Final Cut Pro 3 Question - Viewer settings

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by Skandranon, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. Skandranon macrumors regular

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    North Carolina
    #1
    Alright, gang. I have a question regarding FCP3's Viewer settings. Hope one of you can help me out:

    I'm currently working on a film project that's to be broadcast over the web. Consequently, I've set up my sequence for 720x270 square pixels (the dimensions of my film) using the DV/DVCPRO NTSC compressor at Best quality.

    The footage I'm using was shot on miniDV on a Canon XL1. Some of it was shot 4:3 DV, some of it 16:9 DV. What I've come to notice is that when I open a clip in the Viewer, the image is sharp and crip. Great. Then when I drag it over to the Canvas or Timeline, the image becomes fuzzy. It irks me that I'm doing my editing in the Viewer and working with UnSharp Mask just to have it get all fuzzy when I render it in my Timeline.

    Now, I understand that the Viewer is playing it in its native DV NTSC format and when I put a clip in my Timeline, it has to render it into the Sequence's settings (which again, is square-pixel 720x270) ... is there a compressor that I can use that reflects the crisp imagery that I get in the Viewer? Should I:

    .1 Make a new sequence using non-square pixels instead of square-pixels?
    .2 Change my compressor settings for my sequence (currently DV NTSC) to that of the Viewer (I'm not sure what that codec might be)?
    .3 Make a new sequence that uses both a new compressor (maybe Animation, Video or None?) and the non-square pixel ratio?

    I wish there were someplace that tells you the playback settings for the Viewer. I can find it on the Sequence/Timeline window, but have not had the same luck with the Viewer.

    I've linked to a screenshot to show you the difference between the Viewer and the Canvas. Please help!

    Click to view Screenshot
     
  2. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

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    serendipity
    #2
    i don't know how to help, but since you seem to know a good deal about it all, i'd suggest just trying the various things you considered, and see if they work.....

    i'd think having two different types of footage coming into the same sequence would be a problem... but i am not as learned in that as yourself.

    also, how did you get the fcp logo in the menubar at the top? weird.
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #3
    It sounds like you are going about this the hard way. My suggestion is to capture at normal res (720*480 non-square pixels), edit, then compress the film. For some reason I think you might run into problems working w/both 4:3 and 16:9 footage in the same project, but I could be wrong.

    For more help/advice I'd suggest going hereApple's FCP Forum or here CreativeCow.

    720*270 sounds like a rather odd res.


    Lethal


    EDIT: fixed link
     
  4. Skandranon thread starter macrumors regular

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    North Carolina
    #4
    Thanks, fellas.

    I'm going to mess around with this and will post my results. If anyone else may offer suggestions, that would be superb. I appreciate you guys replying so promptly.

    Jelloshotsrule: The lil icon in the top left is thanks to Unsanity's FruitMenu. Only $7 and definitely worth every single penny. Restores the Apple Menu to its former OS 9 glory! :D

    LethalWolfe: I'll mention again that the resolution (720x270) is intended for web delivery. Since I've already spent a long time capturing (two entire days) I think it'd be better for me to work with how the footage currently exists: as DV NTSC, 720x480.

    Thanks again, guys.
     
  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
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    #5
    Re: Thanks, fellas.

    :confused: I'm a bit confused so bear w/me. You captured at normal res DV NTSC, 720*480, but you have yer Sequence set for 720*270 square pixels. Why not edit w/"normal" Sequence settings (720*480) and then compress the final product to 720*270? Also, why are you outputting to square pixels instead of nonsquare pixels?


    Lethal
     
  6. Skandranon thread starter macrumors regular

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    North Carolina
    #6
    Re: Re: Thanks, fellas.

    .1 Because the footage is being shrunk down to two frames that sit side by side throughout the duration of the piece. The film is divided into two simultaneous halves. And since I was going to be cropped down anyway to 720x270, I figured I might as well just author it within those dimensions as well. (instead of having to render 720x480 frames with 720x210 of black bars.

    .2 Right now, the real issue isn't the resolution. It could 40x40 for that matter. Since I am developing this picture for online release only, it makes sense to author and export in square pixels since I don't have to worry about working with Photoshop files in 0.9 pixel ratios that I later want to import into After Effects and FCP.

    Make more sense?
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
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    #7
    :) Yes, much more sense now.

    In the picture you have attached both the canvas and the viewer windows are set to "100%" instead of "fit to window" (which is usually 55%, but is 69% when I set my sequence to 720*270). Do you usually work with the viewing windows set to 100%? And I understand wanting to avoid the "pixel hassle" when using PS and AE, but by switching the project to square pixels you are distorting (squashing) the image, but I'm sure you already know that.


    After playing around w/FCP I think yer problem might be a combonation of the 720*270 res and having yer canvas set to 100%. As long as I used a res that kept the footage 4:3, and I kept the canvas set to "fit to window" the footage looked fine. But if I picked a non 4:3 res, PAL, or HD settings the footage started to show interlacing artifacts. And when I changed the canvas to 100% it just made it even worse.

    I think you'll either have to live w/the poor picture, or change to res settings that keep the video in it's native aspect ratio.


    Lethal
     
  8. Skandranon thread starter macrumors regular

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    North Carolina
    #8
    Word.

    Thanks Lethal. A workaround that I've developed is to just set my Sequence to render Animation, Best Quality footage at square-pixel ratio. It's trying, even on my SuperDrive TiBook, but it's nice to see the video in full-fidelity while authoring.

    Take it light.
     
  9. BenderBot1138 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    #9
    Re: Final Cut Pro 3 Question - Viewer settings

    Anamorphism by Lens or your Camera's Computer
    First you need to explain for the hardworking repliers to your post if you shot using Optical Lenses or your Camera's settings to achieve your aspect ratios.

    Media Resolution
    Since tape media has no inherant resolution, we shouldn't be concerning ourselves with such issues. DV Video has a width of 720. To get your 16:9 you had to use a lens or camera setting. It's not obvious from your post.

    Lens Case
    Make sure you deselect the Anamorphic 16:9 option in your Capture Preset Editor when capturing from 4:3 Standard format.

    Go Ahead And View or Change Your Clips Settings
    Since there is a definite lack of needed information to solve this problem defiinitively, I'll just tell you that you can change your captured clips aspect ratio in it's Item Properties window. Deselect or select the Anamorphic 16:9 setting to suit your needs.

    What Was Needed...
    In this instance, a screen capture of your presets for the two different clips, and the details of whether you used lenses or your Camera's onboard computer to get your differing aspects, would have been decisive. Your screen capture, while impressive, and clearly demonstrating you are well on your way to becoming an expert in production of film, didn't really allow the amazing MacRumors experts who responded to your post to address the underlying problem.

    Your Questions...
    (1) Should I make a new sequence using non-square pixels instead of square-pixels? No, unless you've changed your settings, your default is "Show as Sq. Pixels" (in Zoom popup).
    (2) Should I change my compressor settings for my sequence (currently DV NTSC) to that of the Viewer (I'm not sure what that codec might be)? Make sure you've installed any QuickTime codecs and drivers that came with any third party capture card you may be using. It is not clear from your post how you captured, but I'm guessing via your Firewire interface. In that case, your DV NTSC codec is a QuickTime codec and is no problem. Your Viewer also uses QuickTime codecs, and reflects your the properties of what ever you put into it.
    (3) Should I make a new sequence that uses both a new compressor (maybe Animation, Video or None?) and the non-square pixel ratio? Wow, is that a trick question? If you've captured everything using the same codec - no.

    Great Example...
    This is an excellent example of the need to plan your productions in detail prior to shooting. Half of Jaws in Anamorphic, and half in Standard would have been an experience to be sure. While you may not need a Storyboard artist or Screenwriter for each project, it is important to analyze and understand your equipment and capabilities before you press the record button - that way you'll be able to accomplish your goals and look with a minimum of stress and time expenditure.

    :cool:
     
  10. Skandranon thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Re: Re: Final Cut Pro 3 Question - Viewer settings

     
  11. BenderBot1138 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    #11
    ok...

    I'll make a small post and then take a closer look at your reply, it's quite something. First don't take anything as personally "condesending". It's just technical writing, and keep in mind, people in future may search for the problem you've brought here, so some generalization is to be expected.

    The Final Cut Pro 3 Viewer uses YUV-encoded video. This ensures that what you output has the same color and brightness as your captured material. This codec has a fixed data rate of 3.6 MB/sec.

    But that isn't the problem. You shouldn't worry about what the Viewer is doing, because your Sequence doesn't derive directly from the Viewer. I'll take a closer look at your posts, and respond shortly.

    :cool:
     
  12. BenderBot1138 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    #12
    Ok...

    I hope I fully understand your question now. Your Final Cut Pro 3 Viewer runs your video as YUV-encoded (DV NTSC), so it seems like crystal because of luminance and color clarity.

    Final Cut Pro 3 processes the Digital Video you import into YUV (YCrCb). The color space is called YCrCb (YUV) and this consists of color information (Y) and luminace information (Cr and Cb). The Animation codec you are using is considered a "lossless codec" by Apple. Take care with it, because video footage which is more grainy includes texture and color change issues than computer animated material can evade a good finished product. The other "lossless codec" you may have noticed is "Uncompressed" but it really isn't a codec. If you're looking for motion picture quality, you'll have a difficult time given the size constraints of streaming. the mp4 codec that comes with your QuickTime 6 is ideal if your running into size/quality issues.

    When you play a clip in the Final Cut Pro Viewer, it runs "uncompressed." Editing the contents of the Viewer into your Segment, may result in unwanted lossy compression and/or artifacts, depending on your settings. You need to keep in mind, that you may have to sacrifice some quality for file size if your broadcasting to the Web. There are some specialized codecs produced by third party's such as Sorenson that produce high qualities at very low compression (but MPG-4 is amazing). If you're on a budget, then MPG-4 is a nice option. You probably already know about using the color correction features of FCP I'm willing to bet.

    There are some Apple Knowledge Base documents that teach you how to render in YUV and RGB color space. You'll find an excellent explanation of Apple codec, DV-NTSC and YCrCb (YUV) on pages 145 and 536 of Volume 1: Getting Started, Input, and Output of the Manuals that Accompanied your Final Cut Pro 3 Software.

    Click here... to view Apple Knowledge Base Document ID 42868. It has branches to other documents that speak to rendering in YCrCb color space.

    Does this more directly addres your question? Initially your discussion of aspect ratios and editing into your Segment led me along another path.

    As a last point, I wouldn't sell myself short if I were you; Clearly you have a well above average understanding of Final Cut Pro, and are doing complex things with it that make most peoples toenails curl at the mere thought. I'd love to see the final product (if you're making it widely available) don't forget to post a link so we can see your metal... maybe one of us will hire you if you're into post-production as a career ;)

    :cool:
     
  13. Skandranon thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 1, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #13
    I'm an ass.

    BenderBot: Thanks for your persistence in this matter... after reviewing your latest post and linkage, I did in fact find the answer I was looking for. Just for kicks, I set up my Sequence settings (Hi Res) for 'None' as the compressor and sure enough, the playback was as crisp as what I was seeing in the Viewer. Thanks to the magnifcent performance of my 1GHz TiBook, I was rendering and viewing my edits in completely uncompressed video. Granted, my HD is starting bloat up with the raw video footage, but it's nice to see the final product in its purest on-screen fidelity.

    My earlier discussion of aspect ratios were just a hypothesis that I originally had seeing as I was rendering DV footage into square-pixel ratios... I suspected the smoothing involved with that process resulted in the slightly blurry image I was seeing in my Canvas. That ultimately led me to realize that the aspect ratio wasn't the culprit... it had to be the compressor. Upon further investigation, I found that I had opted to convert everything to RGB, so I unchecked that property and re-rendered my footage. Voila. Crystal sharp video.

    I appreciate your generosity and willingness to help despite my earlier irritation. I don't like it when people conclude from the get-go that I'm just another hack combining aspect ratios and importing DV via the wrong settings. (and yes, I am transferring my footage via Firewire) Combining 4:3 and 16:9 was fully intentional as I plan on introducing full-bleed imagery in the latter half of my piece. For the portions using the split frame, I used the standard 4:3 ratio footage.

    I apologize for coming across as rude earlier and hope you understand my reaction. There are often too many condescending folks that patrol these forums and I wasn't in the mood for lectures as much as answers. But you definitely pointed me in the right direction and the Apple KBase docs that you linked to me were fantastic. Thank you.

    I will be completing this project later this month and will be launching it alongside my portfolio site before the New Year. I currently have a temporary website I set up for casting calls and general info. The site will expand to include basic storyboards, methodologies, the script and information on myself and others involved with the production. The film is called 'SOLEDAD' and the pre-release website is now available. If you're interested, PM or email your email address so that I may add you to the mailing list for the picture's online debut.

    Thanks again for your compliments and support. May I ask what your background in post-production is and in what capacity you work? I'm currently beginning a job search for after graduating from Duke in May. ;) Know anyone who's hiring a new media designer and music composer? Are you also willing to answer an occasional question or two when I reach the stage when I'm selecting the best compression methods for online delivery?

    Take it light.
     

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