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Changing Resolutions

Traditionally, it was common practice to only increase resolution towards the end of your nonlinear project. However, the Media Manager in Final Cut Pro makes it possible to decrease project resolutions with ease. This provides you with great flexibility—you can move your project effortlessly between low and high resolutions.

Increasing Resolution

Generally, the editor of an offline project will lock picture, and proceed to recapture the original source material at a higher resolution in preparation for color correction and output. This standard will depend on your project requirements and can range from increasing resolutions for export to an effects facility to previewing an edit during postproduction of a film.

During post-production of the Cohen brothers’ film, Intolerable Cruelty, Joel and Ethan Cohen increased the resolution of their work-in-progress for previews. They shot film, transferred to HD and DVCAM, captured at DV25 from the DVCAM tapes and recaptured at higher HD resolution for previews. The HD online was used for the preview screening only and was not used for the final film release. A traditional film preview screening involves a matchback to the negative workprint viewed through a projector. However, this HD online allowed Joel and Ethan to keep their preview screening looking closer to the high-quality film aesthetic minus the scratching of grease pencil, dirt, and splice tape normally viewed during standard preview screenings that matchback to a film workprint.

Paul Ziller, the director and editor of the film Firefight, incorporated over 250 visual effects. Adam Stern, president of Artifex Studios Ltd and five other digital artists created the visual effects for Firefight. The artists needed the clips at a high resolution. Adam and his team sent the clips via QuickTime across the network to one of the Macs, where another artist worked on them, applying special effects, then sent them back onto the Final Cut Pro system. Paul then cut the affected clips right back into his edit.

The Magic Hour editors locked picture and recaptured only the edited clips in their final sequence, then discarded the low-resolution media. Although this is a common process during high-resolution recapture, the editors may have chosen an alternate path like Joel and Ethan Cohen. Joel and Ethan’s editing assistants kept the captured DV25 media on their system concurrently recapturing at the HD resolution. Joel and Ethan were continuing to edit the film, and they increased resolution for preview purposes, whereas The Magic Hour editors had completed their editing process and increased resolution for color correction and output.

Your reasons and timing for increasing resolution may differ, but your basic approach will remain the same. There are essentially two methods of recapturing media: selected and complete. If you decide to recapture the entire source file at a higher resolution, you can achieve the recapture through the Batch Capture window. However, if you require selected or partial clip recapture, you will need to leverage the power of the Media Manager in Final Cut Pro.

Recapture Entire Source File

You can recapture files directly through the Batch Capture window. Recapturing this way pulls in the entire source duration regardless of how much is used in a sequence or marked on a clip.

If you need to keep the low-resolution media files, simply save a copy of your project with the Save Project As (Shift-Cmd-S) function in Final Cut Pro. Add an appendage to the name of your project, perhaps something like High Resolution. Use your current project if you want to delete the low-resolution version.

  1. Select the elements you want to recapture.

    You can choose sequences, bins, or clips.

  2. Choose Modify > Make Offline.
  3. Select one of the three options in the Make Offline dialog, and then click OK:
    • Leave Them on the Disk— Media remains in the current location.

    • Move Them to the Trash— Moves the media files to the Trash but does not delete them.

    • Delete Them from the Disk— Moves the selected media files to the Trash and deletes them from the disk.

  4. Choose File > Batch Capture to open the Batch Capture window.
  5. From the Capture drop-down, choose All Selected Items.

    You will have three options in this drop-down if you have made no selections in your project: All Selected Items, Offline Items, and All Items.

  6. Check Use Logged Clip Settings if you want to maintain the clip settings you specified for each clip during the log and capture process. If you deselect this option, the clips will be captured using the current settings in the Clip Settings tab.
  7. Leave Add Handles deselected.

    If you have time-remapped clips or clips with speed effects, it’s best not to add handles because the new source media duration can affect the time remap and speed effect.

  8. From the Capture Preset drop-down, choose your new resolution and then click OK.
  9. The recapture dialog opens and prompts you for tapes. Select and load your tape at the prompt, then click Continue.

Recapture Selected Source Media

If you want to recapture only your selected or marked clips, you will use the Media Manager. Final Cut Pro’s Media Manager is a powerful tool with many uses, one of which is to help streamline your workflow during the capture or recapture process.

We will focus on using the Media Manager prior to recapturing selected clips. The scope of the Media Manager is extremely flexible, and you can us it on one or more clips, one or many sequences, or even an entire project. The affected elements of your project depend on what was selected in your Browser, Timeline, or Viewer prior to opening the Media Manager.

If you have enough space, and if you deem it necessary, you can keep your low-resolution clips on your system while also increasing the resolution. See the option in step 6 in the following exercise.

Here’s how to increase resolution for selected source media using Media Manager:

  1. Select the elements that you need to recapture.

    You can choose sequences, bins, or clips.

  2. Choose File > Media Manager. The Media Manager dialog opens.
  3. Choose Create Offline from the Media pop-up menu.
  4. Select your new settings for the copied sequence in the Set Sequences To pop-up menu.

    You can choose from your installed sequence presets, or the current sequence setting, or you can choose Custom to create your own. Any custom sequence setting modified through the Media Manager is for immediate use only and will not be saved as a sequence preset.

  5. Deselect the check box for Include Master Clips Outside Selection.

    With this option deselected, the master clips in your new project will only be based on the In and Out points of the selected items.

  6. Select the check box Delete Unused Media From Duplicated Items.

    With this option selected, any media files that are outside your selection will be deleted.

    This step is optional and dependent on whether you choose to keep your low- and high-resolution media simultaneously. If you choose to keep your low-resolution media, deselect this check box and skip ahead to step 9.

  7. Select the check box for Use Handles if you require handles on your media files. Define the number of handles you require.
  8. Deselect the check box Include Affiliate Clips Outside Selection.

    With this option deselected, you are ensuring that any media affiliated with your selection is not included. This includes affiliate clips.

  9. From the Base Media File Names On pop-up menu, choose Clip Names.

    You can choose either existing filenames or clip names. Existing filenames will maintain the names of the original media files; clip names will change your media names to the names you assigned to your clips during the editing process. This is relevant especially since you may have marked and subclipped your clips. If you have changed the names of your clips, set this option to Clip Names. If you have not altered the clip names in any way, or you want to maintain your original naming convention, set this option to Existing Filenames.

  10. Click OK.

    A dialog opens, prompting you to save your new project file.

  11. Navigate to where you want to save your project. Perhaps keep the original project name and add the appendage of your resolution—for example, Joe_Bloggs_Feature_Film-DV50_NTSC.

    Final Cut Pro scans your selected elements and reconstructs the project.

  12. If Final Cut Pro prompts you for additional information, you have three options: Add, Continue, or Abort.

    If the Media Manager detects that a currently open project references the same media, an Additional Items Found dialog appears.

    • Click Add if you want Media Manager to consider any additional portions of media files referenced by any currently open projects.
    • Click Continue if you don’t want Media Manager to consider other referenced media files.
    • Click Abort to stop the Media Manager operation so that you can modify a Media Manager setting.

    A Confirm Media Modifications dialog appears if the Media Manager is going to permanently change or delete any media files.

  13. Click Continue to confirm the change, and Media Manager will complete the process.

Decreasing Resolution

Sometimes you’ll need to convert your project from high to low resolution—for example, the project may be on hiatus, your storage or bandwidth requirements may have decreased, or maybe it’s time to archive. During post-production of Cold Mountain, the assistant editors wanted to prepare scenes on their laptops so they decreased the resolution of the media files in order to accommodate smaller bandwidths and file sizes. After the assistants prepped a scene on a laptop, they copied their project file to the main editing station, changed the sequence setup to match the higher-resolution media files, and reconnected the clips to the higher-resolution media files. This process gave everyone involved in the post-production of Cold Mountain greater flexibility.

  1. Select the elements that you need to decrease in resolution.
  2. Choose File > Media Manager to open the Media Manager dialog.
  3. Choose Recompress from the Media pop-up menu.

    When you select the Recompress option, you can recompress your media files with a different codec and frame size. The Recompress option affects only QuickTime movies; other file types, such as Photoshop, are simply copied.

  4. Select your new settings for the copied sequence in the Recompress Media Using pop-up menu.
  5. Select the check box for Include Master Clips Outside Selection.

    With this option selected, the master clips in your new project will be included.

  6. Select the check box Delete Unused Media From Duplicated Items.

    With this option selected, any media files that are outside your selection will be deleted.

    This step is optional and dependent on whether you choose to keep your low- and high-resolution media simultaneously. If you choose to keep your high-resolution media, deselect this check box and skip ahead to step 9.

  7. Select the check box for Use Handles if you require handles on your media files. Define the number of handles you require.
  8. Select the check box Include Affiliate Clips Outside Selection.

    With this option selected, you ensure that any media affiliated with your selection will be included.

  9. From the Base Media File Names On pop-up menu, choose Existing File Names.
  10. Click OK.

    A dialog opens, prompting you to save your new project file.

  11. Navigate to where you want to save your project. Perhaps keep the original project name and add the appendage of your new compression, for example Joe_Bloggs_Feature_Film-PhotoJPEG.

    Final Cut Pro scans your selected elements and reconstructs the project.

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