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Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX

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Tucker Lucas
Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 14, 2013 at 3:11:13 pm

Hey there,

When I import P2 720p footage into FCPX, with import optimized media checked, it's importing as DVCPRO. Isn't there a setting to have it transcode to ProRes on the import, or will it always import as DVCPRO? I know that I ran into the same thing with FCP7. I know final cut is able to edit DVCPRO, but would there be a benefit to importing as ProRes, since the rest of my footage is in ProRes? Is my only option to import as is and then do a transcode with compressor?

Tucker Lucas
Editor
Sundog Interactive
tucker.lucas@sundoginteractive.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 14, 2013 at 5:51:04 pm

Some may differ with me, but there would be no benefit except a slight unnoticeable to the human eye bit of degredation. And your files would take up more drive space. DVCPro isn't long gop so I think it's considered optimized. Performance should be the same or better than prores as far as rt goes. I think it may be better because it's a lower data rate.

The idea here is that you're going to put the DVCPRo into a timeline and edit it. Then output that to a format of your choice. IMO, it's really just complicating things to add an additional layer of transcoding. Let the transcode occur to the final output. No need to transcode to prores, then transcode again on output.

Apple agrees:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5294?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 15, 2013 at 10:33:50 am

FCPX only optimizes media to Prores that it consideres to be 'needed' to transcode.
For instance, H.264, certain MPEG2 sources, ...
But I think even XDCAM HD, which is a Long Gop codec, you cannot let FCPX transcode it to optimized media. It just a greyed out function. You can let it make proxy media, but that's a whole other ballgame.

Considering that it doesn't even 'need' XDCAM to be optimized to Prores, I would expect that it certainly doesn't need DVCPro to be transcoded. So I'm not surprised.

You also have to know that X, unlike 7, doesn't have a 'codec' timeline. You can only put in a format (1080 25i, 720p, etc.) and you can choose a RENDER codec (different flavors of Prores and Uncompressed) which will in turn be the default export codec. You can change this render codec afterwards too.
In FCP7 you had a 'Prores timeline', or a 'XDCAM timeline', or an 'Uncompressed' one, or... X-timelines are codec-independent, although working in Prores does help in speed. I haven't tested DVCPro, but I think it should be fine too.


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Dave Gage
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 15, 2013 at 8:38:55 pm

[Mathieu Ghekiere] "although working in Prores does help in speed."

Mathieu and Bret,

I don't and have never really had a need to make Proxies or Optimize. When I shoot with a camera, I get AVCHD files that I then ClipWrap to use in FCPX, which works fine. But mostly, I do ScreenFlow captures that I export as H.264 and then use directly in FCP X. I've tried PR422 and have not seen much difference in speed or change in quality for final export. Also, I never rendered the timeline unless I really need to see how a transition or effect will come out.

Is speed, mostly I'm guessing for Color Correction, the main and only reason to use Proxy or Optimized media? Are there any other reasons I might be missing that I'm not aware of?

Thanks,
Dave


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Bret Williams
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 15, 2013 at 10:09:13 pm

It helps on lesser machines that can't decode the codecs on the fly as fast. But like you I don't transcode either. AVCHD, H264, xdcam, xavc, it all just works. Don't see DVCproHD much anymore.


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 16, 2013 at 8:15:01 pm

Once you begin working with
A. 6 layers of video, all with a timecode generator on top of it, sometimes in a timeline of hours long (we have some pretty specific needs)

B. Having video that needs to be exported QUICKLY, because you are exporting 10 things and they all need to encoded to H.264 and online in a couple of hours, for instance, then you really begin to feel the speed of Prores.

If you record in Prores LT (we use Sound Devices Pix recorders) and then export to Prores, they can be pretty quick. You also notice FCPX is a lot quicker in drawing it's waveforms etc. in the background.
Again, the same with color correction and titles, ...

That being said, for short form work, I'm sure H.264 works great. Any modern machine should be able to handle it. But sometimes you start noticing that the computer gets bogged down after you are pretty well into the edit. That's why I've often learned that it (depending on your needs of course) it often pays of to first swallow a delay for transcoding some material into Prores, and then work with it, instead of having it crop up trough your edit and your exports, when you are mostly in need of time the most.


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Bret Williams
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 17, 2013 at 6:25:00 pm

I've seen the bog. I haven't seen any issue with waveforms. But I don't use them much in the event. I either view a thumbnail or I use list view. That whole filmstrip thing is just ridiculous to me.

When things start to bog, I often look at the available RAM with a little widget I have. Usually notice it has dropped to next to nothing. Even on a 32 gig system. I've noticed this in any project. ProRes, XDCam, h264. A quick reboot of X fixes it. Which takes all of 20 seconds or so.

I've never really tested the export stuff. I use a single pass cbr, 75% quality 854x480 setting that is very quick for client approvals. For vimeo or youtube I use the same settings but bump up to 720p or 1080.


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Dave Gage
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 17, 2013 at 10:52:01 pm

[Bret Williams] "When things start to bog, I often look at the available RAM with a little widget I have. Usually notice it has dropped to next to nothing. Even on a 32 gig system. I've noticed this in any project. ProRes, XDCam, h264. A quick reboot of X fixes it. Which takes all of 20 seconds or so."
I do the same. I use the "Free Memory" app which I've had very good luck with.

I've been meaning to start a thread about quick tips to speed up FCP X, but haven't gotten around to it. Here's a few things that speed up my fairly simple workflow though:

* Keep the amount of Events and Projects loaded as few as possible.

* When possible, usually after I'm done with audio mods, I change Clip Appearance to single blue bar to avoid thumbnail and audio waveform re-draws.

* If I do need to show audio waveforms or video thumbnails for extended periods, I open the filter browser as it literally shortens the Project timeline and thus requires less screen re-drawing. This is really one of the best tricks I've found to keep FCP X from bogging down if I must have the waveform view.

* When possible, I close the Inspector so it doesn't keep re-calculating aspects of the timeline that don't need recalculating. Unfortunately, since I'm constantly adding and editing lower 3rd text notes, I'm usually forced to leave the Inspector open.

* If I get a "lag" (which is not common for me): I occasionally pause within an edit and let FCPX "think" for a few seconds (it seems to need to get caught up from time to time). Along these lines, if I need to move a text clip on the timeline, I hit the "Space bar" to stop Play which seems to help it not bog down.

Dave


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Dave Gage
Re: Importing P2 footage as ProRes in FCPX
on May 17, 2013 at 10:28:07 pm

[Mathieu Ghekiere] "Once you begin working with
A. 6 layers of video, all with a timecode generator on top of it, sometimes in a timeline of hours long (we have some pretty specific needs)

B. Having video that needs to be exported QUICKLY, because you are exporting 10 things and they all need to encoded to H.264 and online in a couple of hours, for instance, then you really begin to feel the speed of Prores."


None of that applies to me. I'm fortunate in that I have no clients, I only do video for my small business which ends up being 3 X 45 minute online classes a week that I screen capture and then edit. I typically only have one layer of video and one lower 3rd at one time with about 40 or so lower 3rds per class. I do always need to to tweak the audio with some compression/limiting, EQ, and noise reduction. Most times I don't need any color correction, but when I do, it's fairly minimal. So, my demands on FCP X and the computer are low.

All in all, I've been very lucky with FCP X. I have had a few minors issues that required workarounds, but now that I've a solid workflow set up, it's all very smooth and easy.

Dave


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