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Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:17 PM   #1
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More questions re realtime preview on Final Cut.

Hey guys. A while ago I mentioned not being able to playback footage in Final Cut Express in realtime unless it was a native DV file. This annoyed me, and I find it quite appalling but I can live with it as it's only for the odd corporate video we do here at work.

Today I had another play with FCE and dropped in an MP3 file onto the timeline - again it just wouldn't play in realtime (I exported it to a .mov and imported it and it was fine) - I am thoroughly shocked by this one. Even with the RT turned way down it wouldn't do it. I'm running a dual G4 at work, 1.25Ghz so we should not have any problem.

I was wondering if this sort of thing is an issue with Final Cut Pro as well, or is that more like Vegas, in that it just plays anything as fast as it can? Eventually I want to move to Mac at home, and Final Cut Studio, but if I really can't just chuck some Mp3's and wavs, various video (DV and DVCPRO and others) and not have it play without me having to render out I won't make the move.

I understand 20 layers of DVCPro with effects and transitions aint gonna run realtime, but I want it at least doing what my processor, vid card and HDD can handle, and in this day and age, a couple of layers of video with some audio tracks should be a piece of cake. Even if, during intense edits (many layers) it drops frames on preview I'm happy, I just cannot stand to have to render anything out - I've lived too long with Vegas' realtime capability to lose it now.

Cheers
Aaron
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:25 PM   #2
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Apalling or not, Final Cut is like this by design. I can't speak for FCE, but the manual for FCP HD 4.5 clearly states that real time effects only work when you're using
Quote:
DV, DVCPRO-50, Offline RT using Photo-JPEG, and 8 and 10-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 video formats with a fast enough computer.

Note: Some video formats have higher system requirements for real-time playback than others
I don't know how his might change with FCP 5, but the limitations are pretty clear in the current version.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 12:08 AM   #3
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Wow...Thanks for the info Boyd - for what I do DV is normally fine (Will be DVCPro later in the year), but it was the MP3 that got me this time around. I would have thought it could play back MP3 realtime... :)

It's a strange thing they've done really. Any half decent machine should be able to do all manner of audio formats realtime, and most video formats. All the stuff we watch from the net, Quicktimes, DV, H264, Realplayer, AVI's, WMV's etc should just be plonkable on the timeline and playable as far as I'm concerned. Guess in the real world it's not much of an issue for people.

One thing I have worked out, that if you have the video scaled, then you get into problems as well. If I drop a Livetype file, rendered as say PAL 601 it won't play back realtime in the default playback window as it's set to 50%. If I set to 100% (And therefore only see part of the image) then it's fine.

I think, before I make any move, I'm going to have to rent a system or something, just to know I'm not going to through a brick at the thing after a week :)

Cheers
Aaron

BTW: It's not just FC. My friend who is an Avid editor, she was excited that she should finally preview her stuff realtime with some basic effects without rendering, when her work bought a hardware system. I used to go watch her edit before, thinking how sad it was that on such a system (Media Composer I think it was), she had to render out simple effects to preview. I guess Vegas was, and in a way still is ahead of it's time - just not ahead of my time ;)
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Old May 6th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Koolen
Wow...Thanks for the info Boyd - for what I do DV is normally fine (Will be DVCPro later in the year), but it was the MP3 that got me this time around. I would have thought it could play back MP3 realtime... :)

The reason MP3's don't play properly in your timeline is because they are the wrong sample rate. MP3 is 44 khz and you need 48khz to edit with. You need to convert it to an .aif file with 48khz, 16 bit, stereo sound. I use I-tunes for this because it's just a matter of control clicking on the song and converting it. I'm pretty sure I've seen this discussed here before so I would do a search if you want more technical reasons for it.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #5
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Thanks CB. Just checked and indeed that solved the problem. I can understand, to a degree, why they did this, still it's a shame and one more set of hassles that I prefer to avoid. Vegas, again, is too good to me. :)

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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #6
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Yeah, coming from Vegas myself it was hard adjusting to FCP, but I think in the end FCP forces you to make a better looking final output because it doesn't give you options that will decrease the quality. My 2 cents anyway. But yeah, the days of real time anything and everything in Vegas are over!
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Old May 6th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #7
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Ahh a switcher aye? Can I ask why you switched and are you finding Final Cut better than Vegas for what you do? What do you do?

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Old May 6th, 2005, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Yeah, coming from Vegas myself it was hard adjusting to FCP, but I think in the end FCP forces you to make a better looking final output because it doesn't give you options that will decrease the quality.
What options in Vegas let you decrease the quality?
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Old May 6th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #9
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I think he means, that in FCP you have to put only a certain range of formats on the timeline to get realtime output. So you're getting specific quality. With Vegas you can chuck anything on there, crappily encoded quicktimes, files or whatever. To be honest I prefer Vegas' way, because if I want to stick a 128Kbps quicktime on my timeline there must be a reason for it and all I want is for it to work.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:23 AM   #10
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Aaron, that's what I meant. Thanks for clarifying. The reason FCP is growing on me is because the more I learn about various file and compression types the more I learn what I should and shouldn't be using. Whereas with Vegas I wasn't as aware of them because I could use anything in the timeline regardless of quality.
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