Creating High-Quality Stills For HD And SD

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the October, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


David Scott has been working to create a high-quality HD projected image and an equally high-quality SD sequence to go onto a DVD. After many, many, (uh, MANY) emails he has finally developed a workflow that he’s given me permission to share.

How to Build an FCP Show of Animated Stills and Video for High Definition Projection and Standard Definition DVDs (for optimum projected and DVD sharpness and quality)


1. Prepare stills in Photoshop at 3200 x 1800 x 72 (for 16:9 zooming) as TIFs


2. In FCP, set “Sequence” as:

Frame Size – HDTV 720p (1280×720) (16:9)
Pixel Aspect Ratio – Square
Field Dominance – Off
Compressor – H.264


3. Build show, animate, add transitions, etc.


4. Export from FCP:

as QuickTime self-contained movie “at Current Settings”


– OR –


“Using Compressor” (for even better quality)
Go to “Settings”
Go to “Custom”
Select “16-9 QuickTime H.264”
Under “Destination” tab, select” to desktop”
In “Inspector”, set Frame Size to 1280×720
Pixel Aspect Ratio to Square


5. Project using an HD-compatible like the Optoma 739 or similar


6. From your FCP show, Export “Using Compressor”
7. Choose “Change Settings” (by control-clicking on file)
8. Under “Apple”, “Other Workflows”, “Advanced Format Conversions”, “Standard Definition”, Select NTSC-DV. click “Add”
9. In Geometry window, go to “Crop to” and select “4×3 1:33.1” which will crop image from left and right but preserve the middle
10. Submit
11. Import the resulting .mov file into DVD Studio Pro
12. Delete “Menu”
13. Set “track” in Menu and End point
14. Burn DVD master
15. From DVD master, copy TS files to hard drive
16. Use TS files in Primera Bravo SE with art to produce DVDs.


– Close inspection suggests exports “Using Compressor” (as outlined above) produce better enlargements than those done straight to QuickTime at Current Settings (at least, to my eyes)


– Likewise, DVDs created using the “Using Compressor” file seem better than those from the straight-to-QuickTime export (again, to my eyes)


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