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Old February 16th, 2014, 08:13 PM   #1
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FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

Recently purchased a Canon XA 20 and have a big project coming up. I will be receiving clips from several parents all shooting cameras using AVCHD as I will also. Editing could get fairly intense. Fcp 10.1 seems to handle the native AVCHD footage from my camera fine for the smaller 30 min. run time projects I have done but what about larger projects. Should I transcode everything as I import to fcp or just leave it native AVCHD. Which way.would give me the best quality and shot at least coming somewhat close to a color match between clips. Anyone out there using 10.1 yet in this way?
Thanks for any suggestion.
Steve
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Old February 17th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #2
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

Try it native and see if it works for you. It will depend on the amount of footage, what you do to it, and the specifications of your computer. If it gets bogged down, or if you have the spare time and space, transcode just the shots you'll be using.

If you have an exceptionally long and complex project, you may consider breaking it up into 15 or 20 minute sections, but for a multicam event type video, I'm thinking you're going to do ok.
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Old February 17th, 2014, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

Guess I'm just a little apprehensive so thanks for your reassuring words, Nate. I will try native first see how it goes.

Been dragging my feet for a long time. I recently upgraded from final cut studio version 5 to the 10.1. Still plowing my way through all the cool new features. The Canon XA20 is my first chip camera that also has been a bit of a learning curve.

I do have one more question regarding codec. The XA20 shoots in HVCHD up to 28Mb/s and also .mp4 up 35Mb/s. Would I gain any advantage in ease of editing maybe even retain better quality in my final export using .mp4 over HVCHD with fcp 10.1?

Thanks
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Old February 17th, 2014, 12:15 PM   #4
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

A little higher data rate can't ever hurt. Also, a benefit with .mp4 files is that if or when you archive or view the footage outside of FCPX, the files will play in the finder with preview. As compared to the AVCHD files that first need to be rewrapped or imported into a NLE.

Does that make sense?
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Old February 17th, 2014, 12:26 PM   #5
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Anderson View Post
I do have one more question regarding codec. The XA20 shoots in HVCHD up to 28Mb/s and also .mp4 up 35Mb/s. Would I gain any advantage in ease of editing maybe even retain better quality in my final export using .mp4 over HVCHD with fcp 10.1?

Thanks

The mp4 option is XDCam grade for places that have that as a requirement. News, some broadcast venues. Whether or not it is visually better is, in my experience, a toss up. In some instances yes, in other instances the compression artifacts are there but different looking than AVCHD. It does place less of a pressure on your computer's CPU so it might be beneficial for multi cam. If you have a decent sized SD card of 32Gbs, you'll get around 110 minutes of mp4. Just be careful that FCPX can directly ingest these files from the Canon. You might need a separate program to convert the files.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

Thank you for the input very helpful. I have two 64gig SDXC class10 cards filled one yesterday with .mp4 content. Probably get chance to import some it tonight see how fcp ingest it for better or worst. Just looking at the .mp4 from the Mac desktop using QT looks as good or maybe somewhat better than HVCHD. Surprising or maybe I need an eye exam.

"XDCam grade" - Is it a standard or level of performance with H.264 as the underlying codex. Been trying to find out more info on this very confusing.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:27 PM   #7
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

XDCAM was devised by Sony to make a broadcaster friendly digital recording format that has a higher bandwidth than HDV but not as intensive as formats like HDCAM. Most networks will accept entire programs recorded in XDCAM while other compressed HD formats like AVCHD or HDV are relegated to B-cams and are limited to a certain percentage of the finished program. Broadcasters are always worried about over-compression as their signals will go thru several layers of compression and decompression after it leaves their master control. By keeping the master recording compression around 35mbs, they feel that the quality can be maintained from transmission to the viewer. If you are looking to save card space and the final product is not going to broadcast, the AVCHD option is probably fine.

XDCAM is placed in a mp4 file wrapper but the compression format is MPEG2 not h264. This is why it is easier for the computer to work with it. H264 is very complicated.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 11:44 PM   #8
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Re: FCP 10.1 AVCHD editing

Thanks for that William - very clear.
FC ingested my mp4 footage no problem no need to covert it ahead of time. Did some editing then exported as Apple ProRes 422. Huge file but amazing quality - burned an HD DVD with toast played great on the flat screen very pleased with results.

Thanks for all you comments much appreciated.
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