FCP 7 - DSC video files stuttering on timeline

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by scouser75, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. scouser75 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm having some very frustrating problems editing some DCS files shot on a Nikon camera. When I put them on the timeline they stutter like crazy making them totally un-viewable.

    The file's are H.264 at 23.98fps, and 2.3 MB/sec data rate. Frame size is 1920x 1080. File size is 69.3mb for a one minute clip.

    I'm using a fairly powerful 2.26 Octo Core Mac Pro, so wouldn't imagine the computer is an issue.

    I even set the RT to 'Use Playback Settings' but that didn't help either.

    Any help or advice massively welcome.
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #2
    FCP 7 only supports a handful of codecs for real time playback and H.264 is not one of them. If you transcode your footage into ProRes you'll be golden.
     
  3. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #3
    Hi mate, thanks for your reply. It's such a pain that FCP 7 doesn't handle H.264. My concern is that if I have a BIG project with a total of more than 100GB of footage, I'll be in trouble due to the amount of time I'll spend converting the H.264 files to ProRes. It took me 3 hours to convert 3gb of footage for this project!
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #4
    Any new NLE (Avid, FCP X, PPro, even Resolve) will give you better performance with H.264 than FCP 7. It's a CPU intensive codec though so even in a newer NLE it can still bog things down. It was certainly designed more for acquisition and distribution than editing.
     
  5. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thanks LethalWolfe. I may bite the bullet and get FCPX and see how it goes.

    Any suggestions please for software than can speed up the conversion process of H.264 to ProRes? I've used Compressor and MPEG Streamclip and both these are very slow.
     
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #6
    Most of it depends on just how fast your computer is. X will transcode in the background (I think the latest version of Premiere will as well, but don't quote me on that) while allowing you still edit so that at least doesn't tie the machine up as much.
     
  7. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Hi mate, I'm using a 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro with 6GB ram. It is quite old though now - I bought it in 2009.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #8
    Yeah, that hardware is going to be a bigger bottle neck than whatever software you choose to run on it.
     
  9. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Australia
    #9
    If he transcodes to ProRes, would it be worth also transcoding to proxy files and editing in that? He hasn't mentioned storage - if it's a bog standard hard drive, moving ProRes files back and forth could also slow the editing process. Editing in proxy could help that.
     
  10. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Hi guys, I'm using an second internal HD to store the files. Would this cause the process to slow down?

    martinx - editing in ProRes422 HQ is not a problem at all. It's just the H.264 that causes issues. Can you please explain what Transcoding is?

    And I can't believe such a powerful Mac a few years ago can't keep up now. Guess that's how fast technology is moving!
     
  11. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Many Intel CPU now have hardware dedicated to conversion of H.264 video whereas older and some high end CPU are missing this capability and must use the main processor and the associated set of commands (ie software) to do the conversion. Intel has a name for the feature but I can't recall it.

    This is why a high end iMac has, I believe, better performance than the Mac Pro when it comes to handling H.264 files.

    Cheers
     
  12. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #12
    Thanks RCAFBrat. I'll look into this hardware and see if it's possible to add it onto my Mac Pro. Not holding out much hope though!
     
  13. Kaspin macrumors member

    Kaspin

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    Jan 15, 2015
    #13
    The intel tech is called quicksync and is part of their newer cpus (none of which will work in your mac pro). You can upgrade your cpus to a higher clock speed (ghz) but that will only be a minor improvement to your transcode times. The other is a pcie add in board like the matrox compresshd, but they aren't supported in el capitan
     
  14. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

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    #14
    What Kaspin says: you can't upgrade CPU to one with quicksync (thanks to Kaspin for the name Intel gives it).

    I think the most popular solution for professionals is to transcode (ie convert to different format) overnight to ProRes and edit with these file which have relatively little compression. Note that I don't do any editing myself so any suggestions that I can offer are based on what I recall from reading posts on here from the kind folks that have lots of good advice and experience on which to base it!

    Cheers
     
  15. theISHkid macrumors regular

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    #15
    Install MPEG Streamclip (http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-mac.html)
    I'm assuming you were converting inside of QuickTime which can be painfully slow. MPEG is much faster even on older computers and you can set up a batch list.
     
  16. Gwendolini, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016

    Gwendolini macrumors 6502

    Gwendolini

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    #16
    The OP already tried MPEG Streamclip, and as it hasn't been updated in a while, it is still slow as it is.

    It does seem to only use one virtual core out of four on my mobile i5 and on my desktop i7 it is even "slower" when transcoding to ProRes. (25 % CPU usage on the i5, 12 % CPU usage on the i7 - i5 is 5257U, i7 is 4790K)
    ALSO SEE POST #18 FOR SOME MORE INFORMATION, as it does not seem to be that simple (what is anyway?).


    As to transcoding, it is the conversion of one format (container) and codec to another, meaning converting an MP4 file using the H.264 codec for video and AAC or similar for audio to a MOV file using the ProRes codec for video and Uncompressed for audio.

    And while FCP X is a wonderful piece of software with some steep learning curves, as it is made for a digital workflow and not emulating the analog workflow of film and such, Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve might be the easier to use software when coming from FCP 7, but easier is not always better, as I have seen delving into FCP X for more and more projects (even conversion of older projects is quite good with 7toX software.

    And FCP X is cheaper than Premiere Pro in the long run.
     
  17. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Hi guys, thanks for the helpful replies.

    I think it is safe to assume that the way things are going FCP 7 will very soon be obsolete in Apple's mind. I will be biting the bullet in the next few days and trialling FCP X. I also have an old version of Premiere Pro which I'll trial.

    Gwendolini, how did you suss out how many cores you were using?
     
  18. Gwendolini macrumors 6502

    Gwendolini

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    #18
    FCP 7 has been obsolete in Apple's mind when they started FCP X I suppose, back in 2010 or whenever it was.

    Activity Monitor and/or iStat Menus.

    When you have a quad core CPU like the i7-4790K (which has two threads per core), Activity Monitor represents full usage of that CPU with 800% (4 cores times 2 threads).
    With a dual core CPU like the i5 the 13" MBP has, which also has two threads per core, Activity Monitor represents full usage of that CPU with 400% (2 cores times 2 threads).
    And when Activity Monitor shows MPEG Streamclip only using 100% when transcoding stuff, the rest is mathematics.

    But well, what can I tell you, in order to show you some screenshots, I have encountered, that MPEG Streamclip can use more than one core and thread. Maybe it depends on what source footage you have and what codec you transcode to, thus I tested H.264 sources and ProRes 422 HQ sources and even ProRes 444 sources and ProRes 422HQ as target. Every time MPEG Streamclip used around 400% CPU on my i7. Maybe it is a glitch with my i5?

    Anyway, if you go the FCP X route, FCP X will take care of the transcoding for you. Just read up on Libraries and stuff, Larry Jordan has some good articles about that. Or register with Lynda for a trial and go through the FCP X Essential Training.
     
  19. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Australia
    #19
    Like Gwendolini said, FCP 7 is gone.

    FCP X is fast, but it is completely different to FCP 7. Expect some culture shock.

    In answer to your question of me above, LethalWolfe said it best:"FCP 7 only supports a handful of codecs for real time playback and H.264 is not one of them. If you transcode your footage into ProRes you'll be golden."

    Transcoding is re-encoding the footage (e.g. the original h.264) into a new codec (e.g. a ProRes
    variety).

    If you are going to move over to FCP X, take a look at the Ripple Training videos on YouTube. A little bit of time spent with them will save a lot of time and avoid frustration later.
     
  20. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #20
    Thanks guys for the detailed and informative info and suggestions. Appreciate it :)
     

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