I cycled across the country on a bicycle 2 years ago and have a massive amount of video I want to make into a documentary about the experience. Last week I got my hands on a new macbook with Final Cut and am ready to edit. When I open the files Final Cut says it does not recognize the file format. I took all the video with my phone. I have included a 4 second clip of the video I took. I want to preserve the video quality as best as possible. Should I import at the same resolution and frame rate. Do you guys have any other tips? Thanks
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Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom
File size : 3.22 MiB
Duration : 4s 224ms
Overall bit rate : 6 400 Kbps
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Baseline@L3.1
Format settings, CABAC : No
Format settings, ReFrames : 1 frame
Format settings, GOP : M=1, N=61
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 4s 45ms
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 4 947 Kbps
Width : 1 280 pixels
Height : 720 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate mode : Variable
Frame rate : 29.666 fps
Minimum frame rate : 15.003 fps
Maximum frame rate : 29.821 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.181
Stream size : 2.39 MiB (74%)
Title : VideoHandle
Language : English
ID : 2
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format version : Version 4
Format profile : LC
Format settings, SBR : No
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 4s 224ms
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 129 Kbps
Nominal bit rate : 96.0 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Stream size : 66.5 KiB (2%)
Title : SoundHandle
Language : English
It's variable frame rate. Are you using FCP7 or FCPX? You may need to transcode to something like Prores first.
On a PC it also opens fine in Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro, Vegas Movie Studio, Quicktime, MPC-HC and VLC. So there's nothing inherently wrong with the file.
I am using FCPX 10.1.2. Thank you for the reply. The video runs pretty smoothy in FCPX. I just want to do whatever it takes to preserve the frame rate and quality. I have one question about frame rate. FCPX does not set the project at the exact same frame rate as the frame rate of the video. In the custom frame rate options I can set it to 29.97 FPS but I can't set in a specific frame rate, like 26.66, the frame rate of the videos.
What is Prores?
The problem is there really isn't a single frame rate for the video. That's the point of variable frame rate recording. What that 29.666 is probably the average frame rate
It's a recording technique designed to reduce bandwidth. The speed of the video goes up and down according to activity. If you hold the camera still and point at a wall for a second, the frame rate might drop down to 1. ie. that 1 second is represented by 1 encoded frame, instead of 29.97 frames or whatever normal framerate is used
This can cause havoc when trying to edit, because you can get sync issues if the editing program works in constant frame rates. If you assume an average frame rate you will have sections that go in and out of sync
Okay so I choose the FPS in FCPS which is closest to the average frame rate and thats the best thing I can do with the frame rate?
I've only used FCPX a little bit, but I hear it handles VFR video better than FCP. I'm more of a PC user. FCP would totally fail and you would get sync issues every time. I would try 29.97 and hope that it inserts duplicates properly. If you don't get an answer here regarding how FCPX handles VFR from point/shoot type cameras, you can ask on the FCPX support forum as well
On a PC, you would convert it to CFR video before editing. So basically that involves inserting duplicate frames in the approximate places of where they would have been if you had recorded CFR in the first place. It's pretty much automatic, but most programs work with a constant frame rate timeline. VFR really isn't meant to be edited.
ProRes is an apple-native, constant frame rate, i-frame codec that FCPX really likes. Your files will get much larger, but editing should be very smooth.
My understanding is that FCPX almost automatically tries to transcode everything to ProRes. In your case go ahead and let it. Normal or LT quality settings should be sufficient. 1280x720 29.97fps is the way you want to go.
I found some settings in FCPX. There is an option for optimized video. I don't have it selected right now. I am guessing that right now FCPX is reading the native VFR video and it will convert the video to CFR if I click on optimized transcode. I included a screenshot.
Report back if there are sync issues with those settings enabled
For clips that are minimally variable, you won't be able to tell the difference. Only ones that have drastic changes will have sync issues if it's still a problem and those settings dont "fix" it
Use optimized media as you have surmised. Proxy media will be a small, low quality version. You can actually edit with proxy media and then replace it automatically with the optimized media at the end if you are still having stuttering problems.