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exporting from FCP for the big screen

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Kai Egener
exporting from FCP for the big screen
on Jun 2, 2012 at 7:50:20 pm


I know my way around FCP a bit but I'm still not so savvy when it comes to video codecs.

I'm working on a short film. I had a version of it on a DVD that I didn't have the FCP project file for anymore, so I couldn't just burn another copy. But I needed to add subtitles.

So I ripped it off the DVD, added subtitles, and tried to export it again using QuickTime conversion, QT, Compressor... But whatever I try, it looks terrible-- very pixel-y.

The stats for the footage:

Compression: H.264
Pixel Aspect: Square
Field Dominance: None

I'm assuming that as I've compressed the footage once, I'm not going to get a good result no matter how I export. But where do I go from here? Do I need to reassemble the project with the original, uncompressed footage? Are there any shortcuts for doing this? (hope, hope...)

thanks in advance for any advice!


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Andrew Rendell
Re: exporting from FCP for the big screen
on Jun 4, 2012 at 9:39:27 am

Re-compressing is a sure way to lose quality.

DVDs use MPEG2 coding so using H264 as an intermediate step is likely to be pretty disastrous IMO.

The least bad way to go about what you're trying to do would be to rip the DVD into ProRes, do the subtitling, then encode back to MPEG2 assets to burn a new DVD.

Also, keep the same pixel size, pixel aspect ratio and interlace status (unless you really want to change them).

If the quality is still too poor, you'll have to go back to the sources, which will be a horribly slow and painstaking process. I don't know of any shortcuts to doing that without the original timeline. In theory you should be able to separate out the audio from the DVD without re-encoding it and just do the vision (although I haven't actually done that myself).

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