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Up converting 1440x1080 footage

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Morgan Samuel
Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 5:38:43 am

Hey Creative ones. Wicked forums, awesome resource - cheers for all the knowledge.

I have some footage shot on an older Sony HVR-A1P HDV Camera, which was captured using Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 on an older G5 (osx 10.4.11). This needs to be able to be dropped onto the same sequence as some footage from a newer AVCHD camera, with it's footage imported using iMovie at full HD 1920x1080.

I've spent alot of time scouring the forums to learn about the HDV cams 1440x1080 HD footage and how it works with its non square pixels etc - I get that part. The part I'm having trouble with is up converting said HDV footage to 1920x1080 (to match the AVCHD footage). I'm using Apple Intermediate codec to save hard drive space (and because the old G5 won't capture ProRes).

First, I tried using Mpeg Streamclip exporting it to AIC again, with 1920x1080 resolution, but this added jaggly little lines on the edges of things - a bit like interlacing, but not as severe. I also noticed the Data rate dropped from 103 Mbps down to 87 Mbps. Tried this on both older g5 and a newer Mac pro with the same results.

I then used Quicktime pro - this didn't have the visible artefacts but suffered the same data rate drop - had the same result when exporting using QT directly from FCP.

This does solve my overall problem, in that the 1440 footage is now up to the larger 1920 size, and of course it drops into a timeline alongside the AVCHD footage nicely - but I'm concerned about the quality loss on the res up-convert. Why did Mpeg streamclip look so much worse, and why do both methods drop the data rate down so much? I would have thought exporting a file the same codec that it's currently in would not affect the quality. If it looks ok, is the data rate drop anything worth worrying about? (before I got and batch convert 7 hours of footage...).

Cheers in advance from little old New Zealand.


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Shane Ross
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 6:41:21 am

You don't need to upconvert anything. It's already 1080...both formats are. One is just full raster 1920x1080 and the other is thin raster (anamorphic) 1440x1080. If you make a 1920x1080 sequence, and drop in the 1440x1080 footage...it'll expand properly to fill the space (basically unsqueeze).

That's not an upconvert...not even a cross convert. it's a simple unsqueeze. No converting necessary.

Shane
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Morgan Samuel
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 7:30:47 am

Thanks for the reply. Yes you're right it does 'unsqueeze' by itself in FCP, that part is working ok - with a fresh 1920x1080 sequence I drop it in and let it do the "change sequence settings to match the clip settings?" part, all works ok and looks good. The issue is when I try to bring the other footage from the AVCHD camera into the same sequence - I get the red bar and it wants to render it before it will even play it in the timeline.

Since I'm at the start of the editing process I thought it would be best to get the file types and sizes right/matching to begin with in order to work natively with one set of files and not need to have hundreds of gigs of render files as well as the source media. Hence I thought the solution in this case was to convert one of the types of footage to match the other so they can exists in the same sequence without having to render. Seems silly but perhaps there is something I'm missing - how can I achieve getting both footage sources in the same sequence without rendering to start with?


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Shane Ross
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 9:40:55 am

OK, first off, you should not be making a sequence with the 1440 footage...that's wrong. Now your sequence will be 1440x1080...not full raster 1920x1080. What you need to do is convert the AVCHD to ProRes 422, and use THAT clip to make your sequence. Then drop the 1440 into that. You'll get a render bar, but it'll be green...meaning you can edit and play back without any issue...render later.

BUT, if you want to convert everything to match, then use Compressor to convert the other footage to ProRes. AIC is very lossy, and lacks lots of metadata that's needed to rebuild a project, if you should happen to need to.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Morgan Samuel
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 7:37:14 pm

Thanks Shane. I know AIC is lossy, but as the G5 machine wouldn't capture ProRes from the HDV cam I figured the next best thing was AIC (?) The AVCHD footage ended up as AIC also simply because it was logged/converted using iMovie on an Intel MacPro and of course lame iMovie had no options to change the transfer codec, it was just the default - so I thought I'd stick with AIC since hard drive space is also an issue on this project.

Happy to convert both up to ProRes if it's the best way forward to get the footages working together on a timeline, but I didn't think there would be any quality gain by converting to Pro Res since the footage had already been compressed initially as AIC - is that right thinking?


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Shane Ross
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 7:44:22 pm

Ah, right, you said that.

Well...AIC is also anamorphic 1440x1080. There is no such thing as full raster, square pixel, AIC. It was designed as a way to convert HDV and AVCHD to an editable format, before ProRes came along. And at that time, both formats were 1440x1080...so AIC was.

So your sequence settings will have to be 1440x1080 AIC...and FCP will unsqueeze the image so you can see it full screen. If you have 1920x1080 AIC...not sure how you got that. And because it's non-standard for FCP...it'll throw up an orange render on that. FCP doesn't like things that don't conform to it's thinking.

Shane
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Morgan Samuel
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 8:14:15 pm

hah, you see, this is what happens when a sound engineer (my main trade) tries to help a local charity out by doing a "little video project on the side" - now my head is exploding with possibilities.

I didn;t realise that the whole 1440 reso thing was inherent in the way that AIC works as a codec, thanks for explaining that. Now I'm a bit confused about how I got the 1920 AIC footage aswell if that's the case. Here's a screenshot of the Mpegstreamclip "info" window of said footage after importing using iMovie;



Final Cut actually doesn't mind the full raster AIC footage, as long as the sequence compressor setting is set to AIC too, it plays it fine - it's when you put the 1440 footage on that same timeline that I get a red render bar, and vice versa - i.e It will play the 1440 footage in it's own timeline with the respective settings, but dropping the 1920 footage on the 1440 seq gives a red render bar too - for obvious reasons, they are different sizes right... so that's is why I thought I'd solve the problem by converting the 1440 footage up to full raster 1920 - (lesser of two evils type thing rather than convert the full raster 1920 footage down to thin raster 1440).
Is this the right solution to the problem ? If so, whats the best way to do so?
Sorry for the rambling, I do really appreciate your time and expertise.


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Shane Ross
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 8:16:49 pm

Ah, well, if it works, it works. Capturing in iMovie for FCP is never wise, but you did convert it...

If you have 1920x1080 AIC as the AVCHD...then do the same with the other I suppose. Make them the same codec and same frame size.

Although you shouldn't get a red render bar...go into the RT menu on the timeline and change it from SAFE to UNLIMITED.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Morgan Samuel
Re: Up converting 1440x1080 footage
on May 22, 2015 at 8:32:39 pm

I know, I shudder to think I've had to use iMovie, but it was the only software I had available on my Intel Mac that would even talk to the camera, as you know, the old PowerPC G5 didn't know what to do with an AVCHD camera plugged in, so I turned to my Audio Rig which is a newer Mac Pro... enter iMovie.

[Shane Ross] "If you have 1920x1080 AIC as the AVCHD...then do the same with the other I suppose."

That's the bit I'm not quite sure about and lead me to post here initially - using Mpeg Streamclip gave me artefacts which was very worrying, QT pro and QT export direct from FCP had no errors but dropped the data rate, which had me concerned about losing even more quality when up converting to 1920 and didn't make sense to me. Any ideas as to why the data rate would have dropped on a simple resize with an AIC file? I thought exporting a file in the same codec it's currently in would not affect the quality/data rate at all, unless it's perhaps compressing the already compressed?

I suppose up converting both sources to Pro Res would solve that problem huh - definitely no risk of losing quality going from AIC to Pro Res right? Quality wise I won't be gaining anything but the more you talk about AIC the less I seem to like or trust it now... and hard drives are cheap enough...


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