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Workflow advice needed

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Vanessa McDonnell
Workflow advice needed
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:31:00 pm

Hello and thank you so much for reading this. I need some workflow advice.

I'm being asked to prepare various types of footage for an editor to work with in FCP. Most of this material is coming from DVD's, archive material, and online videos. I'm guessing that the majority of it will in SD.

The editor wants to work in Pro Res 422 HQ, which I think makes sense (yes, I know that this SD footage will just be getting bloated up to huge file sizes with possibly little benefit, but it needs to be converted to something and he wants the superior motion rendering abilities, etc.)

The question I have is about frame size. The editor is requesting that I conform all the footage to either 1920x1080 or 1280x720, and he says he thinks these will sit in a sequence with each other without needing to be rendered.

First of all, that's not true, right? If his sequence settings are 1920x1080, then all footage that is not exactly that will need to be rendered, since it will be scaled up to fit the frame, correct?

Second, I'm questioning whether it's a good idea to up-res the files with my conversion software (I'm using MPEG Streamclip to convert all the material to Pro Res). Wouldn't it be better to give him all the footage in it's original native dimensions, whatever those might be, but converted to Pro Res, and then let him see what the majority of the footage is, edit in that, scaling only what needs to be scaled. Then when it comes time for him to delivery a 1920x1080 file, let FCP do this up-res instead of MPEG streamclip? I would think that this would be more efficient and possibly give greater quality since FCP might be better at the up-res (working in a Pro Res HQ sequence) than MPEG Streamclip?

Does my thinking make sense? Or his? Or are neither of us right? What's the best way to go forward?

Thank you!

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Mark Suszko
Re: Workflow advice needed
on Sep 23, 2013 at 1:44:32 pm

FCP7 is not as good at up-rezing as Apple Compressor is, so the work flow should go thru Compressor for up-scaling. I don't know enough to say if Streamclip compresses *better* than Compressor, perhaps Shane or someone else has insight on that.

Scaling up every SD shot may limit the editor creatively, and if you're having to re-crop 4x3 into 16x9, there should be some discussion on how that cropping is going to be applied uniquely to each source, since it is going to play heck with framing and headroom at times. It's no sin to mix 3x4 into 16x9, you know: there are dozens of techniques for matting or compositing such footage to better fill screen space.

ProRes 422HQ may be overkill and you're right, inflates the file size dramatically.

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