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Upscaling vs. Downscaling


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#1 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:14 AM

Hey, 

 

So if you had half your footage shot at 720p to get high speed shots at 50fps and the other half at 1080p, at a frame rate of 24, would you upscale or downscale the footage?

The camera you've used is a 5d mkiii.

 

I ask because images lose quite a bit of sharpness while upscaling but not having a full HD output might not be the greatest thing for projector screenings. 


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:35 AM

I mean, you will have to process the 50FPS footage anyway, the editing system will generally do it for you on the fly.

If it's just a few shots, I'd scale it in your editing software.

If it's hundreds of shots, I'd upscale before you import.

720p to 1080p isn't a big deal, it won't look too bad. I did a web series using 720p Go Pro's upscaled to 1080p and they weren't too bad for web viewing.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:36 AM

I'd say a lot will depend on where it's going-- if it's just for web, i might be inclined to just stick to a 720p master and downrez the 1080-- you could then soften it a bit in post to match the native 720 stuff.


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#4 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 01:02 AM

It's to be screened in a bunch of different places. I'm not sure what screening systems they're using as yet.

 

Is there that much of a difference between upscaling before the import and upscaling in the software itself? I mean, do you get cleaner footage despite losing detail when you convert it externally? Ultimately, it's about 7 - 8 minutes of 720p footage and 7-8 minutes of 1080p footage.

 

Because it was shot on cinestyle, the sharpness is down to 0 in the 1080 footage too so it may just seem like the 720 is slightly softer and not show too much.

 

But generally speaking, is downscaling the better option if it's almost exactly halfway 1080 and halfway 720? I guess it's need specific, huh? 


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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 01:07 AM

Well yea, Adrian is 100% correct that down-scaling is better. However a finished project in 720 isn't so hot either.

So now the big question is, what software would you use to scale it? Most of the software out there does Bilinear interpolation. After Effects does a great job at that, so if you do have the adobe suite, for sure use AE first. Otherwise, there aren't very many other options, most of them will linear interpolation, which will look pixelated.
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#6 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 01:15 AM

I'm editing on Premiere CC so that's convenient then to use AE to scale. So, I tried upscaling some of the footage in Premiere itself and there's not so much the problem of grain but more a problem of sharpness. Especially in the closeups. I mean, at the end of the day, it shouldn't look like there was a focusing problem throughout the film. That's honestly the only reason I'm considering coming down to 720 but you're right, there's honestly a noticeable loss of detail in that case.

 

If you had to pick between scaling on AE and using Media Encoder or Streamclip to convert to 1080, which would you say is the better option?


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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 01:38 AM

AE for sure. Try it and see what it does. Premiere doesn't use bilinear interpolation like AE does.
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#8 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 01:49 AM

That's great. Thanks a tonne. :)


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#9 Carl Looper

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 03:50 AM

I'd master the work at 1080.

 

So those shots that are at 720, I'd upscale to 1080, and apply a touch of smart sharpening to such. I'd assume the appropriate sharpening amount would be 1080/720 = 1.5 px, but could be half that - in any case I'd just experiment for whatever looks right.

 

One can then render out the whole project at different definitions for different contexts. One might render out a 1080 version for a projector capable of screening at that def, and another at 720 if that's all another projector can handle. Basically it's better to scale the work through a dedicated edit suite (such as AE) than leaving it up to the video player to do the rescaling. Mainly because you can check how it looks and adjust it accordingly.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 18 January 2016 - 03:58 AM.

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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:20 PM

I think Tyler has it spot on that the software you use for the scaling is really important.

I've had much better results in MPEG streamclip than in Final Cut and I guess it could be a similar situation with Premiere.

 

I seem to remember that Virtual Dub also has good scaling and AVISynth too.

After Effects is also obviously great it all kinds of ways!

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 18 January 2016 - 12:21 PM.

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#11 Jon Kline

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 04:56 PM

Definitely master in 1080p. You'll be a little soft on some shots, but you'll have a lot more data than if you master in 720p. Once you put your project in the wild, factors like YouTube compression, out of focus projectors, sloppy engineers, and other issues will hurt your quality a lot more. Do everything you can to give the highest quality file, and then expect it to be poorly handled by pretty much everyone who tries to get it to your viewers.


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#12 Haridas Stewart

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 03:35 PM

the software you use for the scaling is really important.

 

its madness that industry standard software can't upscale footage to the standard of some open source freeware. 


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#13 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 06:12 AM

Happy ending. Streamclip was almost seamless and all the footage is now at 1080p ProRes 422. (My old computer couldn't handle AE and PP at the same time.)

So far I've shown it to 3 other DoPs and no one has even mentioned resolutions. Safe to say the 720p has camouflaged. Phew. Thanks, guys. 


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