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Old July 13th, 2005, 02:37 PM   #1
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Editing software

I was hoping that someone would have some great advice for me regarding editing software. I have owned my XL2 for three weeks now, and the only two programs at my disposal currently are iMovie (on a puny G3) and Final Cut Express. I haven't used Express yet, so really iMovie is all I currently know. But I'm having a hard time getting the quality of my LCD screen to translate to my TV with the same quality after cutting. I've been told that it probably has to do with my 24p settings, but I don't speak tech talk fully yet, so I was hoping someone could explain to me in lay terms what I'm dealing with. I shoot in 16:9 ratio usually (if that makes any difference). Thanks.

Lauren
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:05 AM   #2
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Hi Lauren,

The problem is not really with your editing software but with the characteristics
of (consumer) screens. This is the reason why "professionals" use calibrated
monitors on set and in the editing room.

A camera's little screen is always going to be off. So a lot of people use other
means to properly expose (like zebra stripes). If you can afford it, it may be
nice to have a proper calibrated monitor on set (rent or buy).

For editing it is only important if you want to change the look of your footage
through things like color correction. If you had a monitor on set and properly
exposed the editing should not alter that look unless you instruct it to.

All consumer TV's will (unfortunately) display the signal differently as well.
That is just something we'll have to live with.

I am not on the Mac platform myself so I don't know what is exactly in each
editing package, but I do know that Final Cut Pro has very good color correction
tools etc. (which of course are only of real benefit if you have a calibrated
monitor attached)

There are procedures to calibrate a computer attached monitor as good as
possible as well. Unfortunately I do not have some links handy for that.
Hopefully someone else can guide you to those.

Good luck!
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Old July 14th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #3
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The difference between iMovie & Final Cut Express is profound. While iMovie is easy to use, it is very limited in what you can do with your footage. FCE, while a subset of the Pro version, offers a stagering array of tools (filters, motion effects, color correction, etc.) plus multi-track audio.

I'm sure there are people out there using FCE on G3's, but I wouldn't want to. Until recently I was using a 1.4GHz G4 Mac Mini with great success.

I don't know if iMovie supports this or not, but in FCE, you can preview your work on a TV as you edit it. I connect my camcorder to the Mac via Firewire & also connect the camcorder to a monitor via s-video. With the camcorder in VCR mode, anything I play on the timeline is displayed on the TV.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 09:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
I don't know if iMovie supports this or not, but in FCE, you can preview your work on a TV as you edit it. I connect my camcorder to the Mac via Firewire & also connect the camcorder to a monitor via s-video. With the camcorder in VCR mode, anything I play on the timeline is displayed on the TV.
I tried doing that but for some reason it wouldnt work for me maybe i need to use an s-video cable instead......something else to consider if its looking good on the LCD screen then you are probably not using the right setting for you final output, which in your case TV so make sure you project setting are for TV not for computer/web. Im not sure how in depth these programs go into sequence setting, timeline setting, capture setting but all of these make a difference when you are exporting you final project to either be shown on a TV or a computer. So look into that a little more
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Old August 12th, 2005, 02:14 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I have been hitting up all the XL2 threads, trying to unleash the intricate goodies locked inside my camera. I'm finding that no matter how often I read about "pull-down" and the processes involved with shooting in 24p, I still can't seem to wrap my little brain around it. I've read the diagrams, dialogues, and directions from any location that mentions these things, and still...

Currently I'm shooting with it set to 2:3:3:2 (24p and 16:9). Now, I'm hoping there's an easy answer to this question, but I'm prepared for a complex one. Is there any way to get "Final Cut Express" (unknown version) to properly pulldown my 24p footage from my XL2 to get optimal quality on DVD? If so, how?

I'm not planning to convert to film just yet. I'm planning to submit my shorts to festivals around the country, and I know (at least here in NM) that theaters have DVD projectors now, so I just need a clean DVD copy of my flicks. Any advice will save me a thousand headaches. Thanks in advance.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #6
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Lauren, I'm not sure if FCE will support the 2:3:3:2 pulldown you've used check under the sequence settings. If you're not planning on going to film and FCE dosent support 2:3:3:2 pulldown then just use the 2:3 pulldown. You can edit in regular 29.97 sequences and it will still have the film look.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #7
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Lauren,

I agree with John about the differences between iMovie and FCE. I used to edit on a G3 iBook 800 with a dual display set up and FCE. It was slow but very stable and got the job done.

I would recommend starting with FCE, as it has the same inteface as FCP and many of the same tools, and save up $600 and get a Mac Mini with a gig of ram. They are great!!! That's what I edit on now, using FCP 5. It'll run all of the Apple Pro apps except Motion.

Another recommendation is to shoot widescreen 16:9 but in 60i rather than 24p until you get a better understanding of the differences between interlaced and progressive video and how each looks when final output is on standard DVDs. Plus, I don't think FCE supports 24p. You can achieve some fantastic film looks with Natress Film eefect plugins, plus the author of the plugins is a regular on these forums.

I'm a big believer in having the right tools for the job without going overboard in expenses. That's whay I edit on a Mac Mini (that, plus I can't afford anything more at this point). At work I cut on a full blown dual G5 with RAIDS, AJA Io, blah blah blah. It's necessary there since we shoot Beta SP and capture uncompressed.

You have at your disposal right now, the tools to make a feature film. Get a Mac Mini to speed up work flow and practice your camera skills with the highly capable XL2...and have loads of fun :)
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Old August 12th, 2005, 03:49 PM   #8
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Thanks so much

Dave & Nate, thanks for the prompt replies. I think I'll start with the 2:3 with FCE... then possibly try to get my hands on a mini mac for the workload. I'm stuck doing shorts until I can handle more storage anyway. Just a quick question...

I already started shooting in the advanced mode (one tape/an hour of footage). If I change to the 2:3 mode for the remainder of my production, will I be able to use that footage from the first day? I planned on reshooting a portion of it anyway, but it would be a shame to lose all of it.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 04:04 PM   #9
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I don't know what your budget is, but you might want to aspire to something a little better than a Mac Mini if you're upgrading. The mini is limited by a slow hard drive, small RAM, low powered graphics card which only supports one monitor and other things. It is certainly cost effective and will be faster than your G3 - no argument there - but it isn't going to be a huge upgrade for you. FWIW, Apple has also implied that the mini will be the first model they switch over to Intel in 2006 (although I don't think that should be a big influence in your decision).

I'd strive for an iMac G5 if possible. Yes it will cost more but will literally run circles around the mini. Of course the dual G5 Powermacs are much better still if you can afford one.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 05:11 PM   #10
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Not to be a contrarian, but don't be too quick to discount the Mini! I recently upgraded from a Mini with 512MB RAM and an external firewire drive (240GB) to a Power Mac G5 dual 1.8GHz with 2GB RAM and yes, I can feel the difference, but only in certain areas.

Capturing and basic editing: about the same
Rendering: G5 is much faster, but for little incremental renders (disolve into a still image) not that much different.
Export to Quicktime: way faster. But for many projects, it's still too long a process to just sit and wait
Build a DVD: Again way faster, but same caveot as above.

I'm not regretting the upgrade, because as I progress into more complex projects, I'll appreciate the power. Plus it's already saved me hours in DVD production time (all my projects end up on DVD). I still haven't done much with live type or DVD studio Pro, & I'm sure both those tools will work much better on the Power Mac. But for half the price of a G5, I was able to get up & running on the mini. Used the money I saved to buy the firewire drive & FCE, and spent 5 months learning the tools and producing DVDs that make people's heads spin! I really think the Mini is a great way to get started!
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