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Maximising quality and title sharpness in FCE / iDVD tool chain

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gary mc closkey
Maximising quality and title sharpness in FCE / iDVD tool chain
on Apr 26, 2011 at 9:26:08 pm

Hi

I'm working with FCE4 / iDVD7.1 as my tool chain, and my source footage is MiniDV PAL SD anamorphic.

I understand from lurking and reading here that DV is not the best for having great looking titles.

My cunning plan is to
*log / capture the miniDV footage from tape via FCE
* export it directly out again, as Apple Intermediate Codec, 1024x576, interlaced, lower field.
* bring the AIC footage back in, to a new FCE project
* do my editing magic, add titles, finalise
* export again as AIC 1024x576, interlaced, lower field
* ingest in to iDVD and let it do its magic converting to MPEG2.

This way I think I avoid DV / title issues, as I'm not editing / converting in that format apart from the initial ingest.
BTW, the reason I've chosen AIC as the codex is that it's the only thing FCE will work in apart from DV, for SD footage. ProRes would be my choice if available.

The thing is, I can't see a way to set FCE to use AIC with interlaced SD, it only gives me options for
- 720p25
- 1440 / 1920i50

So is what I want impossible, or can it be done?

As a side question, is there any advantage to using MPEG Streamclip to do the conversion DV -> AIC? Does it use quicktime like FCE, or is it its own code?

Suggestions and feedback gratefully received.


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gary mc closkey
Re: Maximising quality and title sharpness in FCE / iDVD tool chain
on Apr 26, 2011 at 11:34:48 pm

OK
I've looked and looked, and it seems my cunning plan won't work as described.

What I can do is
* log / capture the miniDV footage from tape via FCE
* Use MPEG Streamclip to convert to AIC 1440x1080i
* bring the AIC footage in to FCE, using the appropriate AIC easy setup
* edit / title / finalise
* export as AIC 1024x576i (correct resolution for DVD PAL)
* burn in iDVD

This I think works, on several levels. It avoids DV for any titling issues. It gives me an output I can use now to create DVDs, and the option to go to BluRay in the future. (I know SD footage doesn't magically look HD just with upscaling)

The question is, will upscaling to 1440x1080 and downscaling again to 1024x576 lose me any quality? And will it make the titling much better? Especially as I'm using Streamclip and quicktime, and not a hardware solution for the conversions. Off to do some tests.

Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and buy FCPX when it arrives, for $299, and save myself alot of workflow hassle.

Regards
Gary


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Zane Barker
Re: Maximising quality and title sharpness in FCE / iDVD tool chain
on Apr 27, 2011 at 4:30:39 am

[gary mc closkey] "Maximising quality and title sharpness in FCE"

[gary mc closkey] "my source footage is MiniDV PAL SD anamorphic."

[gary mc closkey] "export it directly out again, as Apple Intermediate Codec, 1024x576,"

If you start off with SD material and scale it up you most certainly are NOT going to keep or maximize quality.

The video will actually look more pixelated then the original because you are effectually just enlarging a smaller image to have a bigger image size.

[gary mc closkey] "The thing is, I can't see a way to set FCE to use AIC with interlaced SD, it only gives me options for - 720p25 - 1440 / 1920i50"

Thats because AIC is a HD codec (and not a vary good one at that) and not an SD codec.

Frankly unless you can move to FCP there is not much you can do for image quality and title sharpness when you are working with SD footage.

You also say you plan on using iDVD to make the final DVD. You will take another quality hit there. You cannot control the encoding of the video for the DVD in iDVD like you can when you use Compressor and DVD SP.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Maximising quality and title sharpness in FCE / iDVD tool chain
on Apr 27, 2011 at 11:50:47 am

Are your trying to upconvert your SD material to HD?

Can you capture SD-DV.
Edit SD-DV.
THEN, Change your sequence to the DV50 codec? Or 8 bit Uncompressed.
Then Export Current settings.
I don't use FCE, So I don't know how much like FCP it is.


OR

Can you capture SD-DV.
Edit SD-DV.
Export finished edit using a better codec.

Then compress for dvd.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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