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Getting Started with HD editing
I would love to get back into fan editing, though I would want to put something together in HD. I've completed six fan edits (the Star Wars prequels and The Lord of the Rings trilogy) using ADigitalMan's template as can be seen here: http://www.fanedit.org/forums/archive/in...t-294.html (The LOTR edits were done on my Mac in a Windows XP virtual machine. It was a labor of love.)

This method uses DVD quality sources, allows me to do simple cuts and pastes of the video, and outputs with no loss in quality. Like ADM, my edits therefore do not contain any new special effects. I'm okay with this, because my goal has been to cobble together a version of these films that I would want to watch, often incorporating ideas from other fan editors. Releasing it to the internet is really more of an afterthought. So it doesn't bother me that they are presented in a bland way.

I would really love to revisit the Star Wars prequels, and put together a version that incorporates all the best ideas around. However, it seems silly to do it at DVD resolution nowadays. Since deleted scenes would be included, I'm perfectly okay with an end result of a 720p AVCHD. After all, that'll allow them the same format as Harmy's Despecialized Editions of the OT. Given that there are a good selection of prequel edits in BluRay format out there, I would even be happy with the mere ability to split and join them in order to create a combination just by switching back and forth. (I would not release such an "edit," but at least it'd get me something to settle down with, for lack of ability to do more.)

Can anybody share their methods of editing on the Mac? I would prefer to keep it simple, since I'm used to simple timeline editing. Even though Womble is pretty miserable, I wouldn't mind using it for the video. If I could rip from a BluRay into a higher-than-the-end-result quality Womble-compatible file, I could then edit it in Womble and export in that same format. I could use Handbrake or something else to encode it into a better size and format. I'd appreciate if anybody could advise me whether this plan would be wise for my purposes: Acquire several fan edits (along with the actual blu-rays themselves) in BD format. Rip the MPEG-4 video from them, perhaps using Handbrake to crunch the commercial BD into a comparable size to the fan edit sources. Use Handbrake to make tiny versions of the MPEG-4 sources for less painful editing, plugging the full sized versions back in before exporting. Export into a ~15-20GB MPEG-4, then find a way to mux it back into a BD25 format as well as use Handbrake to make a more manageable ~7GB version.

My Mac uses an older X3100 graphics card, which is another reason something like Womble appeals to me; it is not graphically intensive.
I know I've made some very poor decisions recently.
Hi Hal,

First, welcome back to fan editing, and on the mac! There are some very recent threads in this forum that address a lot of your questions (perhaps not fully, but should give you some insight!). Due to that, I'm going to just give you a quick overview of some tips to get you started:

(1) If you are going to edit in HD, go with 1080p. You can end up outputting 720p if you so choose, but trust me, you might regret it if you don't rip at 1080p to begin with.
(2) If you don't mind spending about $50, PavTube has gotten high marks for being able to rip and transcode BDs on the Mac. Currently, the only free option I know of (but I do know works) is MakeMKV, which will rip to a MKV file, which you will then need to do some further processing in order to use. See some other threads for more discussion on these options.
(3) Do not use handbrake to create the file you are going to edit! You want to use an editing friendly format, which on the mac almost always means Prores 422 or 422 (LT). Handbrake is meant for creating h264 video files, which is for delivery, and not well suited for editing applications. Especially if your computer is in the least bit underpowered and not state-of-the-art! PavTube will do this transcoding for you, and if you go with MakeMKV, you can use the free command line software ffmpeg to transcode to prores. Again, see other threads for more discussion about this.
(4) I've never heard of anyone using Womble for serious video editing, but maybe it would work. Most people use a variant of Final Cut Pro (I use Final Cut Pro X and think it's great; older versions are widely used as well). One caveat about FCPX, if you are considering it -- it might not be compatible with your graphics card. You'd have to investigate this first. Unfortunately, Apple no longer sells Final Cut Express, which was a great editing application that had most of the features of the much more expensive FCP7. Other than FCPX, I think there's an Adobe product, but it has to be bought in a suite I think, and so that might be more expensive than you want. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, I'd probably recommend starting out with iMovie, which is quite capable for basic editing. The reason I am against recommending Womble as it doesn't seem to provide you with full fledged editing tools such as effects, transitions, etc. You will want these, and even iMovie gives you this.
(5) If you really are concerned about disk space while editing, then you can use Handbrake to encode to h264 mp4, import into FCPX, and then have FCPX generate proxies for you (it uses prores proxy) which takes up much less space and lets you edit without degraded performance. But I highly recommend you purchase more hard drive space so you can stick with prores 422 or LT (I use LT which does save space and is visually equivalent to 422 for fan editing purposes). This will be around 80 - 150GB though, depending on which format you choose and how long the movie is.
(6) If you don't already have a BD reader for your mac, there's a thread I started that discusses this as well.

Hope some of this helps, feel free to ask additional questions! And do peruse the more recent threads in this section, as there is definitely info there you can take advantage of!

Anyway, I think the first order of business should be for you to settle on what editing software you are going to use. Perhaps others can chime in regarding Womble. You should probably give us the specs of your Mac (including how old it is, how much memory, which operating system) as that will factor into what you can actually run.
[size=xx-small]COMPLETED: STAR WARS: Ep I - Return of the Sith RE , Ep II - Army of the Republic | The Abyss: Revisited Edition
IN PROGRESS: Weekend Pass (Rachel Getting Married) | Tales From Doctor Who: Out of Time
PLANNED: Star Wars Ep III - Fall to the Dark Side | Titanic - Revisited Edition | The Caretaker (The Shining) | The Bourne Experiment (The Bourne Trilogy)[/size]
Thanks for the tips. Much of that is new, so it saves me some hard-way learning.
I've tried editing home videos in iMovie, but I gave up since it was so different from what I'm used to. Can it be used to edit video in a frame specific way, like a timeline in something like Final Cut?
I know I've made some very poor decisions recently.
I personally have not used iMovie enough to give you good advice on it, but I know it is supposedly similar to FCPX (as when FCPX first came out it was derided for being 'iMOvie Pro') and I am very familiar with FCPX. Basically they don't use a traditional timeline but you still should have full control down to the individual frame. I'm pretty sure iMovie should give you multiple video/audio tracks as well. Why don't you skim through the help manual which should be accessible online on apples support section of their site? Again, I don't know the capabilities of womble beyond what I gathered from its home page. But it appeared to me womble is aimed more at authoring, with some very basic editing tools built in. Much less than what you'd get with a real editing application. Hoping someone else can chime in here that has womble experience.

its unfortunate, but the are very few choices for editing video on the Mac. FCP and Adobe (premier, I think it is called) seem to be the only real choices, again, in only suggested iMovie since it should at least give you some real editing tools (though not as many as FCP), it handles HD video as far as I know, and it would be an easy path to FCPX if you eventually want to fade (though most probably your computer would need to be upgraded too).
[size=xx-small]COMPLETED: STAR WARS: Ep I - Return of the Sith RE , Ep II - Army of the Republic | The Abyss: Revisited Edition
IN PROGRESS: Weekend Pass (Rachel Getting Married) | Tales From Doctor Who: Out of Time
PLANNED: Star Wars Ep III - Fall to the Dark Side | Titanic - Revisited Edition | The Caretaker (The Shining) | The Bourne Experiment (The Bourne Trilogy)[/size]
Believe it or not, I bundled Final Cut Express with my MacBook when I got it five years ago. I never really gave it a fair shot, because Womble allowed me to make edits with no quality loss. Plus, I did not feel like waiting 5+ minutes after every timeline edit to see what it looks like while it rendered. So I've been playing around with it to see if it might suffice, but I found it it won't let me export anything greater than stereo audio. So that sucks. I might get away with putting the video together in FCE, along with a temp audio track, and then do the audio again in Womble (or, if I'm lucky, something else that wouldn't take as long to learn) and mux them later.

This whole thing might be doable. As before, I am chiefly interested in putting together the best version of the films that is possible, and it doesn't concern my ego how much of the good ideas came from other people.
I know I've made some very poor decisions recently.
I hate to say it, but editing in HD is pretty taxing on your computer....and you might not have a new enough computer for it, at least for the mac. What are your specs for your computer? (e.g., what does it say when you open "About this Mac")?

Is your laptop the only computer you have access to for editing?
[size=xx-small]COMPLETED: STAR WARS: Ep I - Return of the Sith RE , Ep II - Army of the Republic | The Abyss: Revisited Edition
IN PROGRESS: Weekend Pass (Rachel Getting Married) | Tales From Doctor Who: Out of Time
PLANNED: Star Wars Ep III - Fall to the Dark Side | Titanic - Revisited Edition | The Caretaker (The Shining) | The Bourne Experiment (The Bourne Trilogy)[/size]
It's an early 2008 White MacBook. 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, 640GB internal drive, with 500 and 320GB external drives. Graphics card is the X3100 integrated Intel.
Well, I can't say I disagree with you. However, if I can use a proxy (put a small file in, then swap with full sized file before exporting), I think I can do it. I don't mind, as long as I set definite time to work on these edits and not allow it to eat up all of my free time, with is more sparse than when I started on this whole thing 8 years ago. As long as the end result is attainable. From what I hear, most of what I'm learning about FC Express will translate to Final Cut Pro anyway.

I do have a specific question. I'm gathering up as many prequel fan edits (of Episode I for now, lest disk space totally avalanche on me) as I can that are in BD25 format. I'm currently transcoding L8wrtr's Ep1 edit into an Apple intermediary format for FCE at 100% constant quality. It looks like that 17GB file will end up being somewhere around 40GB. Since the commercial blurays are going to be BD50s, would it be wise to export it at, say, 70% quality? If I end up using the commercial bluray and L8wrtr's edit in the timeline, hopefully among others, should I try to have the sources be approximately equal in file size first?
I know I've made some very poor decisions recently.
First, your computer is going to pose challenges for you, especially the RAM. If you really want to edit HD on the Mac with the intent of actually releasing a fan edit, you are almost definitely going to need a newer computer, unless you can make due with either FCE or iMovie as it performs on your current Mac.

Now, one danger with investing a lot of time with FCE is that Apple no longer sells FCP7 which is what FCE is modeled after. Instead, they have moved on to FCPX, which is more similar to iMovie (but has the power of FCP7). So, what I'm saying is you should just be aware of what your future options are once or if you decide to upgrade both your editing software and computer. I myself moved from FCE to FCP7 to FCPX, and personally I much prefer FCPX at this point, but it does have a learning curve since the concepts are a bit different than FCE/FCP7. However, FCE is actually a very capable editor and many of the editing concepts you will use translate to FCPX, they are just sometimes implemented differently.

Regarding your specific question, I'm not sure what software you are using to transcode, but you should not drop the quality at all, and I'm not even sure you can when using the editing codecs (the slider might be there but it might not actually do anything). The transcodes file will always be larger than the one coming from the BD, since the BD file is using h264 as a codec, which is highly compressed and not meant for editing. The editing codecs on the Mac (AIC for FCE and prores for FCP) are also compressed but end up with much larger file sizes, and there's really no way around this. I use prores 422 LT and file size is usually around 80GB for a 2 hour movie (which on a BD might only take up 30GB). Working in HD takes up a lot more disk space and there's really no way around that. For a real release,
there's little good that would come from reducing your source material quality since your whole point is to release it in as high a quality as possible.

Since you are downloading other people's edits just to play around with, as long as you aren't planning on actually releasing a final product, I suppose changing the quality would be fine (again, if that even will work). But I'm wondering why you don't just start with the original material to begin with. There are other threads here about BD readers and ripping software that work with the Mac. I only say this because you may regret not doing this once you start investing a lot of time in your editing.

One more issue you should be aware of about FCE (other than only outputting stereo...though you can edit in 5.1 as far as I recall, or at least access and manipulate all 6 audio tracks in the timeline), is that it doesn't support. The 23.976 frame rate - you will need to convert to 29.97. It's not the worst thing, but will just make the video a little less smooth at times due to the frame rate change.

Since you are just starting out with HD and are super eager to get started now with your existing hardware and software, I think it's fine to work within these constraints, and even release an edit that is just stereo with the 29.97 frame rate. These are much less important than what you actually so while editing, and FCE does give you enough power and tools to create a very good edit. I'm not sure what version of iMovie you have but you might want to check it out (the latest version) since that might be able to work with prores, 23.976fps, and surround sound. Plus it will be an easier upgrade to FCPX I'd you think you might do that. But also I'm not sure of the newest iMovie will run well on your hardware, so you'd need to check the tech requirements first.

Hope some of this helps!
[size=xx-small]COMPLETED: STAR WARS: Ep I - Return of the Sith RE , Ep II - Army of the Republic | The Abyss: Revisited Edition
IN PROGRESS: Weekend Pass (Rachel Getting Married) | Tales From Doctor Who: Out of Time
PLANNED: Star Wars Ep III - Fall to the Dark Side | Titanic - Revisited Edition | The Caretaker (The Shining) | The Bourne Experiment (The Bourne Trilogy)[/size]
Thanks for taking the time to give me advice, and it's been helpful. I found out that FCE doesn't export to surround sound, but I'm planning on taking a page from ADigitalMan and putting the soundtrack together in another application, then muxing the two later.
I did not mean to imply that I would not be working with the original films. However, I may borrow the occasional audio or clip from another edit. (For example, I might use another editor's take on the podrace.) So I was wondering if the end result would show a (slight) drop in quality when I cut to that source. But I'll take your advice and rip it at full quality and only defer to other sources when it is necessary. (I'll use a few deleted scenes that I'll upscale using transcoding too.)
FCE seems to perform better on my machine than iMovie, honestly. I'll get around the stereo issue, but now you say that I can't export in 23.9fps, which would be ideal. I'll have to look into that; that sucks. (In the export settings, I can select to output to Apple Intermediate Codec, which allows me to export to the current framerate. And even so, it allows me to enter a custom framerate. Would that work?)

I am eager, for the same reason as all my fan edits: I simply want the end result to exist.
I know I've made some very poor decisions recently.
Yeah, welcome back! Excited to have more mac HD editors with experience. One more candidate to potentially write up a mac HD guide.Big Grin
Projects Completed:
Matrix Revolutions - The Epic Edition
The Two Towers Rebuilt

Projects truly In the Works:
Star Trek (2009): Gem Edition

Projects kinda sorta conceptually In The Works:
Riddick: The Chronicles
Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
Who Watches The Watchmen

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