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Can I edit mxf files in FPC?

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Kaye Woods
Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 1:23:42 pm

Hello,

I recently discovered to get the best HD quality video it is highly discouraged to edit apple pro res files. But I can\'t figure out any other file format to import my P2 footage as. Are we really limited to edit pro res files? What i would like to do is edit the pro res files for good processing speed, but then reconnect the files to the raw native footage for the highest quality for export. Am I forced to buy a third party software to allow mxf files in final cut? Is there something I'm missing?

Just the other day I imported some Sony footage (I believe from a compact flash card) and now they are all pro res files. How do I capture the raw native files of
anything? I'm convinced I'm lowering the quality by importing this way.

Any advise would be much appreciated!


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 1:35:57 pm

highly discouraged to edit apple pro res files
Who ever told you that is WRONG.
After you transfer your P2 files to the comp. Choose Log & Transfer in FC to bring in your clips. This will convert them to DVCPROHD if that is what you shot OR If you shot AVC intra you have the choice to bring it in as Pro-res or DVCPRO HD codecs.
Edit in Pro-rez and output current settings - this is broadcast quality.
You don't revisit the raw P2 files.

Now, there is a plug-in that will allow you to edit in the raw MXF files and skip the step of transcoding them to .mov's

http://mxf4mac.com/quicktime-plug-ins

If your shooting to SD cards then they are probably compressed .h264 files and NEED to be transcoded to a format for editing like Pro-res .MOV files.

Have you looked into Adobe Premiere?

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Kaye Woods
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 1:47:10 pm

I'm one of those that learned filming and editing through mentors and co-workers (not through schooling), so I know more about what I do creatively and less about the technical aspects like this.

The way I capture is log & transfer straight off the camera (P2 cards)... I guess I should be putting the files on the computer first for back up? Does the log & transfer import the clips in DVCPROHD when it says i'm importing apple pro res files?

Yes I actually have adobe premier and was heart broken when I found out it has abilities the FCP doesn't have. I don't really feel like learning the program from scratch, that would really slow down my work flow. But I'm assuming that day is coming I suppose.

I have looked into mfx4mac. Is that something you recommend me doing? Or am I doing good enough by just using the apple pro res files?


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 2:30:41 pm

You should look here:

http://library.creativecow.net/ross_shane/tapeless-workflow_fcp-7/1

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Kaye Woods
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 2:58:42 pm

Great video! However, I noticed my problem. I don't have as many options in my log & transfer preferences. My only options are Apple Pro Res and Pro Res (HQ). The video shows multiple types of pro res including LT and Proxy, as well as options such as native and DVCPRO HD. Why are my options limited?

Also, do you know where I can find a good video to show the process of offline to online editing?


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Kaye Woods
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 4:32:14 pm

Do I need to upgrade to FCP 7?


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 4:36:28 pm

Yes, if you want those options.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 2:32:11 am

Fcp7 also can do avc-intra natively which is a much faster process than transcoding everything to ProRes.

As far as MXF4mac Qt import. I use it daily and love it if you don't want to rewrap to QT and use the native mxf
Files.

Yes, you should absolutely back up the media off p2 cards.


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Shane Ross
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 7:08:35 am

Editing native is overrated. It isn't VITAL. If you shoot DVCPRO HD P2, then all log and transfer does is wrap QT around the MXF files, and zero quality loss occurs. AVCIntra gets converted to ProRes. And ProRes is a VERY high end codec...virtually lossless. You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between AVCIntra native (Where FCP imports by just wrapping a QT wrapper like DVCPRO HD...but this is only available in FCP 7) and ProRes. ProRes is used for high end broadcast delivery.

So you can't edit natively without a plugin. No biggie. If you need native, then you need to get the third party software. Personally I use Log and Transfer because the footage is shared between multiple editors.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 6:37:13 pm

Editing native is over rated.....hmm funny. I feel it's underrated.


If FCP COULD edit mxf files natively, you'd still choose to transcode every single frame
before editing? If working on Avid and had the choice, you wouldn't use AMA but choose to transcode to dnxhd first?

It cuts down on time, it cuts down on disk space, it allows a fully featured metadata set that travels WITH the footage and not a project. I think people don't see what MXF can do for workflow. It gets out of the way instead of staying in your way.


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Shane Ross
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 6:47:37 pm

Cuts down on time? Cuts down on disk space. HOW?

I don't work on the original camera masters. I back those up, and work on footage converted to QT from them. OR...I copy them to my media drive, and THEN work from them. So how do you consider working natively as a way to save space? They are still in two locations...

Cut down on time? The amount of time it takes to use Log and Transfer to wrap them into QT is the exact amount of time it takes to copy them from the backup to the media drive. So again, how is working natively saving time?

Unless you are working on the camera masters...which is something I really don't recommend doing.

Do you copy first to your media drive, then back up later? OK...you can do the same with Log and Transfer. Bring into the edit system, then back up later.

METADATA. That's the big advantage. But again, if you need all of that, then use P2 Flow to make a batch list and capture that into FCP. I've been doing that and it works great.

You just lose me on the "saving time and disk space" argument.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 9:11:05 pm

Geez, I'm not here to argue. You work they way you work, I work they way I work.

For our purposes, editing MXF files in FCP, saves us tons of time, and lots of disk space. Archiving/restoring projects is much easier as well.

I'm just saying, I don't find it overrated, as a matter of fact, I don't think FCP will be able to keep competing for very long if you must transcode/rewrap all of your work first.

Jeremy


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Shane Ross
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 9:35:11 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "You work they way you work, I work they way I work."

So you do work with the camera masters? Brave man.

[Jeremy Garchow] " I don't think FCP will be able to keep competing for very long if you must transcode/rewrap all of your work first. "

Hmmm...Avid does this...always has. Yes, you can work with MXF native in Avid, but you still copy/consolidate the footage to the media drives FIRST. Yes, now they have AMA, but that's a bag of worms that messes up well established workflows.

I have no issue with re-wrapping. It takes as long as copying the footage. And every producer I work with does not want to work with the camera masters without any backup in place. And backup means copy time. So I disagree with that statement.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 9:46:53 pm

[Shane Ross] "So you do work with the camera masters? Brave man. "

At a file level, they are all camera masters. THere's no such thing as a "dub". Same quality, no recompression but you know that.

Usually 2 copies get made in the field right away on to hard drives. They come back to the studio and one set gets copied right to the editing RAID on whatever machine.

[Shane Ross] "Yes, now they have AMA, but that's a bag of worms that messes up well established workflows."

Yes, and it's new. Watch how fast that situation will improve.

[Shane Ross] "And every producer I work with does not want to work with the camera masters without any backup in place. "

Our footage is backed up before it even hits the edit suite. When did I ever say "don't back up"? That's ludicrous. I can't believe your producer shows up with footage to the edit suite and it's not already in two different places. Crazy!

[Shane Ross] "And backup means copy time. So I disagree with that statement."

Transcoding and rewrapping takes longer. If the footage is already backed up in the field (which everyone should be) then there's no doubt it's faster. But whatever. Just saying there's options as OP asked about it.

I edit MXF natively, I love it. I wouldn't go back if I could help it. Certainly, some people probably don't care about it. That's fine.

I had to Log and Transfer a bunch of footage the other day, and it took all fracking day to get in the to the system, and it wasn't even a giant amount of footage! If that footage was MXF, I would have been editing within a few minutes. That's a big difference.

There's no right or wrong way, some things work better for other people. OP asked about it, I told as someone who uses it every single day.


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Shane Ross
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 10:06:06 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Usually 2 copies get made in the field right away on to hard drives."

Yup...same here.

[Jeremy Garchow] "They come back to the studio and one set gets copied right to the editing RAID on whatever machine."

Boom. There it is. COPIED RIGHT TO THE EDITING RAID. That is EXACTLY what happens when we Log and Transfer....copy from the drive to the RAID, wrapping in QT. Process takes the same amount of time...maybe a few seconds more to get the interface going, and get custom names so that we don't look at the P2 naming. But the same amount of time. So your argument of saved time in that process is gone. Mere seconds...not hours.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Our footage is backed up before it even hits the edit suite. When did I ever say "don't back up"? That's ludicrous. I can't believe your producer shows up with footage to the edit suite and it's not already in two different places. Crazy!"

You indicated that I shouldn't knock your workflow if it isn't the same as mine. I said I backed up the footage, you didn't indicate that you did not. So I made a bad assumption. Shame on me.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Transcoding and rewrapping takes longer"

TRANSCODING...yes. AVCIntra to ProRes, takes longer. That's why when we are in a hurry, we re-wrap. But wrapping might take 2-3 min longer...5 if we mess with naming settings...than copying and direct import. Those few minutes are minor. Being able to use the footage on 6 machines, without needing to buy MXF4Mac or Calibrated for all of them, is pretty key. And for producers to be able to take a drive of footage to work with it too.

Yes, it is a different workflow. But, the argument that it saves time is bunk, in my book. a couple minutes, max.

What about WORKING? Bringing AVCIntra native...there are no sequence settings for that format. You need to use ProRes and therefore, when you are done editing, need to render EVERYTHING. When you convert to ProRes, you can have settings that match....no rendering. Rendering only the parts you add plugins or transitions too. So you have MORE time when you go native with some formats due to render times.

SPACE? Well, re-wrapping takes up the EXACT SAME amount of space as the originals. So if we do DVCPRO HD or AVCintra native...no space difference. When you convert to ProRes, that's where files get bigger.

[Jeremy Garchow] "If that footage was MXF, I would have been editing within a few minutes. That's a big difference."

More than a few. You'd have to copy it to the RAID first. Less time than transcoding, yes. But not every format needs transcoding.

I'm just saying that touting "native" as the best way is not always true. In many ways, it is faster, in others, it is not. It doesn't fit all the workflows...nor does transcoding. It works for some things, but not others. People griping that FCP doesn't edit these formats natively...MOST of them have misunderstandings about workflows and what goes on under the hood, and the consequences of what "editing native" might entail.

Yes, it's cool and fast. I do it myself a lot on projects that stay on my machine. But it isn't the BEST way to do things. IN fact, working Native is pretty bad for a lot of workflows. But it is good for others.

BALANCE...knowing when to use one way and when to use another. Not "THIS IS THE BEST WAY EVAR!" and discount everything else...isn't seeing the big picture.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 11:02:37 pm

I still don't know why you are insisting on arguing. I work with this stuff ever single say. It's faster. You can choose to believe me or not. It's fine.

[Shane Ross] "So your argument of saved time in that process is gone. Mere seconds...not hours."

At some point it all needs to get to the RAID. In our case, the shoot drives never get logged and transferred or edited from. Even if we did log and transfer, the MXF files would get copied to the RAID. That way, when the whole project is archived, the MXf files go with it, instead of spread out across multiple drives from weeks/months/year ago. I guess that's where we differ. MXF saves us tons of time and drive space as we don't have the bigger/larger Quicktime files around.

[Shane Ross] "Being able to use the footage on 6 machines, without needing to buy MXF4Mac or Calibrated for all of them, is pretty key. And for producers to be able to take a drive of footage to work with it too. "

We have it across 4 machines, but yeah, we don't need to send ProRes files for producers.

[Shane Ross] "What about WORKING? Bringing AVCIntra native...there are no sequence settings for that format."

We use ProRes or HQ, but also have an AVC-I codec from MXF4mac. I don't use it that often as the rt isn't as good as ProRes. Since the decoder is native to the Studio, using AVC-I in a ProRes sequence is totally fine.

[Shane Ross] "You need to use ProRes and therefore, when you are done editing, need to render EVERYTHING"

I don't know about your productions, but by the time I am through with everything, there's usually some sort of filter, transition, crop adjust, something on almost every clip. So I am going to be rendering anyway, ProRes or not. Avc-I renders very fast to ProRes. Very rarely so I simply have a cuts only timeline for export.

[Shane Ross] "SPACE? Well, re-wrapping takes up the EXACT SAME amount of space as the originals."

See but my MXF files would be sitting on the raid for me when I go to edit. The field drives don't sit in the edit suite, they are mostly out in the field. So the field drives come back, they get copied to a raid almost immediately. If logging and transferring, I'd have the MXF files AND subsequent transcodes, twice the disk space. By editing natively, I save 1/2 the space, and AVC-I is "lighter" than ProRes and HQ so the actual files themselves are smaller.

[Shane Ross] "Yes, it's cool and fast. I do it myself a lot on projects that stay on my machine. But it isn't the BEST way to do things. IN fact, working Native is pretty bad for a lot of workflows. But it is good for others. "

Who said it was the BEST way? OP asked specifically about MXF4mac. I answered. I am sure he can make his own decisions.


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Kaye Woods
Re: Can I edit mxf files in FPC?
on Dec 22, 2010 at 3:40:47 pm

Wow. I didn't realize what I was starting! haha Glad to see it finally stopped.

I guess all this just shows that as an editor you fall into one of the two categories, editing natively or not. But I did learn something through all this mess... that I am not doing anything wrong or lowering any quality by re-wrapping the files as pro res. I guess that's all I needed to know. Thanks guys!

:)


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