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Format ideas for 22 hours of footage

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Josh Williams
Format ideas for 22 hours of footage
on Aug 16, 2011 at 9:32:35 pm

I recently completed a 5 day four camera shoot for an event and now I am presented with the daunting task of editing it. Mainly I am looking for suggestions on what format I should use for my footage.
The main Camera was a Canon XH-A1 and recorded directly to my HDD using Adobe Onlocation
The three other cameras were some low end Canon HD handy Cams and they recorded AVCHD to SD card.
I used ClipWrap to rewrap all the footage.

The footage from the Canon Handy Cams came out as H.264 1920x1080

The footage from the XH-A1 came out as HDV1080p30 1440x1080

I intend to edit using MultiClip in FCP7 the problem is all the footage needs to be the same dimensions for multi clip so I need to re-encode the XH-A1 footage as 1920x1080.

Basically I am looking for suggestions on what the best and fastest workflow would be. Converting to ProRes 422 is a no go because the ballooning file size. Even ProRes 422 LT is too big. H.264 would be the most likely option except I am looking at more than a days worth of encoding for the 22 hours of footage.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated


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Mark Suszko
Re: Format ideas for 22 hours of footage
on Aug 19, 2011 at 8:44:35 pm

If you want to cut in h.264, you'll need FCP-X or Adobe Permiere: you can't really cut h.264 in FCP7 without converting it first. Especdially not multicam.

ProRes comes in flavors, and often you don't need to use the HQ version for the increased file size you mention, the "vanilla" pro res does just fine...

DigitalHeaven offers a free capacity calculator utility that tells you how much room your footage will take in whatever codec you are curious about, based on your scratch disk size. Use that to help plan.

How about if you converted it all to MPEG2, with a high data rate?

Or, this would be a good time to learn to edit using very low-rez proxy footage, then use media manager and the EDL to re-import the full-rez at the end.

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Josh Williams
Re: Format ideas for 22 hours of footage
on Aug 19, 2011 at 8:56:40 pm

Yeah. H.264 won't work at all for multicam with FCP7 it just crashes. I thought that might happen but wanted to give it a go anyway. I might edit in FCP X, but there is no multiclip. There are some workarounds I guess. I tried converting all the footage to prores proxy using compressor but that wouldtake 11 days even on my 3.1 ghz i5 quad core iMac with 12gigs of ram.
I figured out if I use clip wrap and the original MTS and M2T files I can convert to prores proxy in just under real time. So about 22 hours.
Or I can just use FCP X, which I am considering doing, but then I won't have the plugins I have for FCP 7. choices, choices

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Brent Dunn
Re: Format ideas for 22 hours of footage
on Aug 26, 2011 at 7:13:06 pm

What is your delivery output?

Lower res ProRes will save you space. 720p instead of 1080p.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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Dave Haynie
Re: Format ideas for 22 hours of footage
on Sep 16, 2011 at 5:07:50 am

Well, if it were me... I'd be using Vegas, and the 1920x1080 would mix and match just dandy, in native H.264, with the MPEG-2 at 1440x1080. But if I did actually need to convert, I'd start the conversion out now, to my RAID, and order a project drive, 2TB or so (about $80... my PC has one 3.5" SATA and two 2.5" SATA "cartridge" drive bays, which lets you use any old SATA drive like an old fashioned cartridge drive), for the actual editing (RAID's on FW800, not as fast as internal SATA).

With a 2TB project drive, that's enough space for 22 hours converted to Cineform or DNxHD-144, so I would imagine that's enough for at least one flavor of ProRes (which I don't use). Or use MPEG-2 at 1920x1080 2:2:2 MXF 50Mb/s, which would take half the space of Cineform or 1/3 the space of the DNxHD.

My point being, you're a professional, right. Tools are not a question. If your editing workflow needs the room for all those intermediate files, you better get that room. Or change workflows... but not before or during a project. I don't even buy the hot new upgrade of my NLE or other critical tool until I'm a project boundary.


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