View Full Version : rendering in FCP

07-05-2003, 09:50 AM
Hello again...thanks for the tips on alpha rendering. It worked really well. Now I'm having problems of degradation when rendering in FCP. This time I'm working with a full scene, not alpha, and when I compress for DV-NTSC, I'm losing all kinds of clarity. I'm presuming this has to do with compression in that codec, but wondering if there's anything I can do to maintain the beauty of the LW "Animation" render for video output.

07-05-2003, 10:43 AM
I'm not sure if this is your problem, but maybe it'll work...

Load up you DV file in the Quicktime Pro player. In the menu, select "Get Movie Properties."

There should be a selection that says High Quality. Check the box next to High Quality.

It may be that Quicktime is showing you a low quality preview. If you select high-quality it'll slow your machine's responsiveness.

There may be some Final Cut Pro gurus around who'll give you a better answer than this.

07-05-2003, 01:29 PM
Thanks..I am a long time video user, and definitely have my settings on "high." This is a somewhat subtle thing, but it bugs me that I'm losing the crispness of the original LW file.
Any other thoughts?

07-05-2003, 02:59 PM
Well, the dv ntsc codec is very different than what you are rendering from LW. The dv codec renders for output on a tv screen. If you have fcp hooked to a firewire camera or deck you can hook that up to a tv monitor and see what your final output will look like. The dv codec looks great on a tv screen because that is what it is made for. Playing a dv file in quicktime never looks the way it will actually look on a tv.

07-06-2003, 08:50 AM
is your complaint about how things look in FCP...
or how it looks on the television/monitor?

07-06-2003, 09:21 AM
It's really a subtle thing. What I'm finding is that when I "render" the LW movie in the FCP timeline, there is a definite loss of resolution. It's more noticable when the objects are sharp edged, but in any case, there is a blurring of detail. It really has nothing to do with the difference between the computer image and the tv image. They are quite comparable.

07-06-2003, 10:45 AM
graphics and animation are particularly susceptible to artifacts/quality-loss from DV compression. Keep in mind the DV is a 5:1 compressor and you *do* lose data - every time you render in the FCP timeline (when your project is set to DV-NTSC).

There's no real work-around for this, other than not working in DV until you absolutely need to. I've found that when I have to work in DV-NTSC in FCP for a project I'll avoid rendering as much as possible until the last moment. It really is *every* time you render that's problematic. Even if you were to render a letterbox matte over footage or animation in DV you will lose some quality.

Hope this helps.

07-06-2003, 11:14 AM
Adam...very interesting that the timeline renders effect quality exponentially. I will certainly heed your advice and only render for "making the movie."
Appreciate it.

07-06-2003, 06:43 PM
If your project is small try setting the sequence settings to the animation codec and then when it renders you shouldnt get any loss of quality at all.

The only draw back using this method is that when you play your sequence it may stutter or stop when the data rate gets to high, but it should let you preview your work while scrubbing through which should give you an idea of how your material is fitting together.

Once you have cut your sequence you can then change the settings back to DV to render.

P.S. Are you setting the animation to be interlaced in the options panel? This will effect clarity when outputing to TV.

Hope this helps!

07-07-2003, 09:54 AM
Excellent suggestion. Makes sense. But I'll still lose quality in the end when I revert to DV, yes? Should I be setting the animation with or without interlace in LW? I'm compositing LW images with video. Does this complicate matters for the animation option in FCP?

07-07-2003, 05:31 PM
Sorry for the following convoluted message.

Using the animation codec will only stop the exponential loss of succesive renders in FCP. When the final render to DV is initiated you will lose minimal quality but its something you cannot get around because of the lossy codec.

It must be stated again that quality loss of animations when converting to DV isn't really that bad when viewed through a monitor! Its just an unfortunate fact that the compression ratios tend to lose the clarity of very fine detail which animations usually contain and TV monitors do not have the great resolution computer monitors have. Digital HD TV and is a fix for this!

As for setting the options panel to field rendering there are benefits and drawbacks. Benefits: Animations will move and look a lot sharper
Drawbacks: Longer render times and animations may look more sinthetic

Generally I'll not set the field rendering because it gives the anims a natural motion blur and fluid feel, it depends on what you are aiming for.

If you are inserting video into a background and you are using field rendering
make sure your dominant field is the same as your codec, DV-Pal is Lower (Even) field (not sure about NTSC).

Field rendering will not affect the animation codec, I usually save LW animations as .mov files in the animation codec for optimal quality.

There is so much more that can be said here but time forbids me ;)

07-08-2003, 08:05 AM
Thanks, Vman, for this very asute analysis. I tried a comparison yesterday of the same file rendered as an animation .mov in FCP and a DV .mov. The losses are significant. I have been compositing in FCP using the alpha of the LW files for overlays. But I haven't worked much the other way, compositing in LW. It might make a difference. I'm used to working with FCP or AfterEffects, but now LW seems quite an elegant way to go.