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Stills in Final Cut Pro

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Philip Harrison
Stills in Final Cut Pro
on May 22, 2011 at 4:23:41 am

I work on large form documentaries with a large amount of digital stills. Final Cut Pro get seriously and painfully bogged down by the large amount of medium to high res stills. Is there any way besides having two sets of stills, one very low rez, one high res, linked on and off? For instance, is there any kind of stand alone software that will create video from digital stills in a selected format. My feeling is once the stills have been converted to video a lot of my problems will be solved.

Any thoughts? Would love to hear other peoples experience and solutions. I'm dying to present a solution to my post supervisor that he will actually do.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Stills in Final Cut Pro
on May 22, 2011 at 7:36:38 am

When you've chosen your framing (and whatever moves you might want to do) in FCP or Motion, why not export the clip from the timeline as a quicktime (lift it up a layer and extend it a second each end to give yourself handles), then bring that back into FCP and use it to replace the still?

3 or 4 years ago I was using Stagetools MovingPicture to make AVIs to import into Avid in the way you describe, but I do that now.


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Ben Holmes
Re: Stills in Final Cut Pro
on May 22, 2011 at 11:29:54 am

Motion is an option, but as a pro solution, you'd be much better off doing this in AE, or even Photoshop (which has pretty good animation options, and can do a lot with your stills).

FCP is not designed for this - as you point out. Suggest to your post supervisor he uses something that is...

Edit Out Ltd
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FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
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Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/community/communitydetails/?UserStoryId=87...


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Philip Harrison
Re: Stills in Final Cut Pro
on May 22, 2011 at 7:50:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback so far but I'm not sure i'm getting the feedback I'm looking for.

The main point is that Final Cut Pro does a very bad job of processing stills. If you work with digital stills Final Cut Pro has to process them into video on the fly- leading to two problems: 1)it takes a long time for FCP to do the processing and so this bogs down loading sequences that are still heavy and even slows down trimming/editing in sequences as the system "processes media. 2)This process is eats up memory quickly leading to problems where you can't even see some stills in a sequence because the RAM has been overstuffed with stills. Eventually, I find that you get a lot of system crashes because the processing of stills has hogged up so much memory.

In the past, working on an AVID, when you imported stills it created video media of the stills and this would be the best solution for FCP- If the stills were turned into video there would be no need for all the processing that bogs down the system. Shouldn't there be a stand alone program that allows you to quickly batch size and process stills into video with file names for linking to original stills in case you needed to go back to originals for higher resolution on your online.

I'm always shocked that I don't find more complaints about this issue on the internet. An offline is for editing. To be constantly bogged down for processing is a huge headache for me. Does everyone take this problem for granted or is there something I'm missing and nobody else has problems with stills?


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Michael Gissing
Re: Stills in Final Cut Pro
on May 23, 2011 at 1:53:04 am

Yes FCP is poor with stills because it has old 32 bit code so RAM and real time performance is a dog, given the power within the Mac hardware. Limitations like 4k pixels (either vertical or horizontal) plus slow slow renders are frustrating, particularly in offline.

However, using low res stills and then switching to high res stills later means all moves have to be redone. I have just spent a lot of time doing that and it sucks.

If you want to turn things into a quicktime, then as people have said, design your moves in Motion, AE or Photoshop and make the .mov from there. No renders, smooth play and frankly stills moves in FCP are jerky and have aliasing issues anyway.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Stills in Final Cut Pro
on May 24, 2011 at 12:47:18 pm

[Philip Harrison] "In the past, working on an AVID, when you imported stills it created video media of the stills...
An offline is for editing..."


I regard choosing the framing and moves of stills as very much part of the editing. With Avid, yes it imports a version of the stills as a media clip but I always end up using the Pan&Zoom effect anyway as the framing is never quite right, so I don't find using Motion to do the equivalent job in FCP much of a hardship.

Habit, I suppose, but it's so much better being able to import the stills electronically than having to get a camera out and film the stills (which is what we used to do) that I've never really thought that much about it.


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