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FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?

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Ray Sherman
FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 28, 2017 at 5:03:51 pm

Hi,
I have a Sony RX100V NTSC and normally shoot in 4K XAVC S 30p 100M. I archived the video straight off my SD card which ended up being imported as an H.264 codec. Being fairly new to FCPX, I would like to know if this is the best codec for 4K XAVC S giving me the highest quality? I’m currently working with my new 2016 15” MacBook Pro with O.S. Sierra and FCPX 10.3. If you have any suggestions in regards to the best import settings for this format, I would sincerely appreciate it? Thanks, Ray


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 29, 2017 at 12:29:05 pm

Thanks for the link Noah. I do have the latest Pro Video Formats installed. I'm assuming the 4K XAVC S 30p 100M didn't import natively due to showing as a H.264 codec. My Sony PXW-X70 footage imported natively as XAVC QFHD 30p which is 4K. This is confirmed due to it showing up under the FCPX codec column in the "Media Import" window. I'd like to add, I haven't changed any settings in FCPX...... My 2016 15" MacBook Pro is also maxed out and plays back the X70 4K flawlessly. Hopefully someone here can give me some type of an idea what to try next. At this point, all I'm doing is archiving my video on a couple backup drives. Thanks again for your help and have a great Memorial Day. Ray


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 30, 2017 at 4:01:29 pm

I re-checked my RX100v settings and created a new clip and tried importing directly off the SD card into FCPX to make an archive. Once again, it shows my video as being a H.264 codec instead of XAVC S. I do have v2.0.5 Pro Video Formats installed. I dropped it into Applications in the Finder window. Being fairly new to Mac, maybe I done this wrong. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's just something simple....... hopefully. Thanks, Ray


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 30, 2017 at 4:02:39 pm

Interesting..... I just imported off my SD card into iMovie to see what would happen. Comes up as .MOV


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Joe Marler
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 30, 2017 at 4:31:39 pm

[Ray Sherman] "I re-checked my RX100v settings and created a new clip and tried importing directly off the SD card into FCPX to make an archive. Once again, it shows my video as being a H.264 codec instead of XAVC S. "

XAVC-S and AVCHD both use some variant of the H.264 codec. So they are all H.264, which is why a codec inspection tool will show H.264 or AVC. XAVC-S and AVCHD are just two different wrapper formats. XAVC-S is fine for the RX100V. If you have a choice of bit rates and resolution, pick the highest one. On our A6500 and A7RII cameras we use UHD 4k at 29.97p at 100 megabits/sec.

We copy the video files to a hard drive, then import using "leave files in place". That is not a good practice for AVCHD but for XAVC-S it works fine. You can also import from the card or make an archive copy like you described.

To obtain smooth 4k editing performance (whether Premiere or FCPX) it is often necessary to transcode to proxy. Optimized media is not needed, but proxy usually is. This can be done during import or afterward.


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 30, 2017 at 4:46:58 pm

Thanks Joe...... My RX100V settings are as follows;
File Format: XAVC S 4K
Record Setting: 30p 100M
In FCPX's Media Import window it shows H.264 Codec & MPEG-4 as File Type. Basically, all I want to do is copy my video natively without any quality loss. I was always under the impression that H.264/MPEG-4 is less quality over 4K. Thanks again, Ray


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 31, 2017 at 1:35:13 pm

The following are a couple screen shots showing you what I'm talking about. Thanks, Ray



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Joe Marler
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 31, 2017 at 2:48:32 pm

[Ray Sherman] "In FCPX's Media Import window it shows H.264 Codec & MPEG-4 as File Type. Basically, all I want to do is copy my video natively without any quality loss. I was always under the impression that H.264/MPEG-4 is less quality over 4K. "

All you need to do is import it. H.264 is your camera's native codec. That is the best available quality for that camera at 4k. You do not need to transcode to optimized media for quality reasons. If you need to transcode to proxy for performance reasons, that is OK.

Your only real decision is whether to import from the card, or make an archive then import, or copy the folder tree to disk then import from there, or copy just the video files to disk and import from there. None of those affects image quality.

In theory the best practice is keeping the entire folder tree (which an archive or import from card also does) because some metadata is stored there, but FCPX will not import from a tree using "leave files in place". It will import from a copy of the video files using "leave files in place". I would never do this for AVCHD but for XAVC-S it seems to work OK and it saves space and makes import faster.


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on May 31, 2017 at 3:01:16 pm

Awesome!! Now I can rest easy knowing that my video is being imported natively. You've been a great help in which I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you, Ray :)


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Sunderland Green
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on Oct 31, 2017 at 9:38:02 am

Although FCP X can native import H.264, however, when you try to edit H.264 natively with FCP X, you will need to deal with the significant limitations of H.264 video:

1. H.264 is mathematically intense. It takes some serious computer horsepower to decode its compression.

2. Because it is so mathematically challenging, it takes longer to render H.264 files than other formats.

3. H.264, as shot by HDSLR cameras, is an 8-bit format, which means that you are potentially compromising your effects and, especially, color correction and compositing with gradients.

4. H.264 does not integrate easily with other video formats.

While Apple ProRes is less hardware intensive than H.264. You don’t need a fancy graphics card and you don’t need as fast a computer to edit these transcoded formats.


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on Nov 1, 2017 at 12:59:19 pm

Thanks for replying........ Would you suggest transcoding to .MOV? Thanks again, Ray


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Joe Marler
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on Nov 1, 2017 at 3:59:21 pm

[Ray Sherman] "Would you suggest transcoding to .MOV? Thanks again, Ray...."

As I previously said, you simply need to import your camera's XAVC-S (a form of H.264). That is your camera's native codec, and is the best available quality for your camera at 4k. You do not need to transcode to optimized media for quality reasons. If you need to transcode to proxy for performance reasons, that is OK. You do not need to externally transcode to .MOV (maybe you mean ProRes). .MOV is a Quicktime container format that may contain either H.264 or ProRes.

You can optionally re-wrap (not transcode) the XAVC-S before import using EditReady, but IMO this isn't needed. You can import XAVC-S content with "leave files in place" if you copy the video files out of the media folder before import. Using EditReady does preserve all original metadata prior to in-place import, but so far I haven't seen problems with not using it (on XAVC-S). AVCHD is very different however -- the bare files should never be imported to FCPX using "leave files in place". In that case using EditReady should be mandatory: https://www.divergentmedia.com/editready

Transcoding to optimized ProRes media will increase your media size by about 6x, greatly increase the I/O burden, and will not help quality any. You cannot create resolution or color data from nothing. It will help editing performance but so will proxy and without the size penalty and I/O load.

Since FCPX always edits H264 using a ProRes buffer, editing H264 media does not handicap color correction, compositing, gradients or most anything else.
Transcoding to ProRes does not reduce the need for a powerful GPU. E.g, compute-intensive effects such as Neat Video are just as slow whether the material is ProRes or H264. It is true that some editing software which does not use Quick Sync can struggle with 4k H264 or even FCPX can on a Xeon-based Mac Pro since Xeon CPUs (with few exceptions) don't have Quick Sync. However transcoding to proxy will greatly increase performance.

Proxy does not support alpha channel (ie transparency) data so in that specific case using optimized ProRes might be necessary. Optimized media might be needed if editing mixed H264 1080p and 4k material. FCPX has a global proxy mode so all content is viewed either as proxy or optimized/original. Proxy of 4k is 1/2 the linear resolution (1/4 the total pixel resolution), or 1080p. In that case there's plenty of resolution for editing decisions. However proxy of 1080p is only 960 x 540, which can be a little low for some editing decisions. This might necessitate transcoding to optimized media to obtain good performance on 4k yet retain original resolution on 1080p for editing decisions.

You can edit the 8-bit 4:2:0 4k H264 material in a 1080p timeline and export it as 10-bit 4:4:4 1080p. That is not creating bit depth and improved chroma sampling from nothing, but *trading* resolution for it. If you don't crop it and export to ProRes it will supposedly become true 1080p 10-bit 4:4:4 on output, although I haven't put this under a microscope to test it. See white paper by Barry Green "The Benefits of Shooting in 4k": ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/provideo/agdvx200pj/4kbenefits_techbrief.pdf


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Claude Lyneis
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on Nov 1, 2017 at 6:13:14 pm

That is really helpful in understanding dealing with 4k and the Sony formats. I am close to buying a Canon XF-400 and will be faced with similar decisions since it also can do 4k and some form of XAVC.


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Ray Sherman
Re: FCPX & Sony RX100V 4K?
on Nov 1, 2017 at 8:58:17 pm

Wow..... Thanks Joe for the awesome information! As a newbie, I can't thank you enough! I'm going to save this in my notes to reflect back on as needed. Thanks again and for taking the time in explaining the best methods, I sincerely appreciate it. Ray


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