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Old July 17th, 2003, 08:15 PM   #1
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FCP: Good for Res Increase?

I am working on a short film that we are shooting on a PDX10 in widescreen. I am thinking about blowing the footage up from 854x480 interlaced to 1280x720 progressive frames. I won't have an HD monitor to preview this on, so I won't really know how it looks until I can burn it onto a DVD and play it in a home theater or something. So I wanted to know if anyone has experience with this. How does it look? Is it worth the trouble and is FCP the best app to use to do it?
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Old July 17th, 2003, 09:18 PM   #2
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DV suffers quite a bit from digital manipulation like what you're proposing. I think you will be disappointed by the results.
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Old July 18th, 2003, 12:37 PM   #3
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Unless I'm missing something I don't see the point for this manipulation. Since the output will be via DVD using a standard DVD player (no other choice - at the moment, new Samsung notwithstanding) then you are limited to 640x480 (letterboxed) on the DVD (NTSC, slightly more in PAL). The TV (or DVD player) then does the upconversion for HDTV.
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Old July 18th, 2003, 01:13 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Price : you are limited to 640x480 (letterboxed) on the DVD -->>>

I have never burned DV's (yeah, I need to catch up ;-), but from what I've read the statement above is incorrect. I believe you can store anamorphic 16:9 on a DVD with 720x480 resolution. Then if you have a widescreen TV hooked up to the DVD player it should fill the screen. There's an interesting website that compares various video formats here.

Benjamin, when you say your have an 854x480 image I think that's a little misleading. I also have a PDX-10; in widescreen mode it squeezes the 16:9 frame to create a 720x480 anamorphic image. If you want to view this footage on your computer monitor in the correct aspect ratio you'll need to stretch it horizontally to 854 pixels wide. So you're already manipulating the image just by doing this. There are only 720 pixels available to you, and for that matter the horizontal resolution of the camera (and DV format itself) is only a little more than 500 lines.

So I agree there wouldn't be any point in enlarging the image further, unless you're creating other sequences (titles, effects, etc) at HD resolution. In that case I don't think FCP3 would do what you want, maybe FCP4 has more features. FCP3 would let you define any frame size you want and stretch the image to fill, however I don't think you can play such sequences on your computer without special hardware.

ButMartin Munthe is actually doing something like you propose but it's a more involved process and his end result is stretched to a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
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Old July 18th, 2003, 04:09 PM   #5
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FCP has always been frame-size independent, meaning you can edit any aspect ratio/image size you want in it. This has not been easy to do in previous versions without third-party uncompressed boards like CinéWave etc. but Apple has included its own uncompressed codecs in this release. You can play them back in real time. I don't know if I'm even going to attempt it, but there is nothing logistically to impede me from blowing up the size of the image. What remains to be seen is weather that is worth doing. In any case I won't bother trying until the movie is fully cut together and I can do the enlarging as a sequence, rather than clip-by-clip.

I refer to the video as 854x480 because that is the res at which I plan to export it from compressor. What I do with it from there may or may not involve DVD Studio Pro, but I have a cousin that has offered to do a professional print of the DVD should I chose to make one.

RE: Stretching it to edit on your computer monitor.

I don't remember how FCP 3 works (its been about 4 months since I upgraded to 4), but in FCP 4 as long as you tell the app that the video you are capturing is anamorphic, it will display it in the proper aspect ratio.
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Old July 18th, 2003, 05:13 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Benjamin Harrison : RE: Stretching it to edit on your computer monitor. I don't remember how FCP 3 works (its been about 4 months since I upgraded to 4), but in FCP 4 as long as you tell the app that the video you are capturing is anamorphic, it will display it in the proper aspect ratio. -->>>

Actually I didn't say you had to stretch it to EDIT on your computer monitor, I said you needed to stretch it to VIEW. FCP will display anamorphic video in the proper aspect ratio on a computer monitor, but you're still working with 720x480 pixels.

But if you view an anamorphic clip using QuickTime (not using FCP) on your computer monitor everything will look squashed (tall and skinny). For it to display properly in QuickTime on a computer screen you need to export at 854x480, as you say. I do this myself with 16:9 clips so I can show them on my PowerBook. But they look a little ragged, not as nice as the anamorphic original looks on a widescreen TV. That's one reason I don't think FCP is the proper tool for that job...
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Old July 21st, 2003, 04:32 PM   #7
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I'm sorry to throw this thread somewhat off-topic, but I'm a little confused. I thought NTSC was always 720x480. Isn't that the aspect ratio I see on my television? (I do understand that most televisions actually have a lower resolution than that.) Why would a DVD player letterbox at 640x480?
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:54 AM   #8
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My original response on resolution on the DVD player was due to jet lag. You are correct on the resolution end.

I agree that FCP is resolution independent. However, the display devices are NOT. So, upping the resolution for a video that will be burned to DVD as NTSC won't give you higher resolution. Within QT you can change these settings sure but as soon as you set up to display on a standard NTSC device then all the effort is lost.

That's the real problem with the JVC HD camera and the HDV standard. You can play back as HD if you copy the edited footage back to the camera and hook it to the computer (or use the JVC HD videoplayer). Until the DVD standard catches up with HD and the cameras then you are limited to DVD NTSC (or PAL) standards. You have to consider the whole stream from object to tape to editing to display. You are limited by the least common denominator - DVD in the original post. You can have a great home theater or a $10,000 plasma TV but the DVD output will STILL be 720x480.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 03:31 PM   #9
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I have a DVD player that outputs 720p with component video to an HDTV.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 05:47 PM   #10
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Right, a pretty standard DVD player, so stretching your footage to 1280x720 won't help any if you are going to view it via your DVD player onto your HDTV. The DVD player is still the weak link in the chain in terms of maximum resolution.
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