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Exporting 1080p 4:3 video from FCP7

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Nick Johnson
Exporting 1080p 4:3 video from FCP7
on Mar 18, 2014 at 10:39:47 pm

I've seen lots of posts that have somewhat to do with my situation, but I've got some specific questions that I couldn't find elsewhere.

I am working on delivery of a feature film, and one of the delivery requirements is an HDCAM-SR (4:4:4) 1080p 23.98 fps 4x3 Pan/Scan Full Frame Master, which I've taken to mean is a 1920x1080 master with pillar boxes on the left and right. The film's master that I'm working from is a 2048x1080 24fps Apple ProRes 4444 file.

The problem is that, before I was given the delivery specs, I was instructed to start the pan and scan process and, thinking they wanted an SD 4x3 master, I made a new sequence in FCP7 (640x480, square pixels) and did all the panning and scanning that way. In other words, I scaled down the 2048x1080 video so that the tops and bottoms of the shots fit, and then slid the frame right or left when necessary.

Now, I'm told they want a 1080p master, which means I effectively need to scale up every shot in my 640x360 sequence by a factor of approximately 2.25 (i.e. make sure every shot's scale is back to 100), and then also multiply all of the "Center" numbers (under "Basic Motion") by 2.25 in order to keep my pan and scan shifts.

My question here is: can I nest my 640x360 sequence, drop it in my 1920x1080 sequence, and then scale it up to 225? That way, I would be able to scale up all shots at once and also maintain my pan and scan shifts, without having to change each shot manually (it's a feature, so I would rather not re-do everything). Would there be a loss in quality if I did this? I've looked at the frames, and it seems that some of the text is somewhat "lower quality" when I do this, but I am confused as to why this would be, since all of the items in the nested sequence are 2048x1080, albeit scaled down and then effectively scaled back up to original size in the 1920x1080 sequence.

I hope this makes sense. I would appreciate any thoughts or assistance!

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Shane Ross
Re: Exporting 1080p 4:3 video from FCP7
on Mar 19, 2014 at 5:57:35 pm

My thoughts would be to try and see. Nesting is something I avoid because it's full of potential issues. The one I see here is that the nest will consider itself SD, so it might nest in SD attributes. Scaling it might make it look fuzzy. Only way to find out is to do it. Best method might be to bring all the clips over and fix the clips manually.

Why do they want an HD 4:3 master, if the footage is 16:9?

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Nick Johnson
Re: Exporting 1080p 4:3 video from FCP7
on Mar 19, 2014 at 6:08:59 pm

Hi Shane, thanks for the reply. We deliver a lot of films to buyers annually, and I've found that nowadays buyers still want a 4x3 master in addition to a master in the original aspect ratio.

Anyway, I've exported it and sent it off to QC to see. I've done side by side comparisons and, to my eye, I haven't noticed any loss in quality other than the fact that some of the text (which was baked in to the ProRes master) was noticeably fuzzy. This was why I had doubts in the first place, and why I'm still skeptical. Obviously, I would not have gone about this nesting process in the first place, but at this point time is short, as usual, and the "right way" may not always be an option...

We'll see what the QC guys say, and I'll post an update. Thanks!

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