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David Traverser
need hlp understanding formats
on Aug 11, 2010 at 6:57:07 pm

Hello folks. This is my first post on this forum. This forum seems to be one of the most active for these topics.

I really need some help: My friend and I purchased a used PPC Mac G5 a few days ago with the hope of using it to edit short promo videos for our band. The computer came with the following specs:

Dual 2.0 ghz PPC processors
4 GB of ddr ram
ATI x800 xt video card
200 gb hard drive
osx 10.4.11

We installed Final Cut Studio 2

We have two Kodak zi8 cameras (I know, I know) and we typically shoot in it's 720p at 60 frames setting.

I have Mpeg streamclip so I can convert the files to many formats, but figuring out which formats are best for our needs gets really confusing. 99% of any video we make will end op on either youtube HD (720p) or Vimeo (also 720p).

The difficulty I'm having (and I promise I have searched tirelessly) is that no matter what format or combination of formats I choose, I can't seem to avoid several hours of exporting time, even for a 2 or 3 minute clip with no effects or transitions.

Here is what I've learned so far:

The fastest and best looking conversion for importing into FCP seems to be Streamclip's apple intermediate codec, 1280x720. FCP seems to respond well to this format as well, and I can edit, scrub, and preview with very high speed and quality. However, to export this in a compressed format suitable for youtube or vimeo takes hours! Even for a few minutes of footage with no effects or transitions.

Converting to a compressed format like h.264 before editing seems to cut down on the exporting time, but FCP doesn't like the format much, and responds very slowly and jerky.

Converting to apple prores ruins the quality on both ends.

I used to capture footage from a canon HV20 using HDVsplit, and I was able to edit, add effects, and render out for youtube HD in a fairly reasonable amount of time on my underpowered PC laptop. There has to be a way to get these kodak files in and out of FCP without spending an entire day converting before and after.

What I really want to know is, what format will save me the most time when editing and exporting. If I have to spend a few extra hours converting the kodak files before importing to FCP, but from there on, it's smooth sailing, that would be the best.

I hope I've described my situation in enough detail. Thank you so much to anyone who can make sense of this problem.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: need hlp understanding formats
on Aug 11, 2010 at 7:54:56 pm

Expect long render times.

Convert ur camera files to prorez.
Edit prorez.
Export Current settings (make a ref file).

Drop this file into compressor or ur fav compression software.
Make h.264 mov file for upload.

render overnite if u have to.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta


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Don Greening
Re: need hlp understanding formats
on Aug 11, 2010 at 7:55:07 pm

H.264 is a delivery codec, not an editing codec. That's why you're having trouble editing with it in FCP. Most people are going to tell you that converting to and editing with your Kodak media using ProRes is the way to go. I don't know why you're having quality issues with ProRes because everyone else will tell it's a great codec. Do a comparison conversion using a small piece of your media in both Apple Intermediate and in ProRes. Go with the codec that produces less of a file size with the same quality.

As far as output, export a QT movie using current settings and then use Compressor to encode to H.264 for the web. It's faster than the "Export Using Quicktime Conversion" command within FCP. Keep in mind that you're also converting, editing, rendering and compressing in HD and that takes longer to do than SD. Especially on your machine which is not particularly fast by today's standards.

- Don

Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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David Traverser
Re: need hlp understanding formats
on Aug 11, 2010 at 8:05:34 pm

Thanks guys. I think the 2 step process you mentioned might be the key to my puzzle. I don't mind long rendering times (remember I'm coming from a PC laptop running vegas) But EXTREMELY long rendering times just didn't make sense, especially since this G5 is more powerful than my laptop, even though it's old by today's mac tower standards.

The prores codec just doesn't seem to like my Zi8 files, the result is a lot of clarity loss, and it takes a lot longer than the intermediate codec, which seems to be able to convert from the camera file in roughly 1:1 time. I'll report back shortly with my findings on the steps you suggested.

Thanks again for the quick response!


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Rafael Amador
Re: need hlp understanding formats
on Aug 12, 2010 at 4:58:28 am

No Point to convert it in H264, because that is already the file format.
It should work OK with Prores, but if not, you may try 8b Uncompress or DVCProHD.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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