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    Took on a project to big for me, need some advice.
    Hey Guys,

    I have taken on a project of making a video for a production at my university. I thought it would be a great experience, and it is, but I am a bit out of my league with some of the stuff I need to do. To start, we ended up filming all the footage on HMC150's that a university studio had. I've never worked with AVCHD before and it is presenting some issues. Alot of the stuff I want to do is work with After Effects. Now, I can't figure out how to get aftereffects to recognize the AVCH footage, but premiere is workinig fine (both are CS5). The thing is, I just found out that the projector that the video will be shown on is standard definition 4:3. Since that is the case, I figure downconverting or rendering the AVCHD footage into a smaller, more standard def image would be ideal. Am I wrong? If that is correct, what is the best way you reccomend doing this? The source footage is 1280x720, 59.94 fps.

    Thanks a bunch for any help you can give me!

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    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Gold Coast, Australia
    I like to convert all my AVCHD or h.264 content to Cineform, which is much less taxing on a computer to edit. For CS5, it isn't really necessary but I still do it anyway. Partly because my PC is not getting any younger and needs all the help it can get, and partly because I just like the fact that everything is the same once converted, regardless of whether it came from an AVCHD camera, DSLR, Canon XF camera, or whatever. Of course the downside is it takes up a lot more storage space.

    If you want to go this route, you can try out the free GoPro Cineform Studio program, which should work for AVCHD footage - although not quite as simply and efficiently as the purchasable versions of Cineform Studio.

    As for the projector issue, my advice would be to keep everything as high res as possible until the final encode. You never know when you might want that extra resolution to zoom in, stabilise footage, to a simulated pan, etc, and if you're doing heavy work in AE then I'm guessing this need will arise frequently.

    Good luck and I hope you not only complete your project succssfully, but learn some valuable lessons from it!
    Sony FS700 | Sony A7s | Canon 5DmkIII
    Adobe CC 2015 | Adobe CS6

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    Why not letterbox your beautiful HD footage to show on the 4X3 projector. Try a little test and I think you'll be happier with a letterbox instead of a pan and scan. Good luck.

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    If you're on a mac, convert your footage to pro res - on a PC, convert it to whatever your software can handle with the least amount of compression.

    And I'd agree - keep everything hi def and 16x9 til final output... BUT... you may want to make a 4:3 mask for your edit timeline - this to ensure key visuals aren't cropped and are in the best framing for that aspect ratio. You may have to slide clips around, resize them, and even add some motion to keep things in frame. I like to use a transparent gray PNG for this sort of thing (you'd just be cropping off the sides) so I can see what's going on behind the mask. Guide lines will work well too, but I find having the out-of-crop footage a little darker makes me really "see" the framing better than lines do.

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