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Importing HDV into FCPX

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Robin King
Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 16, 2011 at 4:01:44 pm

I have a supplier who has shot some HDV (1080/50i) and wants to supply it to me as files rather than tapes. He only has FCPX and not much idea what he's doing. I don't have FCPX and haven't used it, but I need to tell him how to import the tapes, then find the native HDV imported footage in his Finder in order to copy it to an external HDD to send to me. I would really appreciate it if anyone with FCPX could walk me through the menu options etc I need to pass on to this guy so that I don't get a folder full of H.264 or something...


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Rick Lang
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 16, 2011 at 4:50:15 pm

Robin, are right that the client needs to copy the HDV media in the Finder to the hard disk drive (or thumb drive) the client plans to give you. If it is possible, you could walk the client through the steps just by referring to the Help file. There’s no real manual yet, but when you load this link below in your web browser, in the upper right corner, you’ll see a printer icon—click that and it will load the entire PDF in the browser ready for printing. Then you can save it to your desktop (Save as PDF) rather than physically printing the file.

Here’s the link to the FCP X Help screens:
http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/?lang=en

Import Steps:
  • Launch FCP X;
  • Connect the camera to the computer with the Firewire cable;
  • Turn on the camera in playback mode with the tape rewound to the beginning of the clips he wants to send to you;
  • In FCP X, select menu item Import from Camera;
  • Chose when prompted to Create New Event—could call it Robin or something meaningful to the client;
  • Make sure the option Create Optimized Media is not selected (so FCP X will store only the HDV media); all other options can also be deselected;
  • Click Import and FCP X will import the HDV media until you Stop Import or run out of clips on the tape.


If there is more than one tape, the second and subsequent tape imports will not be to a new event presumably; the client will tick the selection Add to Existing event “Robin” and then carry on...

In Finder, search for the name of the unique Event that was used to store the media, such as “Robin";
Drag the Event folder “Robin” to the external hard disk or thumb drive to copy all the media for you;
Drag the external disk to the Trash in order to eject it safely.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Robin King
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 17, 2011 at 10:30:56 am

Rick, thank you so much! That was exactly what I needed and very much appreciated!


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Rick Lang
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:07:15 am

Thanks for your comment. Craig is right though, best to walk the client through the process over the phone if possible.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Tom Cecil
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 17, 2011 at 1:29:12 pm

Hello Rick
1st--Sorry to bother you.. I've searched the net trying to find an answer to this question--(I was just about to buy FCPX when I saw the post about capture issues)---Does anyone know if the Sony HVR-V1U (tape based) will work with FCPX? The Apple site does not list this camera as compatible.
Thanks again for any help-
Tom


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Rick Lang
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:05:20 am

I believe the list of certified cameras refers to cameras that Apple has verified. They do mention that most HDV/DV cameras that transfer data to the computer via Firewire will work. Since this Sony HVR-V1U camera does work with Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express, I think it should work. Can’t guarantee it but you might research on Apple Discussions or other online forums. If you are buying this from a third-party perhaps you can strike an arrangement where you are allowed to verify it will work with FCP X before completing the purchase.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Tom Cecil
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 18, 2011 at 2:03:49 pm

Thanks Rick!


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Vincent D'Angelis
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Nov 4, 2011 at 8:10:30 am

[Rick Lang] "Make sure the option Create Optimized Media is not selected (so FCP X will store only the HDV media); all other options can also be deselected;"


hi Rick - i was just reading this thread, and figured you might be able to shed some light on this question I have - I have a HMC150 that records AVCHD onto SDHC cards -

i noticed in this thread you mention not to check "create optimized media" -

I am trying to figure out the best way to import/store this AVCHD footage - but don't really fully understand what all of these options are -

I tried selecting "create optimized media" for 2 imports so far (and the time it takes is unbelievable for it to do the transcoding (i assume thats what its doing?) - the background task after initially importing was like almost 5 hours for a one hour clip of 720 footage!

but i read somewhere that if you don't check either "proxy" or "optimized" then the import is native (not really sure what that means either)...

best way to import/store footage?

any help or insight is much appreciated! thanks!

- Vince


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Rick Lang
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Nov 4, 2011 at 4:25:03 pm

[Vincent D'Angelis] "I tried selecting "create optimized media" for 2 imports so far (and the time it takes is unbelievable for it to do the transcoding (i assume thats what its doing?) - the background task after initially importing was like almost 5 hours for a one hour clip of 720 footage!"

If you’re doing this on your 2011 iMac with 16 GB of RAM, that does seem too long. The experts hopefully will correct me if I have any errors in this response to you. When you create optimized media, FCPX is going to create ProRes 4:2:2 files I believe even though your input may be AVCHD from your camera or SDHC memory card. It does this because it can quickly process your frames when you are applying effects for example in your timeline. But you do not have to do that initial conversion when you ingest your media. You can leave it as AVCHD format if you wish. If FCPX needs to transcode it to ProRes or anything else you specify, that can occur later as needed. Still I would think that the optimize step on ingest is likely desirable and should occur pretty much in real time, an hour’s worth of video should take an hour or so to import.

There’s a chance it is taking a long time analyzing your video for tagging metacode in the Event library (where it can create smart entries for the type of shot and number of people in the shot), colour or image stabilization and so on. You can turn all the analysis steps off and do analysis later as needed such as it you see a particular clip would benefit from image stabilization). Try turning everything off when you import some few minutes of video as a test and see how quickly it goes.

Let us know what you find, good luck.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Rick Lang
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Nov 4, 2011 at 4:40:40 pm

[Vincent D'Angelis] "I tried selecting "create optimized media" for 2 imports so far (and the time it takes is unbelievable for it to do the transcoding (i assume thats what its doing?) - the background task after initially importing was like almost 5 hours for a one hour clip of 720 footage!"

If you’re doing this on your 2011 iMac with 16 GB of RAM, that does seem too long. The experts hopefully will correct me if I have any errors in this response to you. When you create optimized media, FCPX is going to create ProRes 4:2:2 files I believe even though your input may be AVCHD from your camera or SDHC memory card. It does this because it can quickly process your frames when you are applying effects for example in your timeline. But you do not have to do that initial conversion when you ingest your media. You can leave it as AVCHD format if you wish. If FCPX needs to transcode it to ProRes or anything else you specify, that can occur later as needed. Still I would think that the optimize step on ingest is likely desirable and should occur pretty much in real time, an hour’s worth of video should take an hour or so to import.

There’s a chance it is taking a long time analyzing your video for tagging metacode in the Event library (where it can create smart entries for the type of shot and number of people in the shot), colour or image stabilization and so on. You can turn all the analysis steps off and do analysis later as needed such as it you see a particular clip would benefit from image stabilization). Try turning everything off when you import some few minutes of video as a test and see how quickly it goes.

Let us know what you find, good luck.


[Vincent D'Angelis] "i read somewhere that if you don't check either "proxy" or "optimized" then the import is native (not really sure what that means either)...

best way to import/store footage?"


In your case “native” means AVCHD, the codec used by your camera; for me, it’s HDV (Canon HV20 tape) or H.264(iPhone 4S).

The best way to import is discussed above if by “best”, you mean quickest. Transcoding to ProRes may be “best” in terms of the speed of timeline edits and effects you’ll apply. I believe it will store your media in the event in whatever form you tell it to use upon ingest. That could be AVCHD or ProRes depending upon your choice.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Vincent D'Angelis
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Nov 5, 2011 at 7:17:51 am

Hi Rick - thanks for responding...

yes, it's on my new imac with all of the loaded specs...

the only box i checked during import was "create optimized media" - all other boxes were unchecked...

this thought just occurred to me - is it possible that it will take that long if you are also playing around with the program (editing) while its doing this background transcoding? (in other words, is it best to just leave the program alone maybe and not do any editing while it's importing/transcoding?) - because i was playing around with the program (trying to learn it) when i imported...


[Rick Lang] "But you do not have to do that initial conversion when you ingest your media. You can leave it as AVCHD format "

if you don't do the initial conversion, then how do you import it as AVCHD format? I'm thinking you leave both "proxy" and "optimized" unchecked?

if you import the AVCHD format as is, is this what they refer to as "native" right?

I just saw on IZZY's tutorials for fcpx that he recommends first "archiving" the footage for your first import... if you did this, I'm thinking this would then first be saving/storing the footage "natively?"

this actually makes more sense to me, isn't it smart to store the footage natively?


[Rick Lang] "If FCPX needs to transcode it to ProRes or anything else you specify, that can occur later as needed."

if i import natively (which i think is what the "archiving" will do, how do you then know when to tell fcpx to transcode it to prores? or as you say "as needed" ?


[Rick Lang] "The best way to import is discussed above if by “best”, you mean quickest."

by best, i really mean just which way is best to save/store the footage - natively? or through the "optimized" transcoding method? -> if you initially "create optimized" when you first import, does this mean the footage is then saved in the hard drive as the prores form? -> what about "proxy" ?

I think one of the reasons why I am so concerned about how to properly save/store my footage is because I am planning to eventually partition the mac with windows 7 so I can also work with Avid Studio - I plan to use MACDRIVE software so windows can recognize the mac external - and I'm concerned that if the files are saved "in a mac way" like for example, if they are converted to prores files & stored/saved this way, then doesn't that mean Avid Studio won't be able to import these files? (i believe i read somewhere that "prores" are mac only files - which is why I'm thinking that maybe its best for me to save/store "natively" - ?

sorry for all of the questions - i'm still very green with all of this, and i'm kind of under some time pressure to make a film... actually alot of time pressure - !

i miss working with my consumer camcorder & my pinnacle editing system!
- it was so simple... lol

i never thought "going to the next level" with a "pro camera" & a "more professional editing system" would cause me such headaches! All of these different manual functions & recording modes on the camera, & codecs, & transcodings, & compressions... its making me crazy! - lol

But I totally appreciate your time & help!

Thanks Rick -

- Vince


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Rick Lang
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Nov 5, 2011 at 7:10:54 pm

[Vincent D'Angelis] "is it possible that it will take that long if you are also playing around with the program (editing) while its doing this background transcoding"

If you’re very busy playing, then the background transcoding is stopped. Likely start-stop-start-stop etc. There’s a preference for how many seconds it waits after you stop your activity before the background task resumes to give your tasks top priority. So it should go faster if it’s the only thing running. I know Apple promotes the fact you can begin to edit immediately, but I’d naturally wait until it was finished ingesting the clips (or skip the optimized media and use AVCHD natively if it performs well enough for you). I don’t know what else is running concurrently on your system but if it was disk intensive, it could also slow your progress with the transcoding.


[Vincent D'Angelis] "I'm thinking you leave both "proxy" and "optimized" unchecked?"

Proxy will give you a much smaller version of your files (one-quarter the size?) and might be useful if you were taking the files with you to edit on a laptop. No need for you to ever use proxy on your iMac. If all boxes are unchecked, then it will just use the AVCHD format natively until it needs to use anything else for effects or transitions I believe.


[Vincent D'Angelis] "isn't it smart to store the footage natively?"

Yes, because your originals are on a media card that will soon be wiped when you reuse them. I don’t use an archive because I’m using tape. When I do anything important (to me) with the iPhone 4S video, then I’ll need to archive those originals too.


[Vincent D'Angelis] "how do you then know when to tell fcpx to transcode it to prores?"

If you want to share your media outside FCP X, then you may want to share it as ProRes 4:2:2 since that is supported by most other programs you may want to use. For example, if you wanted to colour grade the video in DaVinci Resolve. When I said, “as needed”, I meant that sometimes FCP X will render a portion of your AVCHD video in the timeline as ProRes before it applies some effects you’ve requested. You don’t need to do anything specific then as FCP X takes care of it.


[Vincent D'Angelis] "if you initially "create optimized" when you first import, does this mean the footage is then saved in the hard drive as the prores form? -> what about "proxy" ?"

Yes. Proxy will make another version of your files that are about one-quartre the size I think (have not done it to verify). But you don’t need to bother with proxy files as discussed above.


[Vincent D'Angelis] "i believe i read somewhere that "prores" are mac only files"

ProRes is not “Mac only” but you should verify Avid’s input requirements with Avid (or in their forums). You appear to meet the recommended requirements for using AVCHD with Avid Studio. Remember ProRes can also be limited to use while you are editing in FCP X. When you want to go to another product, you can always convert your file to something compatible if needed. ProRes is designed to be the most efficient way to work within the FCP X product family, but you can go to another format for interfacing with another program. Avid runs on a Mac, so you could consider if that will make things simpler rather than using the Windows version if you’re moving beyond Avid Pinnacle.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Vincent D'Angelis
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Nov 6, 2011 at 2:31:41 pm

Hi Rick -

Thanks so much for your input, & for taking the time answer my questions...
- I really appreciate it!

i plan to do another import today so I am going to leave the system alone this time, & also import natively (and not check either box) - so hopefully this will do the trick so i can get this workflow figured out so i can start concentrating on making my film... the technical aspects have been quite challenging to get a grip on up to this point... (to say the least!)

Avid Studio unfortunately is only Windows (The Pro Avid Media Composer) is the only Avid editing system (that I'm aware of) that is also made for Mac. - Because I learned on Pinnacle (and made two short films on Pinnacle) naturally I'm very drawn to the Pinnacle platform - which I do think is great, so when Avid Studio came out, I immediately wanted it (because it's like their pro version of Pinnacle) but i was extremely disappointed to see that it's only Windows (because I knew I was going to get an iMac) - which is why I am playing with the idea of partitioning the iMac (but I think for now I may just keep it simple & go with fcpx for this film) - as it feels like I have enough on my plate right now... But if Avid Studio was also made for Mac I would already own it for sure! (then it would be a perfect world!) - lol

But I like what you are saying that if I eventually want to go Avid Studio, and if I need to convert files that I can do that - or at least it sounds like I have hope for a Windows based editing system (if my files were initially imported through a Mac system into a formatted Mac external hard drive...

funny you mention that you work with tape (i believe you said you're working with HDV) - when I was shopping for my camera, my decision was between the HMC150 (with the tapeless SDHC technology) or a Cannon XH A1S HDV camera (which I almost feel like i should have gotten at this point because of all of the aggravation I've endured so far with the AVCHD technicalities)... I felt tape was "safer" because it would have been straight forward to import & work with - but then went for the tapeless system because it felt like that's where it's all headed... so it is what it is at this point i guess... lol

there are definitely advantages to tapeless solid state, but learning the ins & outs with this technology have been far more challenging than I ever dreamed they'd be - but it's getting there...

Thanks again Rick!
Your time & guidance has been much appreciated!

- Vince


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Craig Seeman
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Jul 16, 2011 at 4:54:13 pm

Have you played "telephone?"

Conveying information to someone with no FCPX experience to someone else who doesn't know how to use FCPX is a recipe for disaster.

There are many great and inexpensive tutorial resources. Ripple Training for $40, Larry Jordan $99, Izzy Video FREE, the FCPX help manual also explains camera import.

Since FCPX does media optimization if enabled, it can be transcoded to ProRes in the background.

One doesn't need to own FCPX to look at it's Tape import instructions since the Help in online at Apple's site. I could cut and paste that section of the Help but really all you or your need do is read it. THEN if there's a problem, come back and ask for troubleshooting help.




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giordano cagnin
Re: Importing HDV into FCPX
on Sep 21, 2011 at 11:51:56 am

Hello everybody... I have a problem importing HDV footage on Fcpx.
I have a MBP 15 inches, late 2010, 4GB Ram, FCP X and a CANON HV30.
When I try to import from HV30 via Firewire, I can see the video playback scoring on the interface of FCPX, then I click "Import". When the job is done (I've tried several footage lengths, from a few seconds to an hour), I close the importing interface. Here's the problem: on the Event containing the imported footage, I can find the file but it appears to be OFFLINE (I mean visually there is the the Red stripe with the exclamation mark meaning that the file is not available.)
So I checked the folder on the Hard Disc and the mov file created IS THERE where it should be! (Final Cut Pro Events/Event/Original media)
So it sounds like FCPX can't link to the imported file even though the file has been imported....
I've tried to generate a proxy file, and it works: I can see the footage on the Events track list and I can work with it, but I don't want to convert every time in proxy resolution.
Anyone can help me?

PS. I have no problems importing with FCP7 on the same MBP .

Thank you very very much...
Jordan


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