Ridiculous SD vs. HD question

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Kurri, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. Kurri macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    So we unfortunately had a death in the family and they are asking me to put together a video for the funeral. The question is this...

    We are going to show this on a projector at the funeral home. All of the footage is old VHS video converted to DVD so 4X3 format, and the pictures are old as well so none is widescreen. Would you setup your FCPX project as a 4X3 SD, or would you do a HD Project and just have the black bars on the left and right? Really want something that looks decent.

    BTW, the projector i'm pretty sure is a HD projector, but the screen does not look that nice when I saw it in the pictures and does not look widescreen.
  2. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    Your decision should be dictated largely by the projection surface aspect ratio. If it is an old-school 4:3 screen, well, you should set up your FCPX project as 4:3 SD to maximize screen coverage.

    Your source material is all 4:3, doesn't seem to make much sense trying to make widescreen output. Sounds more complicated with zero benefits.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    If all my source is SD 4:3 then I set it up as a SD project and then let the TV or Projector deal with displaying it instead of forcing it.
  4. Kurri thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    thats what I thought. I have not worked in a SD world in a while now.
  5. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    This is a tricky area, esp. regarding aspect ratio and interlacing. Admittedly most people won't notice unless the image is severely squeezed or letter boxed. However you want to do as good a job as possible.

    Nowadays playback is usually on a 16:9 projector or monitor but it sounds like you aren't even sure of that. This makes it even more difficult. Also knowing what the playback method is would help -- whether DVD or a PC or what.

    I did some quick tests using some old 720x480 DV content which is similar to DVD. In this case for 16:9 playback via VLC or Quicktime, it actually looked better using a 720p project vs an NTSC project. It will unavoidably be pillar boxed if on a 16:9 monitor but what you want to avoid is letterboxing where all four sides are black or stretching which distorts the image.

    Also DVD content is interlaced so verify there are no "combing" artifacts on moving objects when viewed on the final output. If there are you can manually deinterlace that in FCPX by clicking on the clip, the in the Inspector select Settings (at the bottom), then "Settings", then click the Deinterlace check box and compare the results.

    This is a tricky area because often the playback system can deinterlace. E.g, VLC can do this but it's optional and you have to enable it under Video>Deinterlace, then select the mode under Video>Deinterlace Mode. I don't know what the default deinterlace behavior is for Quicktime Player.

    If you have easy access to the playback venue and can test it that would be best. If not I would personally use an "auto detect" project (which will be NTSC 720x480), import the footage, do the editing then copy the timeline to a 720p project, export both versions and bring both of those. If playback is via a computer you can quickly try both versions at the venue before the program starts, then use whichever one looks best.
  6. kohlson, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017

    kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    Can you make a 4x3 project, and then encode/produce as SD, and HD with black bars? That is, bring 2 final renderings? That way you won't need to relay on what their projector will do (at least as much). A similar situation in our family, and the AV guy looked at me funny when I told him I didn't have a DVD. Fortunately his assistant knew what to do with the mp4's on the USB key.
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I'm finishing up a project from a lot of 4:3 480i60 video that I shot 15 years ago and hope to project it on a large screen. I guess it's pretty different from your source material because mine was shot with a Sony VX-2000 and I had forgotten just how nice an image that camera had. :) But my goal is the same, to make it look good on a big screen.

    I agree it would help to know more about the projector, but IMO modern TV's and projectors have gotten pretty good at upscaling SD to HD, so I am going to leave that aspect to the display device. But I am editing on a 480i60 timeline and deinterlacing with the highest quality motion compensated settings in Compressor for outputting to 8 bit uncompressed 480p30 which looks nice on a 46" Sony TV. I'm using uncompressed because there are a lot of effects and titles that look cleaner this way.

    I will connect my MacBook Air directly to the projector and play the video from the SSD however - my one hour movie is around 100GB in this format. Rendering my one hour 480p30 movie at highest quality in Compressor takes about 13 hours on my 2012 quad core i7 2.6ghz Mini. ;)

    If your original material isn't all that great, this would be overkill of course. I have also used Handbrake a lot to make working copies and also share online. I usually export 480i60 uncompressed video, which is quick, and then use Handbrake to deinterlace and encode h.264 480p30 at highest quality, which is also quick, and it looks pretty good.

    Can you connect your computer to the projector or do you have to use DVD? I gave up on DVD about 5 years ago, I get better results with h.264 and handbrake and it's a lot easier. Also, Blackmagic makes a little thunderbolt device called an UltraStudio Mini Monitor, think I paid $130 for mine. It outputs HDMI and looks very nice on a big screen directly from the FCP timeline without any rendering.
  8. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014
    And of course, watch those frame rates and sample rates.

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7 January 30, 2017