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Mark Darnay
FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 5, 2012 at 12:54:13 pm

Hello Creative Cows,

I am hoping someone can help me with a workflow. I shot a video at 1080p on the Canon 5D (H264). I edited the footage in FCPX and therefore transcoded to ProRes for the duration of the edit. Now I want to master with the original footage. I have tried deleting all High Res (prores) material and exporting with only H264 material present. This still gives me a prores output and I believe this is because FCPX renders in ProRes. I do have the option to change the settings on export and make a H264 file but that means it is using the ProRes files and transcoding to H264 - a loss in generation.
The reason I want to master in H264; besides the fact that it was shot in H264 and I am getting quality loss transcoding to ProRes. I want to upload the master to youtube - which transcodes to H264 upon upload and I am getting another unnecessary generation loss there. Does anyone know if FCPX supports this workflow? I have heard that Adobe Premier Pro CS6 will support this but I am hoping I don't have to import my project into there. Any help would be highly appreciated.

Many many thanks,
Mark Darnay


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 5, 2012 at 2:09:25 pm

[Mark Darnay] "The reason I want to master in H264; besides the fact that it was shot in H264 and I am getting quality loss transcoding to ProRes. I want to upload the master to youtube - which transcodes to H264 upon upload and I am getting another unnecessary generation loss there. Does anyone know if FCPX supports this workflow? I have heard that Adobe Premier Pro CS6 will support this but I am hoping I don't have to import my project into there. "

Technobabble: frame data from long-GOP formats cannot simply be copied from one container to another, because it may be dependent on data from other frames excluded from the edit, and because simply copying frame data may violate bitrate or GOP cadence in the destination container. Also, the editorial itself (with its addition of cuts, dissolves, effects, etc.) would impact how the material would be most efficiently compressed.

Translation: neither FCPX nor Pr is capable of "smart rendering" H.264. Both will decompress H.264 originals to uncompressed internally before compressing (again) as H.264.

The ProRes generation loss is minimal. Mathematically, there is loss, but visually, it should be practically indistinguishable from the original.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mark Darnay
Re: FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 5, 2012 at 3:02:41 pm

Hello Walter,

Thank you for the information; this makes sense why FCPX cannot render to H264 or any other long-GOP codecs. I agree the generation loss when mastering to ProRes is not noticeable and I don't have an issue with this codec at all in terms of quality. It is going from ProRes back down to H264 via YouTube that is noticeable. Especially in the colour space.

Do you think I should use a high-end transcoder to create a H264 from my ProRes master and then upload to YouTube - or does YouTube re-encode it with their engine anyway.

Thanks again,
Mark


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 5, 2012 at 3:12:40 pm

[Mark Darnay] "Do you think I should use a high-end transcoder to create a H264 from my ProRes master and then upload to YouTube - or does YouTube re-encode it with their engine anyway."

Sorry, mate, I'm not clear on the finer points of YouTube delivery. You might have better luck in the FCPX Techniques forum [link] or the Compression techniques forum [link].

This particular forum (FCPX or Not) is pretty unique on the COW in that it is intended for spirited debate about the merits of different NLEs and their philosophical approaches as well as self-righteous pontification (much of it by yours truly) on the theory and future of editorial and technology. You'll find a lot more technical help on the other forums.

Good luck with your project!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mark Darnay
Re: FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 5, 2012 at 5:41:06 pm

Hello Walter,

I am so sorry - I posted this in the wrong thread.
Thanks for your help and the links.

All the best,
Mark


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 9, 2012 at 9:44:48 pm

Mark,

If you haven't done this yet, just use the included direct YouTube exporter in X located under the Share menu. If your original files are good, this creates an EXCELLENT YouTube encode..

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Nikolas Bäurle
Re: FCPX H264 Master Export
on Nov 5, 2012 at 2:26:45 pm

Hey Mark,

FCPX doesn't have a H.264 workflow, other than transcoding it to Apple Pro Res.

ProRes, is much less compressed than DSLR H.264 files. So converting to ProRes and back to H.264 won't make a difference. The postproduction companies I work for (FCP 7 most of them), here in Berlin, use this workflow all the time, no quality loss.

Now, the benefit of using Premiere with H.264 is that it does it natively. So no need for transcoding. You do save some time and a lot of extra HDD space.

Personally I don't use Premiere at all, since most companies I work for here use either Avid of FCP 7. I really like what Apple did with FCP X. I don't really care if I need to transcode H.264 to Apple ProRes and need more space. But that's just my workflow.

Cheers,

Nik Bäurle


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