Red Giant Magic Bullet: Using Instant HD

Red Giant Magic Bullet offers an up-scaling tool that provides a mechanism to convert SD (Standard Definition) videos and media into HD (High Definition) video footage. Instant HD serves as a plug-in to major audio/video editing software suites (linear and non-linear) like Adobe After effects, Premiere pro and Final Cut Pro. A word of warning here – the instant HD plug-in can only process footage that is progressive and not interlaced.

The following guide discusses the up-scaling of SD videos to HD using the Red Giant Magic Bullet with Adobe After Effects.

Step 1: Understanding Aspect Ratios

To convert standard definition video footage to high definition footage, you will need to understand more about aspect ratios and their fitting. A DV frame is simply not wide enough to directly fill up the 720p frame. This is due to frame ratios mismatch between 3:2 and 16:9. You will also notice that there is also a mismatch between 0.9 and 1.0 values. This can be circum-navigated by stretching the footage to 177% of the original width.

Step 2: Changing DV Footage to HD Footage

You will make a new composition and choose a required HD preset from the popup menu. Next, you will need to select the appropriate frame rate and duration to match the input footage. You will add the footage to the composition by dragging it to the composition panel and then choosing Instant HD effect from the effect menu. It will be listed under the red giant category of effects.

You will notice the input video footage has been instantaneously scaled to the preset chosen at the very start of the project or composition. Also, keep in mind that if you fit the videos by height, this would leave black colored pillow bars on the sides of the video footage. In case of a fitting by width, some part of the video height will be cropped at both ends.

Step 3: Fine Tuning

You can fine-tune the already carried out up scaling by changing other parameters. You will choose an appropriate scaling mode depending on the input video footage. Try out different settings for quicker previews and better rendering times. For sharpness, choose values between 2 and 6. For values above 10, you will start to see over-sharpening effects.

Use the quality parameter to set the sampling rate in the given filter type. Generally, a mid range of around 10 is the most suited to almost all projects, as it provides an ideal balance between edge smoothness and detail sharpness. You will then configure the anti-aliasing to choose the degree of smoothing applied in image edges. You can go for a setting between one and four for most video projects.

Once the parameters are set, you will check out the preview and decide if the image or video is ready to be rendered to 720p. Once approved, hit the render button and save the new footage.