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Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?

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Peter Berdovsky
Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 4:58:48 am

I can animate text/sharp vector images in AE or Motion with pristine effects, however, when I do it in Final Cut Pro, it look amazingly sharp unrendered, but as soon as I render it, all edges become jagged, squarish, almost compressed looking. It's definitely not interlacing issues ---> it's the edges of the objects that I animate... they lose their sharpness and become pixelly.

I tried every possible compression setting in my sequence to no avail.

I really like editing in FCP, as I find Motion and AE more cumbersome, but I can't continue doing it for these projects, until I solve this little problem...

Does it have anything to do with anti-aliasing?

Has anyone here had same issues with FCP?

Help please,

Thanks,

Zebbler


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walter biscardi
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 5:01:06 pm

What codec are you using and how are you feeding your external television monitor?

If you are only using the FCP Canvas to view your material, that is your problem.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 5:07:07 pm

I make most of my work for web or digital projection, so having it look good on a computer monitor is actually a must for me. So I do my previews on the same computer as I use to edit, either in FCP canvas or in QTPro after the export.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 5:32:22 pm

Peter,

As Will Shakespeare once wrote in the immortal Julius Caesar, "the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our FCP, but in ourselves."

FCP doesn't suck as you think, simple pilot error is more likely the cause of your issues.

Have you bothered to check your RT settings on the timeline?

Are you aware that, among many settings that affect the quality of video playback in the FCP canvas, that RT settings allows the user to control the quality of video playback?

Do you know that the quality is by default set to "dynamic," and that playback of high resolution video, stills, or multiple layers that exceed the overhead of your system, cause playback to drop down to lower resolution playback unless you, the user otherwise intervene?


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on May 1, 2009 at 12:37:45 am

Hi guys.
So - as I mentioned in the posts above, most of my problems were coming from Final Cut Pro misreading the field preference in my clips. I created the clips in question, so I knew what the actual field preference was, and could fix it in FCP.

What if I have a clip that I didn't create? Is there a surefire 100% way to find out what its field preference is? If FCP is making those mistakes, I would love to find a way to double check anything that looks a little off.



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walter biscardi
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 8:20:14 pm

[Peter Berdovsky] "So I do my previews on the same computer as I use to edit, either in FCP canvas or in QTPro after the export. "

The FCP Canvas is degraded. Export and look at the image in Quicktime Player or change your Canvas to 100% scale and look at it that way. Quicktime player is better though.

FCP expects you to have an external monitor for broadcast / film work so the canvas is purposely degraded.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 8:56:42 pm

[walter biscardi] "The FCP Canvas is degraded."

Only if RT settings are left set to "Dynamic," which is the factory default.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 4:16:40 am

Man... This is still driving me crazy... Granted, exported videos don't look as bad in QT player as they look when paused in Final Cut Pro... but it's so confusing - unrendered - it looks perfect - http://zebbler.com/intcomp/fcp/x.png
But when I render it - it looks like pixelly madness. And I made triple sure all of the files are not interlaced, the sequence compression is set to AppleProRes, etc: http://zebbler.com/intcomp/fcp/y.png

I wish I could just keep the sharpness I see when it's unrendered...

Zebbler (Peter B.)



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 4:35:45 am

Peter,

Do you have a video I/O card and a monitor?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 4:54:04 am

All of my work as of late has been for computer monitors - to be distributed on the web. So I actually do need to make it look good on my screen.

I use a Mac Book Pro to edit, same screen to preview my work. I could output it to an external CRT monitor via a standard mac DVI to S-video adapter, but that would defeat my purpose here I think...



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Tom Wolsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 10:58:59 am

What specific and exact formats are you working in? You talk about HD, you talk about field order, but what's the bloody format and codec and frame size, what's the media? Please give complete and exact information about your specifications of your media and of the sequence you're working in.


All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP6," "Basic Training for FCS2" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 4:30:15 pm

Well, if you follow the thread - my posts were made about different projects and at rather different times. The problem is all the same, regardless, and mostly deals with how FCP allows you to preview the video you are working on. I noticed that, regardless of my sequence settings (it could be HD, sd, whatever resolution or compression), when I have an image (lets say, like in my last problem post - something with really sharp red lines to it) in my sequence - unrendered - it looks just as it should - very sharp. As soon as I render it - the sharpness disappears - and the outlines get pixelly (see my images from a few posts up for an example).

People responding to the thread were correct, in that FCP seems to do a worse job previewing the video than, lets say, QTPro. After I export the video and preview it in QTPro - it doesn't look nearly as pixelled (and it depends more on the compression settings at that stage). But previewing it in FCP seems painfully unreliable that way - the pixellating edges would drive me mad - because I seek a reliable digital (most of my work is for the web) preview of how something will look before I export it.
It's especially a big problem because various video compressions / fcp actually seems to have a hard time with sharp lines of certain colors (i.e. red) - and without a proper way to preview it - I have to export multiple bit in different compressions and preview them in QTPro, instead of just seeing within the FCP timeline what looks best.


The pixellation would happen with any resolution/compression format I have tried in my sequence prefs.

Shrug.

Zebbler (Peter B.)



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Tom Wolsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 6:36:51 pm

FCP does a great deal to add real-time playback. That's it's primary purpose, real-time playback for editing. Every instance is specific. You cannot talk about generalities. Every format, every codec, every display will produce different results. Are you encoding and rendering to a video format? I know you want to deliver on the web, but if you're working in SD DV for instance, that is a codec designed specifically for interlaced media to be viewed on a video monitor. That may not be your ultimate designation, but that's what you are rendering in the timeline, and that is how you MUST view it. You can't talk about DV viewed on a computer screen. The format is highly compressed and absolutely not designed for computer display. Many formats will only approximate their correct display when viewed with the canvas set to 100%, and even then they are not a true representation of the media. It simply cannot be done on a computer. Are you looking at the canvas set to 100% BTW?

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP6," "Basic Training for FCS2" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 6:49:29 pm

Yeah, absolutely, looking at the screen at 100%
I hate DV anyway, I mostly use motion jpegB, photo jpeg, apple intermediate, apple pro res 422.

Take a look at my comparison images here:
(unrendered, segment of the video at 100%): http://zebbler.com/intcomp/fcp/x.png
(rendered, segment of the video at 100% - looked the same! even if I switch my sequence settings (compression) to either one of these - motion jpegb, photo jpeg, apple pro res 422HQ - and re-rendered it in those compression formats): http://zebbler.com/intcomp/fcp/y.png

Notice how the outline around the red shape gets pixelly.
As I mentioned previously - it doesn't look as bad when exported in quicktime player. But that's my whole problem really - I want FCP to give me true representation / preview ... and can't seem to get that.

Best,

Z.




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Tom Wolsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 7:52:21 pm

I've seen the images. What specific codec are you using? The sequence cannot be four separate codecs. It can only render into one codec. What exact render specifications and codec are you using? Can you post the graphic file that is giving this problem somewhere on the web?


All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP6," "Basic Training for FCS2" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 10:30:54 pm

As I mentioned before - the pixellation happened with any codec I tried. I am aware that a sequence can't be all of them at once :)
The ones the reliably pixellated things for me were motion jpeg, photo jpeg, and apple pro res hq which I tried because they are supposed to be the best at preserving sharp crisp edges.
The still was taken from the motion jpeg b sequence.
Here's a link to the original png file that pixellated:
http://zebbler.com/intcomp/fcp/hot_hand_logo.png

The only things that I did with it was shrink it in size in fcp and move it over to the right top of the screen.

I just replicated the problem in exactly the way I describe above, so I know I am not totally crazy.

Z.



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Tom Wolsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 10:48:35 pm

I'm sorry but I just do not understand why you cannot give exact information. You've posted images from the FCP interface yet you refuse to say how the images were created. I really do not want to hear all the different formats you tried it in. Just please tell us exactly what format this material is in. What exact specification is this sequence from which the posted images are taken from? Can you do that?


All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP6," "Basic Training for FCS2" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 2, 2009 at 3:44:18 am

With all due respect, I believe I answered your question in my previous reply. Quote:

"The still was taken from the motion jpeg b sequence.
Here's a link to the original png file that pixellated:
http://zebbler.com/intcomp/fcp/hot_hand_logo.png
The only things that I did with it was shrink it in size and move it to the top right of the canvas"

Does that somehow not answer the question fully? I mentioned the precise type of codec used in the sequence in question, included the original file that would get pixellated and described what I did with the png file exactly within fcp?...



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Tom Wolsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 2, 2009 at 9:28:49 am

My apologies. I missed the line about motionjpepb

This is what my export file looks like in ProRes. It is better color reproduction than M-JPEG B. The image is scaled and repositioned as exported as QuickTime and viewed in the QT player at full size.




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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 2, 2009 at 4:18:20 pm

What does it look like within your FCP sequence? Do you notice a difference between what the rendered clip looks like in the canvas vs. what it looks like when viewed in QT player?



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Michael Brown
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 8:14:43 am

Hi Peter,

I followed this long thread with great interest, as I am confronted with a similar issue frequently, albeit in SD and still on FCP 4.5 (with a MBP 15"). Hence when I have specials to do like 3d animated text, I ask for help from someone with motion (as I am currently working on now). Nonetheless, I'm learning a lot from your thread regarding sequence compressor settings and will have a lot to ask as soon as I upgrade, but in the mean time, let me add some advice: I also do a lot of work intended for the web. I ALWAYS work on 2 screens (at least) the 2nd being a straightforward and inexpensive Siemens Fujitsu W-19 coming straight from the DVI port. I have my timeline and tools on the W-19 while editing and the canvas on the laptop, and then I switch layouts the other way around when working on the picture itself. This could give you a much better idea of what computers will be getting, but the guys are right of course that occasionally checking a QT is a truer reference. In fact, I always have a PVM linked through a player so I see both tube and LCD results at the same time, sometimes to create a compromise between the 2, otherwise to choose specifically for what end format I'm working for. How you can comfortably work on one screen (if I understand correctly) beats me. But thanks for the interesting information that I've learned from in turn. Hope my 2 cents was of any help.

Michael Brown


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Michael Brassert
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 22, 2009 at 6:48:50 pm

I have exactly the same problem. Unrendered stills (preview) animate perfectly and look great but when rendered they seem to look downrezed and missing a field. This is with any codec. This is also a recent problem since upgrading to FCP 6.04. It does not seem to be a settings issue. My stills are not oversized but I do think it is a bug in how FCP scales stills in motion. FCP did not have this problem before as I have been animated moves on stills for seven years and have just recently run into this issue.



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Peter Berdovsky
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 22, 2009 at 6:56:43 pm

Well, I am glad that at least I am not alone in noticing this guys... I was starting to feel a wee bit crazy there... Yeah - I think FCP should definitely improve its still animating/preview process - currently I am forced to use After Effects or Motion to do very simple animations that would have been easier to do in FCP (if the quality didn't suffer)...



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Michael Brassert
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Sep 23, 2009 at 6:01:49 pm

I think I have found a work around for this issue. You must use the motion tab to set your keyframe values for scale. Do not use the handles in the Canvas. Make sure that the starting value is a round number and not a decimal. This worked for me. My still moves now render at a beautiful quality with no stair stepping etc. All other settings are just set to "normal." I think this issue might be similiar to the problem one encounters in trying to do a credit roll with an off speed with the resulting flicker.



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Michael Brown
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:49:20 am

Hi Michael,

Thanks for hinting on the similarity with the credit rolls! But do you use keyframes in the motion tabs to make up for jittery credit rolls, and if so, how? Or on the other hand, what is an "off" speed, and what is not? Something with figures or a golden rule one can go by or just by fooling around (till your head explodes)?

Michael Brown


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mark pigott
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Jan 21, 2010 at 9:52:22 pm

"The FCP Canvas is degraded. Export and look at the image in Quicktime Player or change your Canvas to 100% scale and look at it that way. Quicktime player is better though.

FCP expects you to have an external monitor for broadcast / film work so the canvas is purposely degraded."

This is a major flaw with FCP, as more and more people do internet only, or computer playback only,
a video output is redundant.

Right now I am doing a 1080p30 production which will be shrunk down to youtube res later.
So, having apple have a great CPU monitor AND a great output to Video would be a plus!



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Matt Campbell
Re: Why does my Final Cut suck in animating motion and size?
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:23:53 pm

Peter, I've just download your logo, HotHand.png, and sized down and ran my own test using the ProRes 422 720p59.94 easy setup. With the Canvas set to 100%, yes you get pixelation. And you will. Just as everyone else said FCPs Canvas is degraded on purpose. If you had an external monitor or even a consumer TV hooked up, you would see that the image file looks completely fine. No stair stepping at all. Even if your final destination is web, you should still be monitoring externally. About 1/2 the stuff we create is for web and I always have my monitor on to check for safe zones and playback. FCP canvas will never look as good as your final QT output for the playback on an external monitor.

As I mentioned before, you can change the Video Processing and Render Control tabs in your sequence settings to help a bit. Hope this helps.

OS 10.5.5, Mac Pro 2 x 3 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 9 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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