It has taken me a long time to wrap my head around this concept and figure out how to display it properly.
Final Cut Pro 7 cannot properly export 1080i. Try it. Drag a 1080p 24 clip into a 1080i sequence. Export it. You will end up with a frame-doubled (2:2:2:4) 1080p sequence. FCP did take 24fps and turn it into 30fps, but it completely ignored the interlacing step.
BUT Compressor CAN export 1080i… Kinda…
Compressor can add pulldown to a clip properly, however it doesn’t give you very many options. You can select upper field first or lower field first, nothing else. In many other apps you can pick the order of full frames and interpolated frames (3:2).
Finally, After effects is able to add pulldown AND set the 3:2 cadence BUT it seems like AE disregards the Field order pulldown (for hd footage) I’m not 100% sure if it is because AE is auto detecting that I have 1080 footage and then forcing upper field first, but I don’t like it either way. I have never needed lower field first hd, but that isn’t saying that I never will.
In after effects it is hard to run a bunch of files through at a time, but it isn’t impossible. I’ve got a new post coming up on how to batch process files in After Effects.
It’s surprising that this isn’t more of an issue. From all of the comments online it seems as though the standard workflow is to run it through your Kona card and add the pulldown there. That doesn’t work out so well when you have a digital file delivery method.