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Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen

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Daniel Eckert
Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 5:44:27 pm

Hello everyone,

I just started work for a church that shoots video on one campus, edits, and sends it to another campus that meets in a movie theater. We're having difficulty getting a quality image on that enormous screen, and I was looking for some advice.

What I do is:

1. Record with two Sony HXR-MC50u cameras in 1080i60 AVCHD.
2. Convert the .mts to h.264 .mp4 1080p29.97
3. Edit in FCP 6, adding in lower thirds and transitions (easy stuff; crossfades, dip to black, etc.)
4. Export using Quicktime HDV 720p30
5. It looks terrible coming off of a MacBook Pro onto a huge screen.

So... some issues I already know of:

1. Terrible cameras
2. Older software

What's the real issue?

1. Bad conversion software? Poor choice of conversion settings?
2. Wrong sequence settings?
3. Export settings completely wrong?
4. Can't play something so low quality on a big screen and expect good results?

Thanks for the help!


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Shane Ross
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:19:15 pm

You are pretty much doing everything wrong. Right out of the gate. You are encoding to a format that is highly compressed and not meant to be edited. Then converting to a GOP format that isn't meant for delivery.

THis is the steps you need to be taking...

Use CLIPWRAP to convert the footage to PRORES 422.
Edit.
Output a self contained QT movie...play that from the computer and drive. OR...convert to a very high data rate H.264.

Shane

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


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:31:29 pm

"You are pretty much doing everything wrong. Right out of the gate." Hahaha... of course. Yea I'm a full on noob with this AVCHD stuff.

Could you explain a little more what I would do to export a self-contained Quicktime movie? Should I do it in Compressor? What are the settings?

When I play this new version on the screens, I figure it won't look like a feature film, but it will at least look better than before. Is it comparable to playing a DVD (not Blu-Ray or HD) on an HDTV?

Thanks for your help and the speedy response,
Dan


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Shane Ross
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:51:16 pm

[Daniel Eckert] "
Could you explain a little more what I would do to export a self-contained Quicktime movie?"


FILE>EXPORT>Quicktime Movie. Check Self Contained too...but NOT recompress. That exports a lossless QT movie.

[Daniel Eckert] "What are the settings?"

It will export in the exact same settings you are editing with.

[Daniel Eckert] "When I play this new version on the screens, I figure it won't look like a feature film, but it will at least look better than before. Is it comparable to playing a DVD (not Blu-Ray or HD) on an HDTV?"

If you are editing HD, and output an HD file and play that HD file, it is like playing an HD movie...not SD blown up. If this file chokes the system, use Compressor to export a high data rate H.264.

Shane

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


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:59:48 pm

Thank you so much for your video wisdom! I wish I had known all this before Sunday, but your help is GREATLY appreciated. My workflow is now corrected, and I can fix the future videos we do here.


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Richard Cooper
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:58:41 pm

EDITED... Shane already answered 60 seconds earlier! HA!


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Richard Cooper
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:50:11 pm

To add to Shane's excellent advice...
When you export from FCP stay at 1080!.... and export a Prores 1080 422 file, the same as you edit with. This will give you the best resolution for your MASTER. If you are playing to a HD projector from a MacBook Pro via DVI this should look very nice. If your MacBook struggles to play back the 1080 ProRes 422 master (it shouldn't if it is a newer MacBook and has FCP installed which is needed for the ProRes Codec) then as Shane suggests, FROM THE MASTER FILE make a hi data rate 1080 h.264 file and try that.

We did this (1080p ProRes master on a MacBook Pro) for a theater premiere and it looked great. 35 minute show in 1080p resolution played in QT (Full Screen mode) out DVI to an HD projector... Really nice.

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.frostlineproductions.com


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:04:34 pm

I've actually never been to the movie theater since I work from the main campus and send it over to them. They may not have FCP installed so we'll add that ASAP. I'll have to ask whether they use HD projectors or not, but I'm pretty sure it comes out DVI. There might be some HDMI in there somewhere, but I'll have to ask.

Thanks for your sage advice,
Dan


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Shane Ross
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:25:01 pm

NO need to install FCP on the computer doing the projection. The ProRes QT will play just fine as long as the machine as QT 7. Just play it full screen.

Shane

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


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:26:19 pm

And that's regular old QT 7 and not a pro version?


Dan


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Shane Ross
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:32:27 pm

Regular old QT. Pro not needed for playback

Shane

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


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:35:28 pm

Ok. Just making sure. I was reading about the MPEG-2 download for QT earlier today and I was thinking I might need that, but considering I'm not even exporting MPEG, my thinking was way out in left field.

While I'm at it, should I just go with ProRes 422 LT since I'm not grading, compositing, etc.?

Thanks,
Dan


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 24, 2011 at 5:30:11 pm

So I was wondering how to make my export be less than a terabyte (exaggeration, sarcasm, etc.), because I tested an export of my video at 17 seconds and it was 315 MB, but my entire video will be 40 minutes long, leading me to assume that the final video file will be enormous. Exporting with DVCPRO HD is also a huge file. How can I remedy this?


Thanks


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Richard Cooper
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 24, 2011 at 6:29:18 pm

Assuming 30frames/second, a 40 minute 1080p ProRes 422 file will be about 50GB
If that is too big for you to handle you can do a 1080p ProRes LT and this will bring your file size down to around 35GB

If this is still too big you can try h.264 but i would stay ProRes for projection if you can.

I would not go DVCProHD. You will only save about 10 GB from ProRes 422 and in my opinion it is not worth the extra conversion.

You might want to download the AJA Data Calculator... it is a really great app and it is free.

Good Luck!

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.frostlineproductions.com


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 24, 2011 at 6:54:20 pm

That's a pretty cool app!

I should have realized it would be a huge file size. But if that's the best, then I'm just going to stick with it. The only problem is this is a weekly thing, and hard drives are getting pretty full now that I'm using ProRes. Would it be reasonable to just keep the .mts files for archiving and delete the ProRes files (after exporting and confirming quality)?

Also, I can't seem to find an LT option in that drop down menu when doing Export>Quicktime Movie. Could it be the ones that say ProRes 422 but not HQ? There are some ProRes 422 options that are 1920 x 1080, 1440 x 1080, 1280 x 720, and 8 Bit. Are these LT?

Thanks again,
Dan


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Richard Cooper
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 24, 2011 at 7:08:56 pm

Hmmm... What version of Final Cut are you running?

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.frostlineproductions.com


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Daniel Eckert
Re: Workflow Issues: AVCHD to FCP to The Big Screen
on Aug 24, 2011 at 7:11:53 pm

FCP 6.0.6

Why yes, it is time for an update.


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