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Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback

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Matt Surf
Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback
on Dec 17, 2010 at 11:01:20 am

Hi there,

I recently took the plunge and bought a 2.93Ghz, 8GB Ram, IMac I7 for use with Final Cut Studio 2.

For my new project, I recently converted some Canon EOS 550d H264 footage in MPEG Streamclip using the XDCam 1080p 30 setting and also have some XDCam HDV footage imported direct from the camera's files.

However, when I put the converted clips on the timeline the Canvas only shows them in low quality, with aliasing and juddery playback. I've changed my settings to Unlimited RT but there doesn't seem to be any improvement.

Can anyone suggest why this might be and what the workaround is? I can't believe that my quad core PC running Vegas Pro 9 can handle these files better than my brand new Mac ... could it???

Thanks in advance

Matt


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walter biscardi
Re: Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback
on Dec 17, 2010 at 11:48:39 am

[Matt Surf] "For my new project, I recently converted some Canon EOS 550d H264 footage in MPEG Streamclip using the XDCam 1080p 30 setting and also have some XDCam HDV footage imported direct from the camera's files."

Wow, that's a terrible conversion. You're adding so much compression to the H264 switching over to XDCAM. Convert all your files to ProRes and try again.



[Matt Surf] "However, when I put the converted clips on the timeline the Canvas only shows them in low quality, with aliasing and juddery playback. I've changed my settings to Unlimited RT but there doesn't seem to be any improvement."

Have you RENDERED the clips and then looked at them? Particularly if you have your RT playback set up for Dynamic playback. RealTime playback just does whatever is necessary to maintain PLAYBACK of your files, irregardless of quality. So FCP will dynamically drop the quality of your video to maintain proper frame rate. When you have mixed formats, multiple layers of video, graphics, etc... this is what FCP does. Sacrifices playback quality for frame rate.



[Matt Surf] "I can't believe that my quad core PC running Vegas Pro 9 can handle these files better than my brand new Mac ... could it???"

Vegas is Sony. XDCAM is Sony. Who do you think will work with the format best?

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" Winner, Best Documentary, LA Reel Film Festival...

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Matt Surf
Re: Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback
on Dec 17, 2010 at 3:45:04 pm

Thanks for the response Walter. Yeah, I used XDCam on the recommendation of DSLR guru Philip Bloom on his blog site - didn't realise there was a downside too :0)

I'll try the Pro Res option and see how I go. Could I ask what FCP system settings you have to ensure the best possible quality Vs workflow set up or is this something that constantly changes depending on the project?

Best wishes

Matt


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Shane Ross
Re: Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback
on Dec 17, 2010 at 5:25:51 pm

[Matt Surf] "I used XDCam on the recommendation of DSLR guru Philip Bloom on his blog site - "

I find it troubling that a VERY smart and talented man like Philip Bloom is recommending converting the DSLR footage to XDCAM. ProRes is always the choice for FCP.

[Matt Surf] "Could I ask what FCP system settings you have to ensure the best possible quality Vs workflow set up or is this something that constantly changes depending on the project?"

Always sequence settings that match your clip settings. If you have ProRes clips, use a ProRes sequence. FCP will automatically do this for you if you run FCP 6 or 7. If you are MIXING formats, like XDCAM and ProRes. Use a ProRes timeline. Don't use a GOP format sequence for any non-GOP formatted media...like ProRes.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
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Matt Surf
Re: Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback
on Dec 18, 2010 at 10:07:13 am

Thanks all

Matt


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Matt Surf
Re: Best Imac I7 settings for HDV playback
on Dec 22, 2010 at 9:22:50 am

Thanks for your advice - I encoded to Pro Res as you recommended and it now works a treat! I'll leave a comment on Phillip Bloom's blog about this when I get time too.

Thanks again

Matt


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