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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2013

First time writing in these forums, glad to be here! Here I go: I've recently filmed a dance show that I'm going to make a DVD out of. My problem right now is that the cameras that I used are new to me and I've never used them before. So the format that I got the files in is slightly different than what I'm used to.

The files, or clips, have the following settings (If i check under 'item properties' for example):
23,98 fps
1920 x 1080 Frame Size
Compressor: H.264

But the sequence (that I've inserted the clips into) has different settings:
25 fps
720 x 576 Frame Size
Compressor: DV - Pal

This of course makes the quality worse, and once a second there is a 'still frame' which makes it 'lagg' a bit. Now I want to change that so that the sequence can match my clip settings.

I tried to do the following: ctrl click on the sequence in the bin - Settings - Load Sequence Preset... - and then try out a couple of different presets there. I'm able to get the sequence to the right frame size, but not the right fps (or compressor, but if that is necessary I don't know).

I originally encountered this when I wanted to play the clips in the sequence unrendered (right now it just sais unrendered with a blue background) - and that should work, since I can play it straight from the bin in the preview with no problem.

So how do I get the sequence to match my clip settings? If I understood it correctly, that should also help me watch the clips unrendered in the timeline, but if not, is there a good solution out there for that as well? It takes too long to render everything before watching every edit (filmed the two shows with two cameras, and they are both an hour and fifteen minutes long). I'm using Final Cut Express.

I quite desperatly need help, hehe. So if I could get some advice it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Nov 28, 2010
FCE does not work well with H.264 encoded video, since H.264 is not meant for video editing in the first place anyway and needs a powerful computer to decode during playback and frame precise edits.
The following video might help you understand codecs and containers better, for which one should have a basic knowledge if one wants to use video editing applications.

As for how you could continue, FCE supports an HD codec called Apple Intermediate Codec, which allows you to use 1080p footage in FCE, but to do this, you have to transcode all your H.264 encoded video to .MOV files using the Apple Intermediate Codec via MPEG Streamclip and its Batch List.

If you have several video files, you can use MPEG Streamclip's Batch List to transcode them:
This video (Vimeo) might help you with the transcoding.
Also know, that while your H.264 encoded footage might only take 5 GB per hour (or even less) of video, using the Apple Intermediate Codec will get you bigger files (best stored on an external Firewire 800 or Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 HDD (USB 2.0 is a bit slow, but manageable), as using the internal HDD/SSD the OS is stored on will get you slowdowns and might even damage the storage device to constant access by the OS AND the editing application), for 1080i footage up to 50 GB per hour.

PS: While FCE might import your H.264 encoded footage, it has to render it upon playing back in the timeline, and re-render it again and again for simple moving it around and doing basic edits with it.

While the below link(s) do not touch your editing application, and depending your need/will to learn more, it might prove useful for a better understanding.
Video Compression
Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It



macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2013

Thank you for responding to my post! You are awesome. Great answer as well. Nice videos, that was exactly what I needed.

I'm now in the process of converting my clips with MPEG Streamclip, it works great. Since the fps in the clips are 23,98, I put that number into MPEG Streamclip before batching the files. I think that was the right move to do.

Do you know what to do with the timeline? Will that automatically adjust to the new clips? Or is there a good setting to set the sequence to with my new clips? Right now the biggest problem seems to be that the fps is 23,98, which seems to not be a well established fps number. Any suggestions? Thank you!


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2013
Adding some

To add some: When I import it into FCE I still don't know which Codec to choose from in the list. Right now this is what the list of Codecs to choose from looks like (when choosing sequence settings).


The majority of them are either low quality or 1080i, but I've shot in 1080p. Now that I've converted them though maybe that changed but I'm not sure really. I did however deselect the interlaced scaling option when i converted it, not sure what that makes the clips now.


Any ideas on what Codec to use now? All my footage is shot in 1080p. Or is there something obvious I'm missing?
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