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Old March 2nd, 2011, 04:52 PM   #1
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Seeking Best Method for Downconverting HD to SD in FCP

I've tried to read the many threads which cover this topic, and I have gleaned much from this and other forums and online sources. But much of the discussion goes right over my head, or just clips the top of my head and gives me a headache. I'm not an engineer, but I am pretty smart and can follow instructions, and I do want to get the best possible video when when downconverting my HD footage to SD.

I recently shot some footage of a machine operation with my HPX170 in 1080/60i, recorded to my FS-100 using the Quicktime file format. It copied effortlessly to my old G5 and I've created some lovely clips and montages in FCP 6. Now I want to create an SD DVD.

Based on things I learned, I created an SD sequence in FCP 6, choosing the DV50 codec, and dropped my HD footage into this. I clicked "No" when it asked me if I wanted to change the sequence's settings to match the clip. I exported a clip using the current settings, first without the QT de-interlacing filter, and then with.

Then I created a new SD sequence using the ProRes 422 codec and did the same thing. Here's what I found:

When viewing on my computer, the clips from the DV50 sequence looked almost indistinguishable, with a slight edge to the deinterlaced version. The clips from the ProRes sequence looked very different! The normal version looked awful with serious interlacing visible when still and playing. The clip with the QT deinterlacing filter, however, looked fantastic! Each frame looked like a still image with little or no interlacing artifacts.

I burned a DVD using DVD Studio Pro, and viewed the results on my 32 inch Samsung CRT HD TV. On this medium I can hardly discern any difference at all between any of the clips. Perhaps a very slight edge to the ProRes with QT Deinterlace, but I know that could be a figment of my imagination.

This was not a glamor shot, so I have no idea how the color was affected (the machine was mostly black, the part was bright green).

So what could I do differently to get different or better results?

Am I wasting my time with deinterlace because I shot interlaced?

I read in another thread that AVID has a few good codecs that work well when downconverting. I've never downloaded or installed a new codec for my FCP. Is it easy? Will it do any good?

Your comments are appreciated.

Last edited by Ken Reeser; March 2nd, 2011 at 06:45 PM.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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Re: Seeking Best Method for Downconverting HD to SD in FCP

Keep your project in HD, and output your master in HD. Only at the last step (to DVD) should you scale down to SD. Why not try a sample file right now and check? Hope this helps.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 05:37 AM   #3
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Re: Seeking Best Method for Downconverting HD to SD in FCP

Do what Sareesh said and keep it HD until the last step.

But regarding deinterlacing, you can absolutely deinterlace your footage, and it will look dramatically better on a progressively scanned screen -- like your computer. But if you're making DVDs to show on an interlaced TV set, then it makes no difference whether you do it or not, especially when viewing an interlaced CRT TV set -- once it's on a DVD, it's interlaced again. (This is why we test out videos on external monitors, so that we can see how they look on a crappy screen!)
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