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What's best way to reduce a lot of footage to just the usable clips?

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Tim Wilde
What's best way to reduce a lot of footage to just the usable clips?
on Nov 13, 2017 at 4:52:51 am

I'm curious what workflow people here use when faced with a ton of footage and they want to first cull out the unusable footage. I am not referring to simply using FCPX's rating system, because my goal is to reduce the amount of hard drive space used so I can move the usable footage to an SSD for editing.

It's occurred to me that I could assemble a sequence of the usable clips on the timeline and then use Worx4X to spit out the desired much smaller clips, but maybe there's a better way.


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Noah Kadner
Re: What's best way to reduce a lot of footage to just the usable clips?
on Nov 13, 2017 at 7:21:56 am

That's pretty much the only real way to go if the goal is to save hard drive space.

Noah

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Joe Marler
Re: What's best way to reduce a lot of footage to just the usable clips?
on Nov 13, 2017 at 1:11:51 pm

[Tim Wilde] "...what workflow people here use when faced with a ton of footage and they want to first cull out the unusable footage. I am not referring to simply using FCPX's rating system, because my goal is to reduce the amount of hard drive space used so I can move the usable footage to an SSD for editing.

It's occurred to me that I could assemble a sequence of the usable clips on the timeline and then use Worx4X to spit out the desired much smaller clips, but maybe there's a better way."


I'm editing a large documentary which is currently 12.5 terabytes and will probably peak at about 20 TB. Most of this is 4k H264.

The old way of handling this was scrub through the content before ingest, pick out the good parts and only import those. However the most valuable commodity in video production is time, and nothing is faster than FCPX at skimming and classifying material. So I just import everything using "leave files in place" which does not consume more disk space.

H264 4k material generally requires proxies for smoothest performance, so I create those. That takes a while but using a proxy-only workflow it's a one-time cost by one person. The proxies can be passed to downstream editors, saving both time and disk space for everyone else. For details of a proxy-only workflow see Ripple Training's 10.3 media management tutorial.

Re reducing drive space to allow editing on SSD, that normally is not necessary. In most cases on most computers, SSD does not contribute dramatically to real-world editing performance vs an equivalent spinning drive array, and trying to cram everything into an SSD eats the most valuable thing you have -- time. I have an 8TB four-drive RAID-0 Thunderbolt 2 SSD array, and it's very fast but in real world FCPX editing I can't tell much difference between that and a spinning four-drive RAID-0 array.

If you are editing 1080p H264 you don't usually need proxies or optimized media, and media is smaller than 4k or lower-compression codecs. If you are editing 4k H264 you generally need proxies which add about 60% to the space. Optimized media multiplies space requirements by about 6x, yet doesn't improve quality any so I normally don't use it. If you're using ProRes acquisition, that's nice because 4k can be edited smoothly without proxies but it's typically too large to fit on most SSDs.

In general, time is more valuable than disk space, and SSD does not dramatically improve real-world editing performance for most situations. Therefore I would not usually recommend restructuring your entire workflow around cramming everything into an SSD.

You can usually import with "leave files in place" which is very fast and takes no more data than already used by the media itself. Exceptions are AVCHD and tree-oriented formats like XAVC-S. AVCHD should be rewrapped, preferably using EditReady. XAVC-S can be re-wrapped or the bare files moved to a folder and imported from there. This is not an ideal practice due to losing metadata but so far I haven't seen a problem with it.

Re trimming clips to save space, for better or worse FCPX media management is currently designed around entire clips, not clip ranges. Clip ranges are presented as a database "view", but the backing clip is the entire file. There is no simple way to trim these, although that's a long-requested enhancement.

Yes you can copy a bunch of stuff to a timeline and export that or use Works4 X on a timeline (with several limitations): https://worx4.com/Worx4-X/worx4-x-features.html

However that is a lot of time and work to save what is a fairly cheap commodity -- disk space. If your goal is driven by the perception that SSD is important for editing performance, this may not be correct. Your most time-effective solution might be just using a sufficiently fast hard drive or spinning drive array, accepting how FCPX is currently designed, and working with its strengths.


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Brian Seegmiller
Re: What's best way to reduce a lot of footage to just the usable clips?
on Nov 13, 2017 at 11:32:28 pm

When you import your video through the import window you should be able to select the ranges and import only those ranges. Depending on what you are importing from.


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