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Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion

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Alan Okey
Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:12:34 am

Most regular readers of this forum can attest to how frequently threads are started in which well-meaning inexperienced users express frustration with problems and artifacts they encounter when trying to work with multiple formats and frame rates in the same sequence. I think Apple bears some of the responsibility for this because of their marketing.

From Apple's FCP website:

Open format Timeline

The open format Timeline in Final Cut Pro 7 lets you mix and match source material in a wide range of formats and even different frame rates — just drag your footage into the Timeline. Freely edit a combination of HD and SD, including NTSC and PAL, all in real time. Final Cut Pro 7 offers real-time scaling and playback for video in various camera-native formats as well as members of the Apple ProRes family.

Without getting into semantics about whether editing includes finishing, I think that marketing drivel like this gives many new or inexperienced users the false impression that they don't need to worry about conforming footage to one frame rate. I think this may explain some of the frustration that these users express when they are given advice on this forum on how to conform footage, and they find that the proper workflow is actually quite a bit more complicated than what they expected after reading Apple's propaganda.

Conforming footage may seem natural or second-nature to those of us who have been using FCP for a long time, but after I read through some of Apple's marketing materials I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed that they gloss over the complexity of working with mixed format footage. In my opinion, what Apple is doing borders on misinformation and dishonesty.

Yeah, I know... News flash! Companies stretch the truth in their advertising! News at 11! Apple's no different in this regard, but I guess I just expect better form them.

Thoughts?



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Shane Ross
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:21:22 am

Yeah, that is a complete load of poo. Stupid marketting.

On the other hand, the Avid MIX AND MATCH does what that claims, and does it well. I've tested it and it is solid. Finally, a claim that is true!

That statement leads to more and more hours of fixing other people's disasters.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Sacci
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:24:24 am

I remember seeing this at NAB and being real doubtful about it. I take this stuff as marketing speak, unfortunately it is par for the course. It does add confusing and disappointment to new users. It is a great feature when you need to drop in a clip or two but if you have a lot of mix formats you need to have a plan that includes transcoding to a single codec, framerate and size.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:45:01 am

[Alan Okey] " I think Apple bears some of the responsibility for this because of their marketing. "

Wow, you're very polite. Having read the excerpt above, I'll be more blunt:

Apple, how much do you pay your attorneys to determine that fine line between self-promotion and issuing bald-faced LIES ?.

Your propaganda misleads new users. You presumably do it in the name of selling additional copies of Final Cut Suite. It's certainly not to give the prospective buyer a clear idea of your software's capabilities.

You make the people on this forum feel like they follow you in a big circus parade. They have the wheeled trash cans, brooms and shovels, and you're the horses and elephants.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 1:11:07 am

I've got news for you, Alan, plenty of people were doing this before Apple decided to endorse it with the "Open Timeline". People have cut entire features in the wrong timebase, the wrong resolution, the wrong trousers, the wrong shoe on the wrong foot, etc. Look back for threads on how "the entire timeline needs rendering after every cut." They go back as far as there's been a forum for FCP on the COW, and the answer then & now is the same.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Chi-Ho Lee
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 7:04:12 pm

The other truth is that not everyone is using FCP for broadcast or theatrical. So for professional users providing contents for the web and mobile and other non-broadcast delivery, the open format timeline works just fine for them.

I myself work in broadcast so I understand the points given here but we tend to forget that there are "other" professional editors out there editing contents for other mediums.

CHL

Chi-Ho Lee
Film & Television Editor
Apple Certified Final Cut Pro Trainer
http://www.chiholee.com


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Alan Okey
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Feb 11, 2010 at 7:10:14 pm

Sorry, but I don't buy that a 2:2:2:4 cadence looks any less crappy on the web or a mobile phone than it does in broadcast.


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Petr Myska
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:48:12 am

Hello Alan,
I am clearly one of those new inexperienced users, who fell for this exact piece of Apple marketing!
But the project being underway as we speak, I ask, could you help?
Here is my situation:
..........:

A film (1 hour aprox.) is being made based on footage coming from 2 HDV cameras (both 1080i) one PAL, the other NTSC. All tapes (from both cameras) were captured using Apple Pro Res 422.
The project is being edited in Final Cut Pro 7 (latest) and needs to be delivered primarily in PAL for broadcast in Television. (NTSC possibly later).


Problem:

When a sample that includes both PAL and NTSC clips is exported as PAL, all originally NTSC sections show jerky movements (especially where movement is involved).


Question:

Final Cut Pro 7 boasts about being able to accept a mix of a wide array of formats, frame rates...ect on the same timeline and edit them without much fuss. What happens next though? How do we export the final edited product without mentioned jerky issues? Do we really need to convert all NTSC clips to PAL (Nattress and similar) prior to editing?

Please, help.

Thank you
Petr Myska


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:33:01 pm

[Petr Myska] "Final Cut Pro 7 boasts about being able to accept a mix of a wide array of formats, frame rates...ect on the same timeline and edit them without much fuss."

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Apple LIED.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Petr Myska
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:43:34 pm

Thank you Dave,
From the previous posts on this thread I had understood that. Although this is quite disappointing, I needed to hear the "bad news" to clarify things. Would you have though any suggestion to my situation? (description included in my last post).
Thank you
Petr Myska


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 25, 2010 at 4:09:12 pm

Convert the NTSC footage (60i) to 25fps (aka 50i) using Nattress standards convertor. I'm pretty sure there's an HD version. Cut the shot in PAL. If necessary you can covert the completed program to NTSC, again with Nattress.

You might be able to accomplish the same thing using Compressor, but I'm unsure; I only have to deal with a single frame rate.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Petr Myska
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 26, 2010 at 4:27:08 am

Thank you Dave,
I think I understand quite well. We have Nattress. I just wish there was an easier way to do this. It is a lot of footage!
best regards
Petr


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Shane Ross
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 26, 2010 at 5:57:24 pm

[Petr Myska] "I just wish there was an easier way to do this. It is a lot of footage! "

This IS the easy way! You should have been trying to do this before Nattress came along...or Compressor. Your only option was a post facility and a lot of $$.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Mar 25, 2010 at 5:10:08 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Apple LIED. "

The more I've thought about this since the first post on the subject back in February, the more I tend to agree. Vegas, Edius, and Premiere actually do the job, so one would have to say that Apple simply does make the claim falsely.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Barbara Ballow
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on May 7, 2010 at 12:16:31 pm

Okay, so given that I have been handed 80 hours of footage, half from SD 29.97 tapes and half from
HD 23.98 P2 - even though I was promised that AT LEAST it was all shot at the same frame rate,
where do I start? I am tempted to just walk away from the project. This is especially hard as I am
coming back to FCP after a year cutting a feature-length doc on an AVID.

thanks, Babs

Final Cut Studio 7.0.2
MacBook Pro 10.6.3
3.06 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
8 GB Memory



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Shane Ross
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on May 7, 2010 at 3:48:48 pm

Babs...

You need to look at this backwards. What will you be delivering? What format? HD or SD? 23.98 or 29.97? Tape for file? Then work backwards from there. If SD at 29.97, then you will need to convert the HD footage to SD to match. If HD at 23.98 or 29.97...then you need to convert the SD footage to HD at 23.98 (you can always output 29.97 from 23.98 with a good capture card).

You will need a capture card if working in HD...one that will upconvert the SD footage to HD, and then you need to use Compressor to get from 29.97 to 23.98. Then when you output, you can output 29.97 or 23.98. Unless you need to deliver a data file, in which case things are different.

This isn't an easy task, let me tell you. But it is doable. If you want ease in mixing formats, then look at Avid Media Composer 4.0....it does a great job. Otherwise, if you use FCP, you will have to do converting beforehand.


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Stuart Page
Re: Mixing frame rates: Apple's culpability in end user confusion
on Apr 24, 2012 at 2:48:49 am

I'm currently editing a project mostly shot at 1080 25P, but some was shot at 1080 23.98. I have been syncing all of the cameras using Plural-Eyes to a master audio track recorded on a Zoom H4N, and it's been going really smoothly. I'm just getting onto the 23.98 footage, and I thought I'd convert it to 25fps using Nattress, but I tried just dropping the clips into the 25fps timeline, and they play beautifully smooth, it's just that they eventually go out of sync. But I am cutting all over the place from 3x cameras and cutaways, so I found that I was able to sync the 23.98fps footage easily over quite a few seconds without any discernible "out-of-sync" look, and I'm talking MS of people speaking as well. So depending what it is, don't despair, it might not need to be all in sync perfectly. If you're really creative in your cutting, It might be better to show whole frames than have footage that's stuttering around because you've dropped fields of frames here and there, or melded frames together with a standards conversion, unless you really have to. What put me off initially was that Nattress (which I do love) was going to take 9 hours to convert my clips. I know this is not a solution, and won't work for most people, but I just thought I'd say this anyway.


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