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Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems

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Christopher McDonell
Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems
on Nov 2, 2016 at 5:11:04 pm

Hi. I've been trying to figure this out on my own but am so far stumbling. My timeline is HDV 29.97 1080p (with ProRes 422 for rendering). FCP 6. I'm trying to bring in some footage shot on iPhone 5 as well as a video sent to me from India via WhatsApp.

The iPhone 5 footage seemed fairly straightforward. I used Compressor to transcode the footage but while it plays smoothly in QT (even though the frame rate changes throughout, from 22-30), it looks pretty horrible in FCP. Why on earth does the iPhone record at 26.62 FPS (as shown in QT's inspector?) Surely it's this variable frame-rate that's causing the motion blurring. Is this what I'm stuck with or is there a better workaround?

My problem's even worse with the WhatsApp video. I can't get it to transcode properly yet with audio. QT's inspector shows it as:

AVC Coding
640 x 352
FPS: 16.59

Compressor's attempt to transcode it to ProRes fails to include the audio. I've also noticed that it doesn't play with audio in QT Pro 7 while it does in the latest version of QT. I'm looking at other options (FLV, Handbrake)... Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Christopher

My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems
on Nov 2, 2016 at 6:01:50 pm

Well I solved the WhatsApp conversion problem. Had to export an .mov with the latest version of QT, then import that into Compressor and go from there. Unfortunately, there's no control over the export (just 480p). But it worked!

Strangely, my attempts with QT Pro didn't work at all. Wouldn't even play it properly. Same goes with VLC.

My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems
on Nov 3, 2016 at 2:40:21 pm

I don't get it -- what do you mean by, "it worked"? Variable frame rate footage, when converted to a constant frame rate, will always show motion changes. Perhaps you can't see them because the video's so small.

480 footage in a 1080 timeline won't look exactly stellar, either.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Christopher McDonell
Re: Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems
on Nov 3, 2016 at 7:13:39 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks for responding. The problem I was having with the WhatsApp video was that I couldn't figure out how to bring it into FCP with audio. The video itself didn't work. First generation attempts with Compressor didn't work. So I had to export the original file into an .mov with QT 10 (no setting controls) then import that into Compressor and transcode a ProRes version from there.

I guess my question re: the variable frame rate, is why does the iPhone 5 shoot that way to begin with? I haven't looked into it but I wonder if it shoots constant fps with the 6 or 7. Too late now but maybe there's an app I could've used to control the fps.

My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems
on Nov 3, 2016 at 9:57:52 pm

Yes, there IS INDEED an app for that. You'll have to look it up; the cameras I use can't take phone calls.

You know all those "Shot On An iPhone" spots? I have five whole American dollars that say such an app was running on those babies.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Roger Poole
Re: Converting H.264 to ProRes - variable frame rate problems
on Nov 7, 2016 at 1:38:48 am

Christopher, I believe the variable frame rate is Apple's way of controlling the exposure because the iPhone doesn't have an iris in the real sense of the word. What gets me though is the target frame rate of 30fps, when the majority of the world including China where they make them is on 25fps. However, Filmic Pro is the App you may be thinking of. It gives fixed frame rates of 24, 25, 30 and more, depending on hardware. Also various aspect ratio's, focus lock, exposure lock, etc. Can be a bit clunky but does a good job.


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