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Slow Mo in Final Cut Pro

jsanti3's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/14/2010 - 12:09pm

One thing I am trying to understand is how to get better slow motion footage. From what I hear it seems people shoot at a higher frame rate and then import the footage at a lesser one. Is that true? If so, how do you do that in Final Cut Pro? Example shooting at 60p and then bringing into 24p. Outside of Final Cut Pro, is there any other software you need to have to accomplish this effect? Can someone please explain this?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 5 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Popluar FCP guru Ken Stone has an older article (written for FCP 5, I think) that gives some information regarding this, using Motion. There were a number of videos as well, focused on slow motion in FCP, when I went to Google and searched for "slow motion using Final Cut Pro" and you might find something specific to what you need to know there.


anindya49's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/15/2010 - 10:26am

If you are shooting in a progressive 60 fps format, just change the fps from 60 to 24 in Cinema Tools. Instant slow motion.

If you are using one of the interlaced 60i modes, use Compressor to de-interlace it to 60p. Then use Cinema Tools.

De-interlacing:

Edit the "Prores 422 for progressive material" preset to add the de-interlace filter. Here is an example of the summary tab after you are done:

Name: 60i to 60p

Description: Apple ProRes 422 with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame rate

File Extension: mov

Estimated size: 113.13 GB/hour of source

Audio: multi-track passthrough

Video Encoder

Format: QT

Width: (100% of source)

Height: (100% of source)

Selected: 1440 x 1080

Pixel aspect ratio: HD (1440x1080)

Crop: None

Padding: None

Frame rate: 59.94

Frame Controls On:

Retiming: (Fast) Nearest Frame

Resize Filter: Linear Filter

Deinterlace Filter: Better (Motion Adaptive)

Adaptive Details: On

Antialias: 0

Detail Level: 0

Field Output: Progressive

Codec Type: Apple ProRes 422

Multi-pass: Off, frame reorder: Off

No gamma correction

Fields: Progressive

Pixel depth: 24

Spatial quality: 50

Min. Spatial quality: 0

Temporal quality: 0

Min. temporal quality: 0

Hope that's useful.


anindya49's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/15/2010 - 10:26am

Just to be clear, shooting at a higher frame rate and then playing the footage back at a lower frame rate produces very smooth slow motion.

If instead you just use FCP's speed controls to slow the footage down, it will be jerky as the intermediate frames are not there anymore. One solution is to use Motion to generate the intermediate frames (see article referred to by Earl above). However, as with any other automation, your mileage may vary.

Motion attempts to fill in the missing frames. The technology is somewhat similar to a feature found in some new LCD TVs where the motion in 24fps movies can be smoothed out by the TV (It creeps me out, but some people seem to like the effect).


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 10 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

"If you are using one of the interlaced 60i modes, use Compressor to de-interlace it to 60p. Then use Cinema Tools.
De-interlacing:
Edit the "Prores 422 for progressive material" preset to add the de-interlace filter. Here is an example of the summary tab after you are done:"

Deinterlacing 60i does not give you 60fps. It will still only give you 29.97 - it will just be progressive, and it won't even slow down that much once you conform in CInema tools.

The "ProRes 422 for Progressive Material" is for a progressive SOURCE. So if he wants to deinterlace and transcode to ProRes, he should use "ProRes422 for Interlaced Material," turn on Frame Controls, and set up the Frame Controls pane for deinterlacing. But like I implied, it's pretty much pointless to deinterlace 60i to get slow mo out of it. You're better off bringing it into Motion and using Optical Flow


jsanti3's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/14/2010 - 12:09pm

Awesome feedback guys! Once I start trying it out i'll let you know. thanks again.


anindya49's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/15/2010 - 10:26am

The field output needs to be progressive, the FPS has to be set to 60 and the deinterlace filter needs to be on. Actually there's not much difference between the two Prores presets apart from the interlaced check box in video compression settings, which I think controls the output? As long as this is correctly set any one of the two presets can be used as a starting point.

Here are the steps I use for 60i to 60p (this is true 60i and not 24p over 60i):

  • Open Compressor.
  • In the Settings window, choose Apple->Other Workflows->Advanced Format Conversions->Apple Codecs.
  • Choose one of the Apple Prores 422 codecs (normal quality should be fine). Right click it and choose "Duplicate".
  • A copy of the codec should now appear under the Custom heading. Select it.
  • In the Inspector window, click the Encoder tab. Click the Video Settings button.
  • In the Standard Video Compression Settings dialog, make the following changes: Motion->Frame Rate->59.94, uncheck the interlaced checkbox under Compressor. Click Ok.
  • Next click the Frame Controls Tab. Click the gear button to activate the tab and then turn Frame Controls on. Set Output Fields->Progressive and Deinterlace->Better.
  • Give the preset a new name like "60i to 60p" and save it.

That's all. Dragging a 60i file onto this with produce a true 60fps progressive video. The idea here is to convert each interlaced frame into a progressive frame, so that you have 60 unique frames per second.

I use this often on 60i footage and it produces 60p, not 30p if you do it right. Using Cinema Tools I've got beautiful slo-mo without using Motion. It's very possible.

JES deinterlacer can also do this, but I prefer using Compressor.

Of course, if the original is 24p, then Motion is the only way.


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 10 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

"Dragging a 60i file onto this with produce a true 60fps progressive video. The idea here is to convert each interlaced frame into a progressive frame, so that you have 60 unique frames per second."

An interlaced frame consists of 2 fields, which is why 60i is 29.97. If you were to only de-interlace, you get 30p. The setting you create de-interlaces and creates a 30p to 60p conversion at the same time. You are pulling an extra 30 frames out of no where (not that optical flow in Motion doesn't do that).

Also, when converting 30 to 60, you also need to change the Rate Conversion setting to "Best (High Quality Motion Compensated), which you forgot to mention.


anindya49's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/15/2010 - 10:26am

Rob, thanks for the motion compensation tip!

The two half frames in 60i are taken 1/60th of a second apart; they do not refer to the same instant in time. The deinterlacing simply converts each half frame to a full frame by filling in the missing lines. That's a better approach than trying to guess the whole frame.

For a 60p output, both the half frames are used to produce two full frames (the full temporal resolution of 60i is used). For 30p output, one of the half frames is discarded, while the other one is converted into a full frame, or some kind of frame blending is used. 60i itself is not the same thing as 30p because the even and odd fields in 60i are shifted in time with respect to each other.

The advantage of this approach is that only the spatial resolution is interpolated, not the temporal resolution. So there are no motion artifacts.

When I play back the converted progressive file frame by frame, there are 60 frames in each second, and they are all distinct, as they should be. Even without the motion compensation setting the video looks very good (that's why I didn't bother turning the other things on). I'll turn it on to see if there is any improvement.

A similar technique is available for JES deinterlacer, described in its documentation.

Btw there are other places on the web which suggest this (search Compressor 60i to 60p):

http://forums.skateperception.com/index.php?showtopic=154566

Anyway, I've used this and the (40%) slow motion is very smooth and high quality. Of course, the best approach is to shoot 60p if available. I do that on my HMC150 which has a 720 60p mode. I use the 60i to 60p conversion for my HF200.



rfh1317's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 10/24/2011 - 2:19am

I'm also curious on the topic. I shoot with a Canon XH-A1 but mainly at 60fps and for any slow motion shots I integrate the amazing abilities of motion, but with my camera's ability to shoot at ridiculous fps, why not take advantage of it? I want to import high quality slow motion around 1000fps (my camera goes up to 15,000 according to the dial settings) but when i import video and slow it down, it looks just like normal 60fps shots on FCP. Do I have to import it at a different setting than normal film? Thanks!

Ryan