Pull It Down

Are you a 24p addict just like us? Don’t worry, there is nothing to be ashamed of! Some cameras, like Panasonic’s Varicam can record 24p (really 23.98) within a 720p60 signal. It does this by duplicating frames. To get back to 24p you can remove what is known as Advanced Pulldown to get the footage back to 24fps. You can do this on capture from a FireWire source (like Panasonic’s AJ HD1400).


  1. Open your capture presets (Final Cut Pro > Audio Video Settings and choose the Capture Presets tab) and select a DVCPRO HD preset to edit.
  2. Make sure the Remove Advanced Pulldown and/or Duplicate Frames from Firewire sources is checked.
  3. If you forgot to do this you can always remove the duplicate frames after the fact. Select your clip in the Timeline and choose Tools > Remove Advanced Pulldown.

Ahhh, 24p! Love it!


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

HD Progressive or Interlaced—Pick Your Poison


One question we get asked a lot is, when working in HD, is progressive or interlaced better? The question is not as simple as it might seem. Here is some food for thought:

Consider progressive if:
  • you might possibly be going back to film.
    • you might have to create additional versions of the show. It’s easier to create interlaced versions from a progressive master than the other way around.
    • you have a lot of motion. Progressive footage tends to look “smoother.”

Consider interlaced if
  • compatibility with existing NTSC interlaced television is a must. Not having to convert from progressive reduces the possibility of introducing artifacts.
    • you have a lot of detail. Interlaced footage tends to look “sharper” when compared to progressive footage.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

Open Access


Open format Timelines is one of our favorite features in Final Cut Pro 6. They become particularly useful when you need to integrate SD footage into an HD show. However, you need to make sure a couple of options are set up correctly.

  1. Open up User Preferences by pressing Option + Q.
  2. Choose the Editing tab and in the lower right-hand corner make sure Always scale clips to sequence size is checked. With this box checked, Final Cut Pro will scale your SD footage to the HD frame but it will not distort the aspect ratio. The result will be a blown up pillar boxed image.
  3. Open up your sequence settings by choosing Sequence > Settings or Command + 0 and choose the Video Processing tab.
  4. Change the Motion Filtering Quality pulldown to Best. This ensures Final Cut Pro will scale your SD clip using the highest quality. Click OK.

If, for whatever reason, you did not have the Always scale clips to sequence size checked in your User Preferences you would have ended up with your SD image centered in the HD frame as a small box. Don’t worry though, you can fix this.

  1. 1 Select the SD clip you want to scale.
    2 Choose Modify > Scale to Sequence.
  2. The clip’s scale has automatically been adjusted to fit the HD frame size.

While the scale to sequence method can be very helpful in working with SD footage in HD projects, scaling is happening (potentially a lot) so expect some degradation of the footage.

Note: Be wary of the Conform to Sequence command also found in the Modify menu. This command will adjust not only scale, but also aspect ratio possibly resulting in a stretched SD image if you conformed to an HD sequence. Conform to Sequence will also adjust field dominance by applying a Shift Fields filter if needed.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

Multiple Versions

So you’ve just completed your high definition masterpiece when you find out that you need to create a standard definition letterboxed version of the show. Thankfully, this is pretty easy inside Final Cut Pro.

  1. Create a new sequence and load a new sequence preset (for example, Apple Pro Res 422 NTSC).
  2. Take your high def sequence and nest it in the new one you just created.

  3. If you’re asked if you want to conform this sequence to the new one, choose No.
  4. Voila! You now have a letterboxed version of the show because FCP maintains aspect ratio of the original sequence its scale was reduced to fit in the 4x3 frame.

Additionally, after you nest the sequence you can open it in the Viewer and increase its scale to 70% (this will, of course, depend on your acquisition source—70% is derived from HDV footage). This will essentially edge crop the original HD sequence. Just be very careful—if the footage was not shot 4•3 safe—you could be cutting off important action and/or framing.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

Weblog  >  Weekly Tip  >   © 2008 Richard Harrington LLC Contact Me