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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

••◊ Online in HD, part 1

A friend recently asked me to create an HD version of my 24 Hours at Hurkey Creek video so he can invite the boys over and let them see themselves on a 100-inch home theater screen. Sure, I thought, that should be easy. Nope.

For newbies here; the process I originally used to create the video could generally be referred to as "offline" editing. This means that you edit the video with a lower quality, lower resolution proxy. Why? Well, most computers heavily choke, puke, and die when it comes to editing full-rez HD. When you want to create the full resolution high quality video you do "online" editing and use the high resolution video files. The exact process used to do offline/online depends on your editing software. Since I was only planning to go to the web with this video, I never went through the online editing process. 640x360 was more that good enough, until now...

So these series of articles will hopefully chronicle my (hopefully not too pathetic) attempt at online editing an HD high quality video. It was actually my friend Marci who queried me about the process I was using.

So...step 1: The video was already edited, however Premier Pro doesn't let you change sequence settings (i.e. the resolution of the video) dynamically. You have to create a new sequence. In my case I selected the "General" tab and set the editing mode to "Desktop." Then I set the sequence resolution to 1920x1080, 30fps, square pixels. Why those settings? Well, that's the native characteristics of the video from a Canon 5Dm2 camera.

Step 2: Copy-Paste. I simply selected all the audio and video clips by holding down the mouse button and dragging a rectangle around the clips. Ctrl-C to copy. Select the HD sequence tab (i.e. "Timeline: Sequence 1080HD") and Ctrl-V to Paste. Who ever thought up "V" for paste anyway? I digress.

Step 3: Replace the footage. This is actually quite straightforward in Premier. You right click on any clip in the list of clips in the "Project" tab and select "Replace Footage..." Note that this works for audio, video, or titles. There's a little pre-planned trick to make this easy. When you create the offline proxies, use the same file name as the online video. I used H.264 ".mp4" video files for proxies, whereas my camera produces Quicktime ".mov" files. Since the file names are the same all you have to do is look for the same file name with a different file extension when you replace the footage. Seems much more manageable to me.

Step 4: Replace Titles. As I found out the hard way, titles do not scale in Premier. You can't just take title text that was done for a 640x360 frame with some one's name and set the Motion-Scale Effect to 300% to get 1920x1080. For me, this meant re-doing all the titles with new text. My titling is simple, like people's names or an opaque color band. 15 minutes later they were all replaced with new full HD versions.

That seemed harmless...UNTIL dah-dah-dummmmm, you see all the noise and artifacts that downscaling hid. Ick, augh! Next up; how to fix a few of those.

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