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TOPIC: Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size

Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 16 Sep 2019 17:31 #101460

  • Cale
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At the moment I am inserting video clips for a 1080p video. The actual clips are much bigger than 1080p so I have been viewing them at 25% (% dropdown next to the "View" dropdown) in order to make them fit. When I export this video, will it keep them at that shrunken size that I'm viewing them in or will they blow back up to 100%?
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Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 17 Sep 2019 07:04 #101474

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None of the above.
You must distinguish between the way footage is scaled in general (determined in inspector) and the viewing options in the viewer popdown menu.
Reveal the source clip in the browser and see the spatial conform ("show") options there. If it's set to none, then the image won't be scaled in the timeline - nor in the final export. You'd need to scale it manually to crop the part you want. In the viewer, you won't be able to see the whole image then, no matter how much you zoom out (unless, I should add, you are viewing the browser clip). The percentages shown there relate to the actual size in pixel of the *current* viewer compared to the dimensions of the source clip (browser, when the viewer is the source viewer) or the project/timeline (this was called Canvas in legacy FCP).

If, on the other hand, you are inserting UHD clips in an HD timeline (same aspect ratio), it can be wiser to choose fit. This doesn't prevent you to crop in later (without losing resolution).

If the bigger clips are still images with a different AR, you may want to choose fill.

You can set the timeline resolution (and framerate, but that's another ballpark) arbitrarily. For example: you can make a 2160p project and then import HD clips. If spatial conform is set to none, they will appear with thick black borders on all sides. Or the other way around. Note, that with UHD clips in an HD timeline, the timeline viewer may typically show something close to 100% (because HD should easily fit on most retina displays), even if the video is way zoomed in (with none).

I know, this can be confusing. It is getting somewhat less confusing if you toggle show event viewer (ctrl cmd 3). On the left side, you see the said event viewer, on the right side the timeline viewer. Unless there is a specific reason for that (i.e. drawing a mask around a motif) both should be set to fit (popdown, don't confuse it with spatial conform). In FCPX, due to it's optimization for single displays, the viewer is context-sensitive, depending on which window you are currently working in. Makes better use of the limited space.
Last Edit: 17 Sep 2019 08:29 by Axel.
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Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 17 Sep 2019 10:15 #101475

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Thanks Axel, I think I'm understanding this. So if "Spacial Conform" is set to "Fit" for all of my current clips even though my viewer remains on 25% then I should be clear of any unexpected size changes when I export?

On another note, you mentioned choosing "Fill" for still images. What would be the difference for the two? I do have several still images that I tried to make as close of an AR to my 1920x1080p (some are 2,005 x 1333 for example). Would "Fit" or "Fill do the job on those?
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Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 17 Sep 2019 23:37 #101485

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I've used this explanation in classes, not that it works, but I've used it. Here goes nothing...

The Timeline is your canvas. Say I bought a canvas 2 foot by 3 foot. Timeline frame size is static, and at its birth, manually or automatically set to a fixed size, as you wish. I can't make my canvas bigger or smaller, it is what it is. Such is your Timeline.

My eyes, I can walk closer or further from the canvas, and see more or less of it. It fills more or less of my field of vision. That's the Viewer, your eyes, and how close or far you get to the canvas. But the canvas size never changes, just how close or far you are from it.

Timeline = fixed frame size
Viewer = how close or far you are from the canvas

And you can adjust Scale in the Timeline, but that's totally different. And ouch, I blew that metaphor to hell...
Last Edit: 17 Sep 2019 23:39 by FCPX.guru.
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Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 18 Sep 2019 07:44 #101488

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Cale wrote:
On another note, you mentioned choosing "Fill" for still images. What would be the difference for the two? I do have several still images that I tried to make as close of an AR to my 1920x1080p (some are 2,005 x 1333 for example). Would "Fit" or "Fill do the job on those?

Don't know whether after FCP.gurus explanation the penny has dropped, but here is another long story to carve things out.

You chose 1080p as the size of your project. This is a reasonable choice. Let's assume it wasn't just because the first clip you added to a New Project happened to be 1080p.

The two most important reasons for 1080p are aspect ratio and resolution. 16:9 is the common AR, found on Youtube, on TV sets and on smartphones. 1080p has been proven to be the current "sweet spot" in terms of resolution.

I consider myself an expert here. I had been working for years in an actual photoshop, making physical manual enlargements in the darkroom (well, I know, literally translated from german, this sounds kinky :blush: - does anybody know better names?). Later, I was a projectionist, in analog and digital cinema.

Resolution is all about the *size* of the image, not about the quality. Nor the "sharpness" - real or perceived. The size of course is always relative. It depends on
a) the physical size of the display/screen/paper sheet
b) the viewing distance
c) the condition of the viewer's eyesight

With very few exceptions, HD will look good under any circumstances, on a smartphone, with smart upscaling on a 4k TV set and even on a cinema screen.

Because of that, as FCP.guru wrote, you made 1080 your canvas, deliberately. It is now fixed, the known invariable. This set of conditions (AR, resolution, framerate, color space) is henceforth displayed in the viewer whenever
a) you click in the timeline
b) you activate the timeline window with cmd+2
c) you have the aforementioned two viewers, then it's on the right one

The viewer lets you choose between "fit" and different percentages of scaling. None of them has any influence on the exported video, at least not directly.

But because of what I wrote about the a) - c) correlations of resolution, it's best to make the viewer "fit" to 1080 (if possible). This can mean that you have to change the actual size of the viewer-window so that it says "100" when set to fit. It may also mean that you may need to move closer to your display. Or that you have to buy a pair of reading glasses, even if you are used to read without.

This is critical at least at two times. First, if you review, rate and favorite your original footage, during or immediately after import. You can't reliably judge focus with lower resolution (don't judge this with proxies, for example). You can toggle fullscreen (bad focus or artifacts will be more apparent with an upscaled preview, there is no valid argument against that) or make a custom workspace with a bigger viewer.

The second occasion is of course scaling. See with how much scaling you can get away.

Cale wrote:
On another note, you mentioned choosing "Fill" for still images. What would be the difference for the two? I do have several still images that I tried to make as close of an AR to my 1920x1080p (some are 2,005 x 1333 for example). Would "Fit" or "Fill do the job on those?


"Fill" will automatically scale the source with the different AR (compared to that fixed canvas) so that there is no black background (nothing) visible. The position will be centered, so that the horizontal or vertical content that's outside the 16:9 frame will be cropped (for the time being, you can move it with the position parameters in inspector).

"Fit" will also scale it, but preserve the original AR with black edges.

"None" will not scale it and place it, as big or tiny as it is, in the exact center of the 1080 frame.

Any of these alternatives allow you to manually scale the image afterwards, using the transformation tools in inspector, it's just a matter which starting point you prefer. Just don't squeeze or sqash.

I hope this helped.
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2019 08:04 by Axel.
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Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 18 Sep 2019 12:15 #101494

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This was helpful for me as far as the basics go. I definitely benefit from the layman's terms
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Viewing Size vs. Actual Video Size 18 Sep 2019 12:29 #101495

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Very helpful, thank you. I think I have enough to move forward now with that. I just didn't want to be fooled into thinking that I had everything right based on my viewer when it could be just an illusion that everything fits the AR.
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