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Old June 25th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #1
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FCP quicktime clips and iMovie (on a different computer)

I'm basically a lazy guy. Always have been. That's the backstory.... here's the problem:

I have a project which I work on every summer and have been doing so for about 5 years. When I started doing this, I was importing HDV video into iMovie for some very light editing and quicktime compressions for some web clips. The project is currently saved in an iMovie HD v6.0.3.

Now for the lazy part.... while I still have my trusty old G4 Powerbook that I use to work on this project, I now also have a MacBook Pro with FCP 6 installed. This year I have been importing my HDV clips into FCP instead of iMovie (or last year, Final Cut Express) I have never had a problem exporting a quicktime clip from FC Express into the old iMovie project.... however this year I have discovered that quicktime exports from FCP that I wanted to use in my iMovie project won't work. There is audio, but no video.

I have since learned that this is (allegedly) an annoying trait of FCP, to only allow quicktime clips exported from FCP to play on a computer with FCP installed. Problem is, I don't have FCP 6 installed on the G4. Just iMovie HD and FC Express. I just didn't think it would have the juice. (1.67 GHz, but only 2GB Ram)

Is the only way I can get the quicktime clips (exported as 'self contained movie' with 'current settings' ie: full resolution) from my MBP into my iMovie project on the G4 going to be installing FCP on the G4? Can I even install it on a G4? There has to be an easier way......

I did try running the clips from FCP through compressor as H.264 clips, but they were unplayable on the G4. Looked fine on the MBP though. They looked like there was only about 1 frame of video per second on the G4. (audio was there)

One last thing.... ironically, I have had no problem exporting clips out of FCP as quicktime self contained movies, then 'sharing' those clips compressed further into an e-mail which can be viewed on other computers...... as long as all the compression was done on the MBP.
I'm so confused.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
I'm basically a lazy guy. Always have been.
I'll try to accommodate that with a not-too-involved response, but my guess is that you may have to potentially update your workflow, or offer a little more detail on the specifics of your exporting technique and/or the type of video you are working with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
I have been importing my HDV clips into FCP instead of iMovie (or last year, Final Cut Express) I have never had a problem exporting a quicktime clip from FC Express into the old iMovie project.... however this year I have discovered that quicktime exports from FCP that I wanted to use in my iMovie project won't work. There is audio, but no video.
There could be many factors contributing to this problem, but the first thing I would consider is the flavor of HDV you are working with and its potential incompatibility with your older version of iMovie.

As far as the inconsistency you are finding between working with iMovie, FCE, and FCP, it is important to note that iMovie and Final Cut Express both transcode HDV into and operate on the same codec base (Apple Intermediate Codec) which makes moving content between iMovie and FCE fairly painless. Final Cut Pro does not necessarily need to operate on that same base by default (and also boasts a much broader range of native codec support) so there are some possibilities that you are now working on a codec base that it not automatically supported by either FCE or iMovie (especially if it is an older version of iMovie.) Ingesting your captures into FCP probably didn't utilize iMovie's required HDV transcoding into AIC, so depending upon what type of HDV you are working with (or your specific sequence settings, you may need to impose some additional hocus-pocus to help iMovie accept the files.

It may be as simple as changing the Setting tab in your export window from "current settings" (as in the picture below) to one of the other options available to achieve compatibility with iMovie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
I have since learned that this is (allegedly) an annoying trait of FCP, to only allow quicktime clips exported from FCP to play on a computer with FCP installed.
I question the source of this information because it is not true. Exporting from FCP using the standard Export > Quicktime Movie... option (the first option in your default export menu in FCP) will produce a prompt window such as the one pictured below, the default settings of which will produce a rendered Quicktime compatible video when exported. (Make sure you have checked "Make Movie Self-Contained" if that is your desired option and that you have also included Audio and Video as noted in the "Include" tab.) If you do NOT select "self contained", than your export will be a reference file, smaller in size, but does need to be played back on the same machine ( or drive) from which this reference file can access it's source content (typically the one with FCP on it, and from which it was exported. Making it "self contained" produces a file that can be played back on any compatible and properly Quicktime-enabled machine whether FCP is present or not.

If double-clicking this exported Quicktime movie file on the Mac from which it was exported and on to which FCP is installed, it will likely attempt to open this file in FCP (unless you have otherwise changed your file-type settings to open these in Quicktime) but you can also just right-click on it and select to open it with Quicktime Player or other compatible applications if desired. If settings are correct, this file, when opened on a Mac that does not have FCP installed, should automatically opt to open it via Quicktime Player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
I did try running the clips from FCP through compressor as H.264 clips, but they were unplayable on the G4. Looked fine on the MBP though. They looked like there was only about 1 frame of video per second on the G4. (audio was there)
H.264 is a great codec, but is very processor intensive just to play back (even in standard def). There are countless parameters that can be applied to render your H.264 video, and in smaller compressed files with low data rates, your G4 should have no problem playing the content, but if the H.264 compression uses higher data rates or utilizes an HD format of H.264 (which I suspect yours is) there is a very good chance that the processing required to play the file smoothly is too much for your G4, resulting in stuttering or halted video performance. The hardware just cannot deliver the performance required for optimal playback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
I'm so confused.
We'll work through it. I would ask that you post a little more information about the nature of the codec you are working with. (what is the source or specific format of HDV and/or what are the project/sequence settings you are working with? After exporting from FCP, what format or codec data does the file info indicate?

Let's start from there.

Sorry, the response was more involved than I intended, but there is a lot to chew on with this subject.

-Jon
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FCP quicktime clips and iMovie (on a different computer)-picture-4.png  
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Last edited by Jonathan Jones; June 29th, 2009 at 11:56 PM. Reason: adding more appropriately thorough content
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Old June 30th, 2009, 08:17 PM   #3
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Hi, Jon-
Thanks for the very detailed and thoughtful reply!

First, let me describe the equipment I am uploading from. I have an array of Sony HC3s, HC5s, HC7s and HC9s that I use in remote camera setups for wildlife research. I use these cameras because of the need for a LANC controller to initiate the camera to turn on and record via a signal from a motion sensor. All the tape I am working with is from these HDV camcorders, shooting in 1080i. I know the format works just fine with both iMovie and FC Express, because I have ingested this material into both of those applications for some time with no issues other than the sluggish response from the G4 with HD material.

This season, I started ingesting via FCP so I can begin some new projects in that application. I (wrongly, it appears) assumed that quicktime is quicktime, and since I had no problems with FC Express, that the same would hold true for FCP in both the intel Mac and the G4.

I have to go boot up my MacBook Pro to see what the import settings are for my ingest, but since I believe I used the 'quick setup', I assumed it would be set correctly for the HDV format. I have had no issues whatever working with the clips within FCP, and have been able to successfully export clips for e-mailing by first exporting as a quicktime movie (self contained) to a full-resolution quicktime file on my desktop. From there, I use the 'share' option in quicktime to compress the file to a smaller e-mailable clip. (the reason I do it this way, is any other export from FCP results in a squeezed aspect ratio, even if I click the 'preserve aspect ratio' option in the export menu.

If, however, I try to copy the full resolution 'self contained' quicktime files into either FC Express or iMovie on the G4, there is only audio and no picture. A friend of mine who does far, far more editing than I do in FCP told me that I would need to have FCP installed on the G4 for the quicktime export to function properly in either iMovie, FC Express, or even open in quicktime. Seemed kind of weird to me, more like something Bill Gates would do than Apple. I finally ended up working around the situation by exporting the clips from FCP to tape, and re-ingesting that tape back into iMovie on the G4. A pain in the a@@, but it worked for that situation.

I realize the simplest solution is to just bail on the G4 and the iMovie project, but it will involve a lot of re-ingesting material, and completely rebuilding the project from scratch again. I also realize this will still be simpler than struggling with it all when I have a much faster and powerful computer with far superior software available. (that's where the lazy part comes in!)

Anyway, I will fire up the MBP tonight and see what settings that project is set to. If it is possible to find a way to export some full resolution clips just for this season, I could at least put of the inevitable until winter when I have far more time to work on the computer!

Thanks again for all your help.
cheers
Derek
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Old June 30th, 2009, 10:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
Hi, Jon-
I know the format works just fine with both iMovie and FC Express, because I have ingested this material into both of those applications for some time with no issues other than the sluggish response from the G4 with HD material.
Okay, I think I might know what is happening to make your FCP exports incompatible with FCE and iMovie - but I must also admit that my experience with HDV has thus far been rather limited.

As I noted earlier, in order for either iMovie or FCE to work with the footage you shot in your Sony HDV camcorders, it transcodes the content into the Apple Intermediate Codec during capture (this happens automatically on the fly when you capture from your camcorder into iMovie or FCE and makes the capture - or ingestion - process take a very long time.)

FCP is natively compatible with the content from these camcorders, and allows you to capture the footage into your FCP project in real time - with no such AIC transcoding required. Therefore, the content you are working on in your FCP sequence, and then subsequently exporting into Quicktime format using the "current settings", retains its native source formatting that is incompatible with iMovie and FCE unless the required AIC codec is imposed.

I don't know for sure, but I wonder if this automated transcoding into FCE and iMovie for HDV content only occurs (or is triggered by) the actual process of capturing directly from the camcorder to begin with. If so, then attempting import your pre-rendered HDV footage is not going to work - resulting in the missing video imagery you are experiencing.

Unless....

It may also be applying this transcoding process in the background as you import the QT file, because it can only work on the HDV content after it has completed this transcode operation. If that is the case, then you may have to let it sit after importing this footage into iMovie or FCP and let this transcode take place - which may take a few hours depending upon the length of your video clips.

You also might first try to export your file from FCP just as you are doing, but instead of using the default "current settings", change that tab to one of the other iMovie compatible formats that pop up on that list (such as the Apple Intermediate Codec 1080i60 as illustrated below). I presume the resulting file should then drop right into iMovie or FCE with no problem at all.

Let me know if that works.

-Jon
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Old July 1st, 2009, 02:58 AM   #5
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Quicktime is a wrapper around the actual file so a .MOV may contain video or audio encoded in all manner of different formats. You need to be sure that the format you are exporting in is present on the other machines where you are playing the QT files. You are almost certainly exporting your clips from FCP using ProRes or some other format for which there is no equivalent decoder on the PowerBook G4.

To find out what video format the .MOV files are internally use MediaInfo Mac Take a look at the old files that work & compare with the new non-working ones. To save having to re-export from FCP you can take the non-working files & process them with Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows into the old format. In future export from FCP using the old format & not the one that the G4 doesn't like.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 10:06 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys! This is all very informative and helpful. Jonathan, I think you might have just nailed this, and I intend to check the codec that FCP uses vs iMovie and FCE. I think you might have got this figured out.... I will also look into those apps that you recommend, Nigel. I guess I just didn't have any idea that all the different codecs wouldn't play nice with all the different apps. Live and learn.....
I appreciate your help very much! If you ever need any tips regarding grizzly bears, (what our wildlife research project is involved with) I'd be most happy to return the favor! ;)
cheers
Derek
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Old August 8th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #7
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This should work!

In FCP when u export use quick time conversion instead of just quick time. I was not able to play quick time files that I had exported from FCP on any PC until I started using the quick time conversion export option under the file>export> tab.
Hope this works.
Brandon
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