FCP: HD Footage to SD DVD: Best (& Worst) Practice


  • DON’T:
    • Don’t edit HD footage on a SD timeline.
      • Pasting into an SD timeline is the worst thing you can do. FCP is terrible at conversion of HD to SD. At the very least send your HD Quicktime movie of the timeline to Compressor and have Compressor make the conversion.
      • A much MUCH better way would be to invest in something like an AJA Kona board which does full broadcast conversions in realtime.
    • Don’t ever down-convert HD to SD before encoding to MPEG2. It’s not only completely unnecessary waste of your time, it’s an unnecessary re-compression step that will make your DVD hideous.
    • Don’t “Export using Compressor” directly from the timeline.
      • you can keep editing in FCP while Compressor encodes
      • Compressor is faster when working from a single file, because it avoids the look ahead clip by clip encoding features of VBR encoding that pretty much creates more problems than it solves.
  • DO:
    • File > Export > Quicktime Movie.
      • Leave it set to “Current Settings”
      • You can export a Reference movie if you’d like, meaning leave “Make Self Contained Movie” UNchecked.
    • Take that Quicktime movie into Compressor.
      • Choose the DVD Compression of your choice, such as DVD 90 Minutes High Quality.
        • Compressor will create a Standard Definition 16:9 MPEG-2.
      • Also select the Dolby Digital Audio to create the AC-3 audio file.
    • Launch DVD Studio Pro and bring the MPEG-2 and AC-3 into your project.
      • Now create a DVD!
      • DVD Studio Pro will create a DVD in 16:9 widescreen format that will automatically play Letterboxed on a 4:3 TV and full screen on a 16:9 widescreen.

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