I'm cutting a project for my boss and he is having me grab footage from a previous video that was done in .MOV format. When I drop this in a new time line in FCP it asked me if I want the sequence to match the clip settings. I click YES but whenever I play the video it has dropped frames almost immediately and when I go to the RT tab in the time line there are no options to reduce quality of playback or turn off unlimited RT. However, if I put the same file into another sequence say a standard NTSC DV sequence, the video plays fines (although the quality sucks) and the playback options are all there under the RT tab.
Any idea how I can solve this problem without having to cut in a lower quality time line.
What is the codec of the .MOV files in question? It sounds like they are something not supported by the RT architecture. May be some for of MPEG. if that is the case you need to transcode in MPEG Streamclip (freeware) to what ever codec you plan on working in.
For overall ease of use, speed and quality I'd say use mpeg streamclip (squared 5 makes it). it's free super easy and is built upon QT. Google it and you will find it.
As far as codecs inside of FCP, keep pretty much all MPEG formats (mpeg-1, mpeg-2, mpeg-4 - H264 is MPEG-4 variant) out. Exceptions such as HDV (Mpeg-2 variant), kind of, and AVC-Intra (I frame version of H264) exist.
For transcoding H264, I personally, like transcoding to PHOTO-jpeg 100% (not supported by RT Extreme, but is I frame and really clean). For what it is it's small and you don't really lose anything. Render times are big, will probably be pretty big in HDV no matter what though due to the Long GOP encoding. You can also use Pro Res, also a very good option.
The Cow has tons of great stuff, Ken Stone, the FCP manual covers some of this stuff and wikipedia...
Tons of places to get good information, I don't have one source.