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system requirements for editing AVCHD files

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ray verhoef
system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 12:57:35 pm

Hi all,

I just shot a documentary in China with my Canon XA10 camera in 1080p, 25fps. I have all the files backed up on an external HD using the original camera file structure. I edit with FCP X.

Im using a 2011 iMac: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 memory, AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB, Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5.

Are these specs enough to edit a long project with large files? Is it ok to work with the files on the external HD?

Ive also read that people convert the AVCHD files first, What would you recommend for editing this film?

I know its a bunch of questions but Im hoping some people have some answers for me. Thanks and have a nice day.


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Noah Kadner
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 3:13:34 pm

Definitely possible but will be slow. You'll be doing a lot of proxy editing for better performance.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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ray verhoef
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 5:21:13 pm

Hi, thanks for your answer! Slow how? really have to use proxy editing you think?

Also because my entire footage is about 2tb I can't import on my computers disk. Will it work if I import my files to an external disk. This one has a usb 3.0 connection


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Noah Kadner
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 6:21:00 pm

Depends on what you can personally deal with and yes you can import to an external drive.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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Joe Marler
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 6:43:25 pm
Last Edited By Joe Marler on Aug 4, 2015 at 6:46:15 pm

We have edited AVCHD documentary material from the XA10 family (HFG10 and HFG30) on a similar iMac. It is not that bad but as Noah said using proxy or optimized media will make editing more responsive. Transcoding costs disk space hence I/O bandwidth but reduces CPU demands.

We usually don't use proxy or optimized media for AVCHD, and the newer Canon camcorders allow switching to MP4 which we prefer. While many codecs are superficially similar the CPU demands on FCP X vary greatly. E.g, a 30 megabit/sec H.264 .mov file from a Canon DSLR isn't that bad. However a 30 megabit/sec H.264 .mp4 file from a GoPro can be sluggish.

A significant complication with AVCHD and XAVC is you cannot import to FCP X with the "leave files in place" option. It will copy the data either (a) inside the library or (b) external to the library. So after the import the data exists redundantly in two locations (1) Your camera native files, and (2) One of the above two locations. After import the camera native files are not needed except possibly for backup, but the peak storage requirement can be greater than other codecs since you can't use "leave files in place". This MacBreak Studio video summarizes the new media management options:





In general I think your 2011 iMac will be perform OK on the native files, but you'll need to test this. This will also vary based on whether it's a single stream or multicam, which is more demanding.

Also, simple edits aren't what takes so much CPU, it is effects. If using many effects this might necessitate transcoding to proxy/optimized to free up CPU cycles for the effects. You'll have to experiment.


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ray verhoef
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 7:30:58 pm

Thanks for the extensive replies! What would you recommend? optimized or proxy?

What settings should i use in FCP? Also if i export the proxy timeline, what should I do to get the original file structure?

Sorry for the questions, but not that familiar with these file structures and FCP X


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Noah Kadner
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:36:16 pm
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:36:54 pm

All of that is covered well in the manual and online training such as Lynda/Ripple. I'd suggest starting there before asking FAQs.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:17:25 pm

8gb of RAM is rarely enough to run FCPX so I'd look to at least doubling it if you can. The other thing of course, is that you say you're running Lion and you'll need to get updated to Yosemite to run the latest version of FCPX.

After that, as Noah says, do some training courses. Linda.com have a good but slightly outdated (last time I looked it was still based around 10.0.x versions) course on documentary editing in FCPX. I'd do a course on the basics and then go check out that one for some advice on organising files for a documentary.

FCPX really shines if you get the metadata and organisation sorted before you start editing so it's really worthwhile getting the foundations right before you start.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Casimir Artmann
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 5, 2015 at 8:47:50 pm

I use a MacBook Pro 2013 with i5 and have edited a 3 hour video with sources from two XDCAM 25/1080p, but have 16 Gb RAM, 420 Gb internal SSD and an 8Tb external Thunderbolt RAID0.

Final Cut/X 10.1.x was much faster for me but require Mavericks. e,g. 10.10.2.
External Thunderbolt RAID0 to handle the about of footage I have at reasonable speed, > 250 MB/s.


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Claude Lyneis
Re: system requirements for editing AVCHD files
on Aug 6, 2015 at 4:36:14 am

I have a mid 11 27 inch iMac with I5 processor and edit AVCHD from a Canon XA10. I generally just edit straight from the AVCHD which is H.264. A couple of difference my I5 is 3.2 GHz and I have up the RAM to 24 GBs. If you can afford it, I would increase your RAM to at least 16 GB. I now use an XA20 at a record bit rate of 35 MB/s and 1080 p at 60 fps in Canons MP4 format with is 60 p and it works well. The trouble with going to Apple Pro Res it generates much bigger files. One more difference I use a LaCie 2Big 6 GB in Raid 0, which seems to help.
A typical project for me is about 80 minutes of clips, which I cut down to about 5 minutes.


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