Final cut express 4 /AVCHD loss of quality best export with designated camera

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by eagles58, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. eagles58 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2010
    I use Final cut express 4 and i am a newbie to it (so simplified and idiot proof answers would be much appreciated). I use a Sony HDR-SR11 AVCHD handycam. I import my clips into FCE4 via the log and transfer window, using the Apple Intermediate Codec. I edit my video, but i dont know where to go from here!! What is the best way to export this video without loss of quality? These videos would mainly go onto youtube, iDVD, or a memory drive. I do not have quicktime pro, so any modifications would have to be within FCE4. i need to get this project done for a charity, so i would much appreciate help asap! Thanks !
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    That depends on the final delivery.

    YouTube needs other requirements than your charity project I guess or a DVD.

    AVCHD footage is in HD and your camera records with a video resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixel, but the specs on Sony's product page for your camera don't state if it is interlaced (1080i) or progressive (1080p).

    A DVD is not in HD but in SD (Standard Definition) which has different maximum resolutions depending on your use of NTSC (the broadcast system used in the USA and Japan and some other countries) or PAL (the rest of the world with some exceptions).
    NTSC offers a maximum resolution of 720 x 480 pixel, PAL offers 720 x 576 (sometimes it is displayed in 1024 x 576 with 16:9 footage).

    YouTube also offers different resolutions, but YouTube makes its own conversions so if you give them the maximum resolution you can get, they will do the rest.

    You also need to consider codecs.

    AVCHD footage uses the H264 codec, an MPEG-4 variant, as does YouTube. Video DVDs use the MPEG-2 codec.

    Both those codec use so-called Group Of Pictures (GOP), meaning not every captured frame is saved, but every 15th (MPEG-2) for example, thus the between frames are only calculated from the change between the two stored frames.

    Those GOPs are not ideal for editing, as editing applications need every frame to make exact cuts or other kinds of transitions.

    Thus FCE (and other editing applications) convert the highly compressed (and lossy) footage to a codec which offers every frame to be used. FCE uses the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) for example, which takes up 40GB/hour if I remember correctly.

    In order to use the final sequence in iDVD just export the sequence as a .mov file (.mov is a container for a variety of codecs) with AIC and import that file into iDVD.
    iDVD should in most cases take care of the rest, the proper conversion for example.

    For YouTube it is better to export the final sequence as a .mov or .mp4 file usinf the H264 codec, which will save space and get you shorter upload times, as YouTube has a file size limit of 1GB if I remember right.
    You can also export from FCE like you would when you export for a DVD and then use MPEG Streamclip ( to convert that AIC encoded .mov to a H264 encoded .mov or .mp4 file. MPEG Streamclip gives your more options on bit rate (therefore maximum file size), video resolution, audio codec (aac or mp3 or something else), aspect ratio and so on, if you feel up to it.

    I don't know what your final product for your charity project shall be, a DVD I suppose, but you can ask for more information if you feel the need.

    What do you mean by memory drive?

    PS: That is a lot of information I might have given you and I hope it does not overwhelm you, but if it does, don't be afraid to ask.

    But since your question comes up every once in a while, you can use MRoogle (my signature) to search for more information.

    Have a good day or night.
  3. eagles58 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2010
    Thanks a ton for your help! would you mind telling me how to export in terms of how it is set up in FCE? for example: go to file>export>... etc. it would really help.
    (like when you said this):
    in order to use the final sequence in iDVD just export the sequence as a .mov file (.mov is a container for a variety of codecs) with AIC and import that file into iDVD.
    iDVD should in most cases take care of the rest, the proper conversion for example.

    how exactly should i do that (file>export>...)
    if you wouldnt mind doing the same for the youtube instructions i'd be very grateful!!
    by memory drive i mean something like this: (a usb flash drive)

    i need a way to transport just the file to a guy that will put the video on a website. it needs to be in Mp4 format in order to go onto the site, so if i can get an mp4 file of the video, that would be great. do you have any suggestions for other means of getting the guy the file? (i assume it will be much too large for email)
    i am editing an instructional video for Kids against hunger in the USA
    I appreciate the help

    Sorry for the ''lack of knowledge'' im very new to this whole FCE thing, and i feel substandard in my tech skills :eek:
  4. eagles58 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2010
    and by the way, the "project" will include a DVD with the video on it simply for playback, and a file (mp4) that can be uploaded to the website. the youtube question is mainly for future reference
  5. Yzerguy macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2007
    Does FCE4 support 1080p?

    Hey spinnerlys, you made a point of questioning the OP's camera resolution (1080i or 1080p)... I'm wondering why that was a salient point to you -- does FCE4 not support 1080p?

    I just got a Canon HF200 last week which does record to 1080p, and I'm considering buying FCE but your post has now left me wondering if FCE will be compatable with HD at 1080p?

    I've actually been waiting until tomorrow, wondering if a FCE5 announcement may be hidden amongst the potential tablet/iPhone 4G/whateverelse news is released from Apple.

    If FCE5 is nowhere on the horizon I sure hope FCE4 can do 1080p, because there's no other software at that price level that I think I can use...?

    Cheers, Sean

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