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How to edit/export SD footage? Must be a better way...

693 Views 26 Replies Latest reply: Dec 17, 2012 8:26 PM by Alchroma RSS
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105437 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 10, 2012 6:27 PM

Extreme newbie here in FCPX...


I'd like to use FCPX to edit some old VHS footage that I have converted to H.264/AVC, 640 x 480 AAC, 48000 Hz, Stereo (L R) and then export it in the same format. What is the best way to do this?


I created a destination using the H.264 codec but a 35 minute project is taking a LONG tome to export... Is this normal. Can my project edit and export in this standard def H.264 format without having to trancode on the export?



MacBook Pro with Retina display, Mac OS X (10.7.4)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,630 points)

    Is 10.7.4 really you're OS?


    You should convert to standard DV at 720x480, and never convert with compressed audio.

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,630 points)

    What you're losing is that the file isn't in a standard video format and is doing a lot of recompressing to get it where you want.

  • BenB Level 5 Level 5 (7,535 points)

    Old VHS tapes are standard definition NTSC digital video.  Elgato is downgrading them for web playback, not to retain full quality and editing.  In fact, if you can convert to ProRes LT that'd be the best.  I'd find some other software to digitize that video with.  Perhaps see if FCP X will recognize that Elgato adapter directly.  May not, but give it a try.

  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)

    Just to add a suggestion, if you're going to do very much of this kind of analogue-digital conversion, consider getting a different converter box like this.


    You won't be throwing away so much information early in the process (the additional compression that Tom Wolsky cites) so your editing will be quicker and quality of the end product will be higher.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)

    105437 wrote:


    so I would use this device to import the VHS footage directly into FCPX?

    That's an excellent question…and the answer is, in theory, yes. FCPX should see the Canopus as a Firewire device. But I have yet to test it myself and the earliest I can do that is tomorrow morning. (I just did a quick search and didn't come up with anything specific to FCPX. Most people just seem to use iMovie.)  


    I've often used this box successfully but then  I used previous versions of FCP, which were relatively tape-friendly and Firewire device-friendly.


    So I'll give it a go tomorrow and post back one way or the other.



  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    If your iMovie event is DV, the easiest way is to go to FCPX and use FILE/IMPORT... IMOVIE EVENTS


    This will give you access to your DV without doubling up on space. The iMovie Event and the FCP Event will be distinct but will point to the same clips. Only the thumbnails, cache and analysis files would be different.


    If that works for you, great.


    If you still are interested in the ElGato solution, I have a different ElGato product (The EyeTV Hybrid, with EyeTV3 software,) but I get really good results through it. The ElGato Video Capture product may be feature constrained relative to the EyeTV hybrid, but I don't know for sure since I dont have one.


    I am actually recording a TV show with the ElGato right now so I can't get down into the menus right now, so this is from memory, but as I recall - as I capture, I can use a very high quality mode that gets captured as MPEG2, or I can select a more compressed format that is h.264. For highest quality, the MPEG2 seems to work best. For exporting, choose QuickTime and then choose either ProRes 422 or Apple Intermediate Codec or DV. Personally I like ProRes 422 for FCP and AIC for iMovie. In my experience, DV is about 20% bigger than AIC with no visible difference in quality.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    You can right click the clip in the iMovie event, and then OPEN WITH/QUICKTIME PLAYER. Then click Command-I to open the Inspector. The video and audio codecs should be listed next to the word FORMAT:


    Both your FCP event and your iMovie Event will show 3.5 GB, but the overall space on your drive will be the same, as long as you keep both the iMovie Event and the FCPX event on the same drive. This is done by hard links, same as the way Time Machine works. Similarly, if you delete the iMovie event, you will not gain back any space unless you also delete the FCPX event and then empty the trash. When you delete just one, you are removing the hard link, but the clip is still there as long as there are any hard links attached. For me, it was obvious, because I had some Event disks that were 80% full, and the FCPX events still fit after importing from iMovie.

  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)

    105437 wrote:


    Hi Russ, just wanted to update you on what I've done.

    Although you seem to have this project on track with AppleMan's help I did want to follow up and say that I'm sorry but I have not been yet been able to test the A/D box in FCP. After pulling it off the shelf for the first time in many months, I find it's acting very flaky – quite aside from FCP. I have a case pending with Canopus support so we'll see. I would expect


    As to why iMovie's import works and  FCPX doesn't, my assumption is that tape capture was kind of "bolted on" to the design of the new app whereas at the time iMovie was designed, tape was a much  more prevalent medium (especially for consumer and prosumer cams) and would have been integral to the design. Whatever is the case, I've found (in my relatively brief experience with FCPX) tape capture to work…but not without some false starts. (Therefore, whenever I need to capture tape I still do it in FCP7 and then import into X.)


    When my box gets sorted out (or when I am next at a facility that has one, I'll let you know what I find.



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