Best technique for Uprezing SD to HD Video

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by kepardue, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. kepardue macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2006
    Couple of disclaimers first:
    1) Yes, I know that an iPhone shoots better video than SD video scaled up to HD.
    2) No, I don't have the choice to not use this, as it is a legacy training program from the 90's that my company is tasked with selectively updating.
    3) We're extremely tight on budget, and can't really get a $100 tool like InstantHD at the moment. The tools available are FCPX and Compressor 4.

    As I understand it, it's better to uprez video in Compressor before using it in Final Cut Pro X. However, note that I can't crop the video to 16:9 in Compressor because I've got to make scene by scene adjustments.

    I just don't know if it's worth using compressor to convert from interlaced to progressive and uprez it knowing that I've got to scale it up yet again in FCPX when I make my frame adjustments. I'm wondering if I should just use the original DVCPRO footage in FCPX instead of converting it with Compressor?


    UPDATE: I just noticed PHYX Resolve HD is just $50. I might be able to justify that to convert, does anyone have any experience with it?
  2. ibennetch macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2008
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you thinking of reshooting with an iPhone? You know picture quality is more than just raw resolution, right? I'd sooner use a 388 than an iPhone to acquire footage. I've worked on plenty of productions where we've incorporated good quality SD video (and, sadly, too many where we've put bad quality VHS to air, too). Not to digress too much, but the rolling shutter look bothers me more than watching good quality SD video.

    What's your output format? Are you making videos for web, for presentation, for Blu-ray or DVD discs? 16:9 or 4:3, are you incorporating it with new HD footage or just reworking an old project? If the destination is 16:9 are you edge cropping, stretching, adding wings, etc? All of those factors matter a lot to what I'd advise.

    I'm assuming you mean you captured to the DVCPRO codec rather than meaning if you should recapture from tape. Usually when working with SD video I'd upconvert in the editor rather than using a separate tool for it. But that's just me.
  3. kepardue thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2006
    1) Oh no, absolutely not thinking of reshooting in an iPhone. I was just generalizing in order to head off the folks that think all SD footage must DIAF.

    2) Output format, for now, is DVD and web. BluRay once we get enough of the footage replaced to justify it, but all of the new footage coming in is HD. However, given this is a fairly long term project I'd like the new footage to remain in higher resolutions now then scaled down, than have to do the opposite later.

    3) Right, and really, that's what I'm asking. Is there a huge advantage to uprezzing the footage before bringing it into FCPX, and what technique works best for that. Your preference is to not do so, and let FCP do the uprezzing work on export?
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    It seems that you have a solution in search of a problem. Final Cut Pro X supports a myriad of formats of varying resolutions. Why do you want to uprez the video?
  5. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    you going to be scaling it up to something like 270% Thats not going to hold together to well, if you have the time i would upscale in compressor with the resize filter turned up full.
  6. ibennetch macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2008

    To be fair, I do it in hardware (usually in the deck itself; sometimes with the capture card or an upconverting framesync depending on the source. Yes, I know it's not the typical setup). But aside from that, if I had to do it in software I would just do it in FCP. I've had to do it in software with an Avid system and the SD footage was fine (though the final destination was DVD). I haven't seen anything that shows Compressor is better than FCP; yes some of the plugins and third party programs go to great lengths to try to improve the quality, and I'd be happy to be shown wrong; but I haven't seen any real benefit to one program over another. If there is a quality advantage, it's probably not worth the time spent going back and forth. Especially since your sticking to an SD output format right now. And yeah, keep all the HD stuff in the native format, that way you can benefit from the better quality sense taking your beautiful new footage and making it look bad :eek:

    Anyway, I think whichever way you go will work out well for you, and for that reason I like the way that interferes least with your workflow. Since FCPX can handle those formats internally, I'd sit back and let it. Good luck either way!
  7. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    Well you've got SD video that needs to get to HD and there's no way you will gain detail in scaling it up (technically impossible) so honestly I'd just save myself the time, run it through mpegstreamclip (free program) and export it in HD at Apple Pro Res 422 HQ
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Compressor provides an very obvious improvement in up-scaling footage compared to FCP, IMO. Turning on Frame Controls in Compressor and setting everything to the highest quality makes the conversion take a very long time, but even if the settings are on 'medium' it provides a much cleaner result.

  9. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Agreed. I can also confirm without question that Compressor (when frame controls are in use) does a far superior job with upscaling (and downscaling) than FCP will by itself. The reason for this is that FCP will simply use the default parameters for the timeline's compression settings.

    This about the only thing you can really do without resorting to expensive software or hardware scalers.

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