FCP: Is working with HD really this slow?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by superspiffy, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. superspiffy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    I'm working with footage shot in 1080i60 on FCP 5.1 and it is so damn slow to import. I'm talking about importing a 3 min. clip from the Browser to the Timeline taking over 10 min. Moving the clips around and overlaying them on top of the other causes the whole thing to re-render and I have to wait an additional 10-15 min for that. I've never worked with HD footage before so I wonder, is this normal?

    If it is, how do you guys, who work with HD footage for a living, cope with the long render times? Did I miss something? A settings issue perhaps? I don't want to set it on Unlimited RT because it gets choppy. On Easy Setup I've set the project to "HDV - 1080i60." I figured that follows because that's what the footage is.

    I have 5 hours of HD footage to edit and at this rate I think I'd need a couple of weeks. lol...:(
  2. bennyboi macrumors regular


    Jun 1, 2006
    West Coast
    Ok- 1st: That's a hefty peice of HD to play with. Very potent and likely to tax your 15'' powerbook, or any mac for that matter... But I'll try helping...
    No- your sequence settings do not exactly match your clip settings.
    Right click (or control click) a clip in your browswer and a menu will pop up. Go to Item Properties > Format. Write down the clip's codec and all other details.
    Now, click anywhere in the timeline and go up top to toolbar > Sequence > Sequence Settings (I'm going off memory here so it may not be exact). Try setting the sequence settings to match the hd clip as best you can (1080i / 59.98? / 60i? / CCIR 601 instead of square pixel? - experiment until you can drop a clip in the timeline without requiring a render. The Item Properties of the clip should give you all the details you need.
    I still think a setting may be off that causes a Render bar to appear. Regardless, most people I know are using some sort of RAID array to push HD video. Your 5400 internal drive will choke and your fw 800 drives won't do dramatically better. I personally have a 1 terabite SATA RAID I purchases from Macgurus.com. It is four 7200rpm drives raided as one harddrive, with a sata card going into my express34 slot, giving me throughput beyond the capability of my internal sata (my internal 7200). The Raid and card cost me around $900, and I see the very setup for various low budget shows coming soon to the history channel and animal planet (except they have 8 drive enclosures and mac pros, which outperform 4 bay enclosures on a macbook pro.)
    Anywho, if you find the right setting and it works, sweet. No RAID needed. If you don't find the right setting or you do and it's still too slow, here's the last option: easily Recompressing your clips to be easier handled. Select all clips in the browser and
    Go to File>Media Manager, and choose : Recompress in the options. Then it gives you a choice of different codecs to recompress to. There's a way to custom build your own, but just try something that looks as though it will take up less space (there's a space comparison bar that will make it easy for you). Just don't do PAL or some different frame rate or a different aspect ratio and you'll be fine.

    Good luck! Most of this is off memory so- let me know if you have issues.
  3. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    Whoa! Much better! Yes I'm a total noob to FCP :eek: I did what you said and now my HD footage shows up as grey when I drag them to the Timeline.

    Here are my Sequence settings now:

    Frame Size: HD (1440x1080) (16:9)
    Pixel Aspect Ratio: HD (1440x1080)
    Quicktime Video Settings
    Compressor: HDV 1080i60

    So is everything OK? What does the Quicktime Video Settings do?
  4. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2007
    Also, how do you properly work with two formats in one sequence? My sequence is set to HDV 1440x1080 but I want to use both HDV and DV 720x480 footage. When I drop the DV clips, they're scaled down and when I scale them back up, I loose quality.
  5. djhspawn macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2006
    well, no need for me to post a question. It was just answered in this thread. Thanks for the help. :)
  6. faustfire macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2002
    Thats how it works, if you want to use SD full screen in an HD project you're going to loose quality.
  7. trudd macrumors regular


    May 27, 2004
    If you are exporting as standard definition you can create a DV NTSC sequence and scale down the HD footage. You have to realize that HD is over 4 times larger than SD. It's like trying to make an 11x14 print out of a 4x6 picture, there will be noticeable loss of quality.
  8. kwong2006 macrumors regular

    May 16, 2006
    I was wondering, since I might be moving to HD myself, would ProRes make things faster?
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Good info Ben if you are using higher end HD formats, but large and fast RAIDs aren't need for HDV (which is what 99% of the posters here working w/HD are using).

    ProRes will require bigger, faster storage than HDV and if you factor in the time it will take to transcode the footage then it may not be worth it. And if you are mastering back to HDV then you should just work in HDV so you avoid unnecessary compression by going HDV-ProRes-HDV.

  10. kwong2006 macrumors regular

    May 16, 2006
    You said ProRes requires bigger and faster storage. What do you mean exactly? Will a FW800 storage be fast enough? Also, as for bigger, I don't get it, as I was under the impression that ProRes compresses the HD footage down to SD sizes.

    (I know nothing about this whole HD thing, so please help. Thanks!)
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    ProRes is intended to take uncompressed HD (ex. HDCAM SR @ 440Mbps) and compress it down to around an uncompressed SD size (ex. 145Mbps or 220Mbps) while maintaining high image quality. By contrast MiniDV and 1080i HDV are both 25Mbps.

    I don't know if a single FW800 drive would offer adequate speed, but a small FW800 or eSATA RAID should.

  12. lighthouse_man macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2005
    I edit HDV no problem and on my G4 PowerBook. Just easy set your project to Apple Intermediate Codec. It will occupy more space on your drive but the compression used in the codec will allow you to handle the footage with more ease than if you go with the Native HDV codec.

    That's if you shot in HDV of course.
  13. 2lazy macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2007
    Yes I am having the same problem as superspiffy. Still have to render the frames from my HDV-HC7. I did not have that problem with the HC3 camera.

    Is'nt there somewhere on the internet a list of camera's and the best sequence settings for fcp? I have tried about everything and still the program says I have to render.

    And... will the movie always be presented in the canvas as a letterbox?
    What is the blue vertical line at the right of the clip in the canvas??? Ok I found out that is because it has to be rendered!!!

    Anybody got some answers? :confused:

    Attached Files:

  14. kwong2006 macrumors regular

    May 16, 2006
    BTW, I have one more question about HDV (this comes from a complete HD idiot, so bear with me)

    FireWire works with HDV, right?
  15. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Unless you adjust your canvas to fit the widescreen image.

    I believe it means you're at the last frame of the clip.

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