2939 Views Previous 1 2 Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Feb 1, 2010 11:08 AM by par larsson Go to original post
I think there's another component here that can add to the confusion, from my experience in dealing with my own avi files. Someone mentioned avi being a container, and that the codec in that container can vary from camera to camera...there's the wrench.
Bottom line, I had to experiment with my avi files in quicktime's varying export options to finally get the avi file so it was rendered before importing in FCE. And I then took it a step further and looked at my tests in its final version (in this case a dvd to hdtv) This testing was worth it, since I would have hated to discover any anomalies this AFTER creating a monster project. I also did this with another project that had totally different presets and again the testing prior paid off...
So with that said, would it be a correct to say: that all codec is not equal? Depending on your source?
Short answer to the thread title question:
FCE can import very many different codecs, but the codec is often not the only or even primary factor in determining whether or not a video file can be used by FCE.
Final Cut Express v4.0.1
The title of this thread should have been "What can FCE import?" or "What video files work well, and work - but not so well - with FCE?"
Basically we have a few different categories, all of which are more or less loosely defined and none of which are explained very well by the FCE developers - or at least nowhere I was able to look. Which drove me nuts over a few years.
DESIGNED TO WORK IN FCE:
FCE supports files encoded in DV-NTSC/DV-PAL as well as the Apple Intermediate Codec. The frame size should be 720x480, 1280x720, 1440x1080, or 1920x1080 and the frame rate must be either 25fps or 29.97fps. Audio should be imported as an uncompressed AIFF file (mono or stereo) at either 32kHz or 48kHz.
If your files do not match these settings you should convert them to files compatible with FCE before editing.
Just a little more specific about file formats & codecs - video clips need to be QuickTime files (.mov) encoded as DV-NTSC, DV-PAL or Apple Intermediate Codec.
FCE can capture DV, HDV and AVCHD video directly from camcorders. HDV and AVCHD are automatically transcoded by FCE to Apple Intermediate Codec during capture/log&transfer from the camcorder.
If you have video that is in a different container (eg. AVI, WMV, MP4 etc.) and/or is encoded with a different codec (eg. H.264, MPEG2 etc.), it needs to be converted before it is imported into FCE. Many people in this forum use MPEG Streamclip to do those conversions.
WORKS IN FCE (non-compliance with these may make a video file not importable into FCE unless it's been re-exported in another program, like MPEG Streamclip, VLC or Quicktime Player):
(most, but not all codecs or file formats)
Frame rate: 25fps or 29.97fps
In summary: any clip should match the Sequence properties exactly for best results BEFORE importing/ingesting/capturing to FCE.
Matching the Sequence properties will avoid some un-necessary rendering. While there are some file formats and codecs that make a file completely impossible to import, making them match the frame rate may change this.
To ensure a steady, consistent workflow, any video you capture or collect for editing in FCE should first be pre-processed in a program like Quicktime Player, MPEG Streamclip or VLC and exported in accordance with the quotes at the top of this post.
If you know of a place where the above information could be more easily found by people scratching their heads and wondering why their video files didn't import, or imported but didn't work well - in FCE, then please help the FCE user community by posting it there, or linking to this. This could all have been avoided with a little more information included in the manual.
Thanks all who contributed to figuring all this out.
Message was edited by: par larsson
Message was edited by: par larsson