a frame-rate conversion, as you have to drop one frame in every 6
there's no neat way to do it, AFAIK

"All my XDCAM (EX) footage is being transcoded, one scene at a time into Prores (HQ). "

you're not doing this frame-tate conversion while you transcode your footage are you?
are you transcoding original footage or edited scenes?

your best bet would be to transcode your original footage, maintaining the original frame-rate
when your film is completed, do the frame-rate conversion through the best hardware you can get your hands on.


nick


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Alex Vargas
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Jan 16, 2014 at 11:09:59 pm

Thanks Nick,

I am transcoding my footage to Prores (HQ) with the Media Manager in FCP 7, one scene at a time, without changing the frame rate. I chose to do this to only transcode to Prores what I know I will use. When the edit is locked and all sound and color is finished, I'll transcode for different delivery destinations.

I normally shoot to match delivery needs, but in this case I have to go 30 to 24. I believe that OpenDCP can transcode from various frame rates, including 30 fps, which is why I am asking here if transcoding from Prores 1080p 30 fps to DCP (which must be 24fps) will degrade the quality.

The poster's footage is already at 24fps, so there has been no talk about frame rate changes made with OpenDCP. This is where I am "hacking" the thread, in need clarification, both about it being possible to go 30 to 24 with OpenDCP and if it will degrade quality.
I believe it is a relevant question, but only if I understand right, that OpenDCP is able to transcode and change frame rates while at it.

Am I wrong?

Alex Vargas
filmmaker/composer
Macpro 5,1 12 core 48GB RAM - 16 Bay RAID - ATTO
Macbookpro 15"
FCP 7+/Logic 9


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Terrence Meiczinger
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Jan 17, 2014 at 2:56:54 am

OpenDCP deals with image frames, so there is no transcoding. You tell OpenDCP how to interpret those image frames. So, if you have a 20 second clip at 30fps, you'd have 600 frames. If you then tell OpenDCP it's 24fps, you'll end up with a 25 seconds picture track (600frames/24fps = 25s). It won't magically rate convert your video. You can make a 30fps DCP (not 29.97) and most series 2 equipment will play it. However, some of the earlier digital systems may not. You'd have to check with the venue where your content would be playing. You could always make both.


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Alex Vargas
Re: 720 scaled to 4K???
on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:41:08 am

Thank you for the clear explanation Terrence,

I have to rate convert 30 fps to 24 fps before creating a DCP. There is no other way.
I am glad I got that clear now.

I'll figure out what alternative delivery requirements other festivals will have and continue testing.

Thanks!

Alex Vargas
filmmaker/composer
Macpro 5,1 12 core 48GB RAM - 16 Bay RAID - ATTO
Macbookpro 15"
FCP 7+/Logic 9


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