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Old Dec 18, 2012, 03:44 PM   #26
AndyR
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Originally Posted by bagelche View Post
Premiere can handle the .MTS files natively; it doesn't seem to care about card structure. I also use CS5 and CS6 regularly. My Premiere usage is strictly quick turnaround, so I've never transcoded for it. AVCHD in, trim tops & tails, add lower thirds/titles, do some tweaks as necessary and batch output using Adobe Media Encoder.
Sweet thanks! Sounds like just what I need. I've given up using iMovie due to having to transcode everything when I want to quickly export a video clip. Have ended up just copying the AVCHD clips from my card and using handbrake to shrink them to send to my folks. Would be nice to trim some of them so Elements could be just what I need for that.
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Old Mar 13, 2013, 03:50 PM   #27
dgalvan123
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
AndyR, store the original AVCHD folders (a copy from your camcorder's storage to a hard drive) and not just the "stream" folder but all of the files. You really should store a copy too (meaning you end up with 2 copies of the AVCHD files) on at least 2 hard drives.

Store at least one of these hard drives away from your primary residence (maybe with parents, bank safe deposit, secure place at work, etc). This is the fire & flood-proofing piece. Home movies are precious that will grow in (personal) value as each year passes. You don't want to lose them because you didn't use some kind of backup... especially with hard drives as cheap as they are.

The reason to store the AVCHD originals is that there will come a time when you might want to compress them into something better than H.264 (when that comes out). Going back to the originals will maximize the quality of those new renders in the future. Recompressing your H.264 renders is going to sacrifice quality. 10-20 years from now, such a (latter) option might have you on the third, fourth or fifth generation of re-compression. It will be much better to be able to go back to the originals for those future codecs EVERY TIME.

OK, so now you have a hard drive(s) with all of your AVCHD files and an off-site copy of that hard drive too.

Organize your AVCHD by shoot dates. For example, I name my folders with date ranges so that I can come back to them later. If you want to re-render your child's 1st birthday, you'll easily be able to find the right original AVCHD.

As you shoot new AVCHD, I find it much more convenient to use a tool like Chronosync to update the latest AVCHD folder (with the new footage). That kind of tool also makes it very easy to regularly update your off-site backup.

iMovie is OK for AVCHD but I became frustrated with its limitations and gave FCPX a try. I feel like FCPX maximizes what I can get out of the AVCHD my camcorder can shoot (for example, FCPX can handle the Dolby Digital 5.1, 60fps video, etc).

I've got a workflow where I use a tool called Clipwrap to do the conversions from AVCHD to ProRes, then use FCPX to do the editing of the ProRes files, render back out to ProRes, then use Handbrake to render a small final version (hiprofile preset) for itunes (to flow to TV3).

Tools like MetaZ or MetaX are great for tagging those files for iTunes storage. I tag them as "TV Shows" so that all of our "home movies" can be organized in TV by year. This also works very well making them on-demand and convenient whenever anyone wants to see anything we've got.

Again, backups are important... so consider a main hard drive(s) for storing all of your video media as well as a backup hard drive should the first one conk out. Again the latter should be stored off-site if at all possible.

If you have nothing to start with, you could possibly get by on just 2 high capacity drives to cover both backups (storing both your building library of AVCHD backups and your iTunes video media) on the same drive, then backing them up to the other drive. High capacity hard drives are pretty cheap.

Depending on how much you care about quality maximization, you may not need FCPX and thus Clipwrap at all (I just prefer them because I find iMovie too limiting). I do think a good tool like Chronosync is well worth it (for camcorder to hard drive and then hard drive to backup hard drive); it makes it much easier than manually doing those updates.

IMO, iTunes plus TV3 is THE way for home movie management and playback.
This sounds like a good method. I import all my AVCHD into iMovie and use the "archive" option to also make a copy of the AVCHD originals for backup storage. And yes I backup BOTH the AVCHD originals AND the iMovie library so that they are stored in two locations. (Two external hard drives, that is. I haven't done the offsite backup thing yet.)

My issue, as a father of a 1- year old and a 3 year old, is never having enough time to jump through all the hoops to actually manage the video after it is imported to iMovie, let alone export to iTunes.

I just want to be able to import the video to my computer and then, with minimal effort, be able to view it on my Apple TV. This process is dead simple for photos, and a pain-in-the-butt for home movies. Why?

For home movies:
1. Import from camera to iMovie.
2. Trim/edit the clips I've imported. (to remove unwanted footage and hence save disk space.)
3. Move clips I'm interested in from iMovie "Events" to an iMovie "Project".
4. Export that project to iTunes. (Takes significant time.)
5. Now viewable on Apple TV!

For photos.
1. Import from camera to iPhoto.
2. Now viewable on Apple TV!

It is for this reason that our most recent photos are always quickly viewable on our Apple TV with virtually no effort , while our home movies stay locked away in iMovie until I finally get time to mess with them, usually months later.

There has to be a better way.

-------------------

The other problem: I'd say 70% of the video we record these days comes from non-AVCHD sources: My wife and I each have iPhone 5's, and we also have a Canon Rebel T2i. All of those take 1080p video, and all get used for video more often than our Vixia camcorder, usually just because we have any of those devices closer at hand than the camcorder. (When going to the zoo or on a longer trip, we are going to bring the SLR for sure. With our phones that gives us three methods to record 1080p video. So why bother also lugging the Vixia?). The video from our iPhone 5's sits on our phones until we (very rarely) connect them to our mac using the cord. We do that very rarely, since we have them set up to do a nightly wi-fi sync, which takes care of transferring files between the mac and the iPhone, but it doesn't import the photos/videos taken by the iphone into iPhoto on the mac. You have to do a wired USB synch for that. Why doesn't Apple enable import of iPhone photos to iPhoto via wifi?

Anyway, all the videos from the iphones and the SLR go into iPhoto by default, not iMovie. The plus: those videos are now immediately viewable on apple tv! The minus, it's not really intuitive to have to sit in front of your tv, want to watch a home movie, and get to it by selecting "Photos".
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Old Mar 13, 2013, 05:45 PM   #28
AndyR
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post

It is for this reason that our most recent photos are always quickly viewable on our Apple TV with virtually no effort , while our home movies stay locked away in iMovie until I finally get time to mess with them, usually months later.

There has to be a better way.
Same problem mate. Its this reason I have now brought Adobe Premiere Elements 11 and use that to quick edit my AVCHD without having to wait for iMovie to import them and the huge size. Makes it super quick to edit the AVCHD files now and wont be touching iMovie again for a while.
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Old Mar 13, 2013, 05:52 PM   #29
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That last part is very right. iPhoto is for photos. Yes, it can import video too but that's not its primary purpose. You're trying to force something that's not really intended to be heavily used that way.

Similarly, iMovie is very much about editing and not about storing. iMovie is not to video what iPhoto is to pictures. The latter is the intended storage database for all pictures. iMovie is meant to be an intermediary between your video camera (or iPhones, etc) and iTunes. iTunes is where the videos are intended to be stored after you edit them toward whatever you consider perfection.

Video is not as conveniently available as photos because video is 24, 30, or 60 photos per second. If your camera was shooting that many photos every second, it would be a huge task to import all of them into iPhoto and have quick access to them.

But the way around that is to make the time to process your videos into final forms and then render them. Once rendered, drop them in iTunes and they are readily available. Yes, not as fast as just importing a few photos into iPhoto but it will be as fast as you making the time to edit them and then render. In my case, I shoot about 2-3 hours of home movies every other weekend or so. Net after editing will be about 2 hours. Much of the process I describe above is letting the Mac do the work. For example, set up the import and go do other things while it imports. Set up Clipwrap to convert and go do other things while it converts. The real time spent on video work is the editing piece and that can take a few hours to do fine editing (of several hours of raw video), put in some chapter markers, etc. Once edited, I hand the work back to the Mac to render out that Prores version. Then, I hand it back to the Mac again to have Handbrake turn the Prores into a H.264 file ready for TV3.

In short, once you get a workflow in place, much of the work can be done by your computer. Get it going and go do other things. Check on it when you think it should be done with a step. If it is done, start the next step and go do other things. The more time consuming parts in my workflow get done while I sleep (the Mac "stays up" and does the work).

Yes, it would be great if video could be as easily filed & organized as still photos but video is a entirely different medium. It does require a bit more work by it's custodian but you can make your computer do most of the time-consuming stuff if you map out a good workflow.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Mar 13, 2013 at 06:03 PM.
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Old Mar 14, 2013, 03:56 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
That last part is very right. iPhoto is for photos. Yes, it can import video too but that's not its primary purpose. You're trying to force something that's not really intended to be heavily used that way.
Maybe it's not intended to be used that way. . . but if it worked well it would be exactly what I need. If iPhoto accepted AVCHD (and if the AVCHD were able to be streamed through iTunes straight to the Apple TV, just like my iPhone video clips are now), I would import all my camcorder video clips to iPhoto as well. I'd let iPhoto be the place I organize my video clips, just like it is the app that organizes all my photos. I wanted iMovie to be the iPhoto of home movies, but all the transcoding involved, and the fact that Apple TV can't stream iMovie's database like it can iPhoto's database, keep it from being that.

I get the rationale for why Apple included video support in iPhoto: more and more often, our videos are coming in side-by-side with still photos from iPhones, point-and-shoots, and DSLRs. It makes sense to have a video clip in the same iPhoto "event" as a bunch of stills if they are all from the same real-life event. Also, many of us are not interested in doing significant editing to video clips (other than "trimming"), so why shouldn't we be able to treat video clips like photos, at least in their organization?

Philosophy aside:
I do like that my iPhone home videos are instantly available for viewing on my Apple TV right after I import them to iPhoto, without any additional effort from me. What I don't like is that, to get to these on the ATV, I go Computers-->Library-->PHOTOS--> and then the event containing the videos, but at least they are there. This also works "in theory" with my Canon Rebel T2i movies as well in that they are instantly accessible on the ATV. . . but in practice it's not a solution because the T2i .mov files are so high bit-rate that it takes frustratingly long for the ATV to stream the video. And frankly, the video is not much higher quality than the iPhone 5 1080p, these days. So it's jarring to watch a quick-streaming iPhone 5 video on the Apple TV, and then switch to a T2i video only to have to wait and wait for it to load.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
Similarly, iMovie is very much about editing and not about storing. iMovie is not to video what iPhoto is to pictures. The latter is the intended storage database for all pictures. iMovie is meant to be an intermediary between your video camera (or iPhones, etc) and iTunes. iTunes is where the videos are intended to be stored after you edit them toward whatever you consider perfection.
I agree that this is how it ends up being used most of the time, but I don't think it's what Apple intended. Or at least, it's not how they describe iMovie. Just look at Apple's own description of what iMovie is:

(from here: http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/what-is.html#home)
Quote:
"iMovie puts it all in one place and organizes it for you so your video is easy to browse and fun to watch. Just plug in your device, open iMovie, and start importing your video. It appears in your Event Library — the one place you’ll find everything you’ve ever recorded. Just like photos in iPhoto, videos are organized by Events. And as your collection grows, you can rate clips as “favorite” or “rejected,” tag them with preset or custom keywords, and filter them so you can find the best scenes (or hide the ones you’re not thrilled with)."
"the one place you'll find everything you've ever recorded" sounds like "storage" to me. Not just an intermediary for editing things that are on their way to iTunes. "Just like in iPhoto" is pretty strong indicator that Apple is selling iMovie as the iPhoto of home videos. They've added many features from iPhoto (keywords, face detection, etc.) that are about storage and organization.

Also from Apple's description:

Quote:
Who says you have to edit? iMovie is a great place to just sit back and watch. View your video full screen without any desktop distractions, flipping through your video library using Cover Flow the same way you flip through albums in iTunes. You can also toggle between events and projects, skim quickly through clips, and watch individual scenes.
Again, they are comparing iMovie to the other iLife apps: iMovie is where you go to flip through your home videos. . . just like iTunes is where you go to flip through your albums (and commercial videos).

Apple is advertising iMovie as a place to STORE, ORGANIZE, and VIEW home video content. You may see it merely as an editing waypoint, but Apple is telling us that iMovie IS the iPhoto of videos. And, really, that's what I as a consumer would WANT: a central app that does for video clips what iPhoto does for my photos.

And it WOULD BE, EXCEPT for one place iMovie falls short:

iMovie's database of clips is not accessible via Apple TV. Whereas iPhoto's database of photos (AND videos) is.

My understanding is that this is a technical problem. iMovie stores its video database in AIC so that the video can be easily/quickly viewed and edited, making interaction with the video in iMovie very fast. But the bit-rate for these AIC .mov files is EXTREMELY high, so it's not suitable for streaming to ATV. The fix would be for Apple to find a way to store its database in something other than AIC; something that could be streamable. That, or maybe the clips are all initially stored as .h264 or something else that could easily be streamed, and then if you want to select a clip to do some more advanced editing with (something beyond "trim"), only then does iMovie convert it to AIC. Say, a clip isn't converted to AIC until it is dropped into a "Project".

It seems like Adobe Premiere Elements 11 is basically doing the same thing as iMovie (being an application to store, manage, organize, and edit your home videos), but is able to edit more types of video natively (like AVCHD). I would love it if iMovie went that direction. Because right now it seems a bit crippled as one of the iLife apps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
But the way around that is to make the time to process your videos into final forms and then render them. Once rendered, drop them in iTunes and they are readily available. . . .
In short, once you get a workflow in place, much of the work can be done by your computer.
I hear ya. It's really the editing itself that takes the time. I think if I had a solution that let the clips be viewable on my Apple TV without me doing any editing at all, I'd probably just let that happen and save the editing for my retirement years. But with iMovie I've been importing and organizing all my video clips in there as events (as Apple suggests), but then not making the time to do the further work of putting them into projects and exporting them.

I've already invested a good amount of time organizing my iMovie library "events" (removing unwanted footage, naming each event by date and short description, etc.). I don't want to have to re-do all that organization in some other program. I suppose I could just simply grab each "event", quickly make it a "project" without any further editing, and let iMovie export that project to iTunes. But then the video would essentially be triple-stored: once as the original movie file (AVCHD or whatever), again as an AIC clip in the iMovie database, and a third time as an .mp4 in iTunes.
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Old Mar 15, 2013, 07:49 AM   #31
HobeSoundDarryl
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
I've already invested a good amount of time organizing my iMovie library "events" (removing unwanted footage, naming each event by date and short description, etc.). I don't want to have to re-do all that organization in some other program. I suppose I could just simply grab each "event", quickly make it a "project" without any further editing, and let iMovie export that project to iTunes.
If this is the case, you have it made. The last step is one your computer can do for you. Make the project and then have it render while you do other things. You've already done the time-consuming (human) work. Put the output in iTunes and you'll have iPhoto like dynamic access to your videos whenever you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
But then the video would essentially be triple-stored: once as the original movie file (AVCHD or whatever), again as an AIC clip in the iMovie database, and a third time as an .mp4 in iTunes.
Yes, but that's a good situation:
1. AVCHD is your master files. The quality of those shoots will not get better than they are right there.
2. iMovie's version is a generational conversion from master version. But that means you're entirely ready to export to H.265 when that arrives.
3. The rendered version is the readily usable one (plus, it will be much smaller than the other two).

In the photo analogy, #1 is the "negatives" and #3 is the printed photos. If space is an issue, move #1 off to separate hard drives. After you render #3 from #2, move #2 off to separate hard drives too. Then, you'll have all that space freed up on your main storage and have the ready access to your videos that you seek.

Otherwise, I think your wait for TV to use QIC files in iMovie like it taps iPhoto pictures is going to be a very long wait. I doubt that's even a goal of Apple for many years to come. Sure, the marketing might imply that's what iMovie does but Apple marketing also described an iPad as "magical." iMovie's purpose is to help take raw footage and render "polished" footage. Then, in the Apple ecosystem, the idea is to move that rendered video to iTunes for ready access on your computer, on any iDevices and/or TV.

You are fighting a strong current for no personal gain. Go with the flow and you'll get the main benefit of what you want. You've already done the hard (human-intensive) part of the work. One more (mostly computer-doing-the-work) step and you'll get what you want. With video, you only have to do that one time.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 12:22 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
If this is the case, you have it made. The last step is one your computer can do for you. Make the project and then have it render while you do other things. You've already done the time-consuming (human) work. Put the output in iTunes and you'll have iPhoto like dynamic access to your videos whenever you like.
. . .
You are fighting a strong current for no personal gain. Go with the flow and you'll get the main benefit of what you want. You've already done the hard (human-intensive) part of the work. One more (mostly computer-doing-the-work) step and you'll get what you want. With video, you only have to do that one time.
Yeah. You're right. Just gonna have to grin and bear it. I am now gradually working my way backwards in iMovie, exporting all our home movies to iTunes. It's still somewhat slow work, since there are tons of videos and each 1080p export from iMovie takes at LEAST 20 minutes, sometimes multiple hours, depending on the length of the video. Usually I'll export one a night right before I go to bed.

Here's the workflow I've settled into. It's mainly based around using iMovie to organize all our home video.

Camcorder (Canon Vixia HF20):

-Connect camera, use iMovie's "create camera archive" function to back up entire AVCHD contents (ie: copy the entire file structure) to a folder on my external hard drive.
- After archive created, import clips from camera into iMovie.
- Immediately after import, re-title all imported events using date and short description (ex: 04_01_2013 Kids Playing)
- Whenever I have time, I look at an iMovie "Event", cut some of the superflous footage, then create a "Project" with the same title as the event, and drag all the clips from that event into the project, without doing any further edits except maybe add a quick title. I click Share --> Export Movie --> 1080p, and send the resulting rendered movie to another folder on my external hard drive.
- When rendering is done, I open the exported movie using MetaX and tag it with a date and the "genre" (ex: 2013 Home Movies)
- After MetaX is done, I manually drag the movie from that folder into the iTunes (without copying).
-Now the video is stored as the AVCHD original, the iMovie AIC "Event/Project", and the exported 1080p .mov file, all on a single external hard drive. That hard drive is backed up via time-machine to another external hard drive. Haven't started doing offsite backups yet.

DSLR (Canon Rebel T2i) AND iPhone 5's

-Connect camera/phone to mac via USB, import photos AND videos into iPhoto.
-(I've decided to leave all these original videos stored in iPhoto's library. The reason being that they can be instantly viewed on Apple TV, and the movies appear in context with photos from the same events.)
- As I gradually make my way back in time, organizing/exporting movies from iMovie, I will occasionally batch-import a bunch of movies from the iPhoto library into iMovie. I do this by going to iMovie and going File--> Import. . . --> and selecting "iPhoto" in the dialog box, and selecting a range of movies (usually just a few months). This imports all those .mov's into iMovie as AIC iMovie Events.
- Sometimes I have both Camcorder AND DSLR/iPhone video from the same event. In that case I will combine the video in the iMovie Event and iMovie Project before exporting the combined video clips to iTunes.
- Other times, I come upon an iMovie Event that contains footage from a single video taken by the DSLR or the iPhone, with no AVCHD involved. In that case, I will go ahead and use iMovie to quickly identify if there is footage I want to trim. I delete the trimmed footage from the event in iMovie, and then I'll will go to iPhoto, right-click on the movie, go to "show file in finder", and open the original movie in quicktime. I will then use QT's "trim" feature to cut the excess footage from the original (to save space).
-Now that I am left with a trimmed original movie from either my DSLR or iPhone, already encoded as a .mov h.264 file, I simply use MetaX to tag that original. It usually already has a date, but I change the title and "genre" in MetaX. (Note this changes the title in the Meta data of the movie to something useful, like the date-short-description I mentioned above; but it leaves the filename untouched. This is important because changing the filename would render the file lost to iPhoto, which is how I like to access these movies later.)
-Finally, there is no need to have iMovie render the event to a project. Instead I simply drag the original file into an iTunes window (without copying), making it visible on Apple TV both in the "Movies" section AND in the "Photos" section, in context.
-Now the video is stored in only two forms: the original in the iphoto library, and the AIC iMovie event. The only reason I lkeep the AIC iMovie event is for organization purposes, so that iMovie has "all" my home movies.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 02:13 PM   #33
HobeSoundDarryl
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
Whenever I have time, I look at an iMovie "Event", cut some of the superflous footage, then create a "Project" with the same title as the event, and drag all the clips from that event into the project, without doing any further edits except maybe add a quick title. I click Share --> Export Movie --> 1080p, and send the resulting rendered movie to another folder on my external hard drive.
It's been a while since I used iMovie. Does that yield a pretty compact 1080p file? And does it look 1080p great when you play it back?

If no to either, consider downloading the trial of FCP X so you can get the pro res Quicktime output options into your system (even if you don't want to use FCP X at all). Then, you can output from iMovie to Pro Res 422, then send that file through Handbrake to render a final file (compressed and looking great). If you end up going this way, you can output several Pro Res 422 files and then que them up in Handbrake and let your computer do the work while you sleep. This will yield .m4v files.

I recall I could never get the quality of output directly out of iMovie that I could get with the above. Then, I read that iMovie was chopping half the lines out of 1080p on import so it was only rendering half the lines of what I shot (even if the final file was 1080p). I did some tests and it seemed like it could be true. So, I gave up on iMovie and switched to FCP X.

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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
When rendering is done, I open the exported movie using MetaX and tag it with a date and the "genre" (ex: 2013 Home Movies)
Since you- like me- have lots of home movies, you might find a few other MetaX/Z options worth completing. I wanted better organization than I could get with file naming so I tag everything as "TV Shows" in MetaZ (but it will work in X too). Artists & Show are "Home Movies", Episode ID is 4-digit date (like 1225 or 0704, etc). Season is year in which the video was shot. Episode is a chronological sequence number (meaning videos shot earlier in the year have a lower number than videos shot later in the year). First home movie of the year has Episode = 1, next is 2 and so on.

Why go this trouble? Because in TV under TV shows, all your home movies will be in year and date order, making it very easy to jump right to the one you want. Plus it keeps "home movies" from mixing in with regular movies.

I also enter descriptions and even make a poster from either the movie itself or from photos taken around the same time.

After that, I open them in Subler so I can tag them as 1080p. Save. Optimize. This will make the "HD" tag show up in the TV list.

Then, I move them to my permanent storage and drop them into iTunes (without copying them). Storage is backed up.

Consider these extra tips if you feel like going a bit further in your current workflow. Again, they're all 1-time things you can do to even better organize your home movie collection.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Apr 1, 2013 at 05:51 PM.
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 04:50 PM   #34
dgalvan123
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
It's been a while since I used iMovie. Does that yield a pretty compact 1080p file? And does it look 1080p great when you play it back?

If no to either, consider downloading the trial of FCP X so you can get the pro res Quicktime output options into your system (even if you don't want to use FCP X at all). Then, you can output from iMovie to Pro Res 422, then send that file through Handbrake to render a final file (compressed and looking great). If you end up going this way, you can output several Pro Res 422 files and then que them up in Handbrake and let your computer do the work while you sleep. This will yield .m4v files.

I recall I could never get the quality of output directly out of iMovie that I could get with the above. Then, I read that iMovie was chopping half the lines out of 1080p on import so it was only rendering half the lines of what I shot (even if the final file was 1080p). I did some tests and it seemed like it could be true. So, I gave up on iMovie and switched to FCP X.
I've seen a number of forum posts where people are talking about getting inferior exports from iMovie. (example, this Apple Support Communities forum.) So I'm convinced you're probably right and the quality of the export is not as good as what the source (say, my 1080p camcorder) is capable of producing. Frankly, I haven't been noticing a quality hit, but I haven't been expecting "buttery smooth" 1080p since I'm serving the video to my TVs using two ATV2's (ie: the 1080p content is downscaled to 720p). Of course, when I compare the 1080p iMovie export played over ATV2 to my camcorder recordings, with the camcorder plugged directly into the TV using HDMI, the difference in quality is pretty clear: the direct camcorder quality is fantastic, the ATV2-served-iMovie export is grainy and a bit pixelated. But again it's hard for me to tell how much of that is the fact that ATV2 is downscaling to 720p, and how much of that is iMovie's export. In any event the quality hit is not big enough to bother anybody else in my family aside from myself, so it's not a huge priority at the moment.

I did try a small experiment last night: I took a 1080p home movie from my iPhone5, stored as an original .mov in iPhoto's library, and imported that movie to iTunes without going through iMovie at all. Then I also imported the original to iMovie and exported from iMovie as a 1080p file. I watched both of them (the original iPhone 5 movie AND the same move after being imported/exported from iMovie) back to back on my TV via ATV2. I couldn't tell a difference in quality, per se, though I did notice the iMovie-exported version did look a tad brighter than the original movie. But then, the movie quality itself wasn't very good in the first place because it was in low-light conditions, in which case the iPhone 5 tends to automatically reduce the frame rate to ~24 fps (whereas in daylight it sets it at 30 fps).

I'll follow up on your suggestion to try and export from iMovie using the Apple Pro Res 422 codec instead of the AIC. (I downloaded the trial for FCPX last night . . . will I get to keep the Pro Res codec after my FCPX trial has ended?) But I wonder if the quality lost when going through iMovie is due to the export from AIC, or the IMPORT from the original version TO AIC. If it's the latter, then it shouldn't matter what export codec is used, as the quality will have been lost the moment the movie is imported into iMovie in the first place. If that is the case, then abandoning iMovie in favor of FCPX or Adobe Premiere Elements would appear to be the only viable option. FCPX costs $300, and Elements costs $100. . . So I'd probably lean toward the latter.

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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
. . .I wanted better organization than I could get with file naming so I tag everything as "TV Shows" in MetaZ (but it will work in X too). Artists & Show are "Home Movies", Episode ID is 4-digit date (like 1225 or 0704, etc). Season is year in which the video was shot. Episode is a chronological sequence number (meaning videos shot earlier in the year have a lower number than videos shot later in the year). First home movie of the year has Episode = 1, next is 2 and so on.. .
I experimented with the "TV Shows" method. It works fine, and gives you those three levels of organization
1. Top list of all TV Shows, with "Home Movies" being one of them.
2. Inside "Home Movies" show, with multiple "seasons" grouped by year.
3. Inside a given "season", with all the home video from that year listed chronologically.

But my wife and I decided we just didn't like grouping our home video in with TV shows. I think it's because our TV Shows section is pretty active and dynamic. We get most of our shows from an OTA Antenna --> EyeTV --> iTunes --> Apple TV. So every week there are multiple new shows popping up and we are watching and then "marking as watched" and then deleting them. If we had home videos grouped in that section permanently, we'd be scrolling past those "permanent" shows (our home movies) all the time as we add and delete our "temporary" shows . . . I don't know it would feel like grouping unlike things together.

Instead, we feel the home movies are more appropriately grouped with "Movies". So I use different "genres". This gives two levels of organization when viewed on Apple TV:

1. Top list of all Movie genres, including multiple years of Home Movies ("2013 Home Movies" genre, "2012 Home Movies" genre, etc.)
2. Inside one of those genres, all the home videos from that year, listed in chronological order.

It's one less layer to go through when drilling down in the ATV interface, and it just "feels" like the right place to us.
*shrug* To each their own.

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I also enter descriptions and even make a poster from either the movie itself or from photos taken around the same time.
How do you make the poster from the movie? IE: how do you grab a particular frame from the movie that you want to serve as the poster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
After that, I open them in Subler so I can tag them as 1080p. Save. Optimize. This will make the "HD" tag show up in the TV list.
I might do this. It's annoying to have to use multiple tagging apps, though. Must we use both MetaX/Z AND Subler? Is there one app to do all the tagging?
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 10:01 PM   #35
HobeSoundDarryl
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
I'll follow up on your suggestion to try and export from iMovie using the Apple Pro Res 422 codec instead of the AIC. (I downloaded the trial for FCPX last night . . . will I get to keep the Pro Res codec after my FCPX trial has ended?) But I wonder if the quality lost when going through iMovie is due to the export from AIC, or the IMPORT from the original version TO AIC. If it's the latter, then it shouldn't matter what export codec is used, as the quality will have been lost the moment the movie is imported into iMovie in the first place. If that is the case, then abandoning iMovie in favor of FCPX or Adobe Premiere Elements would appear to be the only viable option. FCPX costs $300, and Elements costs $100. . . So I'd probably lean toward the latter.
From what I understand (and this is how it was when I switched to FCP X so it may be better now), the loss is on the import. At the time, the suggestion was that feeding iMovie 1080p files from a camcorder was immediately dropping every other line (a cut from 1080 to 540) and the resulting render would be 960 x 540 (half HD in both dimensions). Again it could be different now.

A workaround suggested at the time was to use a program like Clipwrap to first rewrap the camera video clips as 1080p quicktime (maybe AIC?) and then use that with iMovie. But I just moved on to FCP X so I don't know if that would work or not (at the time, I also wanted the 5.1 Dolby Digital to make it into the home movie renders and iMovie could only do stereo).

I use the ProRes export because I've experimented with the export options from FCP X and Compressor and subjectively determined that I think I do better by letting Handbrake make the final compressed version. Purely subjective there as I'm sure people will swear by export options direct from FCP X and/or Compressor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
How do you make the poster from the movie? IE: how do you grab a particular frame from the movie that you want to serve as the poster?
Easy. After the render, play it back in Quicktime watching for a good image. When you find one use left & right arrows to get right on the best individual frame. Then screen grab a vertical rectangle using Preview, File (menu), Take Screen Shot. I usually do a little "adjust image" work on those grabs to make it look as good as it can. Then, just drag & drop into the poster box of Meta Z or X when you tag the file.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
I might do this. It's annoying to have to use multiple tagging apps, though. Must we use both MetaX/Z AND Subler? Is there one app to do all the tagging?
Subler can do it all but I find Meta Z/X easier for most of the tagging and generally only use Subler to set the HD tag. It will do all of the tagging (and poster frame) if you want to use just one program though.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:58 AM   #36
dgalvan123
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
From what I understand (and this is how it was when I switched to FCP X so it may be better now), the loss is on the import. At the time, the suggestion was that feeding iMovie 1080p files from a camcorder was immediately dropping every other line (a cut from 1080 to 540) and the resulting render would be 960 x 540 (half HD in both dimensions). Again it could be different now.
I'm pretty sure this is no longer the case. Whenever I import into iMovie I am given the option of importing in "Full Quality" (with the warning that "importing at full quality may slow playback on this machine") or "Large" (clearly stated as 960 x 540). So it is always suggested (stupidly) by iMovie that I choose to degrade my HD video, but I never take that option. I instead choose full quality.

That's somewhat encouraging, actually. As it means that iMovie does not ruin the footage on import (at least, not in that way), unless you choose the "Large" option.

I've installed the FCPX trial. But iMovie 11 doesn't seem to see the Pro Res codec when I go to Share --> Export with Quicktime. Maybe I have to copy the Pro Res codec into iMovie's libraries manually. . .
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 10:14 AM   #37
HobeSoundDarryl
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Hmmm, that's odd. I'm pretty sure I remember that I could export to ProRes 422 from iMovie.

Just fired up iMovie for the first time in a couple of years, made an incredible 3 second iSight video of my talking head, and then chose "Share" (menu), "Export Using Quicktime...". In the "Save exported file as..." window, for "Export" chose "Movie to Quicktime Movie" and then "options" button.

In the Movie Settings window that opens, click the "Settings" button.

In the "Standard Video Compression Settings" window that open for "Compression Type:", I do see a list of all of the FCP X options there. FCPX added many so I had to scroll up in that list to get to the "Apple ProRes" ones. If I was still doing it this way, I would choose "Apple Pro Res 422", and then choose whatever other settings would maximize quality of video & sound.

I went ahead and rendered it to my Desktop, opened it in Quicktime and checked to be sure it rendered a ProRes422. It did. I could then feed that to Handbrake to render an TV version.

Try the above. It should work for you too. I think you do have to install those Quicktime extensions but I thought FCP X did that on it's install.

As to does it import 1080p, I encourage you to do some searches "imovie import 1080p" and similar. I just did and I still see a lot of comments of people talking about using workarounds to get a 1080p final file. For example: https://discussions.apple.com/thread...rt=15&tstart=0 I even saw some sales copy for a video re-wrapper that point blank said that iMovie does not import 1080p (but maybe they were bending the truth to try to drive a sale). This implies yes it does: https://discussions.apple.com/message/21072004#21072004 unless it's 60fps. This: https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0 also implies that it does. But there's a lot of other information that casts some doubt. Since iPhone, etc went 1080p, I'm going to assume that Apple would have made iMovie properly handle it. But I'm not sure.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Apr 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 02:49 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
Try the above. It should work for you too. I think you do have to install those Quicktime extensions but I thought FCP X did that on it's install.
Thanks for the detailed instructions! It did indeed work, and I was able to produce a ProRes 422 version of one of my iMovie projects (that is, exporting from AIC to ProRes 422), which I then used Handbrake to transcode to "Apple TV 3" preset. (Apparently installing the FCPX trial was indeed enough, and I'm guessing I'll keep the codecs after I delete the free trial, since they are apparently installed in QuickTime's libraries.)

I compared that version to the version of the same project I had originally exported from iMovie (going from AIC to 1080p .mov file via Quicktime). I compared them by playing them one after another on my ATV2 (37" 1080p tv, but of course the ATV2 scaled the content to 720p).

Other than the ProRes version looking very slightly darker than the all-AIC version, I couldn't discern any difference in detail/quality. IE: the blacks looked just a tad blacker in the ProRes-processed version, but it was hard to notice until I looked at the image preview of each video side-by-side. If there is a detail difference, perhaps I'd need to scrutinize it at full 1080p, which would require an ATV3. (watching the 1080p versions on my mac doesn't reveal any detail differences either. . .and I was looking hard, especially at low-light and dark-colored parts of the video, but my mac's screen is only 17".)

However, that observation is consistent with two hypotheses:

1. iMovie really is putting out decent quality 1080p via export from AIC using quicktime, virtually indistinguishable from the ProRes path, at least when viewed scaled down to 720p via Apple TV 2.

or

2. The two versions are pretty much the same quality because both came from an AIC source (ie: both were exported from my iMovie project, which was in AIC). I could test this by taking some AVCHD video from my camcorder (or one of my archives), converting it to ProRes outside of iMovie (like you do), then editing in iMovie and exporting the project still in ProRes, then Handbrake it down. Compare that version to a version I process in my usual way (import to iMovie and allow to transcode to AIC, then export 1080p via Quicktime). Haven't done this yet, but I intend to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
As to does it import 1080p, I encourage you to do some searches "imovie import 1080p" and similar. I just did and I still see a lot of comments of people talking about using workarounds to get a 1080p final file. For example: https://discussions.apple.com/thread...rt=15&tstart=0 I even saw some sales copy for a video re-wrapper that point blank said that iMovie does not import 1080p (but maybe they were bending the truth to try to drive a sale). This implies yes it does: https://discussions.apple.com/message/21072004#21072004 unless it's 60fps. This: https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0 also implies that it does. But there's a lot of other information that casts some doubt. Since iPhone, etc went 1080p, I'm going to assume that Apple would have made iMovie properly handle it. But I'm not sure.
I am convinced that the latest version of iMovie '11 (which is what I have) does indeed properly import at full 1080p.
I think that because:

-Upon importing any new video to iMovie, it always asks if I want to use "Large" (540p) or Original size. I always choose original size. I think that, perhaps, previous versions of iMovie didn't give you the option to choose, and perhaps this is part or the cause for the persistence of this belief.

-When I use the Finder to navigate to my iMovie Events folder and go into a particular event, the big AIC .mov clips stored in there show resolutions of 1920 x 1080 in their "Get info. . ." screens.

-When exporting a project, it used to be that you could only export at 1080p by going to Share --> Export using Quicktime. . .. This is what I still do, actually, mainly out of habit. During that era, if you went to Share --> iTunes, the highest resolution version you could get was 720p. But some time in the last year or so, an update added a 1080p option in Share --> iTunes. Apple would have to be pretty darn disingenuous to add an option for exporting 1080p video to iTunes if it in fact degraded the footage to 540p upon import to iMovie. Apple advertises exporting movies in 1080p resolution to YouTube and CNN iReport, and playing 1080p video directly in iMovie on your ATV via Airplay, for example here: http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/what-is.html

-As you say, Apple made the migration to 1080p with iPhone 4S, iPad 3, and Apple TV3. And there have been a couple iMovie 11 updates since these devices started coming out.

-----------------

All that said, even if iMovie is indeed faithfully importing at 1080p, resolution isn't the only part of quality. When enjoying our home movies on our ATV2, it is very easy to tell which video was taken with our iPhone 5's and which was taken with our Canon Vixia HF10 camcorder if it is an indoor/low-light video. The smaller aperture on the phone cameras mean the video is often blurry or shows alot of "noise" in the shadows. It's still 1080p, of course. Point: it's possible iMovie is indeed importing at 1080p, but reducing the quality in some other way.

Last edited by dgalvan123; Apr 5, 2013 at 02:54 PM.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 03:18 PM   #39
HobeSoundDarryl
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Wow... very interesting. I figured you would notice more of a difference with the Pro Res out then Handbraked version. "Nearly visually identical" is a surprise (especially on your Mac where the screen would likely be much superior to the TV).

One last question about that: how about file sizes? Did the version out of Handbrake come in at a meaningfully (I guess) smaller file size or was it about the same size as the one that comes out of the direct export from iMovie? Both are probably H.264 renders so they are probably about the same size but I'm curious anyway since you've got them right there.

And yes, a phone video camera vs. dedicated hardware should disappoint in some situations. Dedicated hardware should yield better quality. Squeezing functionality into thinner and smaller must have tradeoffs. I've been through some of that myself and pretty much have arrived at the conclusion of always using the camcorder for shooting anything that matters much at all... especially long-term.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 12:31 AM   #40
dgalvan123
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Wow... very interesting. I figured you would notice more of a difference with the Pro Res out then Handbraked version. "Nearly visually identical" is a surprise (especially on your Mac where the screen would likely be much superior to the TV).

One last question about that: how about file sizes? Did the version out of Handbrake come in at a meaningfully (I guess) smaller file size or was it about the same size as the one that comes out of the direct export from iMovie? Both are probably H.264 renders so they are probably about the same size but I'm curious anyway since you've got them right there.
The iMovie (AIC) --> ProRes --> Handbrake version (a *.m4v file): 601.9 MB
The iMovie (AIC) --> export from iMovie via Quicktime (a *.mov file): 813.2 MB
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 07:08 PM   #41
cz9h3d
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LOL! This reminds me of when I asked this question 3 years ago. I can't believe it is still so convoluted and complicated. What the heck are all the non-techies of the world doing with all their AVCHD files? Thank goodness my kid days were done with mostly miniDV. When I did go digital memory, it was with a Sanyo FH1A to specifically avoid the AVCHD issues on my iMac.

I'm still scared to this day to record in AVCHD on my G3
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Old Apr 7, 2013, 02:55 AM   #42
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Funnily enough, I have just now looked into an option that is built into Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion: Quicktime!

Now, I had read that Quicktime can open AVCHD in the newest version, but I was surprised to actually see it work. Here is what I've tried doing and it works fine:

- Open the AVCHD folder in Quicktime.
- Pick one or several clips to open, you can preview them with thumbnails.
- With each open clip, you can just go to "File -> Export..." and save it with the default setting "Movie" to wherever you want to under whatever file name you want to.
- It will not convert the streams but only change the container to ".mov", meaning it will create exactly what one would like.

Now, this is lots of manual work (I did not quickly find any method to batch-export everything), but they are surely going the right direction with this and I expect there to be huge improvements soon.

As I said, I was kind of surprised, and maybe this even helps.
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Old Apr 7, 2013, 03:22 PM   #43
bms17
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Avchd

Andy,
I use isoft video convertor, which converts things to mov. files and then drag them into imovie. Works great.

Barry Schwartz
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Old Apr 7, 2013, 04:51 PM   #44
huggies
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AndyR, store the original AVCHD folders (a copy from your camcorder's storage to a hard drive) and not just the "stream" folder but all of the files. You really should store a copy too (meaning you end up with 2 copies of the AVCHD files) on at least 2 hard drives.

...
...
...
As you shoot new AVCHD, I find it much more convenient to use a tool like Chronosync to update the latest AVCHD folder (with the new footage). That kind of tool also makes it very easy to regularly update your off-site backup.
Question from another new dad

So I am doing fine copying over the entire structure (not just MTS) but everything, and am starting to look at Chronosync.

My question is what happens if I delete a few videos already backed up from the camcorder? (to clear up space, not because i don't want them). On the next synch, I know that the new clip-related files (both the MTS and any of the other files like .CPI, etc.) will come over, and I know how to set up Chronosync so it WON'T delete the deleted clips from the final destination.

The question is, are there any other "master" files in the folder structure that are edited after you delete a clip, that then on the next synch would overright the previous version? I guess I'm trying to understand if the entire folder structure contains files that are like "Table of Contents" for all the clips?

Sorry if confusing..I want to make sure I'm future proofing myself and preserving all the files I should be for 10 years down the line if there are better ways to do this.

thanks in advance. Please let me know if i can clarify the question
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Old Apr 7, 2013, 06:20 PM   #45
HobeSoundDarryl
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Here's what I do to keep it somewhat simple (at least this seems simple for me): I have a hard-drive camcorder so I end up with about 18 hours of HD in each AVCHD archive. I render video as I shoot and then close the archive when the camcorder HD is too close to full to be safe (safely have enough room for the next shoot).

I shoot something, then it might be a week or three before I shoot something else. As I shoot, I go ahead and import, edit, render. For instance, I just shot a sports event today, edited it today and am rendering it this same evening. The outtakes or clips I don't want to keep get back colored red (labeled red) but otherwise left in the archive. Chronosync doesn't care what color you tag (label) the files.

When I finally get to the end of this archive (when the camcorder drive is too full to trust it for the next shoot) I go back and delete all of the red-labeled AVCHD files. I used to delete dynamically, then set up Chronosync to not copy them to my drives again but I find the above simpler and quicker (space is not much of an issue for me). I don't have to think much about it and I'm looking at every clip in FCP X anyway, so I just do the labeling while I review the clips.

Note, I also end up with some clips that I edit down (maybe a 2 minute clip is going to get cut to 1). In that case, I tag those yellow. They'll stay in the archive after I delete the red-labled files. If I ever need to come back to these masters, those yellow labels will remind me that those clips need special attention when re-editing from the master files.

I hope that is helpful. It works great for me and doesn't require much thought or much work with Chronosync.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Apr 7, 2013 at 09:02 PM.
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Old Apr 8, 2013, 12:49 PM   #46
huggies
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Interesting. That is certainly different workflow than I had anticipated, which was more deleting clips off the camera after they'd been safely backed up. (To always keep enough space). I imagine in my way the "Table of contents files" that get synched up to computer might be altered such that a chronosync run would mess up previous backed up info? (Not the older clips themselves, but more any "table of contents" type files...apologies again if there are no such files in the structure.)
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Old Apr 9, 2013, 04:22 PM   #47
HobeSoundDarryl
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Yes Huggies. Conceptually, I think about it as having an extra backup of the recent shoots traveling around with me. I too would be concerned about doing what you are doing, so I leave the files "as is" on the camcorder right up until the end (when I format the drive and start a new archive). For that period I've got at least 3-4 backups depending on how one thinks of RAID5.

What I can offer though is that deleting the files I labeled red afterwards doesn't seem to have a negative effect on being about to go back to the raw AVCHD later. I've done that with no problem.
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Old Apr 11, 2013, 11:38 PM   #48
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Thanks for the explanation!
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