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Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)

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Jeff Markgraf
Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:44:40 am

Hello Cows!

Calling all Avid savvy FCP people. Kind of a complicated question, so please bear with me.

I'm about to start a bunch of sales reels that I've previously done on Avid. Lots of flying iPads with video inside them, lots of graphics, etc. I do the rough mockup and the motion graphics people take the assets and do a fancy version. When I say "rough," I mean as close to the real thing as I can do in an Avid. If you've ever tried compositing on an Avid, you know how painful it is. I can do this stuff much faster and better in FCPX. Now that FCP reads MXF, I can easily use the footage that is already in the Avid as well as import footage from the server that is in MXF format.

Still with me?

So I'm doing some tests to see if this will really work. Copied over a couple of MXF files from the ISIS to an external drive. Also copied over some graphics of the type I would normally use. Everything imports into FCP X without a problem. Yay! All works as expected.

Here's the weird part. On the Avid, all our projects are 1920x1080 59.94 interlaced. DNXhd145. Standard Avid settings. Now, some shows, like half-hour comedies, master at 1080 29.97 (59.94) and thats what we would digitize from. Dramas are typically 1080 23.98. We also digitize those tapes. The project itself is 1080 29.97 (59.94) interlaced, and everything plays fine.

So the clip I copied from the ISIS was digitized last year for a sales reel. When I import these MXF files into FCP, the inspector shows a 1080p 23.98 clip. Which is likely what the original source tape was. But I expected to see a 1080i 29.97 clip, as that was the setting for the Avid project when it was originally digitized. At amy rate, the clip plays back with an obvious field order problem and is jerky a well. My T-Tap is set for 1080i 29.97. Lots of fiddling around with different settings. Finally, I find that setting up for a 1080 psF 23.98 output and the same setting for the timeline works, as long as I've flipped the field order flag on the clip from progressive to top or bottom field dominance.

At this point I'm thoroughly confused.

1. The Avid MXF clip is clearly interlaced, even though FCP thinks it's progressive.
2. The clip was digitized into a 29.97i project, so I don't understand why it is flagged as 23.98p.
3. I don't think I've ever dealt with a 23.98 interlaced clip. Didn't think there was such a thing!
4. Converting the clip in Compressor doesn't seem to help.

Yikes. Any thoughts from the commentariat? Oliver? Jeremy? Beuller? Thanks in advance.

MacBook Pro Retina, FCP X 10.1.4, AJA T-Tap, various broadcast monitors


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Oliver Peters
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:52:58 am

When you open the same clip in Media Composer in the 29.97i project, what does Avid ID it as? Is there any motion adaptor button on that clip in the MC timeline?

I'm presuming that this is 23.98 with added 3:2 pulldown cadence during capture for a 29.97i file. Maybe that is being IDed as 23.98 in FCP X, even though it isn't.

- Oliver

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


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:45:21 am

Hi Oliver.

I may have misspoken. FCP sees the clip as 1080p 29.97. It sets the file as progressive. But is plays with an obvious interlacing problem which is fixed when I toggle the clip to one or the other field dominance. The jerkiness remains unless I set my timeline (project) to 23.98.

If I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that Media Composer added the pulldown when it was digitized in the 29.97 project. I guess that makes sense. Not sure where the flags are getting set wrong.

I can't open or import this file on Media Composer on this system. Not sure why. Even if I put the video and audio XMF files in the Avid MediaFiles folder at the root, Avid doesn't see them. And they won't AMA link when they're split apart,I guess.

I'll have to see what the file looks like on the Avid at work (from whence they came).


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:37:47 am

It could very well be a bug.

Do you have a short test clip that's uploadable?


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:47:41 am

Hi Jeremy. It's a 2.6 gig file. I could export a small part of it from FCP, but I don't know if it would be an accurate copy of the original since FCP seems to be misinterpreting it.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 1:55:20 am

If the files are 29.97 just being misinterpreted as progressive, this is a very easy fix with the field override option in fcpx.

This does feel a bit like a bug, I'd report it to Apple.


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:00:09 am

Yes. Could be a bug.

In your experience, should a 23.98 clip play smoothly in a 29.97 timeline in FCP? I don't have much experience with mixing frame rates in FCP, and Avid won't even let you do it at all.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:04:37 am

If the timeline is 1080i, a 23.98 file will have proper 3:2 pull down added. It's glorious compared to the fcp7 days.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:45:43 pm

[Jeff Markgraf] "Avid won't even let you do it at all."

Huh? Which version are you on? Media Composer has allowed mixed frame rate timelines for quite a few years. You have to import files of different frame rates into separate compatible projects. Then open those bins into your main editing project and drop any and all on a single timeline. Media Composer will adjust the non-matching frame rate clips to whatever the frame rate is of that main project.

So, 23.98 clips should be imported into a 23.98 native project. Then open that bin in your 29.97i project and cut the clip to the timeline. Avid's motion adapters will take care of the rest, such as adding the correct 3:2 cadence.

- Oliver

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


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:25:27 pm

[Oliver Peters] "You have to import files of different frame rates into separate compatible projects."

Hi Oliver. My mistake. I've done almost no mixed frame rate work in Avid. I was basing my comment on not being able to digitize or import different frame rates in the same project. For the record, my work avid is 6.5.3.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 21, 2015 at 12:41:35 am

[Jeff Markgraf] "I was basing my comment on not being able to digitize or import different frame rates in the same project."

I completely understand. The current Avid solution isn't very good and hopefully at some point in the future that will be unified to work within the same project. So, clearly not as fluid as with FCP X or PProCC. OTOH, you have a very clear understanding of the frame rates you are dealing with.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 21, 2015 at 1:02:42 am

[Oliver Peters] "OTOH, you have a very clear understanding of the frame rates you are dealing with."

Ever the diplomat! ;)


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Charlie Austin
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:01:26 am

[Jeff Markgraf] "Hi Jeremy. It's a 2.6 gig file."

FWIW, if you're on Yosemite with iCloud Drive enabled, you can email a file up to 5GB in size. Just sent a 3.9 GB file the other day. It works great, but there's very little indication in Mail as to the progress so just let it do it's thing. If you have relatively fast internet though it's pretty cool, and didn't take too long at all.

Just a thought if you want to try it...

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:22:43 am

Not sure how to post that to the board. Is iCloud sharing only via email?


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Charlie Austin
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:49:30 am

[Jeff Markgraf] "Not sure how to post that to the board. Is iCloud sharing only via email?"

Yeah...basically, if you wanted to email it to Jeremy or someone, you just attach it to an email as you would any file, and it does the rest. It will show attached to the email for folks who have iCloud, or as a link to download it for anyone else. Just an easy way to transfer fairly large files...

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:55:37 am
Last Edited By Jeff Markgraf on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:55:56 am

Jeremy - I can email. Address?


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Charlie Austin
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 3:03:56 am

[Jeff Markgraf] "Jeremy - I can email. Address?"

You should ping Jeremy, Oliver, or Bueller. lol As the saying goes, this is above my pay grade.. ;-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 3:09:31 am

Meant to reply to Jeremy. Apparently the threading structure of this forum is too much for my pretty little head to handle.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 3:14:27 am

editstation (at) gmail


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Doug Metz
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 2:30:04 pm

I'm quite interested in the outcome on this one - we are primarily a FCPX shop, but frequently work with others who are primarily Avid. Any chance I could have a look at this file as well?

dmetz (at) anode

Doug Metz

Anode


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:21:15 pm

Hello again Cows.

Success! The jerky video that has been giving me fits has been fixed with an updated driver for the T-Tap. I guess Yosemite borked it just enough to be flaky, if not fully broken. All frame rates and combinations of progressive or interlaced appear to be playing fine now. The whole 23.98 vs 29.97 thing seems to have been an artifact of the driver problem.

At this point, I'm going with Jeremy and calling the false progressive flag a bug. I was able to look at some of these files in the Avid and Avid says they're interlaced. I also imported one of the show files directly into FCP (delivered as MXF from the studio) and it also comes in interlaced but with the progressive flag set in FCP. Toggling to upper field dominance fixes it immediately.

Thanks to all for suggestions.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Avid MXF files and FCP X questions (long)
on Jan 21, 2015 at 12:38:58 am

Good to hear!

- Oliver

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


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