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Cameron Campbell
Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 1:30:01 am

Question for the forum:

Anyone import and use .h264 files in Final Cut?

I tried to import .h264 files in FCP 5.1.4 and it gave me the error 'File Error. Unknown file.'

Is there something I'm missing?
Is there an upgrade that will recognize this file type?
Or is this something Final Cut Studio 2 will recognize?

Thanks for your time in advance!

--
Regards,

CAMERON CAMPBELL
LUSTRE Communications, Inc.
110 Union Street, Suite 510
Seattle, Washington 98101

Office: 206.622.0486 x201
Fax: 206.622.0487
Mobile: 206.953.2194

<http://lustrecommunications.com>


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Tom Wolsky
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 1:36:37 am

H.264 is a delivery format, not a production format. You need to convert the media into a suitable format. What that is depends on what the files are and what their frame size is.



All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP6," "Basic Training for FCS2" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 3.5 HD Editing Workshop"


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Cameron Campbell
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 2:10:34 am

Thanks Tom.

The only problem is that the client supplied a major amount of footage in .h264 and, although this is clearly not the ideal format, this edit is only for a new business pitch.

With this said, is it at all possible to work with .h264?

Thanks again for you time.

--
Regards,

CAMERON CAMPBELL
LUSTRE Communications, Inc.
110 Union Street, Suite 510
Seattle, Washington 98101

Office: 206.622.0486 x201
Fax: 206.622.0487
Mobile: 206.953.2194

<http://lustrecommunications.com>

Cameron Campbell
LUSTRE Communications
Seattle/NYC


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walter biscardi
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 2:13:05 am

[Cameron Campbell] "With this said, is it at all possible to work with .h264?"

In FCP 6.0.2 you can simply drag in the first clip to a Sequence and FCP will automatically set up a timeline to match your footage. BUT H.264 is notorious for crashing and locking up FCP often. As Tom notes, this is a finishing format, not an editing format.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
Read my Blog!
View Walter Biscardi's profile on LinkedIn


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Zak Mussig
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 3:03:34 pm

I feel like this is one of those instances where you should go back to the client and tell them how their delivered assets affect your process. There's definitely going to be some more time involved on your end whether it be transcoding or rendering, and your system performance probably won't be great if you try to edit the h.264 natively.

More time means more money, so maybe the original source will magically become available to you (assuming this wasn't just shot on some consumer avchd camera), or at least extra charges won't come as a surprise to them later.

I've had several instances in which a DV tape "turns up" after I explain to a client the extra time involved when they give me an avi, MPEG2, or some other non-FCP friendly file.

Zak


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Gonzalo Gagliardi
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Feb 1, 2011 at 6:51:09 pm

Compress to quicktime .mov same frame size, use stream clip. compressor etc. Im having the same problem ill be trying too. Very sure it work.


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David Peralta
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 2:29:21 am

if you're looking to convert a bunch and you said quality isnt an issue, just use mpeg streamclip and convert to whatever codec you want to edit with, easiest is probally DV-NTSC.




hmm... I wonder what this button does...


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Tom Brooks
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 4:44:24 pm

There are probably variations of H.264 that are unknown to Final Cut, although in general, it should recognize most formats that Quicktime itself recognizes. Looks like some experimentation and batch converting are in order.


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gary adcock
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 5:04:03 pm

[Tom Brooks] "There are probably variations of H.264 that are unknown to Final Cut, although in general, it should recognize most formats that Quicktime itself recognizes."

no.
sorry- FCP is an editing program and there are many format that FCP cannot see, even with the WMV drivers from Flip 4Mac, there is NO way that I can edit in that codec.

WMV and h.264 are delivery codecs, and there are even less useable in FCP than Mpeg2 files.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Tom Brooks
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 5, 2008 at 7:31:54 pm

[gary adcock] "no."

Tell Apple that. It works in a pinch. The codec isn't the problem. If the specific H.264 movie you have is rejected by FCP, you'll have to change it. Might's well change it to a standard editing format.


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Jason Porthouse
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 6, 2008 at 9:01:20 am

As you've probably gathered by now, H264 and FCP don't play nicely together.

I guess it all depends on how much is a major amount. I've used Compressor and MPEG Streamclip to convert fairly hefty amounts of footage - just set a batch process and leave your machine on overnight, or over the weekend. That's the only way if you can't get the original source....

Jason

_________________________________

Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
Then when you do criticise him, you'll be a mile away. And have his shoes.

*the artist formally known as Jaymags*


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Marcela Canavarro
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 9, 2008 at 6:34:20 am

Hi all!
Which format is better/easier to convert to an editing format: AVI or H264?


cheers
Marcela




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Tom Brooks
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 9, 2008 at 1:11:34 pm

You're mixing technologies and terminologies a bit in that question. AVI is a container for video. Quicktime is also a container for video. H.264 is a codec that is used for video within the Quicktime container.

With AVI, the usability for editing depends on the codec used inside of that AVI container. If it's an AVI with the DV codec, it's probably easy to convert for use in Final Cut. I believe the manual says Final Cut is able to import AVI directly if the codec exists on your machine. I'd have to check on that. The other approach is to open the AVI in Quicktime Pro and save it out as a Quicktime Movie. If the AVI is using the Cinepak codec, you'll have to convert it to an editing format using Quicktime Pro or Compressor.

The process of converting a movie of nonstandard format to a standard editing format has to be taken on a case-by-case basis. All the issues of frame size, frame rate, progressive vs. interlaced have to be taken into account.

What's your specific scenario? Why would you need to convert one of these formats?


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Marcela Canavarro
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 12, 2008 at 5:08:54 pm

Hi Tom

I think the codec is JPEG, does it make sense?
I'm not sure about the terminologies.
I've been studying and trying some situations for multimidia Web
journalism mixing different ways to build the information in a "multi-tools" scenario.
I came up with my question when started to search a new digital camera (still images) and realized the video camera on that could be useful. Two formats are offered now: AVI (JPEG) and H.264.
I'm just trying to figure out if one of them is more friendly to my equipment: HDV camera, Final Cut Express and Zoom H4 voice recorder.
Any recommendation?

thanks
Marcela




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Tom Brooks
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 12, 2008 at 6:37:53 pm

Marcela,
I don't think there would be a big difference between the two but I might give a slight preference to the H.264 model because that is using Quicktime. Final Cut Express is a Quicktime-based application.

Also, H.264 is a very efficient, modern codec, so the quality might be better at a given file size. AVI is basically an outdated technology.
-Tom


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Marcela Canavarro
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 14, 2008 at 5:52:38 am

Great Tom
I just bought the one with H264 codec.
Thanks a lot

Marcela




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Ben McRae
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Feb 26, 2009 at 1:58:29 pm

"AVI is a container for video. Quicktime is also a container for video. H.264 is a codec that is used for video within the Quicktime container."



Would MPEG-4 also be considered a container for video in this sense?






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Tom Wolsky
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Feb 26, 2009 at 2:47:20 pm

Not really. QuickTime can do a lot more within the container than just video data.

All the best,

Tom

Class on Demand DVDs "Complete Training for FCP6," "Basic Training for FCS2" and "Final Cut Express Made Easy"
Author: "Final Cut Pro 5 Editing Essentials" and "Final Cut Express 4 Editing Workshop"


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Brad Confer
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 31, 2009 at 3:25:32 pm

I'm hijacking here but please, I've never done it before and I'm desperate! Ok so if Final Cut is a quicktime based app, why the crap won't it work with .h264 files? Final cut won't recognize the clips in log and transfer and anything I do to get clips into final cut degrades quality. Is it really not possible to work with these clips in final cut? Is there another mac based app that will do it? iMovie seems to be fine with the clips. I've got the rebel t1i. Much fun till I get to the computer...which used to be the best part.


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Shannon Lloyd
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 21, 2010 at 7:34:20 pm

Welcome to the real world...where we nw get lots of AVI's and H264's from flipcams and the like to edit. Best advice to convert codecs is as was mentioned above, do the Batch List in MPEG Streamclip and convert it all to DV. I am currently converting about 100 flip cam H264 files so I can edit them. Compressor didn't work for me, it's actually intended to go out of Final Cut creating delivery formats. If anybody knows of a better way to convert codecs to editable codecs, let me know.

Shannon Lloyd
Verdugo Media


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Shannon Lloyd
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 21, 2010 at 7:53:01 pm

I would be curious to know the answer to this, however: why I still have to render when I bring this MPEG Streamclip footage into my timeline? Everything seems to match my Sequence settings - here are the settings and file formats that match...am I overlooking something?

Frame size - matches! (1280 x 720)
Pixel aspect ratio matches also (square - can't change this in streamclip)
field dominance matches at "none" (funny though, I had it set to Lower on Streamclip, but the file that was converted says "none" - either way when I set the sequence settings to lower, it still doesn't get rid of render bars)
Editing timebase on sequence is 30, "Vid rate" of file is 30
Compressor is both DV/DVCPRO NTSC on both file and sequence
quality is set at 100 % on both sequence (and the settings I used to convert files on streamclip)
Audio settings all match but it is the video render bar I am getting...

Any ideas on what I am overlooking?


Shannon Lloyd
Verdugo Media


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Tom Brooks
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 22, 2010 at 2:49:21 am

It's a mystery allright. Check the clips in the timeline for distortion. Under the motion tab. Just a shot in the dark.


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Tom Brooks
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on May 22, 2010 at 12:11:46 pm

Sorry, I failed to think clearly before. Your problem is that you are using DV/DVCPRO in a 1280 sequence. DV is designed for standard def only. It won't work in RT at 1280. Convert to ProRes instead.


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Iulia Rugina
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Feb 27, 2012 at 9:23:08 am

Hi,

sorry if this is the wrong thread, but i was wondering if anyone knows what the issue might be in this case and help out to find a solution. I have been editing a H264 material in Final Cut Pro 6.0 and there did not seem to be any problems. But when i try to export an uncompressed file, i get terrible errors (dropped frames, green frames and all kinds of weird frames :) Could it be be because of the codec in the material? And if so, what's the best way that i can export it and work wound it?
if anyone has any thoughts on this, please share.

Thank you!


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Tony Colella
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:21:54 pm

Step 1: Before Editing in Final Cut Pro 7

Use Squared 5 Mpeg Streamclip (it's FREE) Make sure you also have the playback component installed.

FILE: EXPORT (your footage) TO QUICKTIME:

For HD: Set Compression to either "APPLE PRO RES 422" (Files may be 1 gig per minute) or "Apple Intermediate Codec" (maybe 500 MB per minute)

For Standard: Covert to "Apple Motion Jpeg A"

Check your other settings.

Primarily: Crank the quality to 100%

Frame Size: Unscaled / or match the footage

In Most Cases: Un-check Interlaced Scaling or Click De-interlace

Click: MAKE MOVIE

Step 2: Open Final Cut Pro 7

Drag the converted footage into a new timeline (it must be empty). Final Cut will Ask you if you want to match your sequence settings to the footage. Click Yes.
(Or you can manually set up your sequence in Final Cut.)

If you did it correctly, everything will be rendered already and editing will be like slicing hot butter.

Step 3: When you are done Editing Click File EXPORT: Quicktime Movie.

name it "Tony Colella Rocks - Edit 1" and then SAVE it.

Don't COVERT IT YET!

Keep this file the same format in case you need to make re-edits later.

You can pull it back in Final Cut and make Edit 2,3,4...12

Step 4: Bring your Finished Export back into STREAMCLIP to covert.

FILE: EXPORT TO MPEG-4

Check your setting again (usually they should match before)

Click LIMIT DATA RATE

(Set this depending on file size VS Quality)

For a High Quality HD MPEG-4 set it to 24000 Kbps
For Smaller File Sizes, aim around: 3000 or 5000 Kbps

You might want to play around with the Data Rate and convert small sections of your video to see what they will look like before converting the whole thing.

You can do that by setting In (press I) and Out (press O) points in Streamclip.

Step 5. Read Your Bible Every day (KJV), lest you fall into sin :D

- Tony Colella


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Hannah Clive
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Mar 3, 2014 at 10:07:57 am

Hi. In urgent need of help. Editing damsel in distress and up against deadline.
I am using Final Cut Pro HD version 4.5 (ancient I know) and I am trying to convert h.264 files the details of which are: Frame size 1920x1080, 23.98 fps and at 48.0 KHz with a data rate of 5MB/sec, pixel aspect: square, audio integer: 16 bit
Sage advice in thread says I need to convert using stream clip for use in FCP but to which DV format? Having tried various conversions to DV Pal (including anamorphic) it still doesn't look right in the viewer in FCP 4.5. Can get it to look un-stretched and fill the viewer and get frame rate to 25fps but it doesn't sit within title safe. (For this I converted to DVPAL1920x1080, 25fps).

The only available option I can see in FCP thats close to HD & 16:9 is called DVC Pro HD 1080i60 with a frame rate of 29.97. However stream clip doesn't seem to like to convert to this.
Can someone (Tom Brooks?) PLEASE tell me what DV format I need to convert to so that it looks right in the viewer in FCP Pro HD (4.5) and sits within the title safe options?

**Please see screen shot for file types my FCP 4.5 DOES like. Thank you.
NB HD not essential, uber quality not essential. Sitting within constraints of title safe is! FCP handling H.264's fine when codec is DV ;)



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mark pigott
Re: Working with .h264 in Final Cut
on Mar 24, 2014 at 7:33:57 pm

If you have AVI container AND H264 Codec in said AVI, you have about a 0% chance of importing into FCP6.

My solution is to use Adobe Premiere (on a PC)



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