FCP 7 Exporting imported Avchd files properly

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Gatlin, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Gatlin macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2010
    I was wondering what settings work best to export a finished edit.
    I used log and transfer to convert my avchd or .mts files. They look good in the preview but i have tried so many different export options that all leave the final cut looking terrible. If anyone could help that would be awesome. My system is 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of ram. I use the canon VIXIA HFM31.
  2. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    What are the finished files for? Are you shooting SD or HD? What resolution did you capture at?

    There is a big difference between going out to web, film, out to tape, or television. That is the reason there are so many codecs available. Some of them are editing codecs, some are export codecs, and others are intermediate codecs - and they all support different NLE's.

    Unless you shot progressive, you'll need to decide whether you need to deinterlace or not.

    I shot a short last month using a Canon Vixia and the .mts raw footage looked terrible. It was lacking contrast and the color was muted. I had to color grade and deinterlace it in After Effects in order to make it look good. My final export (intended for the web) was H.264 and it looks great.
  3. Gatlin, Dec 28, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

    Gatlin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2010
    the .mts files are 60i and 17 mbps, Im in no way a professional at this. I was using dv tape format before avchd. i am only testing the export options the finished files are not for anything in particular at this time. But i want the footage to look like it does on the camera. I am beginning to fear that Mac or fcp 7 cant do what i want it too. You mentioned after effects... i dont even know what that is! iv used final cut for a while now, and i never heard that term before... this is quite embarrassing. I just want to know what to do, the footage is juttery after export, and blurry. In the fcp 7 preview window the footage looks perfect. So im really at a lose. I was tempted to get a pc and run cs5 but i love fcp 7 there has to be a way to export my movies with them looking great.
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Well, without telling us exactly what your export settings are it's kinda hard to point you in the right direction.:p

    1. What are the exports for? Are they going to be your 'master' copies of the final edit? Are they just for the web? Are you wanting to make a DVD?

    2. What exactly are your settings (posting a screen shot(s) might be faster than trying to type everything)?

  5. Gatlin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2010
    They are just master copies for now, eventually i will want to do web uploading. this will sound stupid, but are you asking for the export settings or the codec settings? what exactly am i taking a screen shot of. sorry im not used to any of this.
  6. Gatlin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2010
    this is what i used last to export, and it looks juttery but not terrible just no good enough for the money i spent on the camera. Im really frustrated LOL

    Attached Files:

  7. JDawg76 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2006
    Your Frame rate is at 24. Try 29.97 at the very least. I don't know what frame rate you originally shot it at. Hope that helps.
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Because you really don't know what you are doing, I'm starting to assume that you didn't setup your sequence correctly in Final Cut. When you first dropped footage in, did it throw red-bars on top of the editing window? Did you have to transcode the footage in order to see it?

    If so, that is one thing that might be making your footage look bad. You are essentially creating a copy of a copy and then forcing to work in your edit. If you do that, your output is going to suck. You always want to avoid transcoding until you export the final... unless you do filters and effects.

    If you are making master copies, then you don't need to transcode them. Just export a Quicktime using the sequence settings (if you set that up correctly!). Though others might disagree, I find that Quicktime conversion is not that good. It has a tendency to muck-up your video if you don't know exactly what you are doing.

    When I finish a video, I usually export it as Quicktime (not conversion) and make the movie self-contained. If I do a lot of effects, or need to transcode the footage, I'll send it out as loss-less animation codec. The file is huge because it's basically uncompressed video. That master file I use for whatever delivery method I need. If I need to compress for the web, I'll usually use Apple Compressor to do the conversion. I even have a Compressor droplet on my desktop that allows me to easily drag and drop my movies for quick conversion.

    Sometimes I send the footage to Compressor from within Final Cut and bypass the encoding in Final Cut. It all depends on how I'm going to use the footage.

    Anyway, back to your issue. You are choosing to export with Quicktime conversion with H.624 codec. Normally a good DELIVERY choice, but it's optimizing it for web delivery instead of just making a master copy. If you want the best quality for viewing you need to use a different method such as Compressor to do the conversion.

    I suggest you google Compressor and take a look at what it does. It seems awkward at first, but it works very well once you know the interface. Again, I rarely compress out of Final Cut unless I'm just saving master footage as defined in the sequence settings.

    Here's a link to a compressor how-to video that shows you how to prepare a video for Vimeo. Keep in mind that this is going to compress your movie... it's not good for a master. You might find it informative to watch and it will show you the basics of using Compressor.


    Hope that helps
  9. Gatlin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2010
    FCP 7 automatically adjusts the settings to match my videos settings... at least that is what it says. I have made tons of videos using dv tapes and fcp so this AVCHD codec is really driving me crazy. The frame rate is 29.97 and yes i have set it that way in past exports where it still looks pretty bad. If anyone out there has successfully used FCP 7 to edit and export AVCHD files, please give me some direction. most of what has been said in these replies i did already know to some point. I do know SOMEWHAT what i am doing :p thanks guys im just very frustrated. Recognizing codecs should not be this hard for such an expensive computer.
  10. PDA Video macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2011
    AVCHD file

    What do I have to download in order for my Final Cut Pro 7 to recognize and accept an AVCHD file?
  11. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    if this is going to be your master, then export to ProRes instead of h.264.

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