Picking The Best Format

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the November, 2007, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Kim Barry Brunhuber, somewhere in Sierra Leone, writes:

My question is a basic one.


I’m a news reporter by trade, and I make low-budget independent documentaries by night. For years I’ve been shooting with my Panasonic DVX100 at 24p. Right now I’m in Sierra Leone, and this is my problem:


I’m shooting two “projects” simultaneously; I’m shooting individual news pieces to be played on the national news, and I’m also shooting a doc about some journalists in Sierra Leone. Now I had been shooting everything at 24p Advanced… this is what I’ve been doing for years. But the news folks think (quite rightly) my footage looks a bit funny, as news is normally not shot at 24p. The obvious solution would be to shoot news at 29.97 and shoot the doc at 24pA. The problem is, I’m shooting b-roll for both projects and I don’t want to shoot everything twice!


This is the basic question. Is there a way to shoot the project in one format, let’s say, shoot everything 24 Advanced, then capturing that footage with either the Advanced pull-down removal for the doc or using normal NTSC capture for the doc, OR shoot everything at 24 fps Normal and then capture at normal NTSC, or is there another solution?

Larry replies: Kim, thanks for writing. If there was one “magic format” we would all be shooting in it. Unfortunately, as many of us are discovering as we move to HD, the world is a highly incompatible place.

Since it is easier to go from 24 fps to 29.97 fps than it is to go from 29.97 to 24, I would recommend you shoot everything at 24 fps Advanced.

Then, for your documentary, capture the footage using Final Cut’s pull-down removal into a 24 fps sequence. For the news, RE-capture the same footage at 29.97. This way, while you will need to capture twice, you’ll only need to shoot once.


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