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Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?

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Aryn Leigh
Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?
on Mar 26, 2015 at 6:30:49 pm


My workflow for XDCAM footage has so far been to transcode in FCP7's Log/Transfer window, then bring the new files into Premiere 8.

Is this the optimal way to do this (for clips that need converting in general), or should I be using another program instead? I assume that FCP's Log & Transfer function generates a native FCP container, but not sure if this is detrimental to the files when brought into Premiere.



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Shane Ross
Re: Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?
on Mar 26, 2015 at 6:55:14 pm

You don't need to convert the footage at all. Simply use the Media Browser in Premiere, and bring it into the project. Premiere handles this format natively, no converting needed.

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Aryn Leigh
Re: Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?
on Mar 26, 2015 at 7:24:31 pm


I've had some issues in the past with AVCHD files, where upon import, the timeline wouldn't play back audio. As a result I've been a little nervous about importing raw files.

The major concern is that this is in regards to a long-form documentary. People have reported having major issues with playback/crashing with mixed formats when timelines get long.

Is there any performance advantages in converting everything to a uniform codec (i.e. ProRes HQ?)

Thanks again,


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Ht Davis
Re: Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?
on Mar 26, 2015 at 9:34:07 pm

Short Version:
Yes... ...Well Maybe...

If all the video matches FPS and field order of the sequence, you won't have to render to play it straight through in the sequence.

My Workflow:
Get initial files from CLIENT (card or other media with the camera files; I disk image all cards to start with). I go to AME and output 2 files of each video, one full decompress or LT prores, and one proxy (both then have extremely high quality and I can output both with 1 job\2outputs in AME). Then I load the full format into premiere, sequence it, then relink to the proxy, interpret to the size of the sequence if the res is lower (I rarely drop res, but for 4k, I drop to 1080 and preview at 1080). Occaisionally I have to render out for playback, but rarely. With all of the proxies, I usually get okay playback performance with multi camera up to 5 cams. I do a lot of editing on my mobile...

My setup:
mobile is a macbook pro (2009) with mavericks, 2xhdd (removed cddrive) each at 1tb, 4gb ram, 2.16ghz core2 duo and geforce 8600m 256mb gfx

imac 21 or 27 inch i5 early 2015 all in one, 1tbhdd, graphics of 1gb.

Okay,I lied... ...I do all my main edits on my mobile... I'm saving up for a tower either full mac or mackintosh.
I use compressor for compressing to 264 and batch it out. It actually gets better compression even when I only use my mobile and not the iMac.
Make sure you use the fastest drive interface for your machine (i.e., put full prores on a raid on thunderbolt or usb3, cache on internal, previews on thunderbolt or usb3 keeping audio an video together). I use esata hub with it's own expresscard for prores full and keep proxies on a disk image with all the other working files (previews etc) either internal or on a firewire RAID. I keep an image backup of the RAID drives on an esata external with 4tb drive. It gets hot, but it doesn't slow down. The mobile is all mine, but the other is a family machine as well, and I can share compressor batches, but I don't dare tie it up for work... ...the heavens and the wife wouldn't allow.

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Aryn Leigh
Re: Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:10:10 am

This is great!! Thank you so much for this info.

I'm assuming the re-linking process at the very end is very straightforward.

Question- What is the advantage of using LT prores in this case above (Rather than full decompress or ProRes HQ)?

And... how would you say Compressor is better (Than AME I assume) for batch outputs of H.264 files?

Thank you again!

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Ht Davis
Re: Converting MXF / XDCAM footage in FCP7. Legit for Premiere?
on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:50:51 am
Last Edited By Ht Davis on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:53:57 am

Relink by right click on clip in project panel, make offline, then right click again and choose relink, pick the full file.

Pro-Res LT is a "lighter" or slightly compressed version of full pro-res. The advantage is space. With multiple camera angles, you will be taking up a lot more space with full pro-res, and you won't be able to tell the difference on the output end with 1080i or lower. At 1080p, you look really, really, really, really close, and you might be able to tell. It takes up 1\2 to 2\3 the space.

Compressor has proven to make smaller files with similar settings, but that's only because it stays more strict to what you set. I would Use AME for fixing problems with frame rates (like dropped frames causing sync problems) and go to pro-res. I might then output an h.264 file for youtube using AME, with settings that are close to internet standard speed usage; it handles it well enough for that use. However, when I try to go to Blu-Ray, I need better compression and I need access to the Progressive video 1080p format of AVCHD. Compressor also allows me to send the encoding for that to another machine, and I can rent a studio or set of computers for that for a couple of hours to get great output. I then link that to encore and build my disc as I please. AME only does SONY compatible Blu-ray formats, and has some issues with 2pass VBR with HIGH bit rate profiles (4.1 or above). Compressor handles that better. Compressor is better for some encodes, but not all. Mainly DVD and Blu-ray, which take considerably longer, and need audio and video to be encoded separately.
Also, Compressor lets me separate encodes across several machines by farming or by sending different jobs to separate machines over a network. It saves a lot of encoding time, and if you allow job segmenting, it will split the jobs between sets of machines, speeding up the encodes. I've heard rumors that AME is developing a similar function. Haven't seen it yet.

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