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COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates

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Steve Tamou
avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 5:00:39 am

Will the AVCHD format be native to FCPX?



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David Roth Weiss
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 5:16:04 am

Yes, everything including the kitchen sink will be supposedly be native to FCPX. At least, that's what the 45-min sneak would have us believe. I can't tell you that I really know the answer personally, nor could anyone else.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Martin Curtis
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 7:09:15 am

I watched the presentation and had trouble discerning if it was "native" or "converting to ProRes really really fast".


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Paul Dickin
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 8:37:21 am

[Martin Curtis] "...converting to ProRes really really fast"."
Hi
ProRes in this context is a "faster horse" - which is not what FCP X is about...

All FCP X needs to do is convert the source media into a frame-by-frame display file that the computer graphics card can show you - at whatever scale you require.

Here's what Apple have published about the process, using their QuickTime replacement called AVFoundation, which is an OS X/iOS component, independent of FCP:
Editing.
AV Foundation uses compositions to create new assets from existing pieces of media (typically, one or more video and audio tracks). To assemble audiovisual constructs from one or more source assets, you can insert assets into instances of AVMutableComposition.... offering insertion, removal, and scaling operations...

You use a mutable composition to add and remove tracks, and adjust their temporal orderings. You can also set the relative volumes and ramping of audio tracks; and set the opacity, and opacity ramps, of video tracks.

A composition is an assemblage of pieces of media held in memory. When you export a composition using an export session, it's collapsed to a file.
"

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#DOCUMENTATION/AudioVideo/Conceptual...
(my emphasis).

So they're saying everything is in memory until such time as you choose to Export it into whatever format you choose.

What the sneak peek showed us was a GUI representation that exactly corresponded to the description I've quoted. Each 'clip' or 'combined clip' we saw Randy working on would have been a graphical timeline instance of a complex 'composition', which is an AVFoundation file that has been created on-the-fly in memory to allow editing to proceed.

There seems to me to be no reason for it to have to exist 'in memory' in some legacy FCP 7 compressed codec during the intermediate editing stages.

It remains to be seen whether the Export process refers back to the original source media, to maintain the highest quality (which would take time I guess), or if the intermediate memory renders which have been created for editing are used.
Any straightforward 'first generation' transcoding will involve decompressing into memory, so maybe the FCP X editing intermediate files could be more-or-less 'invisible', just like a normal format-to-format re-encode?

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert in any of this, I'm just looking at what Apple showed us, and reading what they've published. To me it all makes excellent sense :-)



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Stephan Walfridsson
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 9:38:40 am

Paul, even though I think that you are correct in thinking that FCPX is built on AVFoundation, I think you are wrong in some of our more detailed conclusions.

[Paul Dickin] "So they're saying everything is in memory until such time as you choose to Export it into whatever format you choose."

"There seems to me to be no reason for it to have to exist 'in memory' in some legacy FCP 7 compressed codec during the intermediate editing stages."

"It remains to be seen whether the Export process refers back to the original source media, to maintain the highest quality (which would take time I guess), or if the intermediate memory renders which have been created for editing are used.
Any straightforward 'first generation' transcoding will involve decompressing into memory, so maybe the FCP X editing intermediate files could be more-or-less 'invisible', just like a normal format-to-format re-encode?"


I seriously doubt that they will keep everything stored in memory in an uncompressed format as it would require tremendous amounts of RAM (and/or cache storage, resulting in a lot of slow memory swapping as you jump around in the timeline). Even if they just wanted to store everything in the original compression - be it h264, ProRes or Uncompressed 422 - the memory requirements for any normal project would be prohibitive.

If your theory on automatic intermediate renders is correct they would surely choose to use a ProRes format to reduce the storage requirements (and store it on disk, not in memory). But realtime playback from the sourcefiles are a much simpler solution given the mulitple cores on modern hardware and advances in gpu utilization, and doesn't induce the need for extra storage space.

Stephan


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Oliver Peters
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 11:53:25 pm

[Paul Dickin] "So they're saying everything is in memory until such time as you choose to Export it into whatever format you choose."

Except that there was clearly rendering going on. This definition applies to Adobe Premiere Pro more than FCP X. The demo showed background rendering that occurred when the machine was idle. In fact, scrubbing through the unrendered chunks didn't look super smooth.

Since there is background rendering, there was nothing about the demo that would indicate whether or not the "native" media hadn't actually been rendered into a preferred format ahead of time. You can edit lots of formats today natively in Premiere Pro, but that still doesn't make it the best way to work.

My guess is that a wider range of media will work natively - i.e. won't require rewrapping into QT - but that won't include everything. Odds are that some media will be more optimized than others.

There is the issue that not all media is really ready to start editing with natively. For instance, H.264 files from a Canon 5D. Both Avid and Adobe can edit with these files natively right now. Yet, media performance is better when they are transcoded first. The files don't have any embedded TC, so that will also mean a transcode will still be an important step.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Don Connors
Re: avchd
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:10:36 pm

Hi, David...

I've enjoyed your advice and greatly profited from it...

Now I've taken the plunge with FCPX and find that it will not recognize my AVCHD files that I transferred over to hard drive with file structure intact. FCP7 and Premiere CS5.5 both recognize and import these files!

What could I be doing wrong?

Thanks, in advance.

Don


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Andy Mees
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 11:29:57 am

You probably need to clarify your question Steve lest folks go off on a tangent (we're an excitable lot in here and we like a good tangent). I'm guessing your question is probably meant in the broadest sense ie Can I edit with AVCHD footage from my camera or do I need to transcode it or rewrap it or something first? Well in my In the demo presented to the Supermeet by Randy Ubilos he directly stated that AVCHD was natively supported in FCPS X, no transcode necessary.

"Final Cut Pro X allows you to mix and match content without having to do any sort of transcoding ... so we can take in footage from your DSLR's, we can take in AVCHD, we can take in stuff from a GoPro ... and you can just edit it natively, all in the timeline ... you can mix and match sizes, it doesn't matter, it just takes care of it"

Hope it helps
Andy


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Mark Suszko
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 2:19:14 pm

Operationally, "a difference that makes no difference, IS no difference". Long as the quality is unaffected, I don't much care how it does it, as long as it does it in what seems like real time.


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 4:40:16 pm

I'm not insanely well informed on AVCHD - but even if I could directly use 5D Mk2 files - I've always intsintively felt like I shouldn't - that I should get the footage into a decent codec with a decent colour space first - ala prores? Am I just being an old fogey?

http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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John Heagy
Re: avchd
on May 2, 2011 at 9:15:05 pm

[Andy Mees] "Randy Ubilos he directly stated that AVCHD was natively supported in FCPS X, no transcode necessary."

FCP 7 was billed as AVC-I "Native"... it's not. Really depends on what his definition of "Native" is.

John Heagy


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: avchd
on May 3, 2011 at 8:52:42 am

One thing that puzzled me about all this (though it's more than likely me being stupid) is the claim that you could "carry on working while ingesting" - surely if there is no transcoding going on then "ingesting" ought to take no time at all? Or have I completely missed the point?

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Andy Mees
Re: avchd
on May 3, 2011 at 9:15:19 am

It's the clip analysis (for auto metadata creation eg cu, ms, ws, 2shot, pans etc) plus auto smoothcam, rolling shutter fix etc etc these are the things that will happen in the background ... so yes, you have the instant ingest as you suggest should happen, but you also have background analysis going on.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: avchd
on May 3, 2011 at 9:18:33 am

OK, that makes complete sense - I'll get me coat ;-)

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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