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In Final Cut Pro, mixing resolutions and frame rates in the same sequence is actually quite common.  There are lots of different HD and SD formats and you will probably at some time receive media from a variety of different formats.  So your best bet is to mix everything to the highest format available.  If your final output is HD, you want the best quality when converting clips that are in SD.  Final Cut Pro fortunately does this for you, however you will need to specify some settings.

First, highlight the sequence in the Browser window and and right-click it to choose Settings from the contextual menu.  The Sequence Setting dialog appears.  Under the Video Processing Tab, click the Render all YUV material in high-precision YUV radio button.


Next, set the Motion Filtering Quality seqence setting to Best to optimize scaling from standard definition to high definition.  Under the Render Control Tab, change the Master Templates and Motion Projects setting to Best.  Also, turn on the Always Use Best Quality When Rendering Movies option.


When dealing with DV, you'll want to change your sequence to an uncompressed codec, such as 10-bit uncompressed, or the animation codec.  After changing the sequence settings to one of these higher-quality codecs, you will see an increase in color depth and clarity in the Canvas window.  By changing your sequence settings to a better codec, you may notice a dramatic difference in the quality of graphics and titles.  Note that it's best to change your sequence settings when you are completely finished.  Otherwise, you may get a red render bar across your entire sequence.  To adjust your sequence settings, right click your finished sequence within the Browser window and choose Settings from the Contextual menu.  Change the compressor settings to a higher-quality codec.  If you're not sure which codec to choose, and you need something that will be compatible with someone else's PC that doesn't have the same codec, you can always use the Animation codec.  The animation codec is a standard uncompressed codec that is available to most PC users.


Right click your sequence in the Browser window and select Export > QuickTime Movie from the menu.  Give the file a name and Save.


Remember, by changing your sequence settings to the highest-quality codec you are also increasing the size considerably.  The 10-bit uncompressed codec requires over seven times more storage capacity than the DV/DVCPRO codec.


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Animating a Heart Beat in Motion was the previous entry in this blog.

Trim Media in QuickTime X is the next entry in this blog.

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