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subbu arumugam
best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:11:00 pm

hi everyone -

i'll be getting source files from an event that has an onsite a/v crew.

they're giving me the option of getting their dv footage burned onto a dvd, or as dv avi files.

is there a preference to getting one vs the other for editing in final cut pro?

i suppose if i get it in a dvd format, i'll need a program like dvdxdv to get editable files for fcp - i'll need a program to do the same to convert avi files to an mp4 format - i guess this is the step where i may lose quality.

i would really love any insight or suggestions you folks may have.


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Nicole Haddock
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:27:51 pm

Ugh. How's neither for an answer?

Can they send you test files from a previous event to see the quality? Sometimes the hardware these companies use requires proprietary codecs to read .AVI files as well. See if you can find out what they're recording the event on.



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subbu arumugam
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:35:31 pm

hi nicole -

thanks for your quick two cents...

let me pose the question in a slightly different way...

they're shooting in dv - what would the preferred file format be to request?

i apologize in advance for my naivete - we normally capture our own footage in avchd format, convert that to .mov via imovie and then edit in fcp... we're in the unusual situation of working with another onsite crew at a conference, and are trying to not be redundant about things, tripping over each other etc. (they'll have to be involved in the onsite filming and responsible for that alone)

thanks!


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Nicole Haddock
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:40:41 pm

Assuming getting the source tapes isn't allowed, can they use FireStores and record to Quicktime that way? That would be ideal for all parties I would imagine- the Firestore records as they're shooting and you offload the files and as soon as they're done copying, you're editing. They might have to bring a harddrive or a few onsite, depending on how much is being recorded, but it will be a much lesser headache than ripping and transcoding DVDs, or transcoding mysterious .AVI files.



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subbu arumugam
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:52:59 pm

so here's a question - is it easy to copy the source dv tapes? then would the preferred method be for me to convert those to quicktime? (i have a friend with a production company, i think i can get that done fairly easily/ cheaply)

i doubt they would be able to do the FireStores process...

i originally asked them for the files as .mov's - their "guy" said that the quality would be terrible, and that's why we've gone down this road of dv avi and dvd's etc... i'm trying to get the best possible quality, and then i'll worry about converting them to an editable format myself...

thanks for being so helpful!


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Dave Johnson
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:51:42 pm

As Nicole said, neither is the best answer ...

DVD isn't editing quality and is often a pain to digitize (especially relative to editing-quality files that you wouldn't need to digitize).

AVIs are wrappers (versus codecs) so they can be in any number of codecs ... some of which can be very problematic.

I'd word my answer so that it emphasizes the advantage to the other company ... being that they're shooting DV, they should be able to easily provide DV QuickTime files without the extra work on their part of converting it all to AVIs or burning DVDs. You wouldn't need to do anything to DV25 or DV50 QuickTime files to work with them in FCP ... better quality output, easier workflow for all parties ... what more could anyone want?


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subbu arumugam
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:14:32 pm

hi dave -

yes, they seem to be a "pc shop" which is a bit strange in this world. i've always asked for .mov formats in the past from others when we've encountered similar situations.

i'm going to explore the dv quicktime angle again - i have a call in with them.

assuming they're a "pc shop" - that shouldn't be an issue for them, or would it be?

s


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Dave Johnson
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:59:52 pm

I work on both Macs and PCs daily and have for my entire 20-year career so my opinion is that the issues at hand have nothing at all to do with Mac shop or PC shop.

[subbu arumugam] "i originally asked them for the files as .mov's - their "guy" said that the quality would be terrible"

Their "guy" obviously hasn't a clue what he is talking about. The fact is that both MOVs and AVIs are identical in one very important way ... they are both simply wrappers that can contain media encoded with any of many dozens of, if not hundreds of, possible codec choices ... codecs (not wrappers) can be lossless or lossy and one AVI or MOV working on a particular system is unrelated to whether one with a different codec will work on that system. So, the same potential for compatibility and/or quality issues apply to both formats depending entirely on the codecs used.

Personally, regardless of the platform I'm working on at a particular moment, I do all video work with QuickTime files (for specific reasons that apply to my typical workflow).

Personally, I'd avoid DVDs like the plague and would try to get copies of the DV tapes so my work isn't dependent on someone else's knowledge/skill (or lack thereof). That probably won't happen so, if they don't know how to make good QT files, as someone suggested, get a test AVI from them and see if your Mac can work with it.


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Chris Babbitt
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:06:15 pm

I've never had an issue with editing AVI / DV files in FCP. The program will usually give me a warning (non-optimized file), but there doesn't seem to be any problem. If it were up to me, I would take the AVIs over the DVDs.



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subbu arumugam
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:21:37 pm

thanks chris - depending on what i learn, and the capabilities of the other group, this may have to be my option - they're pushing to give me a dvd - i wonder if that's the easiest for them...


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Chris Babbitt
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:29:30 pm

Easiest for them perhaps. More trouble for you, and an inferior end product.



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Nicole Haddock
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:33:59 pm

They probably have a mini-dv to DVD deck, so they just feed the tapes and discs and out pops a DVD. Very easy for them. If they give you .AVIs then they have to ingest the material, oh the horror!

I've encountered much attitude from PC shops in the past over the issue of Quicktime vs. AVI and usually their lead argument is AVI is lossless! So much better than Quicktime! I always counter with, well, so is Quicktime AND what format hasn't been updated in teh past 10 years? Hmm? Would that be... AVI?

Like I said, if you can get a test 10 second file of a .AVI from them, you'll be alot better off knowing how to handle post on your end. They should be able to do this very easily for you. If it works, hurrah, mo middle man digitizing. If not, come back :)



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subbu arumugam
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:40:49 pm

this forum is so awesome!

thanks nicole!

i'm talking to them again later this afternoon. i'll ask for everything, including a sample clip to test, and i'll report back on this thread.

:)

s


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Alex Elkins
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 7:03:10 pm

Hi Subbu,

I just wanted to chime in here as there seem to be a few things that are wrong in your post which haven't been clarified.

[subbu arumugam] "i suppose if i get it in a dvd format, i'll need a program like dvdxdv to get editable files for fcp - i'll need a program to do the same to convert avi files to an mp4 format - i guess this is the step where i may lose quality."

It's not so much a case of where you'll lose quality in the conversion process, rather it's what quality they can give you to begin with that will determine the outcome.

If you get a DVD I'd recommend using MPEG Streamclip to do the conversion. It will convert the DVD files to whatever codec you want, and does so quickly and reliably. What it, or any other software, WON'T do is make it any better than the quality on the DVD. That said, this is something I've had to do many times and clients have always been happy.

However, if you can get the AVI files I would use Compressor, which is part of Final Cut Studio, to convert them to a MOV file to edit with FCP. You might choose DV as the codec, or to maintain better quality use ProRes 422. This will yield the best results, short of being given the actual tapes, or at least a dub from the originals.

Someone else has mentioned using the AVI files in FCP. This isn't something I've done so I couldn't comment. Try it though, if you get the AVI files as it'll save you converting them if it works.

Good luck,
Alex Elkins



Salad Daze Films - Freshly Tossed

Read my blog!


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subbu arumugam
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 7:07:00 pm

Thanks Alex - I'll ask them about the original DVD quality. During my earlier call with them today, they seem to suggest that it will be their best quality.

I've got a list of questions to ask, so I will add this to it!

Also, thanks for the tip on MPEG Streamclip - I'll definitely check that out.

Best,

S


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Alex Elkins
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 7:13:54 pm

[subbu arumugam] "I'll ask them about the original DVD quality. During my earlier call with them today, they seem to suggest that it will be their best quality."

This won't be the best quality. I think the other posters in this thread are right - a DVD is just what's quickest for them. It isn't BAD quality, just not the best.



Salad Daze Films - Freshly Tossed

Read my blog!


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Brian McCartney
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 10:25:05 pm

I'll chime in here as well for good measure. A DV AVI is generally assumed to be an AVI file that uses the DV25 codec. Since it is a standard codec whether you use MOV or AVI as a wrapper FCP can see it and use it. Older versions of FCP used to complain and give a warning when importing DV AVIs saying that the performance may be degraded. Newer versions no longer display this warning.

Now, if they are using DV AVI as a generic term you might need to dig deeper into the whole codec thing as the previous poster's opinions are certainly valid.

I say all this with some certainty since we acquire anywhere from 20 to 70hrs of conference footage a week. We do work in FCP, Premiere, and Vegas. Sometimes we directly contract the crews and sometimes we will receive content from outside vendors. But when working in SD we always specify DV AVI or DV MOV as the delivery format since it plays well within our cross platform infrastructure. HD is a different story all together.

As a side note... The particular crew you are working with might be under the impression that DV MOV files are lousy since the default QT player config on a Windows machine is to show the file at lower quality. I assure you that if they were to check the box that says "Use high quality video setting when available" in the preferences they would see just as nice an DV MOV as a DV AVI.

As I have deal with a wide variety of crews and post-prod facilities I find it counter productive to do finger pointing as to who is the worst offender, Mac or Windows users. I've seen serious ignorance of formats on both sides. I just try to help all of those whom I work with get me the files and formats I need to get my job done and get paid.

So, if you get a DV AVI you should be good to go but, as already mentioned, it never hurts to get a test file first.

Best of luck!



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Alex Elkins
Re: best source file for editing in fcp... dvd or dv avi?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:42:09 pm

[Brian McCartney] "A DV AVI is generally assumed to be an AVI file that uses the DV25 codec. Since it is a standard codec whether you use MOV or AVI as a wrapper FCP can see it and use it. Older versions of FCP used to complain and give a warning when importing DV AVIs saying that the performance may be degraded. Newer versions no longer display this warning."

There's your answer. Nice work Brian!



Salad Daze Films - Freshly Tossed

Read my blog!


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