FCP project specs

iGobbleoff

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May 2, 2011
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So I’m doing more and more YouTube videos now I’ve gone solo. My dilemma, which I just found today was that the project I’ve created as my ‘template’ is 1920x1080 but the videos are 2560x1440 and they end up slightly ‘fuzzy’ and not clear at all.

I’ve got three resolutions to record from, 1920x1080, 2560x1440 and 4K. The main screen is 2560x1440 but I could possibly record from any one of at any time.

So should I make a ‘template’ of each resolution or is there one setting that will make all the different resolutions look good on YouTube?

If my template is 4K, will the 1920x1080 still look good, or the 2560x1440 for that matter?

I did a test with a new project at 2560x1440 and imported a 2560x1440 source movie and it was fine. So again, which size should I base my FCP templates on?
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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I dunno but I routinely record higher resolution clips and use a lower resolution timelines, placing 2700x1520 2k footage on a 1280x720 timelines for example. I can then zoom/trim/crop with better results. Is YouTube doing something with your video?

Looking good is subjective and depends a lot on the display screen size. My stuff looks great on a 60 inch screen to the average viewer.
 

BeechFlyer

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Nov 5, 2015
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Cedar Rapids, IA
So I’m doing more and more YouTube videos now I’ve gone solo. My dilemma, which I just found today was that the project I’ve created as my ‘template’ is 1920x1080 but the videos are 2560x1440 and they end up slightly ‘fuzzy’ and not clear at all.
Can you please rephrase that? I'm confused, because downscaling higher-res footage to a 1080p project timeline should result in crisp results.

So for the sake of clarity: What format and resolution are you trying to create? And what format(s) and resolution(s) are the source clips?
 

iGobbleoff

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May 2, 2011
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Can you please rephrase that? I'm confused, because downscaling higher-res footage to a 1080p project timeline should result in crisp results.

So for the sake of clarity: What format and resolution are you trying to create? And what format(s) and resolution(s) are the source clips?
Sounded right in my head :)

FCP Project is 1920x1080
Source files, from OBS, in MP4, are 2560x1440
Preview video shows as blurred, at 100% scale in the preview window

2nd FCP Project is 2560x1440
Source files, from OBS, in MP4, are 2560x1440
Preview video shows as perfect, at 100% scale in the preview window

The source MP4 files are fine in Quicktime at 100% scale on the screen, as they should be.

So I don't know if the 1920x1080 Project is doing something to the imported movie? Is it doing any scaling in the background that I'm not aware of. I'm only new to FCP for the last year, so don't get into the super nitty gritty of it just yet
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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Are you saying the project's edit viewer looks fuzzy in FCP as well as the export (Shared) file when its viewed with quick time?

Is your FCP view preference set to quality or performance? Are you using proxy media or optimized? Is your spacial setting at fit or none? Dunno if you have enough CPU/GPU horsepower to provide clear video in the FCP viewer, but the exported/shared video should look good, if you remember to render it when you share it. You edit in low resolution (looks fuzzy), but FCP applies the edits to the high res version as the video is shared.

I don't work with proxy media, but I understand you can get this wrong and share the low resolution viewer version instead of the high resolution version.

For your second project, perhaps there is not much conversion going on real time, so your CPU has a much lower load.
 
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iGobbleoff

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May 2, 2011
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Yeah, as a 1920x1080 Project, with the 2560x1440 source, its fuzzy on preview at 100%, and on export, on viewing at 100% view.

The Viewer itself is set to Quality, and the Media is set to Optimized/Original. The files are copied to the library
The files are auto rendering, and I always wait to render before an export also.

My Import settings are
  • Copy to Library Storage Location
  • Transcoding is off
  • Analyze and Fix are off

Its a cMP 12 core with 128gb of RAM. The card is an RX580, so its not top spec, but I'm doing 10 minute video's and I don't think it's killing it. With the export, on both types of projects (1920x1080 and 2560x1440) they are being exported as ProRes 4444 XQ, and the 2560 version is always better than the 1920 version.

I have made a new Project that is the same resolution as the source file, and it works fine, and I'll just keep working that way. I just did a screen grab of both, attached
 

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joema2

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Sep 3, 2013
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I've seen this reported previously, also with MP4 files produced by a screen capture app.

When your media is differing resolution than the timeline it must be scaled. In FCPX that shows up as "render dots" above the timeline. In essence it must execute an effect. If you render the timeline with CTRL+R, the fuzziness may decrease or go away (for playback).

However since scaling is required, some pixel interpolation is needed. There are various scaling/resize algorithms which each have pros and cons. I think by default FCPX does not apply sharpening when doing scaling. It prefers to leave that decision to the end user. Thus even the rendered output may appear slightly fuzzy unless you add a sharpening effect within FCPX.

In some previous tests I did, Premiere Pro looked sharper but they automatically add sharpening during the scale/resize operation. When I manually added sharpening within FCPX, the rendered downscaled output looked very similar between FCPX and Premiere.

Another complication is if the frame rate of your screen cap footage does not match the project frame rate. Then FCPX must do some kind of frame rate conversion which can add fuzziness or other motion artifacts. You can check the attributes of your media within FCPX by selecting that clip in the Event Browser and looking at Inspector (CMD+4).

It's also frequently good to check the file metadata using a 3rd party tool like Invisor or MediaInfo. Invisor allows adding multiple media files via drag-and-drop from Finder and inspecting the metadata side-by-side in a spreadsheet-like view:
https://www.invisorapp.com
 

iGobbleoff

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May 2, 2011
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I can’t see any scaling or anything going on. For whatever reason I need to make the Project the same resolution as the source file. The exported file looks as it should so will see what YouTube does with it
 

BeechFlyer

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2015
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Its a mystery.
I'm drawing a blank, too.

iGobbleoff, what codec are you using for your 1920x1080 project? Prores 422?

And what happens if you place a 2560x1440 clip on the timeline without scaling, i.e. set the "Spatial Conform" to "none". You should get a 1920x1080 portion of your larger clip, but without any scaling. Does that look OK?

How about frame rates, does the imported clip's frame rate match exactly what you have for your project?

Something isn't quite right. This shouldn't be happening in FCPX.
 

iGobbleoff

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May 2, 2011
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Yep, the 1920x1080 Project is ProRes 422

I think you might have found my issue. Spatial Conform was set to "Fit"
Let me do another test today and let you know the results.
 

BeechFlyer

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2015
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Well, “fit” isn’t bad - it’ll scale it down. But for troubleshooting purposes, it would be good to know if “none” (when no scaling is performed) still results in poor image quality. If so, you’re probably looking for something other than scaling as the root of your problem.
 

joema2

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Sep 3, 2013
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...as a 1920x1080 Project, with the 2560x1440 source, its fuzzy on preview at 100%, and on export...I can’t see any scaling or anything going on. For whatever reason I need to make the Project the same resolution as the source file. The exported file looks as it should...
The default spatial conform is "fit". A higher-res source will be automatically scaled to fit a lower-resolution project. When scaling to a resolution that's not a multiple of the original, some pixel interpolation is required. This is not unique to FCPX. On a PC or TV if you change the monitor resolution to a non-native setting, scaling and interpolation is required, which often produces a fuzzy result.

In FCPX you can use a project that matches your source or you can set your 2560x1440 clips in the timeline to spatial conform of "none", but then part of the border will not be displayed. Or if using "fit" you can also try adding sharpness to a down-scaled clip to try and reduce the fuzziness.

This is likely only an issue for non-integer scaling, such as as 2560 x 1440 down to 1920 x 1080. In that case 2560/1920 = 1.333, so pixel interpolation is required. If you scale from UHD 4k (3840 x 2160) to 1080p (1920 x 1080), then 3840/1920 = 2.0, so no pixel interpolation is required and the result will usually be sharper.

If you have multiple sources captured by OBS in different resolutions, another solution is set OBS to capture the desired final resolution, but this will also require scaling -- this time by OBS not by FCPX. I'm not sure that would be any better but you could try it.