Sony EX3 files and Final Cut Pro 7
Apologies if this question has been asked before. I have bought a second hand Sony EX3 and am cutting short films on FCP7. I've been improvising the workflow for the last couple of projects but I'm about to start editing a project and I really want to make sure I make the best use of the footage so it looks it's best when it comes out of fcp7 and eventually onto youtube.
I know the camera and the editing software are now old but could anyone give me an idea about their workflow for editing footage from this camera in FCP7? So from ingesting and settings through to importing out to putting onto youtube. I cut a short film recently and was shocked about how terrible it looked on youtube - I've shot 35mbs and 25p.
Many thanks for any help.
I would use the Sony SxS transfer plugin, inside of FCP7, to import and transcode the media to QT. Once imported and done editing, export the media as a QT Pro Res file 25p. You can also try exporting "Same as Source" however, sometimes, the QT Pro Res looks better. If you have access to YouTube, and have the time, I'd upload the QT Pro Res file directly to Youtube. Adobe Media Encoder has a setting for YouTube as well as Compressor. If the footage looks grainy or bad, you may want to try more color correction, crush the blacks, or check out some DVD tutorials by Doug Jensen, on best shooting practices with this camera. Hope this helps!
Digital Chop House
Salt Lake City, Utah
Thanks for replying to my question. I think I understand what you mean - I will try ingesting the footage into FCP7 the way you suggested. One thing that has confused me is what easy set up i do in FCP and do I do the easy set up before or after ingesting the footage? One of the problems I had last time i edited XDCAM EX footage was that the sequence changed to 1440x1080 instead of 1920x1080 -I don't know what happened. I'm so lost in all the jargon - I have a very basic understanding of the tech involved in edition?g on FCP. Should I be clicking 'yes' to match sequence settings to clip settings when I first start editing
I've somehow winged it for a long time, fudging it as I go along - for this project I really want to make sure I follow every step to the letter so the footage looks the best it can. I probably haven't used best practices when filming - I'm shooting in Africa so some of my rushes are a bit overexposed, which doesn't help with the quality problem once it's gone through youtube.
Anyway - if you can help with a step by step breakdown of getting the XDCam EX into FCP7 including the easy setup settings, it would be very much appreciated. I've also been reading on the apple fcp notes about rendering in apple pro res when I've finished editing. Would you do this or do it natively?
Thanks in advance.
[Lucy Mal] "One thing that has confused me is what easy set up i do in FCP and do I do the easy set up before or after ingesting the footage?"
You can do the easy setup after you've ingested. Editing XDCAM EX natively or in a ProRes timeline is dependant upon how you like to work. Editing EX footage is more processor intensive because Final Cut Pro has to 'conform' the footage to the MPEG 2 long GOP codec at each edit point. The advantage here is that your footage will take up much less room on your media drive.
Editing in a ProRes timeline is less processor intensive because it's an 'I-frame" codec but takes up more storage on your editing drive.
If you choose to edit in a ProRes timeline just choose no when you're asked if you want change the sequence settings to match your footage. If you want to edit natively then choose yes when FCP asks you. In the FCP menu at the top choose: Sequence - Settings (or Cmd 0). When the window pops up here are the settings you should have:
under the general tab:
height/width should be 1920x1080
Aspect ratio should be HDTV1080i (16:9)
Pixel aspect ratio set to Square
Field dominance: None
Editing timebase 25
Quicktime video settings: Apple ProRes 422 Quality 100%
Using ProRes 422 under QT settings will tell FCP to render all effects in ProRes instead of XDCAM EX regardless of whether you're editing in either format.
[Lucy Mal] "I'm shooting in Africa so some of my rushes are a bit overexposed, which doesn't help with the quality problem once it's gone through youtube. "
You're right. There's not a lot of exposure latitude on the EX series of cameras so you have to choose what's more important: saving the highlights at the expense of losing information in the shadows or visa versa. It depends entirely on your subject matter. If you're shooting scenery then save the highlights. You can always pull a bit of detail from the shadows in post by slightly increasing the blacks and mid tones using FCP's colour correction. Once the detail from over exposed highlights is gone you can't get it back.
[Lucy Mal] "I've also been reading on the apple fcp notes about rendering in apple pro res when I've finished editing. Would you do this or do it natively?"
My workflow is pretty simple and i'm happy with the results on Vimeo. I edit in a RroRes timeline. When finished editing I always export a ProRes movie and then open it up in Quicktime Player 7. I then choose a frame size (usually 1280x720) set the quality and then export an MP4 directly from QT 7. The last step is to upload to, in your case, YouTube.
My export settings in Quicktime Player:
Export settings for the video tab
File Format: MP4
Video Format: H.264
Data Rate: 5000 kbits/sec.
Optimized for: download
Image size: 1280x720
Frame rate: 25 (for you) mine is 29.97
Now click the Video Options tab at the bottom of the window.
H.264 Video Options.
Restrict profile(s) to: MAIN
Encoding mode: Best quality (multi-pass)
Always try to give places like YouTube and Vimeo the best quality movie you can. How they encode or what else they do to the movie after the fact is beyond your control.
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Hi Don - this is so helpful thank you very much. I will try and edit it in a pro res timeline. A couple of qs on that - in easy set up do I choose Apple pro res 422 option? In the box below it you can choose between custom set up and and HDV 1080p24 - would i choose custom set up as i shot my film on 25p? Also do i follow the same procedures as put by the first poster i.e. open up fcp7 and go to log and transfer (having installed log and transfer plugin for XDCAM). Are there any settings within log and transfer menus that I need to amend?
I'll get there! This is all very helpful thank you. It's about time I learnt how to use the bet settings for this cameras as although I'm using old editing software and an old camera it's all I've got to use so want to make the best of it.
Thanks again for your detailed reply.
[Lucy Mal] " in easy set up do I choose Apple pro res 422 option? In the box below it you can choose between custom set up and and HDV 1080p24 - would i choose custom set up as i shot my film on 25p?"
In Easy Setup beside format mine is using the HD setting and you should set your rate to 25 fps. Custom Setup is used as well. Underneath all that in small print is the list for the sequence presets. With mine the first one says Sequence Preset: Apple ProRes 422 1920x1080 30p 48kHz. Yours should be the same other than the time base changed to 25:00 fps.
[Lucy Mal] "Are there any settings within log and transfer menus that I need to amend?"
Not as far as I know. Basically the plugin works the same way as the stand alone program Sony XDCAM Transfer which is what I use. They both import the EX clips and transcode them to Quicktime .mov files. Unfortunately you cannot transcode to ProRes on import. You can preview clips and import portions of clips with XDCAM Transfer but that's about all the program is designed to do. With the Log and Transfer plugin you want to bring the files into FCP without altering them, set them up in bins etc.
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Thanks Don - I'll give it a whirl and see how I get on.
Many thanks again for responding to my questions.
Hi Don - also another thing occurred to me - in the sequence settings you mention choosing 1080i - does it matter that my film is shot progressive?
[Lucy Mal] "does it matter that my film is shot progressive?"
If you have a look in the Sequence Settings window and activate the drop down menu for aspect ratio you'll see that there is no progressive setting for 1080. Since your field dominance setting is already set to 'None' that tells FCP that your sequence is progressive. The setting of HDTV 1080i (16:9) is appropriate.
Remember that once your sequence is set up you'll be able to review all its features in FCP's Browser window, where all the clips go. Make sure the Compressor column says Apple Pro Res 422, the Vid rate is 25 and the Pixel Aspect is Square.
A Vancouver Video Production Company