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Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress

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Jim Cutler
Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress
on Jul 20, 2010 at 6:02:15 am

I had no problem ingesting iphone 3 video into FCP for editing. I would set the sequence to NTSC 48K, drop the iphone 3gs video on the timeline and say to conforming. Then I'd render which converted it to NTSC 48k and export quicktime with current settings. I would put the video right on my Wordpress blog and Wordpress would recognize it as playable video. However, if I converted to Prores then Wordpress would NOT be able to show it.

Now comes iphone 4 and I'm stumped. I tried setting the sequence to 1280 x 720, dropping the iphone 4 vid on the timeline, rendering and export quicktime. The QT then plays fine on my computer but Wordpress won't play the video. It tries converting it into it's flash format and then fails every time.

1) What codec should I specify in the Sequence? The iphone 4 makes H.264 vid which is not ideal for editing. If I use ProRes then Wordpress can't read the video. 2) If I ingest the iphone 4 H.264 video int FCP, should I then save back to H.264 I haven't done that because I thought that would be compressing video that's already H.264 with another render of H.264. Or is there no loss if I render the QT file with "current settings"?

Thanks in advance.


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Jesus Ali
Re: Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:14:34 am

You should edit in ProRes422, (HQ if you use a lot of effects and processing).

When your Timeline Renders, it is actually converting your source video into ProRes422. It doesn't replace your source video, it renders it's ProRes copy into the Render folder in the Project folder.
This obliterates the IntraFrame MPEG4 compression, so eventually resaving it to H.264 is not really an issue. You're converting beautiful ProRes422 into MPEG4, not ugly MPEG4 into uglier MPEG4 (which would be the case if FCP allowed editing H.264 without Rendering).

If you wanted to be super safe, you could Export your ProRes Timeline to a ProRes file and then Convert that to H.264 in Compressor. But I don't think that will be necessary.


I believe FCP 7 (FCS 2009 {3}) has an Export Preset for YouTube. You should use that.
I am surprised that the WordPress converter accepted DV format video. If you don't care about HD size, you could also export to DV Anamorphic. The Anamorphic format will cause the video to be Wide Screen like HD.

* * *

Setting your Timeline format to 1280 x 720 ProRes422 with or without (HQ) can produce better results than DV or even the original source video.

This is because the 4:2:2 (grayscale, color red/green, color blue/yellow) color space has twice as much color data at the DV Format's 4:1:1 color space. This can improve the quality of your Titles, Effects and Color Correction. Since color correction and Effects are the result of mathematical calculations, having larger "spaces" to work in can produce results with better fidelity and smoothness.

This benefit can be compounded by using ProRes422 HQ, because the HQ means that the footage is 10-bit instead of the standard 8-bit. 8-bit footage has 256 levels or gray in R, G and B. 10-bit footage has 1,024 levels in each channel!

Yes, your original footage was captured in a very compressed, MPEG format, but remember, we're not working with your original footage. When your Timeline is ProRes and you Render, you've made new ProRes footage. Once that new footage is Processed with an Effect or Color Correction, BRAND NEW PIXELS are produced. These pixels are the result of equations that were processed with the higher 4:2:2 fidelity and/or 1024 (instead of 256) gradations provided by 10-bit footage.


This higher quality footage still looks observably better, even when converted back down to H.264.


Good luck!


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Jim Cutler
Re: Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress
on Jul 20, 2010 at 1:17:14 pm

Jesus,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my question. Great explanation. Thanks again.



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Patrice Freymond
Re: Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress
on Jul 21, 2010 at 11:00:56 am

"This benefit can be compounded by using ProRes422 HQ, because the HQ means that the footage is 10-bit instead of the standard 8-bit. 8-bit footage has 256 levels or gray in R, G and B. 10-bit footage has 1,024 levels in each channel!"

According to Apple's own White Paper on ProRes codecs, all are 10 bit with the exception of 4444 which is 12 bit.

Also, I wonder how editing in ProRes HQ will have any benefit when "using lots of effects and processing". I am assuming that to the contrary, bigger files with higher data rate will be even more taxing on your computer, not less. But I may have misunderstood, so please explain...

Pat



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Jesus Ali
Re: Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress
on Jul 21, 2010 at 3:41:49 pm

You may be right, Pat. I just did some Googling and I find it posts going either way. Many demonstrate my understanding that "ProRes422" 8-bit and "ProRes422 (HQ)" is 10-bit, however, I did see a post that said that all ProRes variants are 10-bit, but that "ProRes422 (HQ)" possesses a higher bit rate.

This is news to me. And has is clear from Googling, I am/was not alone in my thinking.

* * *

To answer your 2nd question, I am referring to which format you choose for your Sequence/Timeline. FCP's Open Format Timeline feature will conform whichever formats you pull onto the Timeline into the chosen Timeline format. i.e. by telling you that you need to Render the clip.

So when a Filter or Effect is applied, you will get slightly different results based on what your Sequence/Timeline format is. If you made your Sequence Codec "Grayscale" (just a hypothetical example), all of the effects could only come out in grayscale. So even if you color corrected color footage, the Render Space the results would come into would only display shades of gray.

DV NTSC can only produce a limited amount of colors, Uncompressed 8-Bit can produce more, and 10-Bit formats can produce even MORE colors.

* * *

I have edited projects with three rows of ProRes422 (HQ) and two tracks of stereo AIFF audio on a 2Ghz 2006 Core Duo Macbook Pro with the footage on an external FW drive, so I wouldn't worry about over-taxing the computer.

If you are using FCP 7 on a Quad or Octo (or forthcoming Hexa or Dodeca) Core Mac Pro, processing is really not going to be a worry. FCP 6 was doing this all without real multiprocessor awareness.

The biggest challenge provided by ProRes422 in HD sizes is HardDisk Bitrate. Physically, being able to read the footage fast enough. ProRes422 (HQ) requires 220 Mb/s which equals 27.5 MB/s. A 400 Mb/s Firewire drive can provide 50 MB/s, a FW800 can provide 100 MB/s. Even higher rates can be attained by using eSATA drives through a PCI card. The next step up is RAIDs.

Remember that because ProRes422 uses Intraframe compression, it doesn't require as much processing overhead as HDV footage. This leaves more cycles available for running filters and effects.

Hope that helps. ;)


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walter biscardi
Re: Editing iphone 4 video in FCP for use in Wordpress
on Jul 21, 2010 at 5:09:42 pm

[Jesus Ali] "You may be right, Pat. I just did some Googling and I find it posts going either way. Many demonstrate my understanding that "ProRes422" 8-bit and "ProRes422 (HQ)" is 10-bit,"

Your understanding is completely wrong as has been discussed on this very forum many many times.

ProRes is 10bit regardless of whether you use ProRes or ProRes HQ. As Pat pointed out there is an Apple White Paper available that lays out all the specs of ProRes. It was designed as a 10bit codec.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
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Biscardi Creative Media

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