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having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP

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Melinda Hess
having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP
on Dec 24, 2010 at 5:34:04 am

Just shot some footage with the Nikon D7000- here are the specs-
Video Tracks: 1280 × 720, 29.97 fps, H.264 10.16 Mbps (average)
Audio Tracks: 16-bit Little Endian stereo, 48 kHz, 1.54 Mbps (average)
I’m using a Mac Book Pro connected to FW 800 HD. Mac Book Pro specs- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz, Using FCP 6.0.5.

I haven’t shot or edited HD before now, so need some help setting up the project, understanding about transcoding, exporting etc. This is also my first time shooting with a DSLR camera.

The footage itself looks great. Problem is editing a sequence in FC. I’ve read different things online regarding importing the D7000 directly into FCP. I just imported the .mov files into a project, clicked on a box to have the sequence settings match the files I imported, but I don’t understand what those settings actually are.

Things started off great, but then as I added clips to the timeline, the sequence started halting at each edit, with a dialog box about RT playback etc. So even though I played with various playback settings, it continued to stop at each edit. I then decided to just export it from the timeline to QT movie. Played ok, till the stills I had put in, then it defragmented,image got "scrambled" and crashed QT. So ok, first time out- but I have a lot of questions, and of course a deadline. So here goes.

1. In FCP, what sequence pre-sets to use for these files?

2. How should I be importing them into the project? I watched the tutorial on CC- Tapeless Workflow with Final Cut Pro 7 and discovered that unfortunately I already copied the files from the card to the HD without keeping the exact hierarchy as on the original card. I’m hoping this wont be a problem in editing the files.

3. Do I need to transcode the D7000 files using ProRes or something else? And if so, how? (I'll look for another CC tutorial)

4. Any other tips, suggestions for editing with the D7000?

Many thanks in advance
Melinda

Convivial Design Studio
Abiquiu, NM 87510


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Michael Kammes
Re: having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP
on Dec 24, 2010 at 6:16:27 am

FCP - like most NLEs - have an issue playing H.264 HD files in real time. It's a tough file to play.

Even by doing an autoconform - that is, FCP adjusting itself to have the timeline match the clip - will only serve to get you "closer" to 100% playback in RT.

You can change your RT playback to UNLIMITED (vs SAFE) as well as adjust the parameters of it to see if that helps (look to the top left of the timeline for a small oval box)

Best Practice is to convert the files to ProRes prior to editing. FCP will handle that MUCH better. Since the original file hierarchy is not available, you'll have to manually transode the material into Pro Res. If Log & Tranfer won't work, you can always run the files through compressor before bringing them into FCP.

You may want to check out the other forums on the cor, such as Apple Final Cut Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro Basics.

Good Luck!

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com


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Melinda Hess
Re: having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP
on Dec 25, 2010 at 3:33:44 am

Michael,
Thanks so much for your response. I will try the ProRes conversion. Compressor is not my favorite app, but I'll give it a try. I've read thru a number of posts on CC today, trying to get more info about converting. Will try Compressor, though I see that Mpg Streamclip is also an option.

One other question- I might have to insert this D7000 sequence into a longer piece which is SD. I usually set the TL to DV NTSC. This D7000 sequence is contained within itself but will probably be added to a 7 min. sample work I'm putting together, and the other assets are SD.

So in this case, do you have any recommendations for the workflow- should I convert the H264 files into ProRes, then downscale in FC, or should I convert them with a different codec into DV so I can edit the sequence with the other SD footage?

Based on reading some other posts, I tried converting in Compressor using the DV NTSC preset, and it looks horrible- squeezed it of course, and just looks bad. So what I'm looking for is best way to preserve quality of the HD, while making the editing not a nightmare. I understand there might also be issues of upper vs lower field dominance, and I'm not sure how to address this.

End product is this goes on a DVD for a grant request!
thanks very much for your help, and Happy Holiday!

Convivial Design Studio
Abiquiu, NM 87510


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Michael Kammes
Re: having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP
on Dec 25, 2010 at 4:25:21 pm

I would not recommend going DV. I f you can use another SD codec, that would be easier and look much better.

In fact, you can encode SD material into Pro Res and use that. (Pro Res can be 422 or 422 HQ in SD; and you can do all 5 flavors of 422 in HD.)

Then you can mix both the SD & HD material in the same timeline and playback should be smooth, plus the visual quality will be very much improved.

As for dominance, you can adjust that in your compression settings within Compressor...however, if you use ProRes throughout, you should have no issue.

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com


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Melinda Hess
Re: having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP
on Dec 26, 2010 at 11:25:28 pm

Thanks Michael,

I tried DVCPRO50 NTSC but it squeezed the image and doesn’t look good. I tried the ProRes which looks better, so am headed in this direction. I assume I should use Apple ProRes 422 for Interlaced- should I change the field dominance or just use the Compressor setting as is?

Also, regarding converting the SD to Pro Res- I’ve never done that. What are the advantages of doing it this way vs:

1) Converting HD files to ProRes- bringing them into a 720x480 TL and scaling them to fit via Motion tab-100%? Seems this way I’d end up with a TL that I can easily export to QT & then encode to DVD.

The Other option I’ve considered is:
Since the other sequences in the 7 min. compilation movie are derived from moves on stills, and the stills were scanned fairly large, perhaps I should redo these motion still sequences– so that they are also 1280 × 720, and bring them into a TL that is 1280 × 720, 29.97 fps. Then I could add the NY D7000 sequences (after ProRes) into this timeline and make the entire 7 min movie. Does this workflow make sense?
What I’m looking for is the simplest workflow- I’m just trying to put together a sample of work- and I realize the huge range of issues to consider before shooting the real documentary.

Thanks so much for your feedback.

Convivial Design Studio
Abiquiu, NM 87510


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Michael Kammes
Re: having problems editing Nikon D7000 files in FCP
on Dec 29, 2010 at 5:46:19 pm

Convert 1 file, and put it on the timeline with the other clips. If it plays with line dominance issues, then switch the field dominance during encode. You SHOULDN'T have any issue, but what's wrong with a little try and error with 1 short file? :)

As far as SD timeline with scaled HD footage or an HD timeline with scaled SD footage, I am a firm believer in:

1. having the timeline match the majority of your footage
or
2. If effects heavy, go with the highest res possible. Scaling down footage with effects looks better than scaling up.

So, I would probably scale the HD footage down to SD in the timeline, to match your other footage. Compressor can also take your RAW h.264 HD material and create SD Pro res as well - so, you don't HAVE to use the scale function in FCP. Don't forget to select what kind of look you want (letterbox, center cut, etc.)

As far as stills, a few notes:

FCP doesn't like files over 4K in size (H x W)...it can cause sluggishness. Also, make sure the image doesn't appear stretched or oddly shaped...round pixels vs square pixels and all.

Good Luck! (Back to vacation)



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com


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