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Old March 13th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Hartford, VT
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FCP, HMC-150, .MTS, ProRes 422, Color 1.5, DVD output for feature film, workflow

Hi there,

(I am not sure which sub forum to post this questions, so I am placing this post on two of them)

Few questions about what is the best workflow you can recommend me on my situation:

I have a Panasonic HMC-150 that makes .MTS files and it is set to 1080p30p. I have two scenarios on which I will be working on:

A - I will be shooting my own short movie and I plan on sending it to film festivals.

B - I am collaborating on a feature film and I taped a rehearsal with my camera already.


I have Final Cut Studio and when I went to play, edit and compress my files; neither application (Final Cut Pro, Color or Compressor) recognized my files. I couldn't even play them from my Finder. So, I did some research and found out VLC could play those files. I downloaded and the play problem was solved. But still, I couldn't edit my files! So, did more research and found out neoscene can convert my files. I didn't want to spend any more money, so LUCKILY, I had Adobe Media Encoder on my Mac since it came with the Production suite. So, I was able to convert my .MTS files on to MP4 files.

Here it is how I am converting them:

I add to the queue my .MTS file, next column is called 'Format' and is set to H.264 and the next column called 'Preset' is set to HDTV 1080p 29.97 High Quality.

As an example, I converted a 15 seconds file called 00002.MTS (54.1MB) onto an .MP4 that came out at 83.1MB

I am going to be using the Final Cut Studio suite to edit these clips. Planing on Color correcting them with Color 1.5.

Compressor can open those .MP4 files and can convert them to any format supported format they have.


My questions are:

Should I convert them to something else? I just work them the way they are (MP4)?

If work them as MP4, problem solved.

If convert them to a different format:

1) To which one? Why?

I did more research and read somewhere that Apple ProRes 422 is a very good format.

So, I tried it and converted my example file (15 seconds long) to 'Apple ProRes 422 for Progressive material (High Quality)' and got a file of 551.1MB and to 'Apple ProRes 422 for Progressive material' and got another file of 354.8MB.

The files I am working with at this moment are the ones I taped as the camera guy (I am actually going to be helping the DP in the film) and they are 5 files of almost 20 minutes each. The thing is, the director of the movie asked me to give her the files with only color correction (which I can do with Color 1.5), but she wants them that long without any 'cuts' on a DVD.

One of the things I do not understand well is this: When I covert the .MP4 (or .MTS) files to ProRes 422 (correct me if I am wrong, but I understand ProRes is a format midway between uncompressed and compressed video), I am blowing up the information lost in the compressed file, in other words is like the software makes up all the information that is not there based on averages. Like the information lost on a .JPG files when it's compressed from a RAW file.

2) So, blowing up the file (converting it to ProRes) does really makes a difference when you are editing it in either Color or Final Cut Pro? Or not, since these files where originally created as .MTS files? Should I just work with the .MP4 files instead?

3) In this case and for future references, which format should I use from Compressor (Ver. 3.5.1)?:

Apple > Formats > QuickTime > Apple ProRes 422 [Apple ProRess 422 with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]
or
Apple > Formats > QuickTime > Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) [Apple ProRess 422 with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]

or
Apple > Other Workflows > Apple Codecs > Apple ProRes 422 for Interlaced material [Apple ProRess 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]
or
Apple > Other Workflows > Apple Codecs > Apple ProRes 422 for Interlaced material (High Quality) [Apple ProRess 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]
or
Apple > Other Workflows > Apple Codecs > Apple ProRes 422 for Progressive material [Apple ProRess 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]
or
Apple > Other Workflows > Apple Codecs > Apple ProRes 422 for Progressive material (High Quality) [Apple ProRess 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]

Hey, I just want to thank you very much before hand for you time and look forward to get some advice from you.

THANK YOU!!

Ben Tolosa
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Old March 13th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #2
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Location: New York City
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Log and Transfer doesn't work with your camera? I just transfered a set of files a client brought to me that I believe were from the same model Panasonic camera. The files were on a SD card (he didn't bring the camera) and Log and Transfer worked perfectly. This made great looking ProRes files and the edit went along flawlessly.

To answer your other question, you want to edit in ProRes for several reasons. One, as a frame based codec, it's easier on your computer. mp4, h.264, mpeg2 are all GOP based codecs which are harder to edit with and two, if you decide to render them for filters or color correction, the result will be of a decidedly inferior quality than if the file was converted to ProRes.

If you are serious about making a quality short or feature, ProRes is an accepted professional codec, mp4 or h.264 no. Just invest in some hard drives.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Hartford, VT
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Thanks very much William!

Hi William, thank you very much for your reply. That solved my problem of transferring my footage to my mac.
When you said 'Log and Transfer' I wasn't sure what you were talking about, but I went to the training I'm doing at lynda dot com and 'Log and Transfer' was one of the last movies on the training and I hadn't looked at at that point. So, I did and leaned it.
I loaded my clip into FCP, I sent it to Compressor and made my ProRes 422 with 'Apple ProRes 422 for Progressive material [Apple ProRess 422 10-bit video with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.]' as the setting.

The director asked me to have those files as they are in the DVD and then have a copy of them color corrected also in the DVD. For what I understand, Color does not work just for individual files, so I HAVE to open a project in FCP, create a sequences, send it to Color, and when I am done, send it back. Kind of a pain, since I do not want to create any FCP project, neither sequences.


But, oh well. I think I will need to do just that. Any suggestions on how to accomplish that with the 'roundtrip'?

Once again, thank you for opening my eyes.

Best Regards!

Ben Tolosa
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