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Giovanni Lampitz

SD (vertical orientation) into HD project

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Hi all,

I'm currently working on a video dance project. Main characters of the action are the three dancers and the space, a very tall entrance to a yard. Therefore we dicided to shoot with the camera (canon xm2) in vertical orientation, what in still photography is also called portrait orientation. I think it is an estetically sensfull choice. With some technical problem to solve. On the set (we're mostly rehearsing right now) it's quite a lot of fun and, with the camera lcd screen, it's not that complicated. But I'm already thinking of the postproduction and how to deal with these images.

My plan is to open a HD (720p 25fps) project on FCP (or Premiere) import my DV images, turn them 90° and use the 720 orizzontal line of the DVpal as the 720 vertical line of the HD, avoiding croping , shrinking and losses of definition. Does it make any kind of sense? Would it be flawless as in my words or would it be a lot of problems? should I instead shoot in a orizontal orientation and then just crop it out? Any other suggestion?

Thanks in advanced for your help.



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If I'm understanding you correctly, it should work as long as you have FCP version 6 or higher. If you're working with an older version, you'll have to render all the footage you import because your timeline and footage won't be in the same format. In version 6, this isn't a problem. To avoid any problems with interlacing, shoot in a progressive format like 25p.


The only problem with what you are doing is that, unless you are finishing to an HD source (i.e. a Blu-Ray disc), you are going to end up compressing the image back down to standard definition in order to finish to DVD. That means that your attempt to preserve resolution by using a 720p timeline in FCP will be pointless. You'd be better off just keeping the camera level and framing for a vertically oriented 4:3 frame when shooting and then adding in a matte in post. It'd save you a lot of time and effort.

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I've actually done this (I work in a very small studio and it's an effective way to get a long shot). Be warned that Final Cut Pro is kind of buggy, and occasionally renders things a little strangely. (I didn't catch one mis-render before I posted the video here:

check out the section at about 1:30.) You'll also need to be mindful that the XM2 does not shoot square pixels, so you'll want to keep an eye on FCP to make sure it's not distorting your talent when you do the rotation. (If it does, the answer is to render it out at 640x480, and then rotate the rendered footage). Check your work thoroughly, and this should work well for you, but bear in mind that real-time renders will be a thing of the past.

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I've actually done this (I work in a very small studio and it's an effective way to get a long shot).


Jim, I don't understand why you would do this, especially when you are chroma-keying the background. It seems like it would take a whole lot less work to just keep the camera level and get the framing you want on your subject while ignoring the background (since it will be replaced later). Then in post you can matte off the parts of the background that are not green/blue screen and apply the chroma-key. Your new background would replace not only the green/blue screen, but also the matted off areas.


This seems like it would be much easier than rigging the camera at a 90 degree angle and then rotating the image in post and having to deal with render issues.


Is there something I'm missing here?

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