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transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes

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Catalin Brylla
transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 1:52:17 pm

Hi,

I have been editing a short film shot on 7D, using (unwisely) the native H.264 codec. It seemed to go ok, but now the sequence becomes sluggish and FCP crashes. We are already at the fine cut stage, so my question is, what is the best way to convert this sequence to ProRes (LT):

1. I tried recompress (without creating a new project) in the media manager, but strangely it did not work. It created the ProRes media (but skipped a third of the sequence clips?!?) but did not relink the sequence to the new media. What did I do wrong?

2. Should i just change the sequence setting to ProRes and render the whole thing? Problem is that if I trim and lengthen clips, I will have to keep re-rendering. Also, if the online editor does the grade, I assume the colour corrector effect will apply to the original media, not the render files, which is not ideal.

Please help.

Catalin Brylla
Filmmaker - Editor - Lecturer
http://www.catalinbrylla.com
Mobile: 07789004745
Skype: cbrylla


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David Roth Weiss
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 3:10:56 pm

As you stated, you "unwisely" went in the wrong direction from the very start.

Since you are editing a short, not a long-form project, don't get fancy, simply transcode all of your h.264 media to ProRes and eyeball match that to your fine cut.

The best way to transcode is to create a droplet in Compressor that will allow you to do a batch of all media overnight. Make certain your droplet also transcodes the audio to 16bit 48khz as well, otherwise you will have to render the audio.

Below are the settings from the droplet I created based on a Compressor preset with the following initial settings "Apple ProRes 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through." I modified it and changed the audio, and I use it to transcode from a Flipcam that is 720p, and it works perfectly. Your video settings may need to be slightly different, but I'm not sure.

Description: Apple ProRes 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.
File Extension: mov
Estimated file size: 30.92 GB/hour of source
Audio Encoder
16-bit Integer (Big Endian), Stereo (L R), 48.000 kHz
Video Encoder
Format: QT
Width: (100% of source)
Height: (100% of source)
Selected: 1280 x 720
Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Crop: None
Padding: None
Frame rate: (100% of source)
Selected: 30
Frame Controls: Automatically selected: Off
Codec Type: Apple ProRes 422
Multi-pass: Off, frame reorder: Off
Progressive
Chroma filtering enabled
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 50
Min. Spatial quality: 0
Temporal quality: 0
Min. temporal quality: 0


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 3:15:16 pm

David's solution will work for sure. Mine may not... but it just might.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

DVD:http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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diane collins
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Oct 12, 2010 at 5:25:23 pm

Hi, Do these specs work for Canon 5D files too?
Thanks!

Description: Apple ProRes 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.
File Extension: mov
Estimated file size: 30.92 GB/hour of source
Audio Encoder
16-bit Integer (Big Endian), Stereo (L R), 48.000 kHz
Video Encoder
Format: QT
Width: (100% of source)
Height: (100% of source)
Selected: 1280 x 720
Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Crop: None
Padding: None
Frame rate: (100% of source)
Selected: 30
Frame Controls: Automatically selected: Off
Codec Type: Apple ProRes 422
Multi-pass: Off, frame reorder: Off
Progressive
Chroma filtering enabled
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 50
Min. Spatial quality: 0
Temporal quality: 0
Min. temporal quality: 0


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Catalin Brylla
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:38:27 pm

Diane,

There is no point using ProRes 422. You can use ProRes 422(LT), which still has a higher data rate than the H.264 files you transcode (which are 8-bit only).

Use the EOS plugin for FCP to transcode via Log&Transfer. Saves you using Compressor.

Catalin Brylla
Filmmaker - Editor - Lecturer
http://www.catalinbrylla.com
Mobile: 07789004745
Skype: cbrylla


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 3:12:59 pm

Try selecting everything in the Browser that's H.264. Include the sequence. Then open media manager and transcode it there but DO create a new project file in the process. Get away from the H.264 as it will only make things worse as you work in it over time.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

DVD:http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Catalin Brylla
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 4:06:52 pm

Thanks a lot for your advice, Jerry and David.

David, doing it your way at this stage is no option, as it is a 35-minutes film with quite a lot of cuts.

Jerry, your solution sounds good (kind of similar to Avid, where transcoding and reconforming sequences is so much easier), but I have some questions:

1. if I highlight the sequence, will it not create new media clips IN ADDITION TO the new media clips from the capture scratch?

2. Maybe I could just transcode the sequence into a new project, and the simply copy it to the old project. This would save me some harddrive space, as I am not likely to add more shots to the fine cut.

Oh, I forgot, I might need to do the odd trimming here and there, so I want to add handles to the sequence clips. However, in the media manager I can only add handles if it deletes the original media, which I don't want to happen. Any workaround here?





Catalin Brylla
Filmmaker - Editor - Lecturer
http://www.catalinbrylla.com
Mobile: 07789004745
Skype: cbrylla


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Shane Ross
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 4:28:02 pm

In order for the Media manager to work, all your footage needs to have REEL numbers. If you just imported from the card the QT files, they will not have reel numbers. Therefore MM won't work on them. You have to give them reel numbers if you want to use Media Manager. And that would be the best way to transcode from H.264 to ProRes...everything. If you use Compressor it will change the name of all the clips by adding words.

THIS is why I made the Tapeless Workflow tutorial. So that people wouldn't just shot and edit without knowing what is going on. Log and Transfer not only converts to ProRes, but adds a reel number, you can add custom names, and it grabs the time of day code from the camera, so you have unique timecode, rather than every clip starting at 00:00:00:00.

Watch it: Tapeless Workflow for FCP 7 Tutorial

Shane



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


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 4:45:48 pm

Random thoughts:

Say we throw reel names in the mix then? I don't suppose this helps? They can be assigned of course. I can't remember if it adds meta data to the media file though. Probably not...

Conforming is the best option. Make no mistake. The mistake made here not doing this correctly at the get go was grievous. But there has to be a way to shortcut an entire conform.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

DVD:http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Shane Ross
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 5:29:36 pm

[Jerry Hofmann] "
Say we throw reel names in the mix then? I don't suppose this helps? They can be assigned of course. I can't remember if it adds meta data to the media file though. Probably not..."


Adding a reel number will modify the actual QT file. When you do this you get a warning that doing this will modify the original file...do you want to continue. So this is now embedded in the QT, so wherever you import it...it's there.

Shane



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


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Catalin Brylla
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 5:34:17 pm

Thanks Shane. Yes, I wish I would have done it with your workflow. Important lesson for me.

So, what can I do now? Will changing the Reel number in the browser help?

Jerry, do you mean by "reconform" transcoding the sequence?

Catalin Brylla
Filmmaker - Editor - Lecturer
http://www.catalinbrylla.com
Mobile: 07789004745
Skype: cbrylla


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Catalin Brylla
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 6:21:36 pm

Ok, I just did a test, recompressing the sequence with the media manager (ticking "create new project" and unticking "delete original media") and it worked: the conformed test sequence is exactly the same as the original. It seems that even the original clips' handles were transcoded, so I can trim. That's great. I am going to do this with the whole sequence (takes 6 hours) and report back.

Shane, could this have worked because all original clips had unique clip names, despite not having reel numbers?

Catalin Brylla
Filmmaker - Editor - Lecturer
http://www.catalinbrylla.com
Mobile: 07789004745
Skype: cbrylla


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Shane Ross
Re: transcoding H.264 sequence to ProRes
on Sep 7, 2010 at 6:22:42 pm

[Catalin Brylla] "Shane, could this have worked because all original clips had unique clip names, despite not having reel numbers?"

Got me. I haven't had this work without reel numbers.

Shane



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


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