It’s important to us that we deliver images of the optimum quality in our productions. When we say you’ll get HD video, we need to make sure that’s exactly what you get. It’s a technical old business but it matters.
We’re often shooting in 4k (really high resolution) but normally delivering in 1080 (Blu-ray quality HD). So that means that we have the opportunity to safely crop to specific sections of our raw footage without the danger of any loss of HD resolution. However, in order to do so we need to know precisely where the limits of any 1080 region fall – which is almost impossible. Our editing software of choice, Final Cut won’t tell and neither will its best chum Motion.
Our technical guru Jeremy Gugenheim takes up the story.
“We looked for a Final Cut plugin but couldn’t find one. We tried to create some overlays but that didn’t work with all the different resolutions of our source footage. We turned to Apple’s Motion but found the same thing. We really needed this tool, and the more we realised it wasn’t available the more we seemed to need it!
“We then looked for a 3rd party plugin. Although these are coming thick and fast these days, sifting through dozens of them turned up no solution.”
By this stage Jeremy was getting seriously frustrated. Writing an FxPlugin means leaving all your Final Cut knowledge behind, dusting off your programming chops and wading through, well, very little documentation indeed. There are a very few coding examples provided by Apple so it all seemed a bit difficult.
Fortunately, no one told Jeremy just how difficult – and suddenly we had a plugin that shows the limits of a 720 or 1080 16:9 rectangle overlaid onto source footage of any (larger) resolution. It can be positioned anywhere and allows a cropping rectangle to be positioned precisely.
The plugin has removed the guesswork and allows us to present full pristine HD, cropped out of any source, and gives us a little competitive advantage – our crops are precise and we are sure to be delivering finished projects that reliably meet the High Definition specifications and which allow us the maximum flexibility of cropping images to maximise the effectiveness of your film.
That’s good for us and, most importantly, for our lovely clients.