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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #49

Working with HDV in a SD Project By Stephen Schleicher

With the HDV format quickly becoming as common as DV, many productions are jumping on the bandwagon.  But not that many people actually own a HD TV, so whats an editor to do?  With Final Cut Pro 5, there are several ways you can still use HDV footage in your SD sequence, as this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip demonstrates.

When working with HDV footage in a standard definition project, you must remember the HDV footage will always need to be rendered.  Render times are going to vary depending on the speed of your system, amount of RAM, etc., but the end result is going to be worth it.  Even in SD, HDV footage looks awesome.

Auto Fit
There is a very good chance your HDV footage is native 16:9, and there is a good chance you will want to preserve that framing in your SD sequence.  In order to do this, simply drag your HDV clip from the Browser Window to the Timeline.

The image is displayed letterboxed on your television/monitor.


If your 4:3 project is anamorphic (widescreen), you can maintain the HDV aspect ratio in the Timeline.

First, make sure your sequence is set to Anamorphic 16:9 in the Sequence Settings Panel.

Then, when you drag the HDV clip from the Viewer Window to the Canvas (or Timeline) the aspect ratio will be maintained.

If your Final Cut Pro system is connected to a 16:9 capable monitor, you will be able to see your sequence in real time (after rendering the HDV clip of course).

For more information on working with anamorphic footage in Final Cut Pro, be sure to check out Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #43

Pan and Scan
Finally, you can bring a HDV clip into your Timeline full sized.  This might be the best option if you are not working with 4:3 anamorphic clips, or you dont want your sequence to jump back and forth between full screen (for the 4:3 footage) and letterbox (when you drop in 16:9 footage).

Another reason you might want to bring the clip in full size, is it allows you to ?virtually zoom into an area of interest.

Import the clip, and drag it into the Timeline.

The original HDV clip

Double click the clip to load it in the Viewer Window, then under the Motion Tab, change the Size to 100%.

In the Canvas Window, change the view to Image+Wireframe.  Make sure you have the view amount set to Fit to All.  You can now position the clip in the Canvas Window for a perfectly framed shot.

What the viewer will see.

If you need to create a virtual pan to other areas of interest in the shot, animate the Center property for the clip in Motion Tab.

SD Now, HD Later
If all of the footage for your project is HDV, why not create a project that can be used for SD delivery now, and HD later?  Yet another way you can down convert your HDV footage is to edit the entire project HDV native.  When complete, nest the HDV sequence into a standard def sequence following the above suggestions.  Even though you will have to render, when complete you can dump it to tape for delivery, and in a few years when the client comes back and wants a high definition version, all you have to do is open the HDV sequence and lay that off to HDV tape.

For a complete list of all Final Cut Pro Quick Tips, be sure to visit my website at www.stephenschleicher.com

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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:final cut pro, hdv, standard definition, hd, sd, editing, down convert, schleicher, final cut pro quick tip, fcp

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