Transcoding to ProRes in FCP using media manager
I'm working on a feature documentary (my own labour of love) and wonder if I've made a mistake:
I've been shooting on a 7D, separating our the MOV files from the THM files, importing the MOVs into FCP 7 and using media manager to recompress as ProRes (422 HQ 1920x1080 25fps) into a new project. Yes, it takes forever to transcode and I know everyone says to use Compressor or MPEG Streamclip BUT that would mean learning something new (never could get my head around Compresser - you'd never think I used to be an assistant editor but that was back in the celluloid days!). I've processed about 10 hours of footage this way but before I start editing, would like to be sure this footage is ok, keeping in mind that at some point it will - hopefully - have to hold up on the big screen. Is there some information in those THM files that should have been incorporated into the transcoding process? Do I need to start from scratch and learn something new after all?
Any clarification for the technically-challenged much appreciated!
[Karen Porter] "I'm working on a feature documentary (my own labour of love) and wonder if I've made a mistake:"
[Karen Porter] "I've been shooting on a 7D, separating our the MOV files from the THM files"
Don't EVER do that. You always need to archive the full card. Those THM files contain data...data that imports with the clip when you import into FCP properly...or in other NLEs that you might want to import. Leave the card structure alone...ALWAYS. Those files take up such little space, and breaking up the card structure means proper import into NLEs won't work...data won't come over.
[Karen Porter] " recompress as ProRes (422 HQ 1920x1080 25fps)"
You are wasting space. ProRes HQ is for 10-bit shooting formats. The 7D shoots 8-bit. The best format to transcode to is ProRes 422. Using HQ means you are eating up 50% more space with zero quality gain. You'll see no difference between a clip compressed to ProRes 422 and one compressed to HQ. But the HQ clip will be much larger. So that's one.
[Karen Porter] "and using media manager to recompress"
You can be using LOG AND TRANSFER for this. And then all that data in those THM files will be available. BUT, if you interrupt the card structure, then you can't use Log and Transfer. Because you messed up the card structure. Oh, you do need the Canon Log and Transfer plugin though...and unless you already have it, finding it will be impossible. FCP 7 was discontinued 4.5 years ago, and support apps by third parties are no longer offered.
[Karen Porter] " I know everyone says to use Compressor or MPEG Streamclip BUT that would mean learning something new"
They are VERY easy. IN Compressor, add all the clips, and then in the FORMATS area, where all the types of compression are found...search for PRORES 422...and then simply drop it onto the clips, and press SUBMIT. DONE. MPEG STREAMCLIP is a tad more involved, but really...these are very simple apps.
[Karen Porter] "I've processed about 10 hours of footage this way but before I start editing, would like to be sure this footage is ok"
Saying all that...your footage will be fine. This is an OK way to convert...it works fine. The format it a tad large, and in the future I say go with ProRes 422. But this works.
[Karen Porter] "Is there some information in those THM files that should have been incorporated into the transcoding process? "
Yes...see above. But that only works if you use Log and Transfer...but this information is also useful in other editing apps, ones that you will soon be using, as you can't use FCP 7 forever.
[Karen Porter] "Do I need to start from scratch and learn something new after all? "
No...you can try to use other options going forward, but what you have done is OK. Quality will be fine...just as if you used Compressor, or Log and Transfer.
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Log & transfer (with the original card structure, and those THM files) is best,
as you get TIMECODE, and have the ability to add REEL#s
without these a lot of functionality can be lost.
neither Compressor or Mpeg Streeamclip will give you correct TC & Reel#s
compressor can, but depends on the source
it could be that now all your clips start with a zero TC and have no reel#
this can be tricky down the track in the on-line and grade.
it also means you can't properly show duplicate usage in FCP
you can fix this.
if all our clips have a zero TC, then you will need to add a unique reel# to each one.
if you shot at 25fps, then transcoding to 25fps is not a problem,
if you shot at another frame rate, then yes, you should start over.
Thank you very much Nick and Shane,
With that information I have further questions, of course!
• Re: timecode
"you can fix this.
if all our clips have a zero TC, then you will need to add a unique reel# to each one."
yes, every clip starts with zero timecode - how to add a unique reel number? Just in the FCP bin(s)? Do you actually mean add a different reel number to each clip, as opposed to set a reel number and give every clip in that reel the appropriate (same) number? (and yes, shot at 25fps)
• can I recreate the original file structure if I were to start again, given that it's such a simple arrangement (one folder with .MOV and .THM files combined)? The original camera card folders have been renamed to reflect the scenes, but I've saved the thm files and have not renamed the clips (either thm or mov).
•Although doesn't look like I have the Canon Log and Xfer plug-in, so would be stuck using Compressor.
• there's still a fair bit more to shoot and may be moving to a better camera due to delivery requirements. Would it be problematic to combine ProResHQ transcoded footage with ProRes422 if I stuck with the current footage but transcode at 422 in the future - or vice-versa if I recompressed the current footage to 422 and then it became advantageous to start using HQ?
• Another consideration is there will be a fair bit of archive footage, mostly from film, and don't yet know the format(s) it will be delivered on. There will also be some animation. Perhaps some of those elements would be better off in a HQ project? In which case it might be better to continue as is (ie: HQ), despite the 7D files being unnecessarily large.
• However, the timecode issue is a concern for finishing. The project will likely be shared using duplicate drives and things may need to be reconnected. FCP doesn't allow you to set auxiliary TC like Avid does, does it?
Thanks again for the advice!!