Editing HD in an SD Timeline

Posted on by Larry

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

Gordon Inglis writes:

We use the XDCAM HD and gather our material at the HQ setting (29.97, 35mbs, 1080i) but we are outputting DV NTSC. For our purposes scaling in FCP works very well with no issues that I can discern and the render time is a lot faster than the painful conforming process.


Once you get used to working with HD on an SD timeline and start to exploit the scaling ability this offers, it is pretty hard to imagine going back.


My prediction for the future of our industry is that it will become the norm that the acquistion of the image will always be of higher resolution than the final output. This is where RED is staking out some early territory (maybe). But for an editor the ability to scale your images by 100% is invaluable.


In our situation there isn’t enough reason to output at HD, and when it finally does become worthwhile for us to ouput at HD I know I will want to upgrade my camera to get a bigger image to work with in the editing process.


In my opinion, those people that are editing on an HDV timeline but outputting at SD when finished are missing out on the real value of shooting in HDV.

Larry replies: Gordon, this is an interesting perspective – especially because your system allows easy reframing and stabilization of shots with essentially no loss in image quality. What interests me is that you are satisfied with the downscaling in FCP. Other editors would disagree. What this tells me is that editors should consider looking at this workflow. If the quality is acceptable, I agree with you, the savings in time and greater flexibility make it hard to beat.


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