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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #1
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Helmetcam codecs and rendering

I'm using the a helmetcam (VIO's POV.1) and the files that I transfer to my harddrive from the SD cards are quicktime files. When I put them into a Final Cut Pro sequence I have to render them before I can see them in the timeline. This takes a lot of time and harddrive space. I would like to know if it's possible to use the files in FCP without the rendering. I copied some of the FAQ from the company's website. I'm not sure if my version of FCP has the required codecs. Maybe it does but I will still have to render? Any help on a workflow for these files would be great!

V.I.O. -- Support -- FAQ
Can I use it with Avid/Adobe Premier/Final Cut etc…?
Videos from a POV.1 can be edited with most Non-linear video editors as long as the proper codecs are installed. We recommend checking with the publisher of your editing program to find out how to best do this.

What codec does the POV.1 use?
The POV.1 uses the Xvid codec to record video onto the SD card. The video is converted in to the similar Divx codec when edited with the POV.1 content Manager. Audio is encoded using the MPEG 1 Layer II codec scheme.

I'm using
Final Cut Pro 5.0.4
Mac OS X 10.4.11
1.67 Ghz PowerPC G4 (15GB free on my 100GB drive)
1GB DDR SDRAM
750 GB Lacie external drive (200GB free)
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Old January 8th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Pearce View Post
I'm using the a helmetcam (VIO's POV.1) and the files that I transfer to my harddrive from the SD cards are quicktime files. When I put them into a Final Cut Pro sequence I have to render them before I can see them in the timeline. This takes a lot of time and harddrive space. I would like to know if it's possible to use the files in FCP without the rendering. I copied some of the FAQ from the company's website. I'm not sure if my version of FCP has the required codecs. Maybe it does but I will still have to render? Any help on a workflow for these files would be great!

V.I.O. -- Support -- FAQ
Can I use it with Avid/Adobe Premier/Final Cut etc…?
Videos from a POV.1 can be edited with most Non-linear video editors as long as the proper codecs are installed. We recommend checking with the publisher of your editing program to find out how to best do this.

What codec does the POV.1 use?
The POV.1 uses the Xvid codec to record video onto the SD card. The video is converted in to the similar Divx codec when edited with the POV.1 content Manager. Audio is encoded using the MPEG 1 Layer II codec scheme.

I'm using
Final Cut Pro 5.0.4
Mac OS X 10.4.11
1.67 Ghz PowerPC G4 (15GB free on my 100GB drive)
1GB DDR SDRAM
750 GB Lacie external drive (200GB free)
Xvid/Divx is not supported by FCP out of the box. I am pretty sure that there are no third party codecs that can give you editing support in Final Cut as Final Cut does not have Xvid sequences as an option. Your best bet is to convert the files, before editing, to something FCP likes such as the DV codec.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 08:16 AM   #3
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Tim I have the same camera here is your answer.

Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows

Download free MPEG Streamclip an excellent piece of software that will handle all of your needs with the camera's codec. There are options for sending right into FC and you can do your first edit there also.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 08:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
Tim I have the same camera here is your answer.

Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows

Download free MPEG Streamclip an excellent piece of software that will handle all of your needs with the camera's codec. There are options for sending right into FC and you can do your first edit there also.

Thanks for the tips guys! Sorry for the delay - I've been busy with other things....

Paul, I tried MPEG streamclip as you suggested on a short test piece of footage and used FILE>EXPORT TO DV... and chose the default settings before starting the export. The video part works great but I have some issues with the sound. I played the .DV file in the finder's preview window and the video and sound both worked fine. When I imported the file in to FCP I was able to view the video without rendering but the audio wouldn't play without a render. So I tried another test and exported to DV, but this time I checked "resample audio to 48kHz" from the popup window before starting the export. The result was the same, it looked and sounded good in the finder's preview window, but needed an audio render to hear it in FCP. I checked the streamclip manual in the section about exporting to DV and I couldn't find any other instruction about audio that might explain the problem. I just tried a different piece of test fotage with the same result. Can you see what I'm doingwrong? If there's no way to fix this then I guess that rendering audio is alot better than rendring both!
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 08:59 AM   #5
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The last 3 versions of Roxio Toast add Divix support to the Quicktime bucket. I've never worked with it though.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 02:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Pearce View Post
I checked the streamclip manual in the section about exporting to DV and I couldn't find any other instruction about audio that might explain the problem. I just tried a different piece of test fotage with the same result. Can you see what I'm doingwrong? If there's no way to fix this then I guess that rendering audio is alot better than rendring both!
Tim
Streamclip is a swiss army knife. You can export to DV if you want, but you can also export into any other format you like that Final Cut likes. Also, in streamclip you can tell it to convert the audio. Its probably not the sampling rate that final cut isn't liking about your audio, but the codec. Try using AAC as the codec, or whatever the codec DV natively uses.

Play around a bit until you get what you want-- it shouldn't take too long.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 03:41 PM   #7
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Lisa is right about mpegstreamclip, but if you can't get it to work, Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate (shareware) comes with the divx codec and converts to dv, as well as numerous other formats....it works pretty well, fairly cheap. / Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team

PS too bad VisualHub is not longer available, it solved everything.....

PPS: If it's the audio that is the problem, you can export it separately in mpegstreamclip; use aiff, 48khz, and import the audio track separately. It should not require rendering if your sequence setup in FCP is correct. The dv stream from mpeg, likewise. Often the audio track in these conversions is a different bit depth than FCP (16 bit) and, while the render goes pretty quickly, this wlll avoid any rendering....that is not the same as bitrate (sample rate) you should be at 48khz for your sample rate...

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; March 2nd, 2009 at 03:53 PM. Reason: addendi
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Old March 7th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #8
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I tried exporting to DV and also exporting to audio only and was able to successfully import them into FCP without having to render either. I also found that exporting to Quicktime (and chose apple dv/dvcpro ntsc and chose the highest quality of 100% then chose the audio to 48k. I was able to import these .mov files into FCP plus I didn't have to render a seperate .aiff file for the audio. This way also might be faster to process. I then found small black spots in the video footage to my horror. The .dv files exported from streamclip had them as well as the .mov files (apple dv/dvcpro ntsc). I tried them in all my viewers to make sure there were no viewer issues. So I checked the very original files and found that there were also black marks but most on the orinal were now larger, quick flashed of black. I also saw the smaller black spots and some whiteish small spots on the original files. I'm thinking that these digital black and whie spots are due to the sensor trying to deal with my running through the woods (the fast moving foliage doesn't help). The spots seem to be worst when I'm running thorugh the wood and spot free when the frame is largely filled with a distant landscape that doesn't change too much. I suppose that I can try to reduce some ofthe spots in post.

Also, the files that I'm creating with mpeg Streamclip (.dv or .mov noted above) are about 10x the original file size. I tried reducing the quality slider from 100% down to 25% but it didn't really have any effect on the huge file size. Are the original divx files so compressed that the conversion to .dv or .mov results in that 10-20x file size increase? VIO's POV1 can store 1h30min of the highest quality footage on a 2GB SD card. I tried another program, ffmpegx, do convert to .dv and it turned out basically the same as the files created by Streamclip. Are there ways to reduce the file size of these converted files? Instead of having the 20 GB for 7 hours of footage with the original files I will have 10-20x that amount. These files are taking up a huge area of my hard drive (and I have another project shot with the same camera with 15 hours of footage - plus any additional space for the odd render - and I can't afford to get extra space for awhile. Any solutions?
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Old March 7th, 2009, 11:25 PM   #9
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Sorry but the large files sizes are the way they'll stay. You are converting from a GOP (group of pictures) file type to a frame based file type. Your camera makes a keyframe every 15 frames and bases the next 14 frames on that first frame. This is how it is able to get 90 minutes of full frame video crammed into 2gb. The DV codec makes a key frame every frame which is how FCP and most other NLE programs are able to do frame accurate editing. 90 minutes is about 18gb in DV. DV is compressed but not as much as your helmet cam. The helmet cam compression might also be the source of the black dots on the footage when the picture is really shaky. The imagery is overwhelming the camera's computer.

You can use MPEGStreamclip to pick out the footage you want without copying everything.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 07:33 AM   #10
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PS too bad VisualHub is not longer available, it solved everything.....
VisualHub is still available. The developer, Techspanion shut up shop and released the source code so you can build it yourself

How to use Techspansion's open source to build iSquint and VisualHub?

Evidently Handbrake that is open source & in active development now will do most if not everything that VisualHub did HandBrake

Cheers

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Old March 11th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #11
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Yeah or you might consider ditching this particular helmet camera. The ones with a built-in codec are meant more for hobbyists than professional use. You could always get a small battery operated DV deck and a small video camera head to connect to it and get much higher quality footage that you can cut right away. I don't know how much of this sorta video you're intending to do but if it's a lot, look into that. Most helmet cameras do not produce video that FCP would work with well because it's usually a very highly compressed MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 stream.

Another option would be to get a still camera with video capabilities you could mount to a helmet and use that. For example the Panasonic FX40 shoots 720p/24p video straight to QuickTime .MOV you can drop right into FCP and start working. And it's easy to trigger with unlimited record times to SD card and very wide angle lens so everything will be in sharp focus. That's what I'd do..

DMC-FX40

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Old March 11th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #12
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Brilliant, Nigel! And good news, we depend on VisualHub for most of our conversions, I thought it was too good to die! /B Vaughan
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