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Old June 1st, 2012, 03:22 AM   #1
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Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

I'm copying a thread I started at fcp.co:

"Hello,

I want to check if I'm doing something wrong, forgetting a step somewhere, or if my suspicion is correct:

I loaded in an XDCAM HD Quicktime in FCP X. I just wanted to do a quick export without audio.
I set the project settings on 'First Video Clip', and just dropped the clip integral in the timeline. Just a 5 minute clip.

When I exported, I just went for Export Media, and I choose Export Video Only and Current Settings.
In my logic, this would be XDCAM HD. Why? I picked the project setting based on the first clip (which is XDCAM HD) and in the export I choose 'CURRENT setting'.

This would take me 10 seconds to export in FCP 7, because it would just copy the media (If you're not having color correction, just some cuts or dissolves). In FCP X this process took 7 minutes, and afterwards I had a Prores File. So the export converted everything to Prores.
So next to the fact that my export took a WHOLE lot longer then in FCP 7, it also gave me a file 3 times as big.

Now, this is my suspicion, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong:
- if you choose the setting in the project, it's only about frame size and framerate... not codec
- your render settings are only Prores and Uncompressed. You don't have any other option.
- In the export you only have Prores or Quicktime to choose from, and considering the fact that following all 'current settings' options in FCP X STILL made the program convert everything to another codec, is proof that FCP X can NOT really output in the 'current settings' in the same way FCP 7 did. You can render out to Compressor, but it's a work around, and not always fail proof.

Is my suspicion correct, or did I make a mistake somewhere?

Because if I'm correct, it would be a big blow to using FCP X in my facility.
We often do congresses where you have 10 hour days filled with 8-minute presentations. Workflow now is importing footage (hour by hour, while the congress is going, often with XDCAM discs coming in), cutting in FCP 7 (just cuts and dissolves/fades), export (which happens very quickly), and then we do batch renders trough Compressor with a Matrox MXO2, to deliver presentations in H.264 around 2 hours after the presentation was made.
And we have to do this a lot (10 hour congress day divided by 8 minute presentations... do the math ). But exporting in FCP 7 only takes 10 seconds or something. It just copies the media, and adds fades, and maybe some audio volume changes.
So if in this scenario, FCP X is only able to output quickly (Export Media is still the quickest) to Prores or Uncompressed instead of following the video codec of the Project (in this case XDCAM HD), then we cannot use it.

In the scenario described above (delivering H.264 2 hours after presentation), we cannot have waiting real time for our HD-export (8 minutes instead of 10 seconds) and having discs fill up with file sizes 3 times as big as if we would just keep the export in XDCAM HD (like we do now).

Am I wrong or correct?
FCP X can not output to XDCAM HD, except maybe going through Compressor?
Choosing Export Media to export your HD master is only Prores or Uncompressed, no matter what 99 percent of the codec in your timeline is?
And, following that, there is no real 'current setting', because that only sets a base for frame size and frame rate?

Kind regards,"

I got confirmation there that 'Current Settings' is only a render setting, where only Prores and Uncompressed is available.
So, really? FCP X is only able to output Prores and Uncompressed, no matter that 99 percent of your project/sequence/timeline is XDCAM, which old FCP 7 did not have any problem with?

You have this really fast cutting tool, able to use all your computer power and suddenly in a simple cut/dissolve situation you are looking suddenly at 10 times the export times.

EDIT: title of the thread needed to be uncompressed & prores, but I seem to have typed to quick...
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Old June 1st, 2012, 05:51 AM   #2
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Try creating a custom XDCAM setting in Compressor and see if that works in FCPX as a quick export option. Unfortunately I doubt that that will speed things up as it will probably recompress everything. FCPX wants to work in ProRes for maximum real time editing which is why it offers transcoding on import. Usually I never use that except when working with AVCHD codecs. The settings when you start a project refer to size and frame rate not codec.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:23 AM   #3
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Okay, so I did this test (and they confirmed what I feared) to compare. (MBP 13" 8GB RAM)

I took the 5 minute source XDCAM HD file.
I put background rendering off. Made a new Event, put it in there, not working with proxy media or anything.
I made 3 new projects, all with the same presets, namely: video properties following the first clip in the timeline.
I cut 2 times a 1 minute clip from the source file, and put it in the timeline, getting a timeline that's exactly 2 minutes long.

Those 3 projects I exported from FCP X using 3 settings:

- CURRENT SETTINGS in FCP X.
This gave me a Prores File, even though I picked current settings AND picked video properties of the first clip. Export time: 2 minutes and 21 seconds.

- EXPORT MEDIA XDCAM HD 35Mbps
I hadn't seen this option before, but checking the Video Codec in the Export window, next to Current Settings and Prores I also had some DVC PRO HD and XDCAM HD etc. options. So I could see XDCAM HD 35Mbps in the Export Media. I don't know if this is standard, or it's because of an XDCAM plugin installation in FCPX, but considering that my original source media is the same format, I decided to pick this.
Export time: 3 minutes and 27 seconds. So it re-compressed everything.

- EXPORT USING COMPRESSOR SETTINGS
I dropped my source media in the Compressor 4 Settings windows, saving it as a preset, insuring that I had a preset that had EXACT the same settings as my source media. When exporting in FCP X I choose: Export using Compressor Settings, and choose that one.
Export time: 2 minutes and 51 seconds.


Now the kicker:

- EXPORT USING FCP 7 - EXPORT QUICKTIME MOVIE - CURRENT SETTINGS:
I did the same in FCP 7. Dropped in the source media, and took the exact same 2 clips of 1 minute and dropped them in the timeline. Let the timeline take over the settings of the clip, like it asks automatically.
I then did an Export Quicktime Movie, using Current Settings.
Export Time: 35.9 seconds.

So even the fastest FCP X export time was 5 times as long as old FCP 7 on the same hardware.
This is a really serious issue. This implies that FCP X ALWAYS recompresses on output, while FCP 7 would just copy your media if you did straight cuts and exported using the same video codec.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 11:14 AM   #4
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Not sure why FCPX is slower for you. FCPX destroys any other editor I've ever used on final output.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 06:24 PM   #5
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere View Post
So even the fastest FCP X export time was 5 times as long as old FCP 7 on the same hardware.
This is a really serious issue. This implies that FCP X ALWAYS recompresses on output, while FCP 7 would just copy your media if you did straight cuts and exported using the same video codec.
This makes some sense, seeing as FCPX is a move away from the older Quicktime architecture which was the primary source of FCP's capability to simply restitch cuts only renders. Although it would be interesting to try this with native prores files and see if the same thing happens.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 06:46 AM   #6
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Native ProRes renders really fast.
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Last edited by William Hohauser; June 2nd, 2012 at 07:51 AM.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 06:52 AM   #7
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Prohaska View Post
Not sure why FCPX is slower for you. FCPX destroys any other editor I've ever used on final output.
Prores output is very fast. Rendering from for instance one codec to another in FCP X is much faster then in FCP7.
BUT what FCP 7 did and FCP X doesn't (and I didn't know this, but as Craig points out, it's because of the Quicktime architecture of FCP 7 versus the new AV-foundation of Lion in FCPX) is when you cut for instance XDCAM HD in a XDCAM HD sequence, rendering it out in current settings, and you didn't use color correction or something, it could just COPY that media instead of making all new frames.

You can find some information here from the FCP 7 manual:

"Exporting a Self-Contained Movie Without Recompressing the Media

If you choose to export a self-contained movie, you have the option to not recompress the media in your clip or sequence. If you deselect the Recompress All Frames option and choose Current Settings from the Setting pop-up menu, Final Cut Pro simply copies frames from existing media files into the new file with no recompression. This is a convenient way to export your media without subjecting it to recompression artifacts. However, any media that must be created from scratch, such as a transition between two media files, must be recompressed.

Important: The option to turn off recompression is unique to the Export QuickTime Movie command and the Batch Export command. If you choose the Export Using QuickTime Conversion command, every frame is always recompressed."

LINK:
Final Cut Pro 7 User Manual

So this is simply why FCP 7 can be a LOT faster in a lot of cases.
FCP X doesn't support this.

It's just disappointing that for my workflow the whole new 64bit architecture FCP X with it's 'bigger support for editing native' is much slower then the old FCP 7, and I don't think we have a very exotic workflow going on. Just importing XDCAM, cutting it, and outputting it again, but it needs to happen quickly in some cases.

Thanks for the replies though. I sent feedback to Apple, and maybe the native MXF support they announced for later this year can solve a lot.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 01:51 PM   #8
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

You're using a MBP 13" with integrated GPU.
FCPX utilizes the GPU for export.

Also unlike FCP7 which is 32 bit, FCPX which is 64 bit, utilizes more RAM. The more RAM the better.

I've seen tests where FCPX export can be faster on a 2011 BTO Quad i7 with 2GB VRAM than a 2010 6 Core Xeon with 1GB VRAM, for example.

Basically you're not going to get good FCPX export rendering on a computer with integrated GPU. FCP7, on the other hand, doesn't use the GPU at all.

Try the same tests between FCP7 and FCPX on the top BTO iMac I mention along with 16GB RAM and I'd bet FCPX would win by a healthy margin.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 03:23 PM   #9
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Isn't this a simple matter of - in 7 we could export a reference movie which just took seconds, and in X that option is gone? All Export Movie does now is export a self-contained movie - you don't have an option of the reference movie.. That's why it's larger and takes longer. Either way, it should export in whatever format the Project is set to.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 07:06 PM   #10
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

This just comes down to FCP7 being a very mature NLE with a lot of very clever workflow options due to quicktime integration, that allowed you to do things that other NLE's just couldn't. If you have a workflow that requires cuts only editing of native quicktime files and fast import/export then FCP7 was made for your workflow, but the reality is more likely that workflow was what you had working great with FCP7 and you aren't getting that advantage from FCPX so you need to consider where other time savings can be made from this new NLE. It's a world of trade offs out there unfortunately, and ultimate it's easier to get your workflow to fit the NLE then bend any NLE to fit your workflow. Choosing the NLE that most closely matches your regular tasks is important, in your case I think that might be that FCP7 is still the best tool for that particular job.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 06:55 AM   #11
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

to answer to people:

@ Craig Seeman: I see what you are saying, and I also have an iMac at home. I don't have a doubt that the exporting there will be much faster, I've already noticed that it's much faster because of the GPU.
BUT, my tests were done now on the same hardware. FCP7 took 35 seconds, FCPX took 2,5 minutes.

The thing is, I know that FCP7 just copied media. FCP X does a decompression/transcode, but if you have faster hardware, your export will be faster. FCP 7 will always be more or less the same speed, so I agree there is much more potential in FCP X to be faster. FCP 7 is limited to its old architecture.
But because of the smart way how FCP 7 worked, it still is faster, and that's a bit of a pitty considering the big promises of FCP X that would be *much* faster.
Considering that FCP X is transcoding everything upon export, I do think that the export times are pretty impressive in general.

@ David: my tests were exporting self contained movies. I do think having the option of reference movies is great, it's a pitty it isn't there in FCP X, BUT to be honest, I always preferred to work with self-contained movies. Much more reliable.
Anyhow, to confirm: my fast FCP 7 export WAS a self-contained movie, not a reference movie.

@ Craig Parkes: I agree. I just love the possibilities in FCP X. I love the potential of the Roles, I love the flexibility of the magnetic timeline (sometimes), I love the speed of the exports (not in the current situation, of course, I mean in general), I love the plugins (Ripple trainings Callouts is very good) , etc.
So I love FCP X, I just want to introduce it in my facility and this can be a show stopper. Although maybe a new Mac Pro with it's higher export speeds will be able to export much faster.
It's just that it's painful that FCP X is lacking in some basic areas too. But in other areas (even only cutting and pasting editing work, because of the magnetic timeline) it is far ahead of the others. I'm very curious to see how it will evolve.
And this is one of the features were it's lacking but in a way (would depend on export speeds maybe on a New Mac Pro, which my facility is planning to buy anyway) that it becomes extra difficult to support the decision to switch to FCP X.

Last edited by Mathieu Ghekiere; June 3rd, 2012 at 07:47 AM.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 10:23 AM   #12
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

My Export Option do include both XDCAM EX, XDCAM HD, XDCAM HD422
So I can export in those codecs.

I have FCPX on several computers. I tested on
On my Mac Pro 2008 8 Core GPU ATI 5770
13 minute XDCAM EX edit (no effects)
Exporting to ProRes (Current Settings) and then exporting to XDCAM EX took about the same time. Around 8 minutes.

Now the interesting part
I took a 50 minute H.264 .mp4 edit (no effects). This was a Standard Def project
Exporting to ProRes (Current Settings) it also took about 8 minutes.
BLAZING FAST.
One wouldn't even dream of editing H.264 in FCP7. I doubt it would export that fast to ProRes. It may be worth testing.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 03:50 PM   #13
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Mathieu the thing is as long as FCPX is recompressing the media it is NEVER going to be faster than FCP7 was at exporting a self contained quicktime of a rendered/cuts only edit, because they both have to write the same size file to disk, which will take the same time, irrespective of cpu/gpu, and FCPX will have overhead doing the recompression. If your work is always cuts only edits of Quicktime files that can be played back natively in FCP7, and they always are exported back out to quicktimes with the same settings, you literally can't get a faster NLE for that workflow, ingest is instant and output is only as long as it takes to write the file.

It's impossible for any suite to do it any faster, so until FCPX offer the same functionality (which it may or may not) you are better off working in FCP7 for that particular task.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 04:18 PM   #14
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

@Craig Parkes: yes it seems so. I hope it changes. I did send feedback to Apple.

@Craig Seeman: crazy that it would export a 50 minute H.254 to Prores in 8 minutes!
I also noticed that exporting to H.264 in FCP X is pretty fast. Maybe it has some very good optimizations for Prores and H.264
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 07:15 PM   #15
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Re: Big issue... FCP X only outputting uncompressed &

Mathieu,

Thank you for taking the time to test out your problem. Like you I have to work in many different formats & exports and in situations where time is critical. ProRes is a wonderful codec but it's not always the most useful codec depending on the project. I'll have to do the same test in Premiere since I'm not moving to FCP X from FCP 7.
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