Upconverting SD to HD

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by treehorn, May 6, 2009.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #1
    We shoot live theater in SD and are starting to feel the HD crunch - even though only a couple of TV stations broadcast in HD, they are getting more and more vocal about wanting HD footage. Today had one publicist tell us that one station won't use the footage unless we upconvert it to HD for them (the fact that another of the news programs on their network does this all the time with our footage without problems...doesn't seem to factor into their thought process).

    So I'm looking into ways to best turn our 16:9, DV/DVCPRO NTSC 29.27fps footage into an HD format. As I haven't done much work with HD (and it has all been in reverse to this - turning HD into SD), I need a bit of help.

    My thought process now is this:

    1) create a new sequence that is 720p HD.
    2) Drag the clip into the sequence (which is automatically changing the scale to 150% end embedding it into the sequence with black on all sides)
    3) Render it
    4) Print to video and export it to our Sony HVR-V7U camera via Firewire and record it on HDV tape

    Is this correct? Any settings I should use instead?

    Thanks in advance for any help on this!
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    FCP is horrible at scaling footage up. You'd either want to use Compressor or Red Giant's Instant HD if you don't mind buying additional software. In Compressor you'd want to use the HDV 1080i60 preset (that matches what your camera will record) and turn on Frame Controls and set the Resize Filter to "Best". It will take a long time to convert, but it will look worlds better compared to what FCP can do.


    Lethal
     
  3. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #3
    Thanks (and thanks for not giving me a snippy "you should have shot in HD" response like some forums...:)

    Follow up question. I'm trying to do it in Compressor. Setting: DVCPRO HD 1080i60. Changed all settings to "Best" and "Progressive" Can't wait to see how long it takes (it's only a 10 minute clip).

    Concern now is that it's showing up in 4:3 in the preview window. Just making sure that that's not a bad thing (I'm guessing it isn't...that it will be fine when I re-import it into FCP).

    Also want to make sure that this is a workable option to get the footage to a station (that is, methinks, the home of an editor too lazy to do this himself...). That there isn't a way to embed the SD footage into an HD sequence so that it is 'pillared' (as one sees on TV when an HD show like The Today Show uses SD footage).

    Thanks for patience...as I said I'm new at HD and am being forced into it in a late night emergency manner...oh joy oh rapture
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    If you want to record this to tape using your Sony camera you don't want to use DVCPro HD because that is not the format your camera records to. You also don't want to convert it to progressive unless you have to because the source footage is interlaced and will look best if it stays interlaced. Specifically, what HD format do the people you are delivering the footage to want? Not every place has the same requirements so unfortunately there is no 'one size fits all' format.

    Pillar boxing is only used w/4:3 footage so you don't need to worry about it because your source footage is 16:9.


    Lethal
     
  5. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #5
    Therein lies the rub...all we're being told is that the editor at this one station for this one program won't accept the footage in SD. He wants it in HD format. And of course we're going through a publicist who knows nothing about formats, video, etc. and is calling in a panic. So part of this is figuring out what questions to ask (and thanks a million for your help)

    Why this guy isn't able to do anything with footage that was shown this week on several HD national morning shows...is a puzzlement.
     
  6. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #6
    Out of curiousity...how does Magic Bullet Instant HD (regular or advanced) compare with converting via Compressor (both in time and in quality)
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    W/regards to Instant HD, I haven't used it personally but from what I've read it does a better job than Compressor, but how much of a better job I'm not sure. You can download a free trial though and give it a whirl.

    Finding out what flavor of HD the guy will accept is pretty key. If the guy you need to give the footage to uses FCP I'd give it to him as ProRes 1080i60 if possible. Do you have to give it to him on tape or can you send him a HDD?


    Lethal
     
  8. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #8
    Thanks again for all your help.

    I spent the night converting one file two ways. While both are in HDV 1080i60, one in 16:9, one with the image letterboxed into 4:3 (which is what I see happening with all the footage when I see it on HDTV shows).

    Then I'm going to see if it works to transfer them/print to video on the Sony HVR-V7U camera via Firewire and record it on HDV tape.

    Then once we know that this whole process works, start the game of 'telephone' where we ask the publicist to give it to the editor and see if it works for him. And if not, we'll see if they can be more explicit in their needs (and if they can provide an Hard Drive or get the publicist to foot the bill for one)

    Ah, this brave new world in which we live...

    (EDIT) The files just finished processing and I'm surprised to discover that they are both small enough to burn on a DVD as data files. So I'm going to do that as well. Hopefully some manner of transport will work!
     
  9. hdmediaservices macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #9
    Using Magic Bullet's Instant HD Advanced

    I use Instant HD Advanced on a regular basis and the quality is amazing. I've compared it to Boris CC, FCP and Compressor -- none of them come even close.

    Red Giant uses vector analysis algorithms that makes my footage look very close to HD (as long as the original is in good shape).

    Get ready to render your heart out -- on a new Mac Pro 8-core in After Effects CS4, it takes about 20 hours to upconvert 720x480i to 1920x1080i.

    Worth the wait!
     
  10. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #10
    Thanks for the heads up. If we don't end up getting HD cameras this summer, it's a small investment! (and might be needed for our older footage anyway).

    and for an LOL moment...after all this...today get word that "oh, we don't need it upconverted...we have a $20K machine that does it for us the way we want it...don't know why person X told you that"

    While knowledge gained is never a waste...
     

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