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latest advice on P2 workflow and conversion

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Craig Alan
latest advice on P2 workflow and conversion
on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:40:39 am

Hi I'm working at a school in which we are in the middle of a somewhat confusing transition. I began using Panasonic P2 files last year and downloaded the Panasonic free reader and driver combo (P2 Contents Management Software for MAC users). We were then able to log and transfer and edit the footage in FCP 7. We used an apple pro res 422 timeline. All went well.

Now we have computers with FCP 7 (for those who know it - but i won't be teaching students who do not know FCP 7 since it is EOL), FCP X, and for the casual user and guests to the program - Imovie 11.

I have been able to import P2 intra into FCP X and all seems ok there.

In Panasonic's P2 Contents Management Software for MAC users, however, the video plays back with sound but no picture. I read on-line that FCP X being installed creates this disability.

What would be the best way to convert the footage for the casual student to edit in Imovie?

Can this be done in FCP X or in compressor? I believe that Imovie can edit in Pro Res 422 if FCP is installed on the same computer. If not then I'd use Apple Intermediate Codec.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Shane Ross
Re: latest advice on P2 workflow and conversion
on Mar 26, 2013 at 8:33:59 pm

[Craig Alan] "What would be the best way to convert the footage for the casual student to edit in Imovie?"

Use FCP 7 and Log and Transfer...then use Compressor to convert to Apple Intermediate. Or use FCX and "optimize" the media, and then locate that media, and use Compressor to convert to AIC.

iMovie doesn't work with P2 directly...it has to be converted to AIC.

[Craig Alan] "I believe that Imovie can edit in Pro Res 422 if FCP is installed on the same computer. If not then I'd use Apple Intermediate Codec."

iMovie will see ProRes, but if you import it into iMovie, it converts it to AIC. Best to use AIC.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Craig Alan
Re: latest advice on P2 workflow and conversion
on Mar 26, 2013 at 9:12:51 pm

Thanks Shane. I noticed your posts from years past about this subject and was wondering what the latest scoop was. This did the trick.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Craig Alan
Shane, follow up compressor question
on Mar 27, 2013 at 3:54:55 am

Shane,

I opened up FCP X's event window, highlighted a clip, and opened Inspector. The file was still AVC-Intra 1080i60. My guess is since FCP X can edit in this codec it did not transcode it during import to Apple Pro Res. Under FILE>transcode media - optimize media was grayed out. Was this because it was on the timeline as well as the event window? The only choice was create proxy media. I exported the clip to compressor directly from FCP X. In FCP 7 I used to export a self-contained QT movie.

Once in compressor I was able to transcode it to AIC. I imported the AIC file into Imovie. It did not look as good as it does in FCP X. The viewer looks fine for other clips from different sources/codec's (though I gather they are all AIC after ingesting in Imovie). I tried importing the original FCP X clip directly from the media drive with no transcoding directly into Imovie and it allowed the import and it "optimized" the incoming clip. I don't see any difference between the two but I'm judging by the viewer window in Imovie which most likely does not mean anything. Will compressor really make a difference for the final exported QT project? I guess as long as a program has put a QT wrapper on the P2 footage it can be imported into Imovie.

I'm wondering if there is a better codec to use with our P2 camera for this workflow. Would 1080P be better than interlaced in terms of AIC?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Shane Ross
Re: Shane, follow up compressor question
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:39:14 am

OK, I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about FCX...only what I gleen from these boards. So I'm guessing at how all that works.

[Craig Alan] " I was able to transcode it to AIC. I imported the AIC file into Imovie. It did not look as good as it does in FCP X."

Of course not. AIC is a lossy codec. 8 bit and highly compressed. AVCIntra is 10 bit and you are looking at it natively in FCX, no compression. Plus, the FCX interface is clearer, from my understanding. You are comparing a pro app with a consumer app...the pro one will win.

[Craig Alan] "
I'm wondering if there is a better codec to use with our P2 camera for this workflow. Would 1080P be better than interlaced in terms of AIC?"


When it comes to using iMovie, your options are few. AIC is pretty much all you can use. And getting a professional P2 format into it, because iMovie doesn't interface with that pro camera, is to use pro software to convert it to a format the consumer app can use.

I'd ween them all off of iMovie and onto FCX, or Adobe Premiere.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Craig Alan
Re: Shane, follow up compressor question
on Mar 27, 2013 at 9:41:04 am

[Shane Ross] "I'd ween them all off of iMovie and onto FCX, or Adobe Premiere.
"


Thanks Shane.

That's maybe the plan but I kinda need to offer an easy workflow for circumstances that have no time for such weening. I never used the "new" Imovie till now. I used the old Imovie back when it was DV in, DV out, SD DVDs. When Imovie HD 7 didn't happen, I switched to FCS/FCP exclusively and didn't look back till now. FCP X borrowed from the Imovie interface/code so using Imovie to get student's feet wet and for students not in the class makes sense.

If FCP X does not gain any ground with film schools and pro circles I'll rethink this. For now I just want to produce some decent product. Kinda surprised Imovie 11 can't use apple pro res. It's lossy too but way better than AIC. Maybe the next version of Imovie will add more support for the camera's/codec's out there since my guess is this is Apple's plan. If nothing else, FCP X is Imovie Pro.

Most of the test footage looks decent in Imovie. So maybe I didn't tweak the conversion right in compressor? It doesn't look any different than letting Imovie convert a direct import from FCP X's media drive files. FCP X didn't take any time at all to send it to compressor so it was not optimized as you suggested. Maybe importing directly from those files is not a good idea?

I'll try importing the FCP X P2 files from the media drive directly into compressor and trying the conversion that way. It seems FCP X has already put a QT wrapper on them. Otherwise Imovie wouldn't see them at all.

If that doesn't do it, I could try this with FCP 7. I'll also ask over at the FCP X forum about transcoding the footage into pro res even though FCP X can edit the P2 stuff.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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