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Harry Bromley-Davenport June 6th, 2006 02:20 PM

Workflow for capture of canon 24f= sound in final cut pro
I have been struggling with FCP capture of 24f Canon footage and, due to enormous help from people on various bulletin boards such as Barlow Elton and Greg Huson, have now got a workflow for which I have sweated blood.

I am using a Blackmagic Decklink HD Pro and Mac G5 dual 2 gig.

It's a bit wierd, but here goes:

1. SDI from camera to B/M card. (By the way, that's the BNC connector on the extreme right if you're facing the rear of your computer).

2. In FCP Set "EASY SETUP" for "B/M 59.95 1080i DVCPro HD". You may need to download this from the B/M site.

3. Go to " Audio/Video Settings" in FCP and toggle "Audio Playback" to "Built in Audio".

4. Now go to Capture presets (also in A/V settings) and check that you have the correct setting (B/M HDTV 1080i 59.94 DVCProHD).

5. See the "Edit" box, below. Hit that. See "Quicktime Audio Settings". Make sure that this says "Built in Audio" and "Line In". Don't change anything else. Hit OK.

6. Connect Audio from camera RCA outputs to Mac mini jack input.

7. In FCP go to LOG and CAPTURE screen. In CLIP SETTINGS, make sure to tick the little Preview box. Capture settings should be "Non controllable device" and B/M HDTV 59.94 DVCPro HD

8. Capture your material. You will probably NOT see it on your computer monitor, but should see it on your external one. You should be hearing your sound. And for goodness sake capture to your internal drive. I thought my G-Raid 1TB would be fast enough, but I struggled with dropped frames which screw up the frame cadence, or whatever it's called so don't try that.

9. . Get hold of MPEG Streamclip. You probably know that this is a free App from Apple. Open your captured video and audio file. The sound capture is usually about 4 frames off in my case, but consistent.

It is now critical to set your "In" point to the first frame after the two interlaced frames. Last frame doesn't matter.

10. Go to "Export to Quicktime"

Settings as follows:

Compression: Apple DVC Pro HD 1080i50. (I know - but it works this way)

Raise Quality to 100%

Type into the FRAME RATE box: 23.976.

Frame size 1920x1080 unscaled

Check "deinterlace"

11. Go to "Adjustments" and raise sound level to maximum.

12. Hit "Make movie"

I suggest that you save this new file to your external drive. Later, you can trash your original capture and free up your internal disk space.

13. Wait forever.

It takes about 2.5 x real time. It uses about I gig per minute of drive space.

14. Open FCP and create an HDTV 1080i 59.94 DVCPRO HD sequence and drag your newly created file into it. I find that to re-sync the sound, I have to advance the sound by 4 or 5 frames.

Voila! You will find, to your astonishment that you have created a 24fps timeline and your movie is playing at 24 progressive. I know that some of these steps seem to counterindicate a 24p result and appear contrary to any logic. But for some reason that perhaps someone else can explain, it does work.

Incidentally, I have tried many variations on this, including a variation on the last step which is to make a 24p sequence, but for some strange reason my monitor then gives a picture which is very slightly squeezed and has a thin black line running down the right hand side of frame.

I hope I haven't made any mistakes here.

Please let me know if this works for you.

I am able to do a whole roll (1 Hour) at a time using this method. As you may have discovered, C-Tools doesn't accept large files which makes it useless.

Don't forget to email me with your results, if any at harry323@pacbell.net

Best wishes.


Jeff Gibbs June 6th, 2006 02:29 PM

Wow. Thanks for working all this out. Seems like a strange and impossible answer to some mind-bending puzzler.
My footage looks great in FCP 5.1 loaded via firewire; however the audio is out of sorts and I am never sure if I am really looking at 24p. I am a producer/director not an editor FYI. And I have a dozens of tapes to load, so that is not a happy sounding work flow for me.

Harry Bromley-Davenport June 6th, 2006 02:33 PM

It's not as hideously complicated as it seems. It's just that i wanted to be really specific in my posting and have therefore written out even (I hope) the most obvious steps.

Your capture time will be (obviously) the same time - the only increase is the MPEG Streamclip conversion which takes about 2.5 x real time.

Quality is really good. But you must follow my instructions to the letter.

You'll be happy. And the bonus is that you will be editing in DVCPro HD format.

Let me know how it works out for you if you try it - or if you have any questions. harry323@pacbell.net



Barlow Elton June 6th, 2006 08:05 PM

Hate to have led you down such a complicated road before, Harry, but I think the SDI thing is totally unneccesary now for 24F capture and conversion (from HDV tape) to a progressive format.

I've captured entire tapes of 24F as a single m2t and then converted this way with no issues.


Harry Bromley-Davenport June 6th, 2006 09:06 PM


Well. I'll have to check that one out.

But I imagine that there is all that conversion / rendering time on the end coming through MPEG Streamclip, No?

Anyway, I've done most of the project this way, so I'm not going to change now.

I hope you noticed that I credited you on the front of my diatribe.



Barlow Elton June 6th, 2006 10:43 PM

Totally understand where you're coming from. No need to switch horses mid-stream...but this way avoids loss of sync and having to capture audio at all. Michael Galvan was the first to show me this approach, and that was just a few short weeks ago.

My conversion times are close to 1--1.5 real time, meaning an hour of footage takes about 60 to 90 min. for conversion to DVCProHD, PhotoJPEG, AIC etc. This is with a G5 dual 2.7 and SATA drives. So it takes roughly 2.5 hrs to capture and convert to the editing format of choice.

I find this method to be WAAAY easier.

Harry Bromley-Davenport June 7th, 2006 12:07 AM

Barlow, O Wise One.

1. When you convert via MPEG Streamclip, are you using 1920x1080 plain or 1920x1080 unscaled? I've been using "unscaled" because I read some learned article that said this was better.

The reason I ask is that the unscaled option takes 2.5 x real time, whereas the "plain" option, as you mention, takes a little under 1.5 real time.

Do you think it makes any difference?

2. I'm using Streamclip v 1.5.1. Do you think I should upgrade to 1.7 right now?

3. When I go to the Apple site to download DVHSCap I can't find it. Could you possibly send me a link?

Anyway, best wishes.

I'd like to call you in the next few days to pick your brains about a couple of things, so you may wish to hide or screen your calls.


Barlow Elton June 7th, 2006 01:04 AM

No problem Harry.

1--I force a 1920x1080 frame even when going to DVCProHD. You have to scale back with DVCProHD anyway because the format is actually 1280x1080 as FCP sees it. When you render out full raster you get clips that open up properly within QT rather than looking vertically squished.

Lately I've moved to PhotoJPEG as my 24p codec of choice because it retains more resolution than DVCProHD at a similar bit rate and is full 1080 raster. It's also cross platform compatible if you ever have to exchange footage with a compositor/FX artist, for example.

2--I think you need 1.7 to get the frame rate export option. I would upgrade immediately.

3--If you have a full install of Mac OSX 10.4 "Tiger" do a spotlight search of your own machine. It's part of the developer's apps that are optionally installed. If you can't find it, HDVxDV works too. Don't use HDVxDV for clip conversion/export though. I'm pretty sure it doesn't recognize the discrete 24p of Canon HDV 24F so it'll probably export as a 29.97 pulldown clip.

Harry Bromley-Davenport June 7th, 2006 12:34 PM

Thanks, as usual, for the advice, Barlow.

I may have to call you about some of this stuff, due to my deep ignorance of almost eveerything.



Jeff Gibbs June 7th, 2006 12:53 PM

Thanks Barlow and Harry for the help on this. I was able to use the process you outlined with success Barlow.

Harry Bromley-Davenport June 7th, 2006 01:04 PM

Congratulations. You get a big gold star in your copy book for that.



Barlow Elton June 7th, 2006 03:11 PM

Glad it worked for you Jeff. It's really the only halfway tolerable. option for 24F/P editing in FCP currently.

I imagine even when Apple officially ships FCP6 and has true 24F support, I'll still go the intermediate route as timeline performance is very important to me.

It's just gotta be snappy, period.

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