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How to use different formats in one timeline?

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Matt Hannon
How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:58:24 am

Hi everyone,

First and foremost a big hello… I believe this is my first post at creative cow..

So I am in the middle of stringing together a rough cut for a surf flick/documentary shot in some remote Indonesian islands…

Things so far are going well, but I am slightly confused regarding the best way to tackle a slight issue (hopefully slight!) of video format compatibility.

The main shooting for the film was done with .mov video format and this has been imported/captured into final cut pro 7 using the correct settings, which has now formed the basis for my rough cut.

However, I did a lot of filming with some other cameras (underwater, POV etc) and so also have some crucial footage in different formats that to my knowledge will not be compatible with the timeline that I have already created in FCP.

The files are as following:
AVI
MOD
MP4

I am assuming the best way to go about things is convert all these different files into a compatible form that I can then drop straight into my existing timeline.

Unfortunately, I am just beginning to learn the more techy aspects of editing and I don’t have the first idea of how to go about doing this…?

Any helpful feedback would be greatly appreciated…

Thanks in advance,
m


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Tom Wolsky
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 7:01:45 am

Use MPEG Streamclip to convert the files to QuickTime using the correct settings that match the rest of your media.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Matt Hannon
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 9:27:25 am

Thanks for your advice Tom - appreciated.

I take it MPEG Streamclip is software? Do you know if this usually results in a compromise of video/audio quality?

Sorry for my naivety.


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Tom Wolsky
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 1:07:40 pm

It's freeware. Download it. No compromise in quality if you convert to a high quality codec, which I presume you're already using. The video won't get any better, but it won't get worse.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Matt Hannon
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:20:48 pm

Ah ha... thanks Tom you're a legend... its working well and surprisingly quickly.. cool freeware!


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Matt Hannon
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 5:57:35 am

one last question if I may...

When i import the newly converted files to FCP as .mov (quicktime) files, they need rendering straight away.. is this normal, or have I not converted them under the right settings??

They seemto play fine once they have been rendered...

thanks again


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Tom Wolsky
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 9:15:10 am

No that indicates that the sequence settings do not match the clip settings. Either the clips were not converted correctly or the sequence has not been set up correctly.

Please give the exact item properties of the clips you're editing and the exact item properties of the sequence in which you're editing.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP7," "Basic Training for FCS" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Matt Hannon
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:43:56 pm

Ok so this may be lengthy, I will try to be clear - many thanks for your patience..

The sequence (of which I already have a lengthy rough cut from my dominant camera in place) has item properties as follows:

Frame size: 1440 x 1080
Aspect Ratio: HD (1440x1080) (16:9)
Field Dominance: Upper (odd)
Editing timebase:25 (25fps)

The clips from my dominant camera which have been used to create the rough cut, have item properties as follows:

Vid Rate: 25fps
Frame size: 1440 x 1080
Compressor: HDV 1080i50
Creator: Quicktime

Therefore, I am assuming (and hope!), that the clips in my rough cut and sequence are compatible and correct.

The issue begins when trying to introduce clips from my hard drive that have been recorded on 5 different cameras. I converted nearly all of these clips yesterday, by using MPEG Streamclip and exporting using 'Quicktime' format, however, as previously mentioned the clips need instant rendering when imported to the main project (the aforementioned rough cut in FCP).

I will now give item properties of the 5 different cameras before they were converted by me yesterday using MPEG Streamclip.

Camera 1:
Vid Rate: 29.97 fps
Frame Size: 1280 x 960
Compressor: HDV 1080i50

Camera 2
Vid rate: 30 fps
Frame size: 720 x 480
Compressor: XVID (Perian)
Pixel aspect: NTSC - CCIR 601

Camera 3
Vid Rate: 25 fps
Frame size: 720 x 576
Compressor: DV - PAL

Camera 4
Vid rate: 27 fps
Frame size: 512 x 384
Compressor: Apple Open DML JPEG

Camera 5
Vid rate: 25 fps
Frame size: 1024 x 576
Compressor: Motion JPEG A

I now realise after looking at the different item properties above, that I have a mixture of PAL and NTSC formats happening here, which is probably going to be a whole another issue...?

........................

Yesterday, I converted the above 5 camera's clips with MPEG Streamclip using the 'Quicktime' conversion, and when I compared the item properties of these new formats (ie. the ones I just converted) to the older formats (ie. camera 1-5 above) the only significant difference that I could notice, was that the new format's compressor had been replaced with Motion JPEG A.

Carelessly, I spent many hours yesterday converting the clips before asking the question of whether or not I was converting to the right format - which I now know I wasn't.

Now that it looks as though I will have to convert everything again, is it possible to convert again from the newly converted clips that have the new compressor ie Motion JPEG A instead of the original clips? The reason I ask this is because I spent a long time viewing, selecting and putting 'in' and 'out' points into the clips I converted yesterday.

Obviously, if there will be a reduction of quality, I will start from scratch and just take it as a learning lesson...

Hopefully this is the information you need, sorry it's so long.... thankyou.

matt


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David Roth Weiss
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:00:55 am

[Matt Hannon] "is it possible to convert again from the newly converted clips that have the new compressor ie Motion JPEG A instead of the original clips?"

Never, ever, ever, ever even think about adding an extra and unnecessary compression step to your video. Let the extra work this time be a lesson to you, so you never, ever, ever, ever embark upon a lengthy project or even a lengthy aspect of your workflow without proper testing of short clips so that you're certain what you're doing before you do it.

BTW, for the record, Motion JPEG A is a very old "legacy" codec. ProRes is the ticket nowadays for anything you transcode. When in doubt pick ProRes 422 and you'll hardly ever be wrong.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


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


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Matt Hannon
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:11:51 am

Thanks for your advice David,

I actually didn't mean to add an extra compression, as I was under the impression that this is often the cause of quality loss? I left the box in MPEG Streamclip checked as 'Uncompressed' - so not sure why it has added that motion compression??

Either way it looks as though I am starting from scratch, which is a good lesson learned - i'll be sure to check short clips next time before doing a whole days work! A little foolish I admit..

So does anyone know where I am going wrong?

Should I be specifying in the MPEG Streamclip settings that all the files should be converted to 25fps, with a frame size of 1440 x 1080 (as this is my sequence settings)?

What about the fact that I have NTSC and PAL clips?

Sorry guys, I just learning here...

Thanks again,

m


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David Roth Weiss
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 18, 2011 at 2:00:18 am

Matt,

First, for the record, any time you transcode to a different codec, up-res, down-res to a different frame size, etc., you hit your video with a new compression. So, if you do it wrong and use the new version, you're compressing twice.

You're gonna have a bear of a time ending up with something technically correct with all the different video types you're starting with, especially as someone just learning. What you're trying to do is tough for seasoned pros. You have video types that aren't editing codecs at all, NTSC and PAL, different frame rates, and different pixel dimensions. Most would have difficulties with any two of these, you have all of them.

The rule of thumb that Tom told you initially is to convert/transcode to a single common format. That means, single codec (ProRes), single frame rate, single pixel dimension, etc. That is typically determined by the one type of video that is predominate in your project, i.e. the one you have the most of.

So, pick what you have the most of and convert all the rest precisely to match it in every way. Cut it all in a sequence that also matches your predominate video type in every way as well.

Okay, other than telling you these things, no one here really has enough time to walk you through the entire minefield of what it takes to learn to make all of those conversions properly. It takes loads of trial and error for anyone to get it all right. You'll just have go for it and try to make adjustments if something doesn't look right.

Good luck to you...

BTW, next time, either use one camera type with one video format or hire a pro to edit...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


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


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Matt Hannon
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Feb 18, 2011 at 2:20:04 am

Thanks David,

I have been trying a few different settings and havn't had any luck so far - but as you said, trial and error.

I realise its not ideal to have all these different formats, but unfortunately there's not a lot I can about it at this stage.. ha..

I shall carry on and hopefully have some luck, thanks for your time...

m


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Bernie Henry
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Mar 11, 2011 at 1:17:40 pm

Hi everyone,
I've battled with this problem now for some time. I'm editing videos that come directly from stock footage. Unfortunately I do not have a choice in the chosen footage so I end up with so many different types of formats and lord only knows what codecs. Here is a list of some of the formats I am mixing:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11848673/Video%20sizes.xlsx

(If you cannot open the link basically the footage varies from NTSC, PAL, HD and all different sizes from 320 x 180 up to 1920 x 1080) Most of the time I wouldn't have to mix two such extremities but often I am mixing a 320 x 180 with a 640 x 360.

I often use a sequence setting of HDV720p, import this footage and edit (I don't ever expect to edit without the rendering red line!) I then export to the relative size required. This is crude I know, and I can hear the tut tut's but I really don't know what else I can do. If I transcode all the footage before importing to FCP, I"m afraid of distorting the various footage and as no single piece of footage is more dominant than the other I aim for the best setting possible. I also need the text to look good over the video and have found that smaller sized sequence settings pixilate the text.

If anyone has any tips, disdainful outbursts or recommendations, I welcome all!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Mar 11, 2011 at 3:45:54 pm

Just don't show your finished product on a television, DVD, or broadcast it you'll be fine.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


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


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Marcus Koch
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Jan 9, 2015 at 5:32:02 pm

Granted all these posts are from several years ago, in case anyone reading these, i just ran into this very issue. and trying to figure out how to work with different codecs on the same timeline in FCP7 its been 2 days of udder (cow joke) frustration. all different formats of video , all different aspect ratios etc etc. I took them into streamclip and converted and exported each clip as a .MOV file....... again, still the same issue. each file, even tho its a now a quicktime movie file. seem to be retaining the orginal characteristics. and still jam up the computer if 2 different clips are in the timeline. so i'm trying to figure out how to tailor each clip, so they all match, trying the above information..

HOWEVER, i did discover a work around that seems to be working. i dragged all clips forcefully into a single timeline. rendered them out (which took a long darn time) using the Biggest highest quality clip to set my timeline setting to, so it's all one continuous stream of clips, then exported the entire thing as a self contained .mov file. then took it into Compressor, and and converted the whole shabang as an apple prorez 422 file....

so far this is working. and i am able to cut as if it is one piece of footage. probably not the right way to go about this. but if you are having this issue. with multiple types of footage. give it a go.


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David Donnenfield
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Jan 2, 2016 at 8:37:47 pm

Marcus,
I'm glad you picked up on that old thread. I'm faced with a multiple format, CODEC, etc. situation now. None of the other posts appealed to me as much as your solution. I just may give yours a shot. It's either that or throwing everything into Premiere which, I understand, will digest anything on one timeline. So, many thanks for continuing this old but still relevant discussion.
Happy New Year.
David



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David Roth Weiss
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Jan 4, 2016 at 11:59:50 pm
Last Edited By David Roth Weiss on Jan 5, 2016 at 12:10:50 am

David,

There are innumerable downsides to using Marcus' approach, with the primary being, if any single clip you've transcoded doesn't look as expected on the timeline, or if a batch of transcoded clips don't look right (very common when winging transcodes from many different file types), you'll have a bear of a time tracing back to your cam original if you create a single file on output from your timeline.

If you plan to work in this industry you'd best take the time to figure out the proper way to batch transcode each and every file type, and you should test each file type separately to determine what if anything requires different settings, as there is no one size fits all when transcoding different file types to a single mezzanine codec.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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David Donnenfield
Re: How to use different formats in one timeline?
on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:50:18 am

Well, the alternative is to just enter the Premiere environment. Right? As I understand it, you can load just about any format onto a Premiere timeline and it just accepts it. Do I have that right?
David



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