Creating Final Broadcast Design Elements and Effects

The finishing process is also the time to replace any temporary or placeholder effects, broadcast design animations, and stills with the final versions you’ll use for mastering and outputting.

When creating your final effects clips, it’s usually best to render them using a mastering-quality codec (such as one of the Apple ProRes or Uncompressed codecs), regardless of which codec you’re using for the rest of the media in your program. For example, if you’ve reconformed your sequence to use the originally shot DV-25 media, it’s still preferable to render your effects clips using a higher-quality codec to avoid introducing unnecessary compression artifacts.

The finishing process can also result in changes to sequence resolution that may have an impact on the different kinds of effects clips you may use in your program.

Related topics include:

Creating High-Quality Slow-Motion Clips Using Motion

If there are clips using linear or variable slow-motion speed effects in your sequence, you have the option of rendering them at a much higher quality using the optical flow image analysis capabilities of Motion. This feature lets you easily create extremely smooth slow-motion effects.

To do so, send any clip that uses linear or variable speed effects to Motion. Variable speed keyframes are converted automatically to their Motion equivalent. When Motion opens, select the clip, open the Timing parameter group in the Inspector, and set the Frame Blending parameter to Optical Flow.

It may take a moment for Motion to analyze the clip. This is a necessary step for achieving completely smooth slow-motion effects. Once the analysis is complete, there are two ways you can incorporate the effect back into your edited sequence:

  • You can save the Motion project and go back to Final Cut Pro. A Motion project clip for that project is embedded in the Timeline when you send the clip to Motion, and you can simply render it in the Timeline and output your program as is.

  • If you plan to grade your project using Color, which isn’t compatible with Motion project clips, you instead need to export the clip from Motion as a QuickTime file using whichever codec you intend to master your program with. You then reimport the clip into your Final Cut Pro project and reedit it into your sequence to replace the original clip and speed effect.

Using Effects in Offline/Online Workflows That Change Resolutions

Media Manager operations performed during the process of reconforming a program can sometimes change a sequence’s resolution. For example, if you have HD source media but performed the offline edit using downconverted media at an SD resolution, you can use the Media Manager to create an offline duplicate of your sequence that uses an online-quality sequence preset in preparation for reconforming the original HD media. If a Media Manager operation such as Create Offline changes the resolution of a sequence, the Motion tab attributes of every clip in that sequence are adjusted proportionally to match the new frame size.

A sequence’s resolution is usually changed in preparation for recapturing or retransferring higher-resolution media; this change in resolution is necessary to match the sequence to the native resolution of the new online media. However, this also means that generators (such as title generators), still images, embedded Motion projects, and animation created using Final Cut Pro Motion tab settings are all scaled to the new size of the sequence. Most of the time, this is a seamless change because each clip’s geometry is calculated relative to its center.

However, if a resolution or media change results in a mismatch between a clip’s resolution and that of the sequence it’s edited into, you can use the Conform to Sequence command to make the size and aspect ratio of the clip match those of the sequence.

Tip: To simplify the reconforming process, it’s easiest to plan an offline/online workflow in which the frame size doesn’t change. This is the reason for the Apple ProRes 422 (LT) and Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) codecs, as they both let you capture offline-quality, low-bandwidth media at the full frame size of your final program.

When a Color Roundtrip Changes Sequence Resolution

Most of the time, a Final Cut Pro–to–Color roundtrip has a fairly transparent effect on the resolution of your final sequence in Final Cut Pro. However, there are instances when the sequence that is returned has a different resolution than the one that was originally sent. This section describes those instances and how they affect your workflow.

When does a Final Cut Pro–to–Color roundtrip automatically change the resolution of a sequence?

If you render your color-corrected media using a codec different from that of your source media (one of the Apple ProRes or Uncompressed codecs, for instance), all anamorphic media in your project is resized to the closest full‑raster frame size. For example, media using the anamorphic 1280 x 1080 or 1440 x 1080 frame size is rendered using the standard 1920 x 1080 frame size.

Whenever rendering your media in Color changes the codec, the frame size, or both, a dialog appears when you send your project to Final Cut Pro, asking if you want to change the graded Final Cut Pro sequence to match the QuickTime export codec.

  • If you click Yes: The codec used by the sequence sent to Final Cut Pro is changed from the one that was originally sent to Color. Also, the frame size of the sequence changes to match the frame size of the rendered media. You may need to use the Conform to Sequence command on generators, embedded Motion projects, and other clips that weren’t altered by Color if they reappear at the original frame size.
  • If you click No: The settings of the sequence that Color sends back to Final Cut Pro are identical to those of the sequence that was originally sent to Color, but the codec used by the clips doesn’t match that of the sequence, and the scale and aspect ratio of the rendered clips change to fit the original frame size. All clips conform to the original frame size, but clips that were rendered by Color may also need to be rendered in Final Cut Pro because their Scale and Aspect Ratio parameters are altered.
What happens to clips if you manually change the project resolution in Color?

A change to project resolution may happen if you’re working with 2K or 4K native RED QuickTime or DPX media, and you decide to change the project to an SD or HD resolution so you can send it back to Final Cut Pro for video output. Whenever you manually change a Color project’s resolution, a dialog appears asking if you want Color to automatically scale your clips to the new resolution.

  • If you click Yes: Every clip’s Scale parameter is changed automatically in the Pan & Scan tab of the Geometry room to conform to the new resolution, letterboxing or pillarboxing clips as necessary to avoid cropping.
  • If you click No: The Scale parameter of each clip is unchanged, but the image may be cropped if the new resolution is smaller than the previous resolution.
How is media rendered in Color if the project resolution changes?

Whenever a Color project’s resolution preset is changed to a different frame size, the effect on the final media that’s rendered depends on what kind of source media you’re using.

  • If you’re rendering QuickTime media: Each shot in your project is rendered at the frame size of the original source media. The new resolution preset you choose affects only the resolution of the sequence that is sent back to Final Cut Pro. Each clip’s Pan & Scan settings are converted to Motion tab settings when the project is sent back to Final Cut Pro.
  • If your project uses 4K native RED QuickTime media: If your project uses 4K native RED QuickTime media, each shot in your project is rendered at the new resolution you’ve specified. Any Pan & Scan tab adjustments you’ve made are also “baked” into the final media. (2K native RED QuickTime media is rendered in the same way as other QuickTime media.)