Crops from locked-down camera
In some cases, it’s desirable to place a camera on a tripod and lock it down for a wide shot. The problem, of course, is that a wide view is only useful in a few situations. It often functions only for establishing shots and brief cutaways. (See Figure 4.)
In a much better composed shot, most of the distracting objects have been cropped away, leaving a view of the dock, jet ski, lake and sky. (See Figure 5.)
Having the ability to pull multiple shots from a locked-down camera gives the producer the ability to make more use of the camera. (See Figure 6.)
As we will see, an NLE’s ability to crop, over time, from one view to the other enables the locked-down shot to look like a camera zoom — something that could only be accomplished were a remote-controlled pan-tilt head and remote zoom control available to the camera operator.
Pan and zoom crop
Final Cut Pro X provides a “Ken Burns” effect that can be used to animate cropping within a Quad HD image. The green window defines the initial view, while the red window defines the final view. (See Figures 7, 8 and 9.)
Note that the rightward digital pan is possible even though the camera is panning to the left. If this pan looks disturbing, one can place a smaller green window over the kids while placing a larger red window over the Jet Ski. In this case, both pans will have the same direction.
Figure 10 shows a wide shot taken by the camera operator. Knowing that the shot should finish with a close-up of the green plants, the operator zooms into the center of the plants.
To the producer’s eye, the plant’s center is void, containing nothing of interest. (See Figure 11.) By setting up a digital pan that begins with the whole image and finishes cropped to the right, the final close-up is far more interesting to the viewer. (See Figure 12.)
When a crop is larger than 1920 x 1080 (or 1280 x 720), the cropped image is auto-downscaled during export. Of course, it’s important not to crop Quad HD to smaller than the export resolution. Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, one edits Quad HD exactly the same as one would edit full HD. In both cases, one edits ProRes Proxy copies of the original ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes 422 video. An export is made to a full HD file using ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes 422 at 1080i59.94 (or 720p59.94).
It’s also possible to edit Quad HD using Final Cut Pro and Media Composer (OS X and Windows). Ultimately, the exported file can be sent to a plant’s on-air server.
The advantages of shooting Quad HD are available whether one shoots with a low-cost ENG-style camera or a far more expensive cinema-style camera. The difference is one of image quality, not post production.
—Steve Mullen is the owner of DVC. He can be reached via his website at http://home.mindspring.com/~d-v-c.