Final Cut Pro question.. I'm losing quality somehow.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by StephenCampbell, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    #1
    So, I ripped a movie from DVD, which I'm editing in final cut pro. The file I have is an avi file, and in the movie inspector of QuickTime 7, it says:

    Format: DivX 5.0, 720 x 304, Millions, MPEG Layer 3, Stereo, 48.000 kHz

    FPS: 23.98

    Data Size: 2.03GB

    Data Rate: 1628.16 kbits/s

    Duration: 0:02:58:20:81 (2 hours, 58 minutes)

    When I drop it in the clip box in FCP, it plays fine in the player, and it looks crisp and great, just like in the quicktime file. But when I take it down to the sequence and render it, the resulting video in the canvas is just not quite the same quality, nor is it the same quality when I export it back to quicktime.

    Here are my sequence settings:

    Frame Size: 720 x 304 (Custom)

    Pixel Aspect Ratio: NTSC - CCIR 601 / DV (720x480). No anamorphic.

    Field dominance: Lower (Even)

    Editing Timebase: 29.97

    QuickTime Video Settings.

    Compressor: DV/DVCPRO - NTSC. Quality - 100%.

    I'm fine with working in 29.97 fps even though the original was 23.98, and I know that's not where the problem is, because I did a video with the same film a while ago, using iMovie, and I have that video in a quicktime file and it is the same crisp quality as an original ripped avi file, and it is 30fps.

    By the way, with the sequence set to 720x304, the canvas has small black bars above and below the video, and when I export it to quicktime, the video comes out at that ratio, 640x304, but the film is in the correct ratio within those black bars.

    One of the main issues with the quality of the rendered footage is that at the top and bottom of the image there is a sort of "edge" that can be seen within the video, if you know what I mean. I'm sure someone will be familiar with this phenomenon. I mean, it doesn't look bad at all, but it's just not like the avi file I had, and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be able to be.

    Also, I've already put together 30 minutes of video.. so if the fix requires beginning editing over, I'm not interested. But I imagine that changing the sequence settings to the correct settings and re-rendering should be able to fix it...

    I would Really appreciate some help on this!

    Thanks!
     
  2. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #2
    Which version of FCP?

    Avi/DIVX is a nasty file format not well supported on the Mac and a bad choice for your rip. You should get better results if you use an app such as Mpeg Streamclip to convert to ProRes (422 LT is probably fine) before importing into FCP.
     
  3. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Final Cut Pro 6.

    I was hoping to not hear something like that. But here's the thing. The movie looks perfect in the viewer, playing from the clip pane. Final Cut Pro can see it and play it as it is. There's no reason why there shouldn't be a way to take it into the sequence maintaining the quality, no?

    Also, the same film maintained its quality in iMovie, and it May have been an mpeg movie instead of an avi (it was a few years ago), but the reason I used avi with FCP is because when I ripped it as mpeg4 it wouldn't take it at all!
     
  4. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #4
    FCP seems to use different routines for final compression than in it's preview. Ever tried using mp3 music clips in the background? Plays fine in preview, doesn't play/sounds terrible in the final version (use aiff).

    Try a small clip just to see what the situation is, and whether Prores helps.

    Have you done a lot of work on this edit? If not, converting the original clip to proves isn't a big deal (convert from your avi if you no longer have the original).

    If you have done a lot of editing that you don't want to re-do, you may be able to swap the underlying file format of the original clips from avi to proves, and still keep your edits. Don't ask me how... I'm a FCP newbie. I do believe it's possible though.
     
  5. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    How do I convert the avi file to prores? Or, how do I convert a clip within FCP to prores? What exactly are you suggesting I do to try this out?

    Also, I have done too much work to start over, that's for sure. And it's not like it looks terrible, especially since it's only for youtube.

    Thanks!
     
  6. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #6
    Download Mpeg Streamclip and use that to convert.

    May be too late to mess with it now, but for your next project make sure you start with ProRes.

    Check out atom training videos on youtube or other online resources. FCP is too complex an app to learn by just trial and error (IMO).
     
  7. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Well, fortunately that didn't solve the "edge" problem.. so there's something in the sequence settings that can still be optimized I think. The AVI created via Mpeg streamclip (prores 422) might look a touch better than the AVI I created with handbrake, but it still loses quality from the original, and still has those weird borderish things on the top and bottom of the video.
     
  8. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #8
    How did you manage to create a ProRes avi?

    ProRes files are .mov, not .avi?!?

    You should have used 'export to Quicktime' in Mpeg stream clip and exported as ProRes. The new files should be .mov.

    Why were you creating .avi files in Handbrake too... was this on a Mac? Handbrake's usual format would be m4v when ripping a DVD.
     
  9. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I know, but that didn't work in FCP. It wouldn't take the m4v files.

    Anyways, I'll try the "export to quicktime" thing as you instructed and report back.

    ----------

    Alright... alright... that did it. Exporting to quicktime, and choosing apple 422... now FCP asked me if I want to change the sequence to match the clips settings, and it looks exactly like the original in the canvas.

    Damn it! Do you think there's Any way to convert my two finished sequences to prores422 and have it change the sequence settings to match those?
     
  10. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #10
    Just a bit of explanation/background...

    The reason to use ProRes with FCP and not avi or H264 (which is the other format Handbrake exports) is because ProRes uses intra frame compression.

    That is... ProRes stores every video frame by itself and compresses each frame individually. This is great if you're editing and splicing clips together.

    H264 and DIVX/avi use inter-frame compression. With this, the computer gets better compression by storing full frames only occasionally - and the rest of the time just storing the small differences that occur from frame to frame. This is better for small files that are being continually played back (movies).

    The reason that H264 and DIVX/avi aren't great for editing is because at a splice point the computer may have to look back 20 frames and add up each successive change in order to work out what the spliced frame looks like. This is inefficient and has quality implications too.

    Hence the recommendation to always transcode into something like ProRes before commencing editing.

    ----------

    I'm not sure I get what you've managed to do (running up against the limits of my FCP knowledge).

    Have you managed to change the format of the original clips in FCP?

    If so... this may well be picked up if you re-export your final movie.
     
  11. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Thanks.

    How do you suggest I go about converting a DVD into a proper Prores 422 file? Should I rip it in handbrake first and then use mpeg streamclip to turn it into 422?

    I have 98 clips in the two sequences I've created already, so I Could create new sequences with prores 422, and re-cut all those clips exactly as they are. The work was in figuring out where to cut... now I'd know where to cut, and I'd just be replicating it. It would be slightly time consuming and irritating, but maybe worthwhile.

    ----------

    No.. I didn't change the format of the original clips. I took a small piece of the original avi file I used, and converted it in mpeg streamclip, and then dropped that resulting file into a new sequence in FCP.

    Do you think there's any way to change the format of the existing clips? I'm sure there must be a way...
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #12
    Yes, best way would be to rip it to H264 (high quality settings) in Handbrake, then use Mpeg Streamclip to transcode.

    OK - I've never done this myself... so you're on your own...

    but

    What you're trying to do is to 'proxy edit' - and it's a fairly popular thing to do. You edit with smaller / low res files, then you remove those files after editing is done and replace with ProRes, for the final render.

    I found this forum post with some instructions... might work out for you. Good luck!

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthrea...it-necessary&p=1821297&viewfull=1#post1821297
     
  13. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I don't know what this means: "1. Copy the entire directory structure of my card to my harddrive."

    Also, with only 98 clips cut, wouldn't it be simpler to just re-create my two sequences? I mean, my old sequences would be right there for me to reference, so I could put them back together with the good quality clips fairly easily...

    ----------

    Though.. I wouldn't be able to quite replicate it because with the prores, I'll be working with 23.98 fps, and I was working with 29.97 fps in my current sequences. So it could be a little tricky to make things match up Exactly... ugh!
     
  14. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #14
    This guy is starting with a card of video clips from a camcorder. That's the only difference.

    You could always try the swapping method, and re-edit if it doesn't work.

    I think you can tell FCP what frame rate you want to use a clip at...
     
  15. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Wouldn't it be better to do this video at 23.98 though? Since it is of footage from a film, which is at 23.98?

    Also, I just realized, there Must be a way to swap the clips out.. because these "clips" are merely instructions.. they are in and out points, reading from that original 3 hour file. They just need to be told to read those in and out points from a different file.

    I don't understand how to follow that guy's list of instructions, especially if the first step doesn't apply to me.. can you help me understand it?
     
  16. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #16
    Really... I'm afraid I can't! It's 3am here and I'm gone...

    I also no longer have FCP on my machine (I'm in the middle of upgrading to FCP X - I sold my old copy of Studio and wiped it from my machine). I can't check out whether I'm telling you stuff that works or not.

    I suggest you google for instructions on working with proxy files in FCP (that's all I did to find that example). You should be able to find other discussions of it which may be easier to follow. Try searching for 'FCP proxy' on YouTube too.

    I'd also recommend posting in the video forum on MR rather than in 'Mac Basics'. This really isn't a basic question (maybe report your first post to the Mods, and ask them to move the thread across, they should be happy to do that). You're likely to get a lot more help in that bit of the forum.

    Good luck!
     

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