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Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?

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Ray Sherman
Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 23, 2019 at 2:20:33 pm

Hi, I have approx. 400 .AVI 720 x 480 29.97 (screenshot below) video clips that I need to convert to Apple ProRes 422. I have FCPX and heard that Compressor would do the conversion. I don’t have Compressor yet and would like to know if it would do the job for sure. If so, I would like to know which steps/settings to take for maintaining the best quality as well as converting it to a 16.9 aspect ratio without stretching it. Any information would be most appreciated. Thank you, Ray


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Eric Santiago
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 23, 2019 at 4:08:18 pm

If the AVI can be accessed on the Mac then Im sure it will.
The only problem is your OS.
Apple got rid of some codecs.


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Ray Sherman
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 24, 2019 at 8:01:58 pm

Thanks for the reply. I'm on a 2016 MacBook Pro with Mojave O.S. I need to convert all my .avi before updating to Catalina. I realize that there are many software companys offering the conversion from .avi to Apple ProRes but, I would rather use Apple Compressor instead. If Compressor can do the job, I would like to know the process before purchasing it. Thanks, Ray


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Joe Marler
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 24, 2019 at 8:19:44 pm

[Ray Sherman] "400 .AVI 720 x 480 29.97 (screenshot below) video clips that I need to convert to Apple ProRes 422. I have FCPX and heard that Compressor would do the conversion. I don’t have Compressor yet and would like to know if it would do the job for sure. If so, I would like to know which steps/settings to take for maintaining the best quality as well as converting it to a 16.9 aspect ratio without stretching it."

AVI is a container format which doesn't by itself indicate the codec inside. However common codecs for 720x480 29.97 material include DVCPro and DVCPro50.

There is a discrepancy between post-Mojave compatibility of this material as indicated by FCPX 10.4.7 vs the Apple article "About incompatible media in Final Cut Pro X":
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209000

The article states that DVCAM, DVCPro and DVCPro50 will be compatible with future versions of FCPX in Catalina and later.

However I have a lot of AVI files from a Panasonic AG-DVX100 using DVCPRO, and both FCPX 10.4.7 and Compressor 4.4.5 on Mojave raise warnings this will not be compatible with future versions of macOS after Mojave.

In general I'd use Compressor to bulk transcode those to ProRes or some other format that will be compatible in future versions.

Another complication is most of that material is interlaced 4:3 aspect ratio. You can't just blindly transcode it without extensive testing that the interlacing and aspect ratio is properly handled. Otherwise you could end up "baking in" interlaced material to a progressive project.

In FCPX I'd consider creating a custom project set to 720x480 29.97 *progressive*, import that material and use the FCPX deinterlace filter in Inspector>Info>Settings. Compressor gives more options on bit rate.

Closely inspect diagonal lines for aliasing and horizontal movement for comb-like interlace artifacts. If properly done it should be "hard deinterlaced" in FCPX and output should look good. Compare side-by-side to the original material played by Quicktime and by VLC. VLC allows manual control over deinterlacing and various deinterlace modes.

Make sure aspect ratio is as expected. Check for gamma shift or any other change vs the original material.

The quality of material from that era often wasn't great by current standards, so you'd have to decide whether ProRes output was warranted or just use H.264.

You can import the whole batch of AVI clips to FCPX and it will prompt you it will be incompatible in the future, and ask to convert it. If you say yes, it will transcode all of them to 720x480 29.97 *interlaced*, I think using ProRes, although the codec ID says MPEG-4. DVC and DVCPRO were all-intraframe formats so compression wasn't very good relative to H.264. The format specifier of the converted file is ProRes, vs "DV" for the original captured clip, and the converted clip bit rate is quite high, about 41 mbps vs 24 mbps from the original clip. For all these reasons I'd suggest picking a few test clips and doing various conversions to check the quality before you do 400.


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Ray Sherman
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 25, 2019 at 3:25:31 am

Thank you for all your help. Looks like I need to do a lot of testing before converting to ProRes. I have played some of these video clips in VLC which I have Deinterlace set to Automatic and Deinterlace Mode set to Blend. Video clips looked very good without banding, etc. I'm at a little loss due to being not having Compressor yet along with making the proper decisions for the best conversion. If Compressor will do the job, I will certainly download it for use. Thanks again for the help. Ray


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Joe Marler
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 25, 2019 at 11:21:09 am

You don't necessarily need Compressor for this. E.g, you could import all 400 clips to FCPX, answer "no" to the question of "Media...requires conversion to be compatible with future versions of macOS after macOS Mojave".

Select all clips in the event browser, in Inspector Info tab in the Settings view, select deinterlace checkbox.

Then batch export all 400 clips from FCPX event browser in a single operation. You could pick either H.264 or ProRes output codecs, depending on whether a close study of a few test clips showed any quality difference.

Batch export from FCPX has been available since 10.4.4: https://larryjordan.com/articles/final-cut-pro-x-10-4-4-batch-export/


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Ray Sherman
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 25, 2019 at 1:24:00 pm

Thank you Joe. I will defiantly go that route as you described. I wasn't aware that I could convert it in FCPX. I will do a few clips for testing as you suggested. Thank you again, I sincerely appreciate all your help for putting me on the right path. Ray πŸ‘πŸ˜Š


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Mark Suszko
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 25, 2019 at 5:21:22 pm

One more possible free/low cost option: ffmpeg, or the inexpensive version of it with a GUI.


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Ray Sherman
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 25, 2019 at 5:47:44 pm

Thanks.... I'll check it out. Ray


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Ray Sherman
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Nov 30, 2019 at 5:58:30 pm

Hi Joe, Thank you for all your help and taking the time in explaining the best way to reformat my .avi clips. I just got a chance to do some test comparisons between h264, ProRes LT, Prores 422 and ProRes 422 HQ. I chose Deinterlace in FCPX settings for the original .avi clips prior to doing so which definitely improved the video. Prores 422 looked as good as Prores HQ with the others falling a little behind in quality. I believe I'm going to batch convert all my clips to Prores 422. With that being said, is there any good way/procedure to reformat this video to a 16.9 ratio without stretching it? Thanks again, you've been a great help. Ray


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Joe Marler
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Dec 1, 2019 at 11:28:02 am

[Ray Sherman] "is there any good way/procedure to reformat this video to a 16.9 ratio without stretching it?"

If it is 4:3 and will be displayed on 16:9 screens, once choice (short of pan/scan, crop, etc) is "pillar box" it by putting the 4:3 material in a 16:9 project, deinterlace and export as (say) 720p 16:9. Another choice is export as a hard-deinterlaced 720x480 29.97p 4:3 file, and defer the aspect ratio issue to the next editor.

It is likely that archival material will be used in future projects which combine 16:9 material, so eventually someone will have to handle that. Options at that point include just accepting pillar box presentation for the old stuff, or selectively crop it , or a splitscreen or PiP presentation that minimizes the lower quality, or a blurred background similar to cell phone vertical video. Maybe others have better ideas.


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Ray Sherman
Re: Will Apple Compressor Convert .AVI to ProRes?
on Dec 1, 2019 at 2:47:15 pm

Thank you Joe,
You're comments look to be spot on....... I'll probably leave the aspect ratio as is due to not wanting to cause quality issues. As you know, 720 x 480 isn't the best for manipulating. On the flip side, deinterlacing made quite a noticable difference. I'm going to go with Prores 422. Now, I just need to make some external HD space for it. Thanks again for all your help and putting me on the right track. Ray πŸ‘πŸ˜Š


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