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Is this a feasible workflow for two different cameras and formats?

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Scratch Sperber
Is this a feasible workflow for two different cameras and formats?
on May 18, 2017 at 10:11:17 pm

Hi,

We're just moving to FCP X from years of FCP 7. Figuring out a lot, getting closer but still have some questions about setting up our workflow, import processes, etc. Does anyone see any issues with the following?

We'll be importing AVCHD footage (1920x1080, 59.94P) from 30 different Canon XA30's daily. [Tested with .mp4 -- lower bitrate, and FCP was much slower at importing directly from SD card, so we are staying with AVCHD.] No need to organize this footage other than by camera card name inside FCPX, so we'll import directly off of SD cards with "Copy to Library." We have two editors accessing footage simultaneously on a shared NAS, so I believe we do need to store media externally, outside the library, to avoid problems with shared access. We are not optimizing footage, but using original. (Minimal simple effects, powerful Mac Pro, and we can optimize when/if needed.)

But here’s the rub: each camera’s footage gets edited into a template of stock footage and canned audio. We’re about to shoot the video for this template on our new JVC GY-HM850U, and we will want to copy that stock footage to our drives, organized by season, type of shot, etc.

So, we'll copy this media to our shared external drives, organize, then import using “leave files in place.” (Since we don’t want to create duplicates of this media.) But per another thread here: https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/47609 I understand that "leave in place" is a problem with AVCHD containers since we’d be pulling the media out of its original folder trees:

[Joe Marler] "AVCHD has the additional complication of inducing possible performance problems if it was imported with "leave files in place". Doing that requires copying the video files out of the folder tree, which should never be done for AVCHD. If you only have the video files it's often best to rewrap these before import using EditReady"

Speed is essential to our workflow, so we want to avoid extra steps whenever possible.

The JVC camera will shoot 60p HD in either AVCHD or H.264 and I think the available bitrates for each are similar — new camera, haven’t checked yet. Shooting in mp4 only offers 60i and 30p. So shooting the stock footage for the template in H.264, 60p, 1920x1080 seems like the best solution. (Unless H.264 has same folder tree issues as AVCHD...? I hope not.)

But will there be any issues mixing these two (AVCHD from Canon and H.264 from JVC) in the timeline? (Old FCP 7 habits and fears...)

Thanks for looking over this and letting me know if there are any major things I'm missing so far. Our factory workflow is so different from most, it's hard researching solutions and our old ones from FCP 7 don't apply anymore.


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Joe Marler
Re: Is this a feasible workflow for two different cameras and formats?
on May 18, 2017 at 10:45:47 pm

[Scratch Sperber] "We'll be importing AVCHD footage (1920x1080, 59.94P) from 30 different Canon XA30's daily. [Tested with .mp4 -- lower bitrate, and FCP was much slower at importing directly from SD card, so we are staying with AVCHD.] "

The XA30 can shoot 1080p/59.94 at 35 mbps to H264 .MP4. This is a higher bitrate than AVCHD, plus MP4 allows importing with "leave files in place" which is faster. This assumes the files are copied to disk first. I haven't tested importing straight from the SD card, since we always do a verified, duplicated copy to disk.

AVCHD will work OK provided you don't copy the files outside the folder tree then try to import using "leave files in place". The only issues are the import copies the content to the library which precludes maintaining a "lean library" for interchange with other editors, plus the import is slower than using MP4 "in place" from disk.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Is this a feasible workflow for two different cameras and formats?
on May 19, 2017 at 12:24:53 am

If you are sticking with AVCHD I'd personally opt to copy the cards to the shared storage using something like EditReady to rewrap the files. That way you have much better control over directory structure along with folder and file naming on the NAS, and you end up with clips that FCPX can then import with the "leave files in place" option.

I haven't worked with 30 cameras but it works well for me getting footage from four or five camera shoots onto my NAS ready to edit.

It always pays to test first to make sure but no, you shouldn't encounter any issues mixing the two formats on the FCPX timeline.

----
Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer & Cinematographer
Hobart, Tasmania | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Scratch Sperber
Re: Is this a feasible workflow for two different cameras and formats?
on May 20, 2017 at 9:32:25 pm

[Jeff Kirkland] "I'd personally opt to copy the cards to the shared storage using something like EditReady to rewrap the files."

Our production flow is really a factory, so we want to avoid that extra step. We import footage from each camera (up to 30 a day), edit each camera into its own project, and we're done with it. Folder and file names in the finder are messy, true, but in the rare event that we need to access the raw footage again, we can use FCP to locate clips.

I did test the two formats in a timeline, no issues at all.

One annoyance I've found though --
Is it really necessary to store the libraries in a different media space/drive from the from media files? We are using EditShare as our media server solution, and they recommend this, and I've always done it this way with other NLEs. We are creating our libraries in a "PROJECTS" media space, and importing media from SD cards as external media (not managed inside library) to "DRIVER FOOTAGE" (copied to library, not left in place) But FCPX is making this difficult:

When we make a new library in the "PROJECTS" media space, the storage location for media always defaults to "PROJECTS." Selecting "modify settings" and choosing "DRIVER FOOTAGE" doesn't work; the storage location for media stays as "PROJECTS." [This may be a bug.] We have to first modify storage settings from "PROJECTS" to Library," hit "OK," then go back and do it all again, choosing "DRIVER FOOTAGE."

... every single time we make a new library.

Would be much easier to let it all live in the same media space/drive. Thoughts?


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