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Old March 18th, 2009, 04:37 AM   #1
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Opening m2t files in FCP from my Firestore FD4

I hooked up my Firestore FS4 HD to my Mac and tried to import some mt2 HDV files shot with a JVC HD100. Couldn't do it, the Firestore appears on the desktop but when I tried to open through FCP they were all grayed out.

I'm transitioning from PC/Vegas and tried the equivalent evolution and it worked like a charm. What am I missing?
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Old March 18th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #2
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Hi Brian.

FCP will recognize anything in a QuickTime wrapper, but it won't recognize an .m2t file by itself.

There's a fairly inexpensive application called "ClipWrap" which will put the .m2t into a QuickTime wrapper without transcoding. Then you can import these .mov files into FCP.

Here's more info about it:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/jvc-pro-h...available.html
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Old March 18th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #3
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Your alternative is to use MPEG Streamclip to convert the files to Quicktime.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #4
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But isn't it going to be hard to convert the files to anything if they're grayed out? I can't even activate them.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
But isn't it going to be hard to convert the files to anything if they're grayed out? I can't even activate them.
Toast 9 or 10 will convert your .mts files. Simply Drag and Drop, choose your preferred codec, and you're all done.

It's just too easy. No wrappers, no need to worry about folder structure etc. Quite frankly, it's a slice of heaven.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #6
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But isn't it going to be hard to convert the files to anything if they're grayed out? I can't even activate them.
Grayed out? Only in the FCP import window should they be grayed out. ClipWrap or MPEGStreamclip will recognize the files. I can open m2t files on my FireStore and use ClipWrap to transcode the files to a system drive.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:53 PM   #7
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Grayed out? Only in the FCP import window should they be grayed out. ClipWrap or MPEGStreamclip will recognize the files. I can open m2t files on my FireStore and use ClipWrap to transcode the files to a system drive.
You're right William, they weren't grayed out after running it through streamclip and subsequently was able to open it in FCP.

Last question, Streamclip created a MOV file in a "Motion JPEG A, Integer (Big Endian)" codec. Is that a discret frame codec? Or am I still in a GOP?
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Old March 18th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #8
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Hi Brian.

If you are going to go the MPEG Streamclip route, then ProRes (or ProRes HQ) is a good conversion codec to use. Especially if you are going to send your FCP sequence to Color later on to do a final grade.

Back in 2005, MPEG Streamclip (free) and HDVxDV (paid) were pretty much the only ways to get JVC ProHD footage into FCP. It was a couple of years, I think, before FCP was upgraded to offer native support. There are literally dozens of posts (a lot of them by Tim Dashwood) in this forum and the ProHD forum giving all of the step-by-step procedures for best results (do a search if you're interested).

Both Streamclip and HDVxDV do TWO things: 1/ Convert your HDV720p footage to a different codec, which will increase the size of your files (i.e. use more drive space) and your footage will LOSE its original quality (introduce data losses) by transcoding (a new compression being applied to your footage) to a different codec.
2/ After the transcode (new compression) to a new codec, Streamclip and HDVxDV then wrap the file in a QuickTime wrapper.

Some people understand the difference between a codec (AIC, HDV, XDCAM EX, ProRes, DV, Photo-JPEG, Cineform, DVCPROHD, etc.) and a format or wrapper (Quicktime, Windows Media, AVI, etc.) and some don't.

The only drawback with HDVxDV is that it can sometimes give an audio drift when it converts, with the dialogue being out-of-synch with the person's mouth.

The only drawback I've found with MPEG Streamclip is when it converts 24p footage (even when you set the frame rate to 23.976). It occasionally drops some existing frames and puts in repeat frames when it transcodes. It usually starts doing this a couple of minutes into the clip, so you have to be very wary of it, but myself and a few others have noticed this in the past.
But Streamclip works great with 25p footage. Absolutely perfect.

After Apple upgraded FCP to provide native support (HDV720p) a majority of people had capturing problems off the tape into FCP (mid-clip breaks) and Tim Dashwood campaigned heavily for someone to develop an application which would simply take an .m2t file and wrap it into the QuickTime format WITHOUT ADDING A NEW COMPRESSION to a different codec. Mike Woodworth of Convergent Design listened to Tim and released ClipWrap.

So a person can capture an .m2t file off tape (with DVHSCap or HDVxDV) or from a Firestore DTE device (such as yours) and then simply wrap it with ClipWrap and drop the files into a native FCP timeline.

The advantages for someone with a FireStore using ClipWrap are:

1/ It's about 10 times faster (because it's not transcoding, it's simply wrapping). This can mean a big savings on your editing time if you've got 4 or 5 hours of footage on your FireStore from your day's shooting.
2/ You save a great deal of drive space by not transcoding to ProResHQ or another codec and staying in native HDV. The savings in editing time and drive space alone are one reason, for me, that I found it a "no-brainer" to spend the $50 on ClipWrap.
3/ If possible, it's best to work natively (HDV720p) and only transcode to your final delivery codec when you export. Your images have already been heavily compressed to about 19.7 Mbps by the camera when it first records the footage. So it can tend to fall apart pretty easily if you keep adding new compressions during your workflow. If I do, on occasion, find the need to transcode at the beginning of the project, I use ProResHQ. It gives terrific results, but you do lose editing time waiting for the transcode and need a lot more drive space, of course.

Sorry for the history lesson, but I know that you're new to FCP and thought I'd make you a bit more aware of the options and their pros and cons.

I should also mention that ClipWrap was recently upgraded so that you can also transcode to ProRes, DV, etc. if you wish.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 12:32 AM   #9
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Hi Brian.

I
Both Streamclip and HDVxDV do TWO things: your footage will LOSE its original quality (introduce data losses) by transcoding (a new compression being applied to your footage) .
I've been using Vegas and Cineform for a few years. I set the Streamclip to pro res 422 which I assumed was something similar to Cineform: a lossless discrete frame codec? But you're saying there is generation loss when using Streamclip to pro res 422 workflow?

Thanks for filling me on the Mac/pro hd story.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:16 AM   #10
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But you're saying there is generation loss when using Streamclip to pro res 422 workflow?
Yes, ProRes comes with two different levels of compression: ProRes SQ (Standard Quality) and ProResHQ (High Quality). Today, the SQ version is mostly referred to as simply "ProRes". The SQ (lower bitrate) is more heavily compressed and so has more data loss. While ProResHQ does technically lose data, I think it might be considered "visually lossless". It looks really terrific (to me) and is probably more than good enough quality for most uses.

However, if you want to transcode to a genuinely lossless codec on the Mac, you could try SheerVideo by BitJazz. The files are fairly huge though. I think I might have read somewhere that Cineform was cooking up something for the Mac, but I'm not sure where that's at currently.
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