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Old October 6th, 2011, 06:50 AM   #1
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FCP X and the TM900

A lot has been written about FCP X some of it complimentary but a lot of it not.

Does anyone have any experience with this system in relation to the TM900 particularly when using 1080p50?
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Old October 18th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

I have been trying a trial download of FCP X in an attempt to answer my own question. A preliminary comment and question: -

Before you can edit the TM900 files they have to be transferred to the Mac first. To do this Apple suggest using Aunsoft’s Final Mate for Mac and also available as a trial download. With this program the TM 900 files can then be transferred either as a backup or as files that can be viewed although not in full quality. They are imported as .MTS files that have to be then transcoded for use in FCP. This is a lengthy process during which the .MTS files are decompressed and when decompressed take up an alarming amount of file space. For example a 75 second TM 900 file ends up as a 5.1 GB file in ProRes 4444. By comparison if I use my EX3 with a nanoFlash set to 100MB/s a 90 sec .Mov file takes up about 605 MB of file space. I.e the Prores 4444 takes up about 10 times the space for the same duration.

Is this large decompression stage used in other editing systems, e.g Premiere?
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Old October 18th, 2011, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

Alastair, that sounds like a nightmare and you don't even mention the time taken to run the conversion which I suppose is not insignificant.

When you ask about Premiere I suppose you mean the Mac version, so don't really know the answer as I have a PC but I think CS5 does handle the TM900 raw files given a fast computer.

On a PC Vegas handles them (sort of) but for the best real time solution and to preview in full quality at this fast frame rate, the answer is surely Edius 6 or it's little brother Neo 3. My own system is an i7 PC a couple of years old now so not the fastest but I can edit 2 tracks of raw 1080/50P from the TM900 each with a colour correction filter added in real time before it slows, no rendering needed. I export the finished video to MPEG2 either in it's original 50P format to store and play from a hard drive or Playstation 3 or to 1080/50i (25fps) to put onto Blu-ray.

I was so sold on the incredible quality of the 1080/50P when I got this camera compared to my EX1R that I added a Grass Valley hardware card that plays out the 50P timeline while editing via HDM to a full HD 50P capable LED HDTV which I also upgraded to. With this lot the quality while editing is unreal.. or should I say REAL, like how I actually saw it!

I suppose it all comes down to how far one wants to go but I can see that 50P cameras will probably become the norm before very long so I don't think my investment will be wasted.

Hope you find a better solution for the Mac.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #4
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

Thanks Claire for your encouraging comments.
I am pleased to learn there is a quicker way using Edius. You are right it is a bit of a nightmare. With my EX3 with or without the nanoFlash I can see how good or bad my results are by just plugging the appropriate card into my computer - so I have been spoilt.

Perhaps I should not complain, earlier, actually much earlier in career I used to do underwater 16 mm filming at an island on the Great Barrier Reef, first with a clockwork camera giving about 15 seconds per winding and 2.5 minutes per roll then with an electric motor. To see my results I had to mail the exposed films to a lab about 2000 kms away and wait until it was processed and returned. Did I mention there were only 2 mailings a week at my island paradise? Furthermore it was risky to project original footage because of the risk of scratches. At the peak of this activity I could load 400 feet of film that lasted for 10 minutes and cost about 50 old cents per second.

Please excuse my digression. I have not got far with FCP X but I have found a few features I rather like. For example I can optimize the clip (colour, sharpness and contrast) at the click of a mouse and also see the clip full screen. However Apple are not exactly courting my custom and will not consider my FCP X / Final Mate concerns as I only have the trial version. They will only talk to me if I buy it. Very frustrating.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 05:18 PM   #5
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

Alastair, I know what you mean.

When I was a kid my dad had a clockwork 8mm cine camera and he got so impatient with waiting for the process paid film to come back in the mail he built his own processor. From what I remember he mounted a record player turntable on it's side and attached to it a wooden lattice drum that the film was wound around. This slid inside a wooden box painted matte black, light proof. The chemicals were in a tray on the floor of this box, must have been difficult to work this changing chemicals in the dark, plus it was all in the garden shed which got pretty cold in winter.

Not sure how he dried it but with this home processing set up he would come home from filming and rush straight into the shed with his camera. Several hours later, he would appear looking a bit worse for wear with the finished film and show it on the projector. Magic!

From memory it was either Ferraniacolor or Agfa, not sure if this was process paid or not but the thing was the chemicals were available to process it which must have sparked him off.

I know the colours were naff, sort of orange tinted but I think that was the film and not his processing to blame.

The film must have been 16mm because he had made a splitter with a razor blade mounted on a block of wood and guides so he pulled the film through splitting it down the middle before sticking it end to end, gosh it all comes back to me.. Must have only had sprocket holes at one side after that.

I remember one day the BBC came to borrow this splitter, they were given some amateur film of a big fire in town that they wanted to show on the local news that night and had heard of my dad's splitter somehow, it was the only thing they were short of to process their film. I was so proud of my dad <G!>.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #6
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

Hi Claire,

What an innovative father! No wonder his daughter is so helpful, organized and knowledgeable.

There was no way I could afford take my wife and 2 kids the 2000 kms to a Barrier Reef Island for a month, plus a van full of 16 mm cameras and sound gear without a bit of homework. I built a 24 foot dive boat, a trailer, a dive compressor, 240 volt 2000 watt underwater lights, hydrophones etc. For my final underwater cameras I extracted the movements from Arriflex cameras and built them into waterproof bodies. One had a turret of lenses, a 10x zoom and a choice of 2 macro lenses so that I could change lenses underwater. I was very pleased that it only weighed 37 lbs instead of the 90lbs or so for a housed Arri. I still use my underwater tripod with its fluid head, yesterday it was supporting my TM 900 on an 11 foot boom so that I could record the nest building activity of a grey fantail. These birds build a superb nest like a wine glass (without the base) using fine strips of bark bound together with cobwebs. I am beginning to see how they do it so precisely and neatly.

Back to my topic. I get the impression the Edius programs cannot be used on a Mac although I have not had a reply from the local agent. I am also hoping to hear from Aunsoft that I have used their program incorrectly and that really it is much faster and less storage hungry than I believe.

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Old October 20th, 2011, 01:58 AM   #7
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

Alastair, your grey fantail is amazingly similar in appearance to the long tailed tits that visit my garden, small round (or egg shaped?) grey body, very distinctive tail, though not fan shaped, that is so cute! Being in the countryside I get lots of wild birds in my garden, the Nuthatch and Tree Creepers my favourite for filming as they are little acrobats always walking up and down the tree branches searching for food while upside down, fascinating how they cling on. The TM900 is very good at recording this, helped by it's generous depth of field compared to my EX1 which must be spot on target.

Well, this morning we have our first grass frost of the season, chilly at 34F right now so waiting for sun up to venture out. Regarding your problem with the Mac, I heard there is a way to run PC software? There are Mac users on the Grass Valley Edius forum so it may be worth asking there if you wanted to try it, there is a free trial version. I can assure you that with this on a reasonably powered computer, no fancy expensive graphic cards needed, the raw TM900 footage is a doddle to edit, just like your EX3 footage.
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Old October 20th, 2011, 06:39 AM   #8
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

You can put Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp (or using VMware, though that can get tricky with I/O).

I've got the SD900 and also use FCPX. I started using a conversion program called ClipWrap which although excellent, still adds in an additional step of manipulating the 50P footage into something FCPX can understand (it does retain full 50P). There's a trial of ClipWrap available ClipWrap: Easy AVCHD and HDV conversion for the Mac

Personally I've decided to stick with 50i until FCPX supports 50P (and 60P) officially. 50P is AVCHD 2.0 and is a recent(ish) standard brought to market by Sony and Panasonic. 50P is not (yet) a part of the HDMI standard either I don't think.
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Old October 20th, 2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Re: FCP X and the TM900

Claire, thanks once again. It was 31 deg here yesterday, Centigrade that is, a reminder that summer is on the way. We have tree-creepers too - one regularly clings to a spot below our eaves for the night. Our equivalent to your nuthatches are the sittellas, now rare, their nests are perfectly camouflaged with strips of the right bark aligned in the right direction attached to the outside of the nest.

I am trying to find out how to use Edius on a Mac, the local Videoguys say that I cannot but they do not seem to like customers any way. I will make further enquiries today.

Thanks Mike, I will investigate Clipwrap also, have you noticed what happens to the file size as the files are prepared for FCP X? I am leaning towards Mac largely because I have so much of it. However their refusal to discus my concerns with the Final Mate for Mac / FCP X combination on the grounds they are trial versions is somewhat embittering to say the least. As Claire says the 50 p cameras should be around for a while. I was trying to find out was Mac going to support the TM 900 and if so when.
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