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heidi schrodinger
Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 21, 2012 at 10:29:55 am

Hi,
I have so many questions to post- I just wish I could sit down and have a real chat with someone savvy. Anyway, if anyone is out there that can answer my queries, you will be worshipped from afar.
1:
I am going through my 30 minute film looking at the still images imported from various digital camera and fixed resized in Photoshop Elements. I notice that some images have 60fps as part of their info, and others have 25fps. My film is shot in SD PAL.
Why is this- it seems so random that some are 60 and others 25. Is this going to be a problem when I export? How does a photo have a frame rate?

2: some of the photos are of less quality than others- from older cameras with less megapixels ( I have collected a large number of images from my local community for this project about the 2009 Bushfires here in Australia)- when I resize to 72 dpi in Photoshop, the pixel size gets adjusted so it is too low/small for Pal ( which is 640x480) .
So... can I just ignore the dpi as it is just a print thing- and resize the pixels so that each image is bigger- ( and by extension, the dpi is bigger )
and will these bigger pixel dimensions mean better quality on screen? This doesn't make much sense- sorry. Another way of saying what I mean is- if I have some smaller megapixel images- will they look crappy whatever I do with them, or do they have to be smaller than 640x480 to look crappy?

3: I am worried that my SD PAL film will not look great on a large, or even a medium size flat screen digital tv or monitor. Has anyone experience with this?
WHEN I do go to output ( soon, I have a deadline of a couple of weeks) and baring in mind I have never done an output on FCP (only on i-movie and years ago on AVID- like last century ) what is the best way to get the best looking project to view on a digital monitor? Does it involve any special formatting etc?

thanks so much for your help. I'll repost this in the other category, too.
Heidi

'Getting back into making after a long time off'


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Stephen Smith
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 21, 2012 at 7:22:41 pm

2. So... can I just ignore the dpi as it is just a print thing

Correct.

3. I am worried that my SD PAL film will not look great on a large TV

SD will always look bad compared to HD. When I export out of FCP I like to do the following: File, Export, Quicktime Movie...
Make sure it is set to "Current Settings" that way you will keep everything the same. Make sure Make Movie Self-Contained is checked. Then import the movie file into compressor. Compressor has some default settings for DVDs that I recommend. Then import into DVD studio pro and make a DVD.

Hope this helps and best of luck.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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heidi schrodinger
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 22, 2012 at 1:50:46 pm

Thanks Stephen, that all does help!
I had no little choice but to go SD- budget and convenience- it's one of those films that is taking a long time to make.
Cheers,
Heidi

'Getting back into making after a long time off'


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Stephen Smith
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 24, 2012 at 4:09:38 pm

Happy to help and best of luck.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Aeolan Kelly
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:00:37 pm

"So... can I just ignore the dpi as it is just a print thing- and resize the pixels so that each image is bigger- ( and by extension, the dpi is bigger) and will these bigger pixel dimensions mean better quality on screen?


No. It is akin to turning up the volume on audio that has lots of background noise, instead of raising the audio levels. As the other commenter noted, SD to HD will always make your images look lower quality anyway-- are you editing in SD or HD?

Either way, if you can access an SD monitor and an HD monitor for your cutting room, you'll have a fairly good idea of what your final product will look like, compared with your original footage. If you can only get one monitor, consider what your final delivery format will be and go with that. For example, if you're going to be projecting in HD at festivals, definitely have an HD monitor so that you don't get any rude surprises about what your SD footage will look like once it's being stretched across the much higher-rez HD signals.

As far as your stills, the only way you can make your smaller dpi images look better when you resize them in FCP is to vectorize them. For this, I use Adobe Illustrator, though there are other programs than can be used to accomplish this. A vector file allows you to enlarge and reduce your image without loss of any quality. This requires some work, and the process in this case isn't failsafe-- you'll almost definitely have to bring your pictures back into Photoshop and finesse them a bit to make them look acceptable. This may require some painting in the backgrounds, or blurring areas to create smoother lines-- it all depends on the quality of the original image though. When you're starting from a low-res image to begin with, you're fighting an uphill battle. I'd give this a shot though, esp. if you're going to be projecting onto larger screens.

Here's one way to convert your .psd files into vectors:

Right-click/control-click on the file you want to vectorize, and select "Open with," then select "Illustrator" from the options. Choose to convert layers to objects or flatten all of the layers into a single image in the “Photoshop Import Options” dialog box that appears. Choose “Flatten Layers to a Single Image” option for most photographs. Click “OK.”

Alternatively, you can open your file in Photoshop first then flatten it there. I strongly suggest making a copy of your .PSD file first, by control-clicking it and selecting "Duplicate" from the pop-up. Flattening layers isn't something you can undo after you have saved your file as a flattened image in Photoshop. Then, open your flattened .PSD file in Illustrator.

Select “Object," then"Live Trace," and "Tracing Options” from the menu at the top of the page. Select “Photo High Fidelity” from the Preset drop-down in the dialogue box, and set the Max Colors slider to "256." This will create paths as close as possible to the paths in your .PSD file. Click “Trace."

NOTE - if you don't see the "Trace" option, click "Okay" to close the dialogue box, then click "okay" in the menu bar and see if it appears there. This may vary somewhat in different versions of Illustrator.

From the “Object” menu, now select “Expand.” This will convert the trace into paths, thereby vectorizing your image.

Select “File" and "Save As” from the application menu, enter a name for your new file and select either ".ai" or ".eps" from the Format drop-down. These are the common vector file formats-- ".ai" is the proprietary format for Illustrator, and ".eps" is a more universal format which can be edited in other vector programs.

So, after all this, you may still want to bring your file into Photoshop again (do make another copy first, as a backup), and add some blurs, etc, to even out the more pixellated areas. I don't know if Photoshop Elements will let you do this, but it's worth a try at least.

I wouldn't panic if your attempts to vectorize your images aren't perfect, for if they are slightly lower-res to begin with, they'll probably match the SD footage more closely.

If they're really grainy and unviewable, another option might be to either scan high-res versions of the pictures, or take photos of them with a digital camera set to a high res capture mode. I know in a doc it's not always possible to return to all your sources, but suggesting that as a last-ditch effort if all else fails.

Hope this helps!


_______

Final Cut Pro 7 For Non-Editors
https://practicalfcp.publishpath.com


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Stephen Smith
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 25, 2012 at 12:49:26 am

Just to make sure there is not confusion. Video is NOT 72 DPI. See page 1193 in Chapter 70 of the FCP manual.

If you have a photo that is 300 dpi and you change the Resolution to 72 dpi in Photoshop the pixel dimensions shrink. Since your photo doesn't need to be 72 dpi you don't need to worry about that.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Aeolan Kelly
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 25, 2012 at 2:37:06 am

I should clarify something in my response too. When I say "no" in my first sentence, I mean "no" to bigger pixel dimensions translating into better quality images onscreen. DPI is a print term only, and irrelevant to video. The bottom line is that if your images originate with a small frame size, no matter what their dpi in print, they'll remain low-res in video when you import them into your project and have to resize them to match your video footage or other stills.

This becomes a problem if you want to put moves on your images, like zooming into certain areas, etc., because the smaller the frame size of the original image, the more pixellated it will become when you zoom in on it. This is what I mean when I compare blowing up the image in Photoshop to raising the volume of an audio clip as opposed to the levels. The frame size is what really affects your quality of stills in FCP. It's very unlikely that you'll be able to collect all your stills at a compatible frame size as the majority of your video footage without having to rescale them yourself in photoshop or FCP.

I like vectorizing my still images because it offers me more options as an editor. If I need to rescale a still, vectors enable me to scale my stills up and down without losing quality. If I need to make a still image bigger in FCP but retain high res, I create my desired frame size in Illustrator/Photoshop, and re-import into FCP. A practical example of why I do this came up on a doc, where I needed to repurpose a particular still that we'd used in the edit as background to use in the titles. The director wanted to blow it up a lot, but when we did that, the quality was awful. That's when I first became aware of this kind of workaround.

There are also softwares that will convert your stills into higher-res versions of themselves for you (as opposed to going through the Illustrator steps I mentioned in my other comment), but I just go with the tools that are already in my Photoshop suite.


______________

Final Cut Pro 7 For Non-Editors
https://practicalfcp.publishpath.com


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heidi schrodinger
Re: Worried about photo imports, sequence settings and viewing on digital monitors etc.
on Sep 25, 2012 at 3:57:08 am

Thanks Aeolan, this is really useful info. I haven't got Illustrator on this mac but I think I have an old version on an ancient mac somewhere I could crank up just for the stills . I remember coming across vector use with titles years ago, and had forgotten about them.
Your description of pixels/resolution has settled into my head more clearly now.
One thing I don't understand about resizing a still in photoshop, say the original is approx 3000 x 2000 at 300 dpi and I want it ( for PAL ) at Pal resolution 720x534, or a bit bigger in case I zoom in a bit. If I cut the dpi to 72 it makes the pixel ratio too low for PAL, so instead I just resize the pixel ratio to say 1200 x 800 and the dpi stays at 300.
Is this ok? Is it just a matter of having too large a file in the project/storyline and more for the computer to deal with?
Cheers,
Heidi

'Getting back into making after a long time off'


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