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Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7

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Anne Thompson
Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:59:39 am

I am making a video from footage recorded from a Flip video camera. I am using FCP 7 on an older mac.

The files that I have are AVI, with the following info:
Bit Rate: 3.28 Mbps
Video Tracks:
Xvid, 640 × 480, 30 fps, 3.10 Mbps
Audio Tracks:
MS ADPCM mono, 44.1 kHz, 177 kbps

I imagine given the cost of these cameras this isn't the most detailed footage.

I know that I need to convert the files to a different format to use them in FCP. I downloaded MPEG Streamclip and converted a clip to Apple Prores 422. The file size went from 315 mb to 4 gb, for 12 minutes of footage!

I expected an increase in size, but I am wondering if I am converting to the right format, considering the quality of my footage. I don't want to have to render while I am editing, so I'd like to convert everything before importing it.

My questions are:

-Is there an export setting in MPEG streamclip besides ProRes 422 that I can convert my AVI files to that will use less disk space and still save me from rendering as I edit? (ie: is prores 422 overkill given the files with which I am working?)

-Do I need to change the frame size to something larger than 640x480 while I am exporting from MPEG? (The final video will probably be viewed on youtube/computers more than anything, but I still want it to look professional.)

I am new to FCP and video in general -- and I want to be doing this right from the start. Thank you all very much for your help!


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Shane Ross
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 6:57:10 pm

[Anne Thompson] "-Is there an export setting in MPEG streamclip besides ProRes 422 that I can convert my AVI files to that will use less disk space and still save me from rendering as I edit? (ie: is prores 422 overkill given the files with which I am working?)"

Yes. DV50 or DV/NTSC. DV50 is slightly better quality. Now, ProRes 422 is an HD codec...did you not try ProRes NTSC...that's the SD one.

[Anne Thompson] "-Do I need to change the frame size to something larger than 640x480 while I am exporting from MPEG? (The final video will probably be viewed on youtube/computers more than anything, but I still want it to look professional.)"

Yes. DV50, DV/NTSC...ProRes NTSC...need the frame size to be 720x480. That's more the "broadcast norm," and FCP was designed to edit broadcast formats. 640x480 is a computer/web frame size. I don't think changing 640 to 720 will alter it too bad. But I haven't worked with FLIP video in a long while.

[Anne Thompson] "I am new to FCP and video in general -- and I want to be doing this right from the start. Thank you all very much for your help!"

Well, you might want to consider switching to another editing system. FCP 7 and earlier is end of line...no longer made nor supported. If this is FCX, well...it should be able to convert that footage internally. But I would suggest you look at Adobe Premiere PRo in the future. For one, you wouldn't need to convert this footage. Adobe works with it natively.

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


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 8:34:53 pm

Hi Shane,

Thanks for your help.

"Well, you might want to consider switching to another editing system. FCP 7 and earlier is end of line...no longer made nor supported. If this is FCX, well...it should be able to convert that footage internally. But I would suggest you look at Adobe Premiere PRo in the future. For one, you wouldn't need to convert this footage. Adobe works with it natively."

I currently have FCP 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5. I won't have the opportunity to upgrade anything before I have to finish this video, but I can work with either program. Unfortunately my computer is outdated. When I use Premiere I don't need to render the AVI files but they play choppily, I assume because my computer is slow and doesn't have a lot of memory and power. It's too choppy of a playback to really work with. That's why I decided to stick with FCP 7. (I plan to upgrade my computer next year, and am hoping to learn FCP 7 now, and then have FCP X later, just because in general I feel more comfortable with FCP -- but I know the debate between FCP/Premiere is a whole other topic.)


"Yes. DV50 or DV/NTSC. DV50 is slightly better quality. Now, ProRes 422 is an HD codec...did you not try ProRes NTSC...that's the SD one
Yes. DV50, DV/NTSC...ProRes NTSC...need the frame size to be 720x480. That's more the "broadcast norm," and FCP was designed to edit broadcast formats. 640x480 is a computer/web frame size. I don't think changing 640 to 720 will alter it too bad. But I haven't worked with FLIP video in a long while. "

I assume that given the quality of my footage HD is not necessary?

DV50, DV/NTSC, and ProResNTSC, where do I find these in streamclip? Are they all under the "Export to Quicktime" window? There I find the following options:

-Apple DVCPRO50 - NTSC
-Apple DVCPRO50 - PAL
-Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
-Apple DV - PAL

Of course there are many more choices, but those are the ones that most closely match the 3 you suggested. Which ones should I use? What is the diff between them? Or, should I be exporting to something besides quicktime in Streamclip?

Thanks again!


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Shane Ross
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:03:22 pm

[Anne Thompson] "I assume that given the quality of my footage HD is not necessary?"

Not only not necessary, but will also make the footage look worse. Blowing up highly compressed SD footage to HD generally doesn't look good.

[Anne Thompson] "DV50, DV/NTSC, and ProResNTSC, where do I find these in streamclip? Are they all under the "Export to Quicktime" window? "

Yes. I don't see ProRes NTSC, but Apple DVCPRO 50 is right there. It has two names, DVCPRO 50 and DV50.




[Anne Thompson] "Which ones should I use?"

Apple DVCPRO 50. Or DVCPRO 50 PAL if you are in Europe

[Anne Thompson] "What is the diff between them? "

DV is more compressed. DV50 is higher quality.

[Anne Thompson] " Or, should I be exporting to something besides quicktime in Streamclip?"

Nope...export as Quicktime.

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


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:23:26 pm

Thanks for your clear and quick reply! I will convert that way and see how it goes.


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:27:31 pm

Besides adjusting the frame size, should I change any other SreamClip settings? Do I need to enter the FPS as 30 or should I leave that blank?

I am setting the quality to 100% to preserve the quality. Is that correct?

Thanks.


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Shane Ross
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:28:05 pm

Frame rate should be 29.97. And quality 100%

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


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:30:08 pm

why 29.97 instead of 30? if the avi's were recorded in 30 fps


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Shane Ross
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:31:22 pm

Oh...what's the final destination of this? Sorry, I'm used to broadcast work, where it needs to be 29.97 for proper timing. 30 should be fine if this is for the web.

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


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:33:35 pm

This will be viewed more than anything on youtube and the web. Music video


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 8, 2014 at 1:44:39 am



Feeling frustrated!

I exported the same clip that I have been working with in the format you suggested and instead of being 4GB, it was over 5GB. Then, when I imported the file into FCP, I still needed to render it to play it back.

So, the file is bigger, and my workflow is impeded by rendering still, which is the opposite of what I'm trying to achieve. :/

I could just stick with Prores 422 but from what you said, that is HD and not the right thing.

What should I do next? I need to figure this out before I start converting the footage that I have...

Thanks!


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Shane Ross
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 8, 2014 at 2:11:18 am

[Anne Thompson] "I exported the same clip that I have been working with in the format you suggested and instead of being 4GB, it was over 5GB. "

DV50 is a higher data rate codec...it will make larger files. Sorry, but FCP only works with certain file types...heavily compressed files don't work that well.

[Anne Thompson] "Then, when I imported the file into FCP, I still needed to render it to play it back."

Because it is still 620x480...not 720x480. If the file isn't 720x480, then FCP will want to render it. Also, the sequence settings must match the clip settings EXACTLY...or FCP will want to render the footage.

[Anne Thompson] "So, the file is bigger, and my workflow is impeded by rendering still, which is the opposite of what I'm trying to achieve. :/ "

It helps if you have footage that the editing app can work with. Getting files from a very VERY consumer FLIPCAM that really isn't meant to be edited with FCP doesn't hep. If you convert the footage properly, to a format FCP does work with...proper codec and frame size...then things will go better. And you should consider using an editing app that can deal with the files you are given....if you are going to be constantly dealing with this really low low end format. I have Adobe Premiere Pro simply to convert the files to something I can use, to tell you the truth.

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


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 8, 2014 at 3:15:34 am
Last Edited By Anne Thompson on Dec 8, 2014 at 3:38:49 am

OK. Well I'm not going to have a flip camera forever, or this dinosaur computer, of FCP7 :) But I have to finish this video before I can upgrade. So...

From everything you've told me and everything I have tried, this seems to be the most straightforward thing I can do.

Convert all the AVI files using the ProRes 422 LT setting. Leave them unscaled at 640x480. Set the quality to 100% and the frame rate to 30 fps, and leave everything else untouched. When I import these into FCP and add them to my timeline, it says that the settings don't match, do I want to match them? If I say yes, it all works and I don't need to render.

The files are still big but not as big as the Prores 422 regular or the DV that you mentioned.

Is there anything wrong with this? I know you said prores is good for HD and my files are only SD, but if this is still the smallest file size I can come up with, am I losing anything by choosing ProRes LT? Is leaving the file unscaled OK? (To remind you, the final video will be viewed online/on YouTube more than anything.)

Thanks!


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Shane Ross
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 8, 2014 at 4:23:37 am

YOu know what...that works..

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


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Anne Thompson
Re: Advice sought on the best conversion of AVI files for FCP 7
on Dec 9, 2014 at 4:51:06 am

Fair enough, if it ain't broke... I'll stick with that for now until I upgrade.

Thanks for all your help Shane!


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