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Old October 4th, 2003, 07:20 PM   #1
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FCP 4: Anamorphic Confusion

I have a big project that I am just starting to edit. I spent the last two days logging and capturing a ton of anamorphic DV from a huge stack of DV tapes to a 200 GB, 7200 RPM Western Digital HD with an 8 MB cache. I just now dropped a clip at random into the timeline and was chagrinned to discover that it begged rendering. The sequence is set to the exact same settings as the video I captured, so why this would be the case is beyond me. Is this just a trait of anamorphic video in FCP, or is there some setting I'm missing?
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Old October 4th, 2003, 07:28 PM   #2
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If your individual clips are set to "anamorphic", it will want to rerender them to make them letterboxed for 4:3 video. If you uncheck this and drop them to the time line, they will not need to be rendered. There is no need to ever set your Sequence to 16:9 Anamorphic, as that just squeezes the video in more. So make sure it is not checked either.

FCP4 loves to rerender the audio, I sometimes find, for no apparent reason. But that does not take long at all.
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Old October 4th, 2003, 07:42 PM   #3
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But if I don't have the sequence set to anamorphic the video squishes to 4:3.
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Old October 4th, 2003, 08:28 PM   #4
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Actually I work a lot with anamorphic 16:9 in FCP3. I always set the sequence to anamorphic 16:9. Generally it recognizes the clips if they were shot on my PDX-10 as 16:9. But sometimes I use clips that were processed with other software, or 3d animation which doesn't have the anamorphic flag set.

It's no problem though, select the clip in the browser and go to "Item properties" under the edit menu. Check the anamorphic box BEFORE you drop the clip in the timeline and all will be fine.

Well anyway, this is how it works on FCP3, no idea if they changed anything in FCP4.
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Old October 4th, 2003, 09:17 PM   #5
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Yeah that's what I'm used to in FCP 3. It might be a bug in 4...
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Old October 5th, 2003, 01:04 AM   #6
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I finally figured it out. The problem was that, while I had my sequence preset on the right setting, the sequence I was trying to put the video into was not set on anamorphic. I didn't realize each sequence had its own individual settings. I'm glad this is the case, though.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 08:30 AM   #7
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Yeah, that happens to me all the time in FCP3 as well. I create a new sequence and forget to set it to anamorphic. You do this with the settings command from the sequence menu in FCP3.... did they change this in FCP4?

Ted, can you explain how the item properties dialog differs in FCP4? In FCP3 there's just a checkbox for anamorphic. What did you mean by "just click around with your mouse"?

I'm not in any real rush to upgrade to FCP4, but would be interested in everyone's real world comparisons. I have a new G4/1.25 single with 1.28 gb of RAM which I run under MacOS 9.2 for FCP3. Would I see any significant speed/capability improvements under OS X and FCP4? I also sometimes run FCP3 under OSX on a new 15" aluminum 1ghz powerbook.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 06:48 PM   #8
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(Note: For some reason I am unable to show images in the post itself, so you'll have to click on the hyperlinks instead to see them)

When you have a clip in the bin
http://12.151.50.47/webimages/fcppic1.jpg
and you right click it (or select Item Properties from the menu), you get three choices.
http://12.151.50.47/webimages/fcppic2.jpg

Select "Format" and you will get the following screen:
http://12.151.50.47/webimages/fcppic3.jpg

This screen just looks like an information screen, and not like you can actually change any settings on it. But you can. If you click around in the "Anamorphic" field, you can engage or disengage this setting for that particular clip.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 07:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting the screenshots Ted; that is sort of strange. It's a little reminiscent of the render manager however where you click in a column to delete files (but at least they give you a hint there).

BTW, I love the idea of "DVinfo: the movie"! When can we expect this to hit the big screen? ;-)
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Old October 5th, 2003, 08:31 PM   #10
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Boyd, wait for Panther (OS 10.3) to be released in the next few months. Then the G5's and FCP4 will be a killer system. If you're not going to be getting a G5 anytime soon then their is no rush, other than getting behind the learning curve on new products (FCP4, FCP5, etc.) I suspect that FCP5 will not run on OS 9.x.x.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 08:52 PM   #11
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I thought that FCP4 wouldn't run on MacOS 9... does it? I'm content enough with FCP3 for the time being and I find it very stable. I was forced to plunge head first into OS X last week when my Titanium PowerBook died during the middle of a busy production week. I just didn't have time to get it fixed, and it was pushing 2 years old, so I rushed out and got a new aluminum 15" Powerbook 1ghz. Nice, fast machine... but I really liked the look and feel of the Titanium better. Oh well, that's "progress" I suppose.

So now I'm in the midst of updating all my applications to the OSX native versions. I was planning to delay this by a few months, but what the heck... I really like the idea of a native Unix operating system on the Mac with a command line interface available (being a unix hacker from way back :-). Have updated to the latest OS X version of FCP3 and it seems to run just fine on the powerbook.

I had been thinking about a G5 for next spring or summer, but with the unexpected expenditure on the new powerbook, plus a new G4/1.25ghz desktop... well, now I'm just not in a big rush to spend the money. I'll wait and see how the G5's shape up with the new OS, and look forward to hearing all about everyone elses' experiences!
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Old October 8th, 2003, 06:51 PM   #12
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anamorphic

Way back at the top of the thread, Ted Springer said:

If your individual clips are set to "anamorphic", it will want to rerender them to make them letterboxed for 4:3 video. If you uncheck this and drop them to the time line, they will not need to be rendered. There is no need to ever set your Sequence to 16:9 Anamorphic, as that just squeezes the video in more. So make sure it is not checked either.

This is plain wrong. If you are working with anamorphic video, both your item properties (in FCP) and sequence settings need to be set to 16:9 anamorphic.

Double squeezes only exist when your settings are plain wrong.
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Old October 8th, 2003, 08:01 PM   #13
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It doesn't matter what the settings for the sequence or the clip itself is, you can always edit it. The settings don't need to be anything. For instance:

Leaving everything as 4:3, if I edit in anamorphic (my clips are not usually flagged as such upon import), I can just drag and drop on the timline, do my editing and be fine. The output to the firewire DA converter or camera is anamorphically squeezed. I can then export an anamorphic file for a 16:9 TV. I do this all the time with absolutely no ill effects whatsoever.

If I import a clip and I change the settings of the clip to 16:9 but the sequence is 4:3, then dropping the clip on the timeline will make it want to render to be letterboxed. I think this is where you said I was wrong. Try it.

If you set both the sequence and the clip to 16:9, you will get a proper aspect view of it in your timeline (Canvas) monitor on your Mac screen, but it will remain horizontally compressed (anamorphic) on your output monitor, unless you have it hooked up to a 16:9 monitor. This gives no advantage to the editing process vs 4:3 for both sequence and clip, as the only difference between the two is that the canvas monitor is the proper aspect ratio, but the firewire output to the monitor is still anamorphic both ways.

The double squeeze only happens if your sequence settings are 16:9, but your Item Properties are not.
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Old October 9th, 2003, 03:33 AM   #14
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anamorphic

Fair enough Ted, I see where you are coming from.

I just don't see why you would want to work this way -- why not keep everything 16:9 and have the proper aspect ratio in your viewer and canvas?

With your method, everything is distorted on the computer screen, which can't be any help to the editing process.

What am I missing?if you have a 16:9 monitor for external display, why not keep everthing in 16:9? If you are forced to use a 4:3 external, it doesn't care what your sequence settings are anyway.

Either way, you still have to re-render for letterboxed versions.
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Old October 9th, 2003, 06:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Denis Murphy wrote:
With your method, everything is distorted on the computer screen, which can't be any help to the editing process.
It's no help, but it's no hindrance, either. I only use the canvas as a guide at best. Mostly I look at the output on a calibrated monitor. If someone is editing without a monitor, then the canvas becomes more important.

The easiest way I have found to letterbox is edit everything in anamorphic and when complete, export as a FCP Movie, reimport into a new sequence, and check the 16:9 box. That way I don't have to do that on each clip.
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