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Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage

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Mikiko Katsuno
Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage
on Jan 30, 2014 at 4:59:23 pm

Hello, everyone
I have footages in QT h.264 codec, 1920x1080 24p.
If these need to be color corrected in After Effects,
when would you convert these to FCP friendly codec?

Also, some of them need to be synced with audio that's recorded separately before the color correction.
I'll be doing the syncing video and audio, but the color correction will be done oversea after I finish sync audio and video.
What would be the best workflow for this case?

Mikiko Katsuno


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Shane Ross
Re: Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage
on Jan 30, 2014 at 5:29:24 pm

[Mikiko Katsuno] "when would you convert these to FCP friendly codec?"

IMMEDIATELY. Before you bring it into FCP...before ONE CLIP hits the timeline. Before one clip lands in the Browser. FCP 7 and H.264 do not mix...period

[Mikiko Katsuno] "What would be the best workflow for this case?"

Convert all the footage to ProRes. Make GROUP CLIPS with those converted files and the second system audio. Then...you just send these over seas? No editing? What will they be editing with? Color grading with?

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mikiko Katsuno
Re: Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage
on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:32:45 pm

Thank you very much for your advice, always!


The timeline for this project is here↓

Feb. 6th
I'm flying to New York from L.A.

Feb. 7 - Feb. 13
Filming in NY (including a couple of interview, event Brolls, Brolls of a town)

Feb. 13th [night time]
Sending the original footages either online via FTP or using FedEx international express to Japan.
Flying back to L.A.

Feb. 14th
I'm gonna sync audio and video of interview segments in L.A using Final Cut Pro 7.
Then, send the Final Cut Project to Japan online

Feb. 14th (after the footages get to japan
They are changing colors of original footages with After Effects.
Then, edit in Final Cut Pro 7 after the color corrected footages are ready (I mean converted to ProRes HQ 23.98).



What I think the best I can do is to convert all the footages (or at least the files needs to be used for audio video sync) each day after the shoot to ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps
and do the audio and video sync in the ProRes HQ format in Final Cut, so they can just reconnect the medias with color collected ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps files afterwards.

Now, is it usual to color correct with After Effects in the original h.264 format then export to ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps to be editable in Final Cut Pro?
Or should they convert the original footages to the ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps and do the color correct in AE?
In any way, if they are editing in the ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps format at the end, I think it only makes sense to convert and sync the audio as well at the first stage.

Also, in other post that I made before, you answered as below.

"H.264 is not suitable at all. All sorts of issues arise, like loss of sync, either while editing or when you export...quality issues when you export, sluggishness, general errors, linking issues when you open projects on other computers...excessive render times. "

If you have time, could you explain a little more about the loss of sync during the edit/export issues on why it happens?

My guess is original footage 24p is actually 23.976fps as oppose to final cut deals with 23.98fps, so the footages needs to be 23.98fps before it gets in the browser/sequence timeline.
Or you can say that's just what happens if you don't have time :)

Again, thank you so much for your inputs!

Mikiko Katsuno


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Shane Ross
Re: Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage
on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:37:50 pm

[Mikiko Katsuno] "Now, is it usual to color correct with After Effects in the original h.264 format then export to ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps to be editable in Final Cut Pro?"

No, not really. It's not usual to color correct BEFORE you start editing. Color correction happens after. Because you don't have to color correct everything, only what's used. And so you retain the original clip timecode...that might go away if you grade in AE, and then render out new files. All metadata that leads to the camera masters will be wiped out...which makes rebuilding the project, in case disaster happens, extremely difficult.

[Mikiko Katsuno] "If you have time, could you explain a little more about the loss of sync during the edit/export issues on why it happens?"

Sure. When you import H.264 into FCP, and play it...often you lose sync. It drifts. Or when you edit H.264, and then export...the exported file loses sync. Simply that.

WHY? Because H.264 is highly compressed, and FCP isn't designed to work with that format. Premiere Pro is, so it works well. Edius is, Vegas is...those work. Avid, FCP...they have issues due to the compression of the footage.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mikiko Katsuno
Re: Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:54:33 am

[Shane Ross]"Color correction happens after. Because you don't have to color correct everything, only what's used. And so you retain the original clip timecode...that might go away if you grade in AE, and then render out new files. All metadata that leads to the camera masters will be wiped out...which makes rebuilding the project, in case disaster happens, extremely difficult."

I got the basics now, thanks to you!
As for the timecode issue, the footages are shot by 5d mark ii, so the clips don't contain its own timecode anyway.

Also, I think below is why the editor wants to color correct everything.

There'll be 3 people who get involved in this project, that are me (Audio/Video sync), my colleague editor who does color correction & main edit in Japan, and a freelance CG artist in Japan who makes CGs using the footages.
I think what I see is that this editor wants to color correct as many clips as possible to send those to the CG artist so he can use whatever the clips he wants to use from the color corrected clips.
(or is it usual for a CG artist himself makes the CG and color correct him self after?)



Shane Ross"Sure. When you import H.264 into FCP, and play it...often you lose sync. It drifts. Or when you edit H.264, and then export...the exported file loses sync. Simply that.

WHY? Because H.264 is highly compressed, and FCP isn't designed to work with that format. Premiere Pro is, so it works well. Edius is, Vegas is...those work. Avid, FCP...they have issues due to the compression of the footage."

Woa! Thanks for a lot of information!
I'll take a note from this and consider as my new option for Canon HDSLR project.



Finally, I think I'm going to go with a workflow below.↓

Every night after the shoot while I'm on the trip, I convert the 5D footages that I need for syncing audio and video to ProRes 422 HQ 23.98fps, and do the sync in Final Cut either during or after the trip.

Meanwhile, I'll send the original clips and converted files to my editor either online or in a external Hard-drive and mail it. (*I don't want to convert everything for the file size purpose on FTP)

The editor can either convert all the files or use the original footages to correct the color in AE,
and send the resulted files to the CG artist in ProRes 422.
Then the editor edits with Final Cut in ProRess 422 HQ 23.98 using the audio/video syncet FInal Cut project that I sent earlier.

What do you think of the workflow?

Mikiko Katsuno


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chris king
Re: Final Cut Pro : Editing H.264 footage
on May 26, 2014 at 8:44:02 am

It is possible to use H.264 in Final Cut Pro (X) sometimes, but don't expect it to result in top quality. H.264 is highly compressed. That's not where you want to start with editing for high quality results. Something even worse, some H.264 footage like from GoPro HD(.mp4), Canon EOS(.mov) can’t be recognized by Final Cut program. A suggestion is to use a Mac video converter to transcode all H.264 files to Apple ProRes for FCP.



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