taking one frame at a time since 1999

I shoot at 5184*3456. The end goal is 1920*1080, so either – besides the 16:9 trim – I have to crop them or resize them before or after I put them in to Premiere. (Crop or resize depends on whether or not I want to zoom in post-production.)

But will an image that’s resized from 5184*3456 (5184*2916 after at 16:9 trim) to 1920*1080 have the same quality and look, as a 1920*1080 that’s cropped from a 5184*2916? Will I see a different in quality and look in the final film between the two scenes?

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The quality of a photo isn't set (only) by its dimension but (also) by the amount of "dot per inches" (dpi). I resize all my photos in 1920x1080 300dpi with photoshop (I also remove rig / shadows / details I don't want to keep) before importing them into Premiere. Maybe it's a little too much but I want to be sure that it'll look good on a theater screen. It depends of what you want to do with your film later (will it be for internet / TV / theater / ...). In any case I never crop in Premiere, I do all my layout work in photoshop and keep Premiere for the editing. This way you can control the settings of each frame, cropped or not.

But that's only my way of doing things :)

When you get your photos out of your camera, the settings are 5184x3456 72dpi so let's say your photos should at least be at 72dpi to still look "good enough" in any device. And if all of them have the same amount of dpi, you won't see any difference.

Oh you'll definitely see a change in quality. If you just crop you're losing all that extra resolution. You may as well have just shot it on an HD camcorder. By reducing the size you're getting the benefit of starting with a massive resolution and then reducing it, preserving much of the sweetness. 

^^ Hugo, your post came up while I was typing - but DPI (dots per inch) - isn't that just for when you're printing an image? Digital photos are measured in pixels (1920 pixels by 108o pixels). Or is this some technical stuff that's way beyond me? 

If you are keeping a 1080p resolution you won't be able to see any difference on the screen, don't worry about it. 300dpi is a printing output, 72dpi is a screen output, and should be used when importing images in to an edit as there isn't any use in using a huge image that a screen can't output, if your smallest edge is 1080 you'll be just fine. it saves on space and won't annihilate your computer. If you are shooting in high res (which is a good idea) keep the high res images available incase things go wrong. 

If you use anything bigger than 1080p you're getting in to 4k territory and most kit can't go that high. 

ha ha you're right Strider !
Looks like I was doing all this for nothing ;) I'll stick to 72dpi then.

Strider said:

^^ Hugo, your post came up while I was typing - but DPI (dots per inch) - isn't that just for when you're printing an image? Digital photos are measured in pixels (1920 pixels by 108o pixels). Or is this some technical stuff that's way beyond me? 

Yep, dots per inch doesn't mean anything on a video screen, because you can view it on a big  TV screen with a lot of inches with 1920 x 1080 resolution, or a little tablet with the same resolution but far fewer inches. Same image, same amount of detail, very different sizes.  In other words, there are no inches in video, only the number of pixels.  A 1080p image looks exactly the same on screen at 300dpi or 72dpi,  viewed at 100% in Photoshop it will be the same size on screen.  When printed on paper, it is printed at a certain size, so inches do matter.

300 dpi is a good quality standard for print, which magazines and film festivals will want if you send them publicity photos.  So if I want to use a frame from the film for printing I will convert it to 300 dpi, but keeping the pixel resolution at 1020 x 1080.  Making it any more pixels doesn't help, because the resolution is not there, it only makes the file size bigger. Or I go back to the original, big DSLR image, and prepare a still image for print from that.

Programs made more for video, like TV Paint or After Effects, will only have the pixel resolution, there is no dpi.

Also consider that if you are cropping in on an image, it effectively changes the crop factor on your lens, I guess that's obvious, and the point, even. APS-sized sensors are usually 1.5 or 1.6 crop factors from a normal lens already, so say a 50mm lens gives the field of view of about an 80mm. If you crop in on the center on all or many of your shots that AREN'T being used for an animated zoom, your focal length will be much longer. Longer lenses "flatten" perspective, kind of appearing like everything is stacked right behind each other. Short focal lengths, wide angle lenses, exaggerate perspective, making foreground objects large and background objects recede into the distance more. Each have their benefits and drawbacks, that's why lenses are made wide, normal, and telephoto.

So, I would mix it up if I were you, sometimes reducing the entire image to 1920x1080, and sometimes cropping in on it, depending on the perspective that you want for each particular shot.

And, it might be time for some of us to start thinking about 4k for final output...This year seems to be shaping up to be "201-4k".

4k..  no0OOO0ooo...

I was all in favour of HD, after doing titles and effect on standard def TV shows and seeing all the jaggies and just poor resolution when peering at each frame on a hi res computer monitor.  But I'm not so keen on going past HD or 2k to the new Ultra HD.  I just had to get my 2009 Mac Pro serviced and a new solid state drive put in because it could no longer play uncompressed HD shots in QT or Final Cut Pro without freezing and stuttering.  And it still can't, I have to go with Apple Pro-res, a high quality but still slightly compressed format.  4k would mean a new trashcan Mac Pro or monster PC, fast external Raid array drive enclosures, a 4K monitor, dropping $16,000 to $24,000 on something that is unlikely to earn back more than a few hundred dollars before it's time to upgrade it all again.  

My latest camera can shoot over 4k (Large size is 5184 pixels wide), so it's technically possible if I use a lower res proxy to edit and view in real time.  Actually the 40d can shoot just over the Ultra HD video standard (3840 x 2160) if not quite the cinema 4k resolutions, but I really don't want to go there.  I'm pretty happy with the way HD or 2K look, and ultra HD res or 4K certainly won't do my shoddy sets and badly seamed puppets any favours!  We used to get away with a lot of suggestion  in TV with standard def, giving an impression of more detail than was actually made,  or covering things that shouldn't be there with a bit of black gaffer tape, and already HD shows up a lot of that.

Delivering commissioned stopmotion shots in 4k for other filmmakers who want to master in that res is another story, I'm only dealing with a shot at a time and they have all the editing and post effects stuff to deal with, so I'm fine with that.    I think 4k is worthwhile on the big cinema screen, but at home or on the smaller screens at the multiplex, HD or 2K look fine.

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