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Old January 12th, 2012, 02:15 AM   #1
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Question about quality of file conversion process

My problem is that the files that my camera puts out are not one of those that FCPX accepts so the video files have to be processed through a converter prior to importing. There is no shortage of programs or applications out there that can do this conversion process but they are written by firms that are not what one would call a household name.

Given all the problems with malicious software I want to make as sure as possible that bad programs stay off my computer. One way to try and avoid the bad stuff is to buy from the Apple App Store where the apps are at least looked at by someone and hopefully anything like that is caught. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe Apple just checks for compatibility, I don't know, but I'm just hope so.

So now my question or dilemma, there are at least three apps that will convert or transcode my files into *.mov. There are actually quite a few more that seem to but at least three.

While I have not downloaded them and tried them out, the information on the preview and their web sites all seem to indicated they essentially have the same capability for the user to adjust the conversion process via settings Encoder type, Resolution, Frame Rate, Bitrate, etc. for the audio and video part.

QUESTION: But what about the conversion process, now that is the big question. For the same settings would there be a difference in how the conversion is done? Is is likely that one would one be of a lower quality than the other?

I don't know if the actual conversion is available as a "standard" program and the authors just wrote, say, a wrap-around to package it.

I have looked at the user reviews but they are basically all about other things like whether the application worked for them or not, how easy it was to use or not, and that kind of stuff. Nothing about the users experience with the output quality of, say, that program to another, so the comments were of no help with my question.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 11:12 AM   #2
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Re: Question about quality of file conversion process

MPEGStreamclip is a great all around converter. It uses the QuickTime engine and does very nice conversions with lots of adjustability. And it's free.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 11:56 AM   #3
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Re: Question about quality of file conversion process

Which camera do you have?
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Old January 12th, 2012, 12:19 PM   #4
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re: MPEG Streamclip

Actually, MPEG Streamclip was the first conversion program I looked at as a recommendation by another board member here but, and I should have mentioned this, I'm running Mac OS X "Lion". The problem with this is that MPEG Streamclip for Lion is in Beta. Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac OS X

Then there is actually one other issue and that's the question about any malware kind of stuff that might ride along with it's download. Realize that MPEG Streamclip is an unknown quantity to me so I've got these concerns.

Between the two issues, the Beta issue and the security one, I thought I'd pass on it.

BUT... I'm open to feedback!

Has anyone else used it with Lion?

Any concerns about security?

Any comments are welcome.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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Jvc gz-hd7

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
Which camera do you have?
It's a JVC GZ-HD7 and the output are *tod files.
New (to me) JVC-GZ-HD7

By the way, JVC has a conversion program that they sell on their web site which is apparently written by iOrgSoft. One problem is the EULA is for only one computer and it costs $35US. I've got a desktop Mac Pro and a MacBook Pro, both running Lion. The MacBook is one that I don't plan to use for everyday editing and burning but in a pinch I'd like to have that capability. Two licences for $70 I feel is a bit much.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 12:51 PM   #6
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Re: MPEG Streamclip

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
Actually, MPEG Streamclip was the first conversion program I looked at as a recommendation by another board member here but, and I should have mentioned this, I'm running Mac OS X "Lion". The problem with this is that MPEG Streamclip for Lion is in Beta. Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac OS X

Then there is actually one other issue and that's the question about any malware kind of stuff that might ride along with it's download. Realize that MPEG Streamclip is an unknown quantity to me so I've got these concerns.
Your worries are unfounded. Just download it from the official site and get to work ;-)

Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows
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Old January 12th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #7
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That's really what I'm looking for, something I can "just download and get to work"..... but, look at all this stuff they have about their beta version:

"The installer of the MPEG-2 Playback Component may refuse to install the component in Lion. Apple states the component is unnecessary in Lion, however MPEG Streamclip still needs it.

To install the component in Lion, please download MPEG Streamclip 1.9.3b7 beta above; inside the disk image you will find the Utility MPEG2 Component Lion: use it to install the MPEG-2 Playback Component in Lion. The original installer's disk image (QuickTimeMPEG2.dmg) is required.

The current versions of MPEG Streamclip cannot take advantage of the built-in MPEG-2 functionality of Lion. For MPEG-2 files you still need to install the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component, which is not preinstalled in Lion. You don't have to install QuickTime 7."

One thing I don't want at this time are more computer problems. I've had enough in the past month to last me for the rest of the year, starting with a corrupted hard drive, trying to save my old files, wiping the hard drive, reinstalling old files, acquiring newer computer with administrative user blocking, and the list goes on. I'm tired of computer problems right now and really just trying to have a clean "no brainer" way forward. Hence, my attempt to keep it simple approach.

After reading all the Squared 5 caveats and procedures about the beta version, I ask myself if I really want to spring for it now or get something else and maybe try it later?

Where can I go if I have questions?

For example, they say "inside the disk image you will find the Utility MPEG2 Component Lion: use it to install the MPEG-2 Playback Component in Lion." Okay, what are the steps to do this? Maybe I need to search the Internet to see if there are more details on this part? Maybe a youtube video even?
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Old January 12th, 2012, 04:14 PM   #8
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Re: Question about quality of file conversion process

In the past I have worked with the same TOD files from my JVC MPEG2 camera in FCP7. While MPEGStreamclip will convert them to ProRes for FCPX, the better program is ClipWrap which will rewrap the files without reprocessing them. Download the demo to make sure the resulting files work in FCPX as I have not yet needed to work with these files in FCPX but I can assure you that they work great in FCP7.
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Old January 13th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Question about quality of file conversion process

I've used MPEGStreamclip for years and on Lion since Lion was released. No problems - it's great. The MPEG component comes as a .dmg just like any other mac file. Install is easy. Having the MPEG component will help with other transcoding issues also. Clipwrap is also a great program.
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Old January 13th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #10
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Streamcllip install problems on Lion - need details

After doing lots of Internet searching every day recently about a file converter for my use, I'm thinking that MPEG Streamcllip would be my best choice, partly because of the number of users which can provide a support community for using it. I looked briefly at ClipWrap (with the Groucho Marks icon) and it does sound interesting - especially the part about not having any data loss, but I'll need to research it some more.

The really big worry I have with Streamclip is installing it. While there are many people who have successfully installed it with Lion there is a huge number of Internet posts of people who have tried and wound up with a messed-up operating system nightmare, and this is what I want to avoid.

The Squared5 web site has a brief installation procedure but isn't written for some of us non-computer gurus. I've been really trying to find much more detailed step-by-step instructions for installing it but haven't found any yet. Reading some of the help community-type postings, such as on the Apple web site, leaves me with my head spinning. One person says to do one thing, the next person says to do another, and if the original poster gets things to work it is difficult to figure out the actual path they took to get there.

So, if anyone can add details to the Squared5 instructions it would be appreciated. That's with Lion 10.7.2 and QuickTime 10.1
For info, Squared5 website Streamclip instructions are here: http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-mac.html

Last edited by John Nantz; January 13th, 2012 at 01:28 PM. Reason: put in the QuickTime player version and Squared5 Streamclip website
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Old January 13th, 2012, 09:57 PM   #11
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UPDATE: Going with "ClipWrap"

After doing some Internet research and receiving some valued feedback, I've decided to spring for Divergent Media's "ClipWrap".

The demo worked very fast with a sample JVC *.tod file of the type I'll be using a lot of and there doesn't seem to be any problems with other programs at this time. I say "at this time" because I also downloaded and read the manual and there are some potential conflict issues that may show up down the road but for the first part there were none.

Workflow:
I need to develop a workflow to go from the JVC HD7 camera all the way to inputting into Final Cut Pro X. The section from the camera into StreamClip I think I can handle, but it's the part after that which needs attention at the moment. Specifically, the part from once the file(s) have gone through the first ClipWrap process, you know, after you click on the screen button, the conversion green bars do their thing, then the little bell rings to indicate the conversion is done.

So now what? How does it get into FCPX?

1. Import video files into ClipWrap (drag and drop from the Finder into the ClipWrap window or browse your media, or File>Open>[file name])
2. Select Destination area for the converted files
3. Select Output Format (Rewrap or Transcode)
4. Click the Convert button.
5. ? [now what?]

The next destination in my case is FCPX. At Step 5, do I Rewrap or Transcode?

It's been a long several days working on this to get this far and I need to take a rest. Any thoughts or input is welcome.

Thanks everybody for helping me out this far. You've all been a big help. Anything else is going to be icing on the cake!
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Old January 14th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #12
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Re: Question about quality of file conversion process

Simply import the files into FCPX but don't have the optimize media box checked as that will convert the files to ProRes which you probably don't need at the moment. If you organize your footage into folders before importing, FCPX will use those folders as keywords when importing so you can easily isolated footage by subject, date, whatever. Also consider whether you want FCPX to copy the footage into the event folder. This way you now have two copies of the same footage.
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Old January 15th, 2012, 09:54 PM   #13
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UPDATE #2: "ClipWrap" works GREAT!

Like the title says, the Groucho Marks ClipWrap works Great.

Well, that's what I'm calling it because of the icon they use.

The first video I worked on had numerous clips and all together it was over 16 minutes long. ClipWrap processed the files in probably around 3 minutes and saved them to a folder I had previously designated for where the files should be saved.

Importing all the files into FCP X took really no time at all as the video and audio "Fix" option was turned off. On my first single-clip trial they were turned on but I didn't care for the results.

Once in FCP X I did a very quick-and-dirty edit - my first one ever with this application. The second clip was discovered to be too light as compared to the first one and I did a color match. This was really easy: click on an area in the second clip where the color was bad, click on the first clip which had good color, and bingo, both clips look alike color-wise in play mode. In the timeline one still sees the light color of the second clip but maybe this will change later.

Title: This process is similar in appearance to iMovie but different enough I had to do an Internet search for instructions for first-time users. There were numerous tutorials to choose from and the second one I looked at was right on my wavelength.

My wife just emailed me a picture to use as the background for the new title so this post work is moving right along.

What's not to like? At this point, nothing.

Oh, and VERY important, almost forgot to mention, the original video was taken in FHD and the playback on the 23-inch monitor couldn't be more fantastic!

What's not to like? Saving it on a DVD. The resolution will be diminished but we'll see how noticeable it turns out.

Best of thanks to the ClipWrap suggestors!

One more last thing: the camera was a JVC GZ-HD7 using *tod FHD video files and the destination files were *.mov

Last edited by John Nantz; January 15th, 2012 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Camera and file types.
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