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Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp

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wayne kurtz
Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 4, 2006 at 11:50:22 pm

I have received complaints from clients that the scanned pics included in video presentations are soft and not as sharp as the original.
I do notice that certain facial details in fuller length pics are not sharp. For example the person's mouth or teeth can distort in some pics. I am getting concerned about this - and have several tributes in work. I have been experimenting with different scanner settings but do not know which are correct.

I am using an Espon 3170 scanner and I was advised to keep the resolution
set to 96 as FCP can't handle more that. Should higher resolution be used? (especiall if I wish to zoom into pics)
The image type was set at 24 bit colour. Perhaps it should set to 48 bit colour?
Is the "target size" to be used or left on "original"?
Should the Unsharp filter be used and at what level? Low.medium or high
Thank so much for your help
wayne




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Shane Ross
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 4, 2006 at 11:54:19 pm

Are you incorporating them into a DV timeline? Because that right there adds 5:1 compression to the stills. It isn't the scanner, it is the format you are working in...most likely.

How are you delivering to your clients? DVD? Then copy and paste your sequence into an 8-bit uncompressed timeline THEN render and output. Your stills and text will shine.


Shane


Littlefrog Post
http://www.lfhd.net


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mike
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
by
on Sep 5, 2006 at 12:30:04 am

Look at them on an external NTSC monitor. Are they sharp there?

next..are they .pdf's? They won't look sharp in the computer monitor.

You'll have to render them to look correct. The RT stuff does a number on the sharpness for simple viewing purposes as well. Just make sure you have render all set up in the render options so that RT isn't trying to disply these graphics for you without rendering...they'll look crappy.





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Tom Brooks
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 5, 2006 at 1:12:11 am

First, you need to think in terms of pixel dimension instead of dpi. Make both dimensions of your scans at least twice the dimensions of your sequence if you are doing a move on the picture. The info you are using (96 dpi) could result in scans that are too small for what you are doing.

Render the clips on your timeline as needed and check the output on a monitor. Beyond this, you can find countless answers by doing searching posts on "scan stills" and the like.


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Steve Eisen
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 5, 2006 at 1:19:41 am

Save yourself some time and capture your pictures to memory stick (SONY PD-170/VX2100) or SD Card (Canon GL-2) Quality will be excellent for what you are doing.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Director-At-Large
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Tom Brooks
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 5, 2006 at 1:42:08 am

To answer your specific questions:

[wayne kurtz] "I am using an Espon 3170 scanner and I was advised to keep the resolution
set to 96 as FCP can't handle more that. Should higher resolution be used? (especiall if I wish to zoom into pics)"

This might not be high enough resolution. See my other post and search posts for tips.

[wayne kurtz] "The image type was set at 24 bit colour. Perhaps it should set to 48 bit colour?"
No, 24 bit is enough.

[wayne kurtz] "Is the "target size" to be used or left on "original"?"
Make the size of the scan at least double both dimensions of your sequence.

[wayne kurtz] "Should the Unsharp filter be used and at what level? Low.medium or high"
Generally, no. Most high rez scans are too sharp for video if anything. Adding Unsharp Mask will only create problems with noise and 'buzzing' detail.

The whole process of optimizing scanned stills for video is something of an art and requires use of Photoshop or similar to get best quality. Once scanned, the proper use of movement, motion, and blur are also factors.


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Bret Williams
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 5, 2006 at 4:19:14 am

Yeah, but it's not all brain surgery. Minimum resolution is pretty simple. We're utilizing a 720 pixel wide image in FCP. You'll need a minimum of 720 pixels to work with. Sooooo... scan accordingly. If you're scanning a regular 4" photo, then you'll need to scan at a MINIMUM of 180dpi. (720/4) But you'll probably want to zoom in or recrop, so go for 300 dpi.

The example you gave of 96dpi would at a mnimum need to be a 7.5inch photo to work. I'm guessing none of your photos are that large.

Once you're done a little vertical blur will do the trick nicely if you get any ringing. Usually just a half pixel. The flicker filter in FCP does the same thing, but it's a lot of rendering. Might as well do it in photoshop.

When I have others scan for me, I generally just tell them 300dpi. Perfect for a regular photo to zoom to. Ok for a wallet size if you don't zoom in much and overkill for 8x10s which I usually don't work with.


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Post Man
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 5, 2006 at 10:59:58 pm

Video resolution is 72 dpi.
Whatever resoltion you scan at, the files you import into FCP need to be 24 bit RGB 72 dpi file.
By all means, work in a higher resolution while you manipulate the images, but finish off by converting them to the above standard.
Make them pict or tiff. Do Not Use JPEGs.

It is easy to make them 'over sharp'. Sometimes you need to add a Guassian Blur of about 0.3 to reduce flicker or crawl. And if you do this, do it to the still image file before import, not as a FCP filter.

And you really need to view your edit on a Video monitor, not a computer screen.



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Bret Williams
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 6, 2006 at 5:49:50 am

Don't use gausian blur. There is no reason to blur horizontally. Use a directional blur and only blur vertically. This blends the pixels so that you don't get interlace flicker.

And you an import images at any dpi you wish. FCP, like After Effects, completely disregards the dpi marking as it has nothing to do with anything but physical media like print or a photo. All FCP cares about is the number of pixels.


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Post Man
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 6, 2006 at 10:37:52 pm

[Bret Williams] "Don't use gausian blur. There is no reason to blur horizontally"

It is important to have no single pixel lines or spots which may result in flicker.
If you are going to rotate and zoom the images in FCP, you will need to blur both horizontally and vertically.
I believe guassian blur (about0.3 or so, depending on your original image size) is appropriate.

If you are not rotating them in FCP, then it is reasonable to blur vertically only.

Personally, too, a little soft is better than a little sharp when putting images into video.



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Rennie
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 5, 2006 at 11:02:16 pm

It sounds like you do a few of these. If so you may want to consider useing a decent digital camera and a copy stand with proper lighting as opposed to the scanner. If you capture at around 4mb you can sell a cd of the digital copies to your clients too. You can copy stills F-a-s-t with this set up and they drop right into fcp. Also Shane's suggestion of 8 bit uncompressed will make the difference. Once in fcp you can adjust the levels and color correct. I only use photoshop for spot removal, restoration or repair work and only if it is within the budget. My clients always tell me "they look better than the originals" and they do.


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Bret Williams
Re: Scanned pics for use in FCP are not sharp
on Sep 6, 2006 at 5:53:08 am

Yeah, a scanner will give you sharper results and you can run automoted tasks on the resulting files to prep them for FCP, including levels and color correction.


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