I make a lot of square video. My usual work flow it to open a project. Set the dimensions to custom, 1080 x 1080 and then drag 4k clips into the timeline and scale them up to fill the frame. This means i am unable to use 1080p clips as when i use the transform tool to scale them up, i lose resolution.
Im clearly doing it wrong.
I watched a video that said to edit in a 1920 x 1080 timelime. Then open in an app like mpeg streamclip and crop the sides of the video off. The problem with this is that when youre editing in 1920 x 1080 you cant tell what youre gonna lose from the edges of the screen when you crop the video.
What am i doing wrong here? What settings / resolution / post processing should i be applying to get crisp accurate square vid?
You're not doing it wrong. You can use 1080p clips without losing resolution as long as you only reframe by moving left/right and you use the full height of the source clip. Even if your default settings require you to "scale up" so that your clip will fit the vertical size of the project, FCPX is still using the full 1080 vertical pixels of your source. If you need to push in further to reframe, of course you will lose some resolution. That only makes sense. But since you're most likely cutting square for social media delivery (i.e. viewing on a phone) – does the slight loss in resolution really matter all that much?
Just a heads up on square video - is it really required. I know its instagram / mobile friendly - but is having a nice 16:9 box embedded with black bars so bad?
I am over the race to the bottom with content that Social media seems to be creating - where the idea of posting "content" no matter what it is seems to be so important. (instagram stories for example are a nightmare of useless crappy pics and videos and bring nothing of value to the party that I can see)
Social Media (Facebook, Insta, Youtube) is an important outlet for our content but at the same time its effectiveness has been MASSIVELY overstated. Facebook is counting 1 second of a video on someone's timeline as a view.
Its becoming more obvious that well produced content , often via traditional media channels , has a lot more to offer thatnthe noise that is appearing on endless scrolling feeds.
Follow Mark Ritson if you want to drill down deeper into how badly agencies and brands are being fooled / mislead regarding the effectiveness of social media, (yes its important but we need to keep production value)
So this is a rallying call to all editors and proucers to protect our art from from this effect. I have seen my crafted, graded edits reposted on instagram with the resulting square format, low bit rate codec which then chops off titles and kills the framing finesse. Effectively taking work i am proud of and making it embarrassing.
We must resist. So the next time your client asks you to do square video - give them a heads up to the truth and the options. Lets respect our audience a bit a give them quality.