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Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec

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Michael Arnes
Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec
on Nov 11, 2015 at 2:03:00 am
Last Edited By Michael Arnes on Nov 11, 2015 at 3:22:33 am

Hi everyone,

Having a problem and I hope someone can help. I'm not too knowledgeable about video formats, codecs, etc. Let me give you some info about my process...

First and foremost, I run Final Cut Pro 6, on an iMac Quadcore 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB Ram, running OS X 10.6.8. My footage resides on an external G Drive (via firewire 800, 7200 rpm).

I have some video footage shot with a Canon Vixia G30 camcorder. The format of my original footage is AVCHD (.mts), at 23.976 fps, and 24 mbps. The first thing I did was to convert the footage to Pro Res 422 (using Adobe Media Encoder). After the conversion to Pro Res, I then imported it into After Effects CS5.5, to do some chroma key and color correction work (prior to editing in FCP). When I rendered the files out of AE, I used the Animation codec, 100% quality, (I did not have the option to limit the data rate since it was greyed out, which I assume is normal) - For my Output Module Settings in AE, I used QuickTime format, Channels RGB + Alpha, Millions of Colors+, Straight (unmatted). When the files were rendered, they were quite large in size (for a 3 minute video, the size ranged between 8 GB and 20 GB EACH, depending on the particular video file). I thought that was quite large, but I'm not sure. Is that normal?

At this point in the process, I'm not sure if I have already done something incorrectly (in terms of the wrong settings, etc).

So when I start FCP 6, it opens up an empty sequence by default. The empty sequence looks normal (prior to importing any video footage into the timeline) - if I click on the RT button, on the left side of the timeline window, I get a rather long pulldown menu with various settings to choose from (Safe RT, Unlimited RT, Play Base Layer Only, Scrub High Quality, Playback Video Quality Dynamic, High, Medium or Low, Multiclip Playback, Record To Tape, Use Playback Settings, Full Quality).

If I expand my Project window (Bin) to look at the settings on my video clips, here is what I see:

Frame Size: 1920 x 1080
Vid Rate: 23.98 fps
Compressor: Animation
Data rate: varies from 55 MB/Sec to 100 MB/Sec, depending on the video file
Alpha: Straight
Composite: Normal
Pixel Aspect: Square
Field Dominance: None

Note: Should the Compressor setting be "Apple Pro Res 422"? Instead of Animation? I'm not sure...

Ok, moving on. When I import my first video clip into my timeline, and I get the prompter telling me that my sequence settings do not match those of my video clip - I opt to have the sequence settings change to match those of my video clip. All good so far. But this is when the problem begins. Suddenly, as soon as I drag my 1st video clip into my timeline (and it begins to freeze and stop in the middle of playback), when I click on the RT button on the timeline window, I am only given the following options to choose from: (Play Base Layer Only, Record To Tape Use Playback Settings or Full Quality). Everything else is gone from that pulldown menu. I can no longer select "Unlimited RT". Just to check myself, I did an "Undo" (meaning, I removed my 1st video clip from my timeline), and sure enough, when I clicked on the RT button, the long pulldown menu with the many options had re-appeared.

Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

I don't know if this is relevant, but for what it's worth, my intention is to edit my video footage (keeping the highest quality possible during the process) and eventually upload to YouTube (at which point, I will of course need to limit the date rate massively).

Thanks for your help!

Michael


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec
on Nov 11, 2015 at 6:37:41 am

You're delivering to YouTube and your data rate is 55-100 MB/sec. ;) I don't know much about the Animation codec but why did you choose that over Pro Res 422? Is it because you need to support an alpha channel. Others can chime in here but I believe Pro Res 422 HQ also does that and the files will be much smaller. Otherwise, if you don't need an alpha channel, you could just export back to Pro Res 422 and set your timeline to match that. There won't be any discernible quality loss and all of your options will reappear. Right now they're greyed out because the data rate is too high. Least that's my guess.


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Michael Arnes
Re: Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec
on Nov 11, 2015 at 5:07:20 pm

Thanks for your input Christopher. That's a good and valid question (why did I choose Animation codec). A while back, I had asked someone about how I should approach this process, while keeping the highest quality possible in After Effects (before I finally edit in FCP 6), and I was told I should use the Animation codec, because it is a lossless codec. So I went with that. But once again, I don't know much about that topic.

I also read somewhere that if I need the alpha channel (which I probably do, since my footage was shot in front of a green screen), that the equivalent of the Animation codec for Apple would be ProRes 4444 only (which I don't think Final Cut Pro 6 supports).

I basically would like to know whether this "glitch" in FCP 6 (with regard to the RT button on the timeline) is happening because I'm using the Animation codec, or whether I'm doing something else incorrectly.

I'm also considering investing in a thunderbolt RAID hard drive (G tech), which I understand will give me a much faster data transfer capability. Maybe that will help too?

In any case, thanks again for your input. If anyone else can chime in with their 2 cents, I would appreciate it.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec
on Nov 11, 2015 at 5:35:36 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Nov 11, 2015 at 6:30:00 pm

First and foremost, chack your frame rates EVERYWHERE. If you used 23.98 in AE, you messed up.

I will say this for about the fifty-sixth (or is it the eighty-seventh?) time in this forum: 23.98 IS A FICTIONAL FRAME RATE! It exists ONLY in the minds of the employees of Apple Computer of Cupertino, CA and certain video camera manufacturers.

Adobe, on the other hand, calls a spade a spade. It calls it 23.976: the ACTUAL frame rate. You can confirm this by highlighting the footage in the AE project window, and noting the frame rate at the top of the project window. If your AE comps are at 23.98, they're WRONG. They need to be 23.976.

I don't know why Apple or camera makers think we can't deal with 23.976. Do they think the third decimal place would scare us, or something? The dopes. 23.98 just causes confusion.

End of sermon. Now onto the problem at hand.

The only reason to use the Animation codec is if you want transparency. You would render in the Animation codec, Millions of colors +, RGB+Alpha and straight (not Premultiplied). The files are huge. They're lossless. They won't play back in real time in FCP. They would need further rendering in FCP to play in real time... at which point, FCP will convert them to the codec of the edit timeline.

If you don't need transparency, Prores 422 is dandy. It's FCP's go-to codec. You can't go wrong with it. If you DO need trnasparency, ProRes 4444 is a wise choice: it supports alpha channels and the file size is smaller (in some cases) than Animation.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec
on Nov 11, 2015 at 6:04:32 pm

Yes, my mistake about ProRes 422 HQ being alpha. It's ProRes 4444 that supports transparency, as noted. That's what happens when you write from your iPhone laying in bed. Here's a spec sheet on the variations of Apple ProRes that you might want to read: click me.


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Michael Arnes
Re: Problem with FCP 6 - when importing footage to timeline, I lose RT options (unlimited RT, etc) - Animation codec
on Nov 11, 2015 at 6:41:48 pm

Thank you Dave & Christopher. I really appreciate the information. Still learning.


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