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Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6

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Christopher McDonell
Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 1, 2014 at 6:23:02 am

I'm trying to improve the graphics and text of an old doc shot in the 90s on an interlaced FCP 6 timeline - 720 x 480 DV NTSC. When I make any changes to the render files, they suddenly get crisp and sharp - which is what I want. That is until I render and the interlacing kills them. I tried changing the render codec to Apple ProRes but I guess that only works for HDV. The final output will be progressive - mp4 for web and h.264 .mov for private viewing.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Chris


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Robert Withers
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 1, 2014 at 8:36:48 pm

I'm also interested in this process because I'm working with interlaced NTSC footage cut into a timeline, and seeing artifacts of the interlacing. I've been told that this footage is in "Apple codec." I wonder what changes you are making to your files to that makes them look clean and sharp--is this some kind of preview that you are rendering in Compressor? Please offer more detail.

I cut most of my project in FCP 5.5 and am now working in FCP 7. The additional complication is that I am inserting intertitles and don't know if I will have to redo them later in a progressive release format, such as 720p.

I wonder if deinterlacing with Compressor or some other means will help or hurt the conversion, and how that may affect intertitles.

Cheers.

Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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Mark Suszko
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 2, 2014 at 4:13:42 pm

Why can't you change the project to all-progressive, and then your interlace problems will mostly go away.


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:06:11 pm

Because I think the FCP de-interlacing will look like crap. I'll run some tests over the weekend and report back. One thing I'm going to try is this:

1) disable layers with text and graphics
2) send sequence to compressor and transcode to ProRes 422 using the de-interlacing filter with frame control settings
3) change fcp timeline settings to ProRes 422 progressive
4) import the de-interlaced video file and replace the old
5) render titles and graphics over the new footage and voila!

Unfortunately this means compressing the interlaced footage twice when it's time to export for final output (mp4) but I think it might give me the best results.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:12:35 pm

"...I tried changing the render codec to Apple ProRes but I guess that only works for HDV."

Make a whole new edit timeline in ProRes 422. Copy everything in the old timeline, and paste it into the new one. Then use Compressor to to the deinterlacing.

If you up-res to HD, you have to understand that SD images just won't look all that great.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Robert Withers
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 3, 2014 at 9:27:31 pm

Christopher, could you clarify something about your proposed process?
1) disable layers with text and graphics
2) send sequence to compressor and transcode to ProRes 422 using the de-interlacing filter with frame control settings
3) change fcp timeline settings to ProRes 422 progressive
4) import the de-interlaced video file and replace the old
5) render titles and graphics over the new footage and voila!

I don't understand 1) and 5). Do you mean leave the text and graphics interlaced? Are they in something like AE and not the FCP timeline? By what process do you "render them over the new footage"? Is text created in an interlaced FCP timeline not really interlaced?
Thanks,
Robert

Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 4, 2014 at 6:11:25 am

The way I see it, I can either change the timeline to progressive and de-interlace via FCP that way. Or I can roundtrip what needs to be interlaced using Compressor. Does that make sense? In truth, I haven't done any tests yet because since I revisited this video, I've decided to clean a few things up. But from what I've read, Compressor is a far better tool for de-interlacing. I recently used it on another project and was actually pretty surprised with the results. Far better than how it looked in FCP in fact. So, to clarify, I've isolated all my graphics and text on specific layers. That way I can disable those layers in FCP, either by clicking the green button and making them invisible or disabling them by selecting Modify/Clip Enable. When I'm ready, I can then send the interlaced footage (minus graphics and text) to Compressor, change my FCP timeline to ProRes - progressive/no fields - and then bring the transcoded footage back (replacing that which was interlaced) and sync it up. Then, point 5, enable the disabled graphics/text clips (or make them visible), and RENDER ALL. Unless someone gives me a better idea (and no, I'm not trying to upres to HD)… that's my plan. ;)

[Robert Withers] "Christopher, could you clarify something about your proposed process?
1) disable layers with text and graphics
2) send sequence to compressor and transcode to ProRes 422 using the de-interlacing filter with frame control settings
3) change fcp timeline settings to ProRes 422 progressive
4) import the de-interlaced video file and replace the old
5) render titles and graphics over the new footage and voila!

I don't understand 1) and 5). Do you mean leave the text and graphics interlaced? Are they in something like AE and not the FCP timeline? By what process do you "render them over the new footage"? Is text created in an interlaced FCP timeline not really interlaced?
Thanks,
Robert"


To my knowledge, anything added to an interlaced timeline in FCP 6 gets interlaced in the process – text and graphics. So in DV NTSC, de-interlacing is essentially cutting 480 vertical lines down to 240 – not very pretty! – and then doubling them. As a result, text look even jaggier and rolling credits not so smooth.


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 22, 2014 at 9:55:53 pm

So I did what I proposed in the steps above and it worked perfectly.

I sent my interlaced SD footage to Compressor (without the graphics) and transcoded to ProRes 422 HQ with frame controls on, changing fields to none (de-interlacing, but not with the filter, set at best, best, better). I then changed my original timeline (a duplicate of it) to match: ProRess 422 Progressive. I replaced the interlaced footage with the new de-interlaced ProRes footage. Then enabled the graphics and titles (now in a progressive timeline). Rendered. And exported as mp4's for web.

I compared the final result with that of just de-interlacing everything (graphics included) and the difference is remarkably noticeable. It's noticeable in FCP too. Especially with floating text.


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Robert Withers
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:15:46 pm

Thanks, Christopher, I guess you mean noticeably better. Simply transcoding to ProRes 422 and setting fields to none is better than de-interlacing with the Compressor deinterlace function? Or just better than the deinterlace filter?

Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Improving the Graphics/Text of an old Interlaced Video - FCP 6
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:22:48 pm

Hey Robert. Yes, noticeably better. As to your question, there doesn't seem to be a need to use the Compressor de-interlace filter when you can just set the fields to none by turning Frame Controls on. I'm sure someone else here knows better. But when I play the two videos side by side where one has graphics de-interlaced, and the other graphics progressive… huge difference.


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