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Old September 26th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #1
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FCP 6 Smoothcam issue

I don't know if this is common for everyone, but I applied the smoothcam filter to a 2 second clip on my timeline, now a window has appeared that says SmoothCam Analysis...Analyzing "clip 1"...Estimated Time: 2 hours.

2 hours for a 2 second clip? That seems a little excessive. Am I not doing something right or is this filter simply impractical?
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Old September 26th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by John C. Plunkett View Post
...2 hours for a 2 second clip? That seems a little excessive. Am I not doing something right or is this filter simply impractical?
Well, smoothcam is incredibly cpu-intensive. It depends what mac you have. I just did smoothcam on a couple clips yesterday and on a G5 (2x2.3Ghz) it took about an hour per 10 second clip. I also found it varies depending on the footage. And quite often, the time estimates in the beginning are grossly overstated - some I did recently started indicating it takes 8 hours to complete, but then were done in 2 hours....
The advantage (in my opinion) is that smoothcam runs in the background, so you can continue working on other clips on that project. Normally, I try to submit several smoothcam jobs in the evening and then leave the machine chewing on it.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #3
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Are the filter presets decent or does it have to be tweaked? I would really hate to have to wait 2 hours each time I make an adjustment to it.

I'm using a 2.66Ghz quad core MacPro. The footage is DV25 shot 16x9 anamorphic. I'm already a half an hour into the process and it's still saying 2 hours. If your dual 2.3GHz G5 can process a 10 second clip in an hour, then why do you think it is taking so long on my system?
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Old September 26th, 2007, 11:54 AM   #4
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Hi John,

It sounds like the entire clip is being analyzed, not just the portion you have trimmed down that is visible on your timeline. You need to make a new self-contained clip of the portion of the master clip that you want the smoothcam to work on and apply the smoothcam filter to that. I would add handles to the new clip so you have a bit of wiggle room.

I'm not sure if making a new subclip will entirely break the association with the master clip, but exporting a full-rez version of the new clip and bringing that back onto the timeline will do it.

Best,
Simon.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 12:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John C. Plunkett View Post
Are the filter presets decent or does it have to be tweaked? I would really hate to have to wait 2 hours each time I make an adjustment to it.
The way Smoothcam works, it only has to analyze the clip once in able to create a "map" of what's going on in the clip. After that's done, you can tweak the zoom portion of the fix without undergoing repeated analyzations.

You'll still have to do a quick render of the effect for tweaks after, but it's nothing like the initial wait.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #6
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I see. That makes sense.
I tried it and sure enough that worked. So even though I'm applying the filter to only one clip on my timeline, it has to process the entire raw clip?

I think I'm going to delve into Motion a bit more for this kind of work.
Thanks for your help Simon.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #7
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Not sure if Motion will give you tools for smoothcam type work, John. If you want a better Smoothcam engine then try out Shake, which is where the FCP smoothcam filter originated from.

Best,
Simon.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 02:54 AM   #8
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the new version of motion has a stabilizer thats pretty quick. used it over the last 2 days to smooth out several aerial shots I just did. maybe not as good as smoothcam, but hours and hours faster. also, if the first pass from the motion stabilzer doesn't totally smooth it out, you can always run a 2nd pass. that said, its about the best thing I've tried in a long while, and I pretty much have everything.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #9
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Thanks for that info, Steve. I'll check out the Motion engine.

I've got a lot of slightly shaky footage that needs smoothing (the result of using a long lens on an overloaded tripod head).

Best,
Simon.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #10
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SmoothCam

I just export the clip I want to apply SmoothCam to as a self contained quicktime file and import that file add it to the time, so it only analyzes the smaller clip. Works for me I might have 1 or 2 10-15 sec clip I may need to apply smoothcam to it only take 2-5minutes.

Basically what Simon posted b4 make sure to leave handle on the clips.
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