I would first import the clips, cut and create the timeline as you suggested and then denoise and color grade (first denoise, then color grade). I noticed you said firstname.lastname@example.org, 1080i has the same vertical resolution as 720p so it's softer for that reason also. I looked into Atomos Ninja when it seemed to be all the hype, I found it to be too much of a compromise but I don't remember the specifics anymore. Can your atomos record in 1080p? If it can, turn that on. Also your shutter speed of 60 fps? That's fine if you're making a film but have you ever seen sharp frames of volleyball in a movie? Of course not, it's all soft and motion blurry to give it that cinematic feel. You'd only use higher shutter speeds for special occasions, maybe a slo-mo close up of the person hitting the winning "goal" (I have no idea what a goal is called in volleyball) but even then not the jerky crisp kind. you have to decide on the look you want, that's the first thing. your look defines everything else. you don't shoot at 1/60s because it's 1/60s f/4 ISO 1600 outside, you shoot at 1/60s because that's what the look you're going for demands and add or substract light according to the light you have available. i would avoid sharpening the image too much, you might get some artefacts. get neat video, import into fcp, denoise with neat video, add sc sharpen to sharpen the image a little, adjust contrast (the less contrast, the more soft the image appears) and see what you get. have you compared 1080p footage SOOC without ninja and the 1080i (deinterlaced interpreted 1080p but really 720p-verticalres)? which looks softer? is it the camera only being able to output 1080i but not 1080p or is it the limitation of the ninja recorder? you need to find the cause of the perceived softness to see if there's anything you can do about it.
Thanks for your time / opinions on this - the look I am trying to achieve is the 'sharpest (best-focused) / least motion-blur' game footage for players/parents/coaches.
With these recording options on the Ninja2
(HD 1080i60, 1080i59.94, 1080i50, 1080p30, 1080p25,
1080p24, 1080p23.98, 1080p30(60i), 1080p25(50i),
1080p24(60i), 1080p23.98(60i), 720p60, 720p59.94,
20p50, SD 486i59.94, 576i50)
which would you recommend, and with the 5d3, I am not sure if the compression 'option' is relevant when outputting thru the HDMI, but if it does, which do you prefer? Also, with respect to shutter speed, I chose 1/60 for the 'rule' of 2x frame rate, but should I shoot 1080p30(60i) or go to 720p60/ I do that, then while the NINJA says it supports that, it is not an option when I tried it last time (not sure if I made mistake in camera output) or if it is real limitation (typo) on their end. My ultimate goal is to have a tournament's worth of games on a BLURAY disc look as focused/sharp and correctly colored as possible.
Appreciate your clarifying my settings/workflow.