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Is it ever okay to use h.264 footage in FCP?

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Bobby Hall
Is it ever okay to use h.264 footage in FCP?
on Aug 21, 2013 at 3:11:36 am

I'm making an instructional chess video in which the right side of the screen shows an instructor (h.264 converted into prores) and the left side of the screen will be a chess board that I used a screen capture program to get. The screen capture program exports an mp4 file with h.264 codec and I was wondering if there's any problem if I just add this file as another layer on a separate video track in FCP7. I'm not going to be editing it really, just adding it in. I don't really want to convert it to prores because the output will be a gigantic file, so can I leave it as h.264 or is there some other smaller file size codec I can use in a prores timeline?


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Is it ever okay to use h.264 footage in FCP?
on Aug 21, 2013 at 5:58:28 am

How do you value your time?

For me hard drive space is cheap compared with my time, to the extent that buying another couple of terabytes is always preferable to rendering every time I make a change or sitting in front of a spinning color wheel waiting for the mac to respond.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Is it ever okay to use h.264 footage in FCP?
on Aug 21, 2013 at 1:51:00 pm

I would only do it under very limited circumstances, like making a very few gross cuts or trims and then sending it out to render. The problem with using it straight on the timeline is that it works just well enough to encourage you to keep trying - but always winds up frustrating you with major performance issues. For a time, I thought we could cut and feed raw news with it, but under deadline pressure to hit a broadcast window, is no place for draggy, glitchy playbacks or shuttles. If you want to play with h.264, FCPX or Premiere Pro or even Sony Vegas are better choices.


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Sascha Engel
Re: Is it ever okay to use h.264 footage in FCP?
on Sep 20, 2013 at 6:09:14 pm

Simple answer: no.


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