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FCPX Resolve roundtrips and lack of TC in A7 media

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Oliver Peters
FCPX Resolve roundtrips and lack of TC in A7 media
on Oct 2, 2016 at 7:57:23 pm

This might not be the best forum to post this, but it's as good as any, since it involves FCPX. I have a project that predominantly uses source media from Sony A7-series DSLR cameras. These record MP4 files and as we know, don't have valid SMPTE timecode. This project involved organizing and trimming selects in FCPX and then grading and exporting ProRes clips from Resolve with the baked grade. This turned out to be a dead-end path, as both apps interpret completely different numbers as source TC, and thus, relinking the media becomes impossible. Normally I would transcode these files first, but since there's a lot of media, it didn't make sense to create twice as many files as needed.

So the basic question is what do these cameras embed as a time signal? When I bring a clip into FCPX, every clip starts at zero, as one would expect, since there is no real TC. QuickTime Player and Switch do the same. However, both Premiere Pro and Resolve read some type of embedded time signal that is interpreted as timecode. Both apps appear to read the same number for a file. I don't think it's based on time-of-day, since the numbers increment upward for every camera card's worth of clips. IOW, clip 2 starts at the next frame after the end of clip 1 and so on - even if there was a gap of time between them. So what is this signal and what generates it? And if there is something there, why doesn't FCPX use it?

- Oliver

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


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Eugeny Korkhin
Re: FCPX Resolve roundtrips and lack of TC in A7 media
on Oct 2, 2016 at 10:09:01 pm

Not a direct answer to your question, but if you bring A7 media into FCPX with Import dialogue, FCPX will read the card structure and show non-zero timecode. But it will have to rewrap those MP4 to mov thus wasting disk space and time...


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX Resolve roundtrips and lack of TC in A7 media
on Oct 3, 2016 at 12:55:11 am

Interesting about the card structure, because I did move these files outside of the card's folder structure. However, presumably FCPX would have then read the same numbers as Resolve and Premiere did if the files were still in the card's folder structure. If that's so, why can't FCPX read the media correctly if the others can?

I will add, that in testing Premiere-Resolve roundtrips, I got good relinking with 23.98 files, but not 29.97 files. There, Resolve relinked to the right clip, but not at the right point within the clip. The moral seems to be to: a) either avoid the roundtrips and stay within a single app, or b) transcode all of the media first to a professional media format.

Unfortunately, using FCPX, you can't batch export individual clips from a timeline and maintain original file names and source timecode. PrimariesExporter writes a full timeline file first and then extracts out clips from that, so you still end up needing at least 2x the amount of media space. If I run into this again and have a lot of this media, I'll probably do it all in Resolve from the get-go.

- Oliver

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


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPX Resolve roundtrips and lack of TC in A7 media
on Oct 3, 2016 at 1:08:18 pm

The issue with staying inside the card folder structure is that you then must copy files into the library rather than to an external location. In my case, the libraries are on the internal 1TB SSD, which is about half available. So 1TB of camera files won't fit. This then means I have to go through gyrations of moving the library around or ripping the imported files out of the library. So ultimately, I don't gain anything and might as well transcode with a different app.

- Oliver

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


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