Workflow question (iMovie and FCP)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by gruebl0r, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. gruebl0r macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2011

    since I'm a newbie to digital video editing I have a couple of questions on how to optimize my workflow.

    I'm giving presentations on "The Physics in Hollywood" which include plenty of videos, where I need to cut scenes from. I do this in keynote, thus I need videos which are in the proper format.

    So far I used DVDs are sources, however I want to move to higher resolution videos, i.e. use BluRays as sources.

    So far my workflow is the following:

    1) Use MakeMKV to get the mkv container on the disk.
    2) Use Handbrake to get it into a editable format.
    3) Import it into iMovie/FCP Trial and edit.
    4) Export the cut scenes and include them into Keynote.

    My questions are:

    1) Is this a reasonable workflow? Can I improve it?
    2) When I import with iMovie it takes a couple of hours with all processors running at maximum. FCP doesn't even get under full load when running background jobs. Is this normal or something I need to change in my settings?
    3) I'm not too familiar with FCP yet, however I like the plenty of options in the timeline with overlaying different audio and videos. It seems like a reasonable upgrade, is the jump from iMovie a reasonable one?

    Thanks a lot, Sascha
  2. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Reading your thread iMovie is the application you are working with at present.
    Try out Final Cut Pro-X instead of FCP7 which Apple now have put on the back burner.
    iMovie and FCP-X have the same interface pattern and you can work while your material is rendering in the background.
    Please note this is only my opinion. I always say go and try any software out before hand. As we all look at software differently.
    Good Luck
  3. macuser1232 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2012
    I second that.
  4. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    Nope - assuming you edit AIC and not H.264, the HandBrake step is unnecessary as it converts to H.264 instead of AIC. You should convert the MKV (or, directly, the MPEG-2 stream in it after extracting it to an M2V) directly via either MPEG Streamclip or Apple Compressor to AIC and feed it to FCPX or iMovie. Then, you will avoid a generation loss and also save a lot of time.

    Let me know if you need a tutorial on all this - I've published one on this too and can paste it here.
  5. gruebl0r thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2011
    The tutorial would be greatly appreciated, thanks a lot!

    Regarding my second question, is the low CPU load under FCP normal or unusual? (I'm currently using the trial if that matters).
  6. Menneisyys2, Sep 27, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012

    Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    Perfectly normal. You must have left the "Optimize video" checkbox checked when importing the video into iMovie. If you uncheck it, even Gbytes of Full HD H.264 videos get imported in 2-3 minutes, including thumbnail generation - that is, not much slower than into FCPX. If you leave it checked, 800 Mbyte one (I've benchmarked the Buck Bunny video in this regard) takes some 8 + 2 minutes to import with full CPU usage - it takes that much time for iMovie to convert the footage to AIC.

    Here you are (excerpt from a larger article on interlacing (hence the remarks about interlaced content; in your case I don't think it'll be interlaced); note that you'll want to use Apple Intermediate Codec instead of ProRes; I've kept the latter as the screenshots also show it):

    For the MPEG-2 -> ProRes 422 / AIC conversion, you can use several apps. I provide you with tutorial of the two most popular alternatives, the (not taking the MPEG-2 plugin's price into account) free MPEG Streamclip and Apple's own, $50 Compressor.

    2.1 MPEG Streamclip

    MPEG Streamclip (homepage; get the latest beta version; currently it's 1.9.3b8) will work just fine if you have previously purchased the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component from Apple. (Unfortunately, it seems it's no longer available from Apple any more as it's not needed by QuickTime in Lion / Mountain Lion any more. Still, MPEG Streamclip does need it.)

    If you still have the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component installer (a DMG file), after downloading MPEG Streamclip, start “Utility MPEG2 Component M.” inside the Streamclip DMG file. It'll make you also mount the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component DMG file. When you mount the latter, Utility MPEG2 Component M. Lion will fetch the needed MPEG-2 codec from it and, from there, you'll also be able to export from MPEG-2 footage as well.

    It also reads TS files (unlike Apple's Compressor; see next section below); that is, no need to pre-demux the MPEG-2 stream from your DVB (or camera) recordings.

    Just open the input interlaced MPEG-2 file and, then, go to File > Export to QuickTime... . In the selection dialog shown, select Apple ProRes 422:


    Don't touch anything else – the default save mode will be interlaced, that is, all of your fields will be exported. Finally, click “Make movie” in the lower right corner and name your exported file.

    2.2 Apple's Compressor

    It's very easy to convert m2v files with Compressor. (It doesn't convert TS files; therefore, you'll need to re/demux the video track of your TS files with ProjectX first)

    Just open Compressor, click Cancel (you'll need a non-listed output format) and drag the m2v file to the top right pane. After this, select “Apple ProRes 422” under Apple > ProRes in the lower-left “Settings” pane (annotated). Drag-and-drop it to the top left pane, which (now, still) says “Drag Settings and Destinations here”:


    Now that the Settings have been drawn, just click “Submit” in the lower right corner of the top left pane (also annotated above). On the dialog now displayed, name the file and click “Submit”.

    Note that, in the screenshot above, I've also annotated the “Inspector” pane (bottom center) to show you Compressor has correctly parsed the MPEG-2 input file to be interlaced. The output will also be interlaced, which you can (but don't have to) also check by clicking the “101...011” icon in the Inspector pane's top bar and, on the new pane, the Video > Settings button, both annotated in the next shot:[​IMG]

    Here, you can change the interlacing parameters in the lower left corner.

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