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Advice Regarding Codec For Best Quality Output -- Workflow Review

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Jack Cargerman
Advice Regarding Codec For Best Quality Output -- Workflow Review
on Sep 14, 2011 at 2:22:57 am

I know Final Cut well from a functional standpoint, but the nuances of the hardcore tech stuff is only on my periphery. I need a sage to look over my shoulder.

I've been shooting a documentary for over a year. I have 150GB of camera original, mostly MP4 stuff from pocket cameras: a Sony Webbie, a Flip, and a Sony Cyber Shot. There is also DVR material that is captured by FCP in real time via Roxio USB.

My workflow to this point has been to convert the MP4 stuff to .mov files using the Apple DVCPRO-NTSC compression setting at 100-percent quality in Streamclip so I do not have to render. It has worked well, the only issue is the size of the converted files, but I can afford more storage.

Here's my rig:

G5 Quad 2.5, 8MB RAM, 500mb internal app drive, 1T internal data drive.
G-Raid 2T being used for storage, not Raid. I have a Sonnet esata card on the way and I plan to use this G-Raid as the main edit drive for this project (the converted files)
1T Lacie, 3T GoFlex Desk (Western Digital)
Final Cut Version is 6.0.6
I have Compressor and the rest of the FCP package of that vintage.

While many timelines have been burned to DVD for various uses, the actual edit of the final documentary has not begun. It is close, and it will be a "clean slate" start.

Goal: Best quality picture given available tech (or maybe a little more bread) so I can send out "final cut" to various outlets. Assume DVD distribution as release format.

Question 1: What is the best looking codec to convert MP4's to for release on DVD? I could get more storage if necessary, but right now the G-Raid 2T - via Sonnet esata - is probably the constraint.

Question 1A: If that works, and if I need more storage, should I go with another G-Raid 2T on this 2-channel Sonnet esata? Or sell my 2T and go with a 4T or larger G-Raid?

Question 2: Is there a better way to do what I'm doing?

Thanks in advance, this site, and you sages, have saved my skin more times than you can know!


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