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FCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4

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Tom GalliFCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4
by on Nov 9, 2011 at 9:57:01 pm

Currently, I'm running FCP 6 / FCS 2. I recently bought a host of new HD cameras for my introductory video production class, and they record to AVCHD. Additionally, a couple of students have cameras of their own that record to a different flavor of mp4.

I'm having some issues. Sometimes things Log & Transfer smoothly, sometimes not. Sometimes the videos play smoothly, sometimes not. The oddball cameras, with their mp4, sometimes choke the computers, sometimes not.

If I migrate to FCP 7, will I see improvement in these issues?

How about (shudder) FCP X?

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Jerry HofmannRe: FCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4
by on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:40:02 pm

Don't think upgrading is going to fix you up here..

Post more about the workflow involved. Are you transcoding the footage to prores first? How fast are the media drives?

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

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Tom GalliRe: FCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4
by on Nov 11, 2011 at 8:52:02 pm

For the class-issue cameras, we use Log & Transfer to transcode. We've tried both the Apple Intermediate Codec and Apple ProRes 422.

Issue 1: There's a weirdness to the Log & Transfer process, which I posted about before. It takes the computer about 2 honest minutes to "see" the clips on the SDHC card. During that 2 minutes, though, it gives no indication that it is doing anything. No progress indicator, no beach ball, nothing.

Issue 2: Usually the transcoding goes smoothly, but about 5% of the time, some portion of the created files will not play. When I look at their properties, the data rates are different from the other, properly-functioning clips. Re-transcoding usually solves this.

Issue 3: Often, clips that play smoothly in the Viewer will stutter and choke after being placed on the Timeline. This happens when the settings for the sequence are identical to the settings of the clips. I'll even start a new sequence, drag the clip onto it, and click "Yes" to the dialog box that warns of different setting and offers to change them for me. The results are always the same, a clip that plays in the Viewer, but not on the Timeline. We have discovered that by changing the Sequence to a lower resolution, usually the NTSC DV settings, that we can achieve smooth playback after rendering. Not ideal, but it gets us through the class.

Issue 4: the two students who are using their own cameras end up with clips that show as .mp4. FCP accepts these without transcoding, but once again, plays them smoothly in the Viewer but chokes and stutters when they are placed on the Timeline. In this case, changing the sequence settings to lower resolution does not help. The only way we've been able to get a full-motion playback of the edited projects are to export them as Quicktime movies and watch them in the Quicktime Player.

Our drives are Lacie Rugged FW drives. (which, I must say, I have had rotten luck with. Out of an order of 40, I have had to return 25 for service already).

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Jerry HofmannRe: FCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4
by on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:02:41 pm

Issue 1: Copy the entire contents of the cards to a hard drive then import from there.
Issue 2: Not clear what's going on there, but bet it's related to Issue 3...
Issue 3: I'll wager that the media drive isn't fast enough. Is this a small 5400 RPM portable? or a 3.5 inch 7200 rpm drive or?
Issue 4: The MP4 files aren't supported in FCP. They "Act" like they do, but they don't. They too have to be transcoded to ProRes before editing with them.

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

Current DVD:
http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX - Cinema Displays I have a 22" that I paid 4k for still working. G4 with Kona SD card, and SCSI card.


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Tom GalliRe: FCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4
by on Nov 12, 2011 at 9:50:24 am

Aloha Jerry,

1. Copying the card's contents to the hard drive prior to Log & Transferring doesn't change anything. The computer still sits there for about 2 minutes, acting as if you never told it to do anything before suddenly discovering the clips. However, if you change out cards while the L&T window is still open, it finds the next set quickly. If you close the window then re-open it, even without changing anything else, you once again have a 2 minute wait. This behavior is the same on 3 generations of iMacs and a brand new 8-core PowerMac.

3. These are 3 1/2" 7200 rpm drives.

4. We'll give that a try!

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Rich DanielsRe: FCP 6 vs 7, concerning AVCHD & mp4
by on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:43:46 am

I dont know if you have found a solution yet but here is an issue that I ran into that is similar.
I have an 8 core Mac Pro and FCP6. I have a Sony HVR Z7U with the HVR-MRC1 recording unit. It creates .M2T files for HDV on compact flash. First I had to install the plugin from Sony in order for the system to see the unit. Then I noticed that sometimes it would take a long time for FCP to see the recorder and sometimes it didnt see it at all. I discovered that when I had another FW device hooked up it would cause the issues. So I now either turn it off or disconect it and It sees it pretty quick. According to Apple Pro Apps support this is normal with the built in FW.

Rich


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