When I load a project and put clips on the timeline, FCPX proceeds to render the files and produce a large file in the project folder labeled hiqh quality media. For a 26 minute clip filmed at 24 Mbs (1080i) the original 4 GB events becomes a 28 GB high quality media. It doesn't seem possible to look at these in detail although they are labeled by frame number. What exactly are these files? I know at the end of the project they can be dumped, but how does FCPX decide the format of the High Quality media files?
IF your original files are X compliant (you shot in ProRes for example) then you don't get these. X just references the originals via either master clips in your Event Folder - or alias files if you're using referenced media on a secondary drive.
IF you shot in something NOT X compliant, then X has to transcode and this is where it stores the highest quality ProRes 422 versions. IF you elect to also transcode to proxies - they get stored in the Proxy media folder.
If you shot in a compressed format - e.g. interframe AVCHD - then sure, the ProRes versions with ALL the frames are going to be significantly larger than the files that use only key frames and predictive frame data..
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My new Canon XA20 can shoot in a lot of modes, but all of them are H.264 I think. Either AVCHD or MP4, not much different. Is there a list of FCPX compliant formats? After I wrote the post, I was thinking that FCPX was unwinding the compression done in H.264. In the "old days" with a slower Mac and FCP7, I aways had to convert from H.264 to Pro Res during import, with a big file expansion. I guess with these new formats (24 Mbs, 28 Mbs, 35 Mbs, and 50 Mbs, I am back to a similar process.
One step forward, and a couple of steps back (at least in terms of speed and storage)
It is starting to make sense. I made a new project with the only clip being MP4, 29.97 p, 17 Mbs and FCPX did not bother to render it or make high quality video. That must be a FCPX compliant format, whereas the higher bit rates aren't and it renders them. The good news is FCPX manages all of the formats, even if it needs to render them. Over the weekend, I tried a 24 Mbs clip on my 4 gB macbook air and it almost choked to death trying to render it. It took 8 or 10 hours just to render 26 minutes of film and about 12 hours to compress it.
Remember that FCPX works much, much better with prores than high compressed files like mp4.
Even though you projects/events will grow, you can throw your files away when finished. If you want to re-edit your film, then just open you little archive and just do a transcode again, then you'll get'em back.
I've made a util for easy deleting High Quality Media, Proxies, Renders and even Optical Flow Files. These types of files are not needed for archive and can be re-created.