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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old May 31st, 2009, 02:57 PM   #1
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One more time: mixing SD w/ HD on an HD project

I know this topic has been covered before, but none of the replies address my potential problem. Next fall I'll be doing a three hour project to be released on DVD 9:16, as well as on the Web. All of the original material will be shot with an XLH1, but some of material will be stuff shot a few years back in 3:4 SD. The final product must be all HD 9:16, the SD material will be adjusted to fit 3:4 in the 9:16 frame. I plan to enhance the black borders with some color or graphics.

My question: the client has no idea of what is involved in "up converting" the SD material and what, if any, degree of quality will be lost in the process. Frankly, neither do I since I've never had to mix the two. They expect the HD to SD to be as transparent as possible (the two resolutions will be separated by graphics and black).

Thank you advance for any guidance you can offer.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 09:18 AM   #2
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Do a test and show yourself and the client the result. The SD footage will not look as good as the HD material from the XL H1. Also switching back and forth from 16:9 material to 4:3 will be visually jarring in addition to the quality shift.

The mixing of formats is a straight forward and simple process using Adobe Premiere. The new CS 4.1 update just came out on Friday and is now this single best way to edit Red R3D footage with scalable resolution viewing and full 4k output from Premiere and After Effects.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 10:47 AM   #3
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The mixing of aspect ratios and the aesthetics of differing resolutions is not a problem - the client is well aware of the issue. Also, since this is a segmented project, all the segments are separated - i.e. each one is a separate chapter. So, the mix is not as abrupt.

My concern is mainly a technical one - what do we need to do to record SD material on an HD DVD? Can Blue-ray playback both, or do we need to up the resolution of the SD material to make it compatible, no matter how bad it looks?

By the way, although we have Premiere, the project will be edited on an Avid MC.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 07:08 PM   #4
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I would simply drop the raw 4x3 clips onto your HD 16x9 timeline and let Final Cut (if that's what you're using) do the up-res. That way you can add your "pillar bar graphics" right on the timeline. Final Cut does a decent job at up-res'ing your footage.

If absolute perfect scaling is required, then I'd pre-cut all your 4x3 footage on your timeline first, then bring your "selects" into After Effects and do your scaling there. AE has probably one of the best scaling algorithms out there.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 11:58 PM   #5
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The AE idea sounds like a good one, even if the client is not expecting the SD footage to be 9:16. I just might try it if it's at all possible since the original framing was for 3:4.

Thank you both for the suggestions. By the way, I will be using an Avid MC.
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Old June 3rd, 2009, 06:56 PM   #6
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the other option you can take is LEAVE the SD in the 4x3 format.

I did a 1 hour documentary with all new footage shot in HD, including interviews and broll.
The archival portions of the show were SD.

I posted the show in Avid MC.

I captured all the HD footage at 1080i DNxHD 145. Then...I changed the format...to 4x3 SD...and captured all the SD footage.

Now...change the format one more time...and go back to HD. When you place a SD clip in the sequence...it will automatically "stretch" to the 16.9 format.

go to your effects...go to re-format...and place a 4x3 effect on your sd clip.

Viola...4x3 in a HD project. If that's how you want to go...
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