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Getting Started with HD editing

seciors

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No, with FCP7 you shouldn't need to add the black bars as part of your encode (for FCPX it's another story, but I digress...)
As long as you are putting the media into a sequence that has the frame size set to be 1920x1080, FCP7 should add the black bars for you. Again, I know there's a setting for it, I just don't recall off the top of my head.

Anamorphic only applies to SD material, not HD. (HD uses only square pixels and is already 16x9...google anamorphic to learn more...) So as long as you have the proper dimensions for the frame set up correctly, you should have no problem.
 

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I cannot for the life of me coerce this 1920x816 file to exit FCP7 without being stretched. I've tried everything. Does anyone know what terminology to use to describe this? I've searched and looked for "preserve aspect ratio," "add black bars to preserve aspect ration," "exported video looks stretched," etc.
Or can Pavtube create black bars to force the video into actual 1080p? I ask because I'm hesitant to dedicate my computer for another 15 actual hours to the task just to try it.

By the way, you guys are lifesavers.
 

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Hi Hal,

Sorry you weren't able to figure out how to get the export to work right. The good news is, if you are going to use the original source (which I think is really the best way to go regardless), you won't have this issue, since as long as you make sure not to apply any cropping when you rip from the blu ray, you will retain the black bars and your source will include them, thus maintaining the full frame size from the start. This might cause your source to be a bit larger, but it is probably worth it to avoid the headaches that you are running into now.

I do know though that you can accomplish what you were trying to do with FCP7. But like many things about FCP7, it is not obvious.

As you are new to FCP7, I again advise you to find some good references and tutorials for it. FCP7 is a very complex piece of software -- it has been used to make feature films -- and not easy to just pick up and learn by playing around with it.

Two places you can go for help (tutorials, forums, etc) are:
http://www.creativecow.net
https://discussions.apple.com/community/professional_applications/final_cut_studio

These are the best places on the internet for getting help related to FCP7 that I know of. You can always ask things here, but I'd advise looking at these two sites first as you might be able to get your question answered quicker (first, since it might already be answered by using the search facilities on those sites), and second since the people on those sites use FCP7 to make a living, and thus know the program backwards and forwards.
 

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I'm happy to report success thus far! I just finished editing the film through the Jedi's escape down to Naboo. It's much more time consuming than using Womble, due to having six times as many audio tracks to manually adjust with the pen tool. (I can't bear to do a straight crossfade; I want the result to be as good as it can be.)
It'll take time, but I'm getting there. I'm able to map the audio to where it is supposed to go, even with 18 tracks in the timeline.
I think I'm ready to create an In-The-Works thread.

Thank you, seciors, for your tremendous help so far.
 

seciors

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Sure, no problem and glad to hear you are making progress! I look forward to your work-in-progress thread!

PS - you can always try using cross-fades and just slide them back/forward to the location you want them to be at. You can change the length of the cross fades as well. But I hear you in terms of having more control over things.
 

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Anyone have any advice for laying down stereo music in a 5.1 mix? Should I lay down the stereo track twice, one for the L and R front speakers and a quieter version for the two back ones? Or are there any utilities you have used to "convert" it into something more suitable to drop in?

I'm also curious, seciors, how you go about muting dialogue. I've been using the pen tool to somewhat gradually bring the center channel to mute, and raising the L and R channels just as gradually to +4 dbl each.
 

seciors

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Hal9000 said:
Anyone have any advice for laying down stereo music in a 5.1 mix? Should I lay down the stereo track twice, one for the L and R front speakers and a quieter version for the two back ones? Or are there any utilities you have used to "convert" it into something more suitable to drop in?
i think you have two options here, depending on where you want the music to actuallly project from - just the stereo speakers, or other speakers as well? If it is the case of the former, than yes, it is simply a matter of laying the tracks down, making sure they map the L/R channels, and then adjusting the audio levels of the existing new channels appropriately so that the new music comes through at the desired level you want. Sometimes you are aiming for augmentation, sometimes completely replacement. But you do need to make sure if there is an overall volume change you need to work into it gradually. FCP7 does have audio level meters available which you can make use of. It's one the myriad of windows that can be displayed.

If you are aiming to convert the stereo mix to project on other channels as well, then yes, you will need to probably do this outside of FCP7 first to convert the stereo to 5.1, where you can work with the sound image so that the appropriate amount of sound comes through each of the channels (for example much less should come from the back channels, if this is just music). FCPX has this built in, so some other editor would need to advise on other software to use. audacity (a free do-everything audio tool available on the Mac) might be able to help, but I don't know for sure.

usually, when it is music, I just go the first route and combine it with the existing L/R.
I'm also curious, seciors, how you go about muting dialogue. I've been using the pen tool to somewhat gradually bring the center channel to mute, and raising the L and R channels just as gradually to +4 dbl each.

Ok, so this is important when you are trying remove unwanted sounds (either dialog or annoying character noises) - you AlWAYS need to replace whatever you are muting with something else on that same channel. Otherwise the channel will just drop out, which won't be noticeable when listening on your computer (due to the stereo downmix) but WILL be noticeable from a surround sound setup, especially if it is from the center, left, or right speakers.

so, what you need to do is duplicate one of the other tracks (usually the L or R channel) and reassign it to the track you are replacing. then do that gradual ease-in/out like you described to replace the sound in question. Don't just the volume of the other channels. However, you may need to raise the new tracks volume in order to match what you are replacing so as not to get a noticeable drop in overall volume.

Another use case is that you are trying to completely restore a section, either because the unwanted dialog/noise bleeds into all the channels, or you just want to change the music. In this case, you can probably make due with doing all of the above, but also muting the existing L/R and Ls/Rs channels, and route a tiny but of the new music into the Ls/Rs channels by duplicating them. Finally, in this scenario, you still might need to have a new center track from the new music track, if the original audio you are replacing is also on the center track (all too common in Star Wars) So you will need to try and smoothly make the dialog pieces blend in to the new music, while muting (or lowereing the volume of) the spaces between the dialog.

After doing all this, your final check on whether is sounds ok will always have to be on a surround system. That can come during the work print phase though, as hopefully one of your reviewers will listen to the surround mix version and can point out any problems (or it's something you can do yourself if you have the right setup).

sometimes you have to experiment with what to replace the sound you are removing with; a music channel doesn't always work, since sometimes you are working with a section that has a lot of background noise on the center channel and the change topuremmusic can be noticeable. You just wil need to play around with different approaches...such as trying to find some background without dialog from the same scene to use.

perhaps others who are more experienced with audio work can chime in as well - this is not my area of expertise. As most of this question is not Mac specific, you could also solicit advice on the tech forum devoted to audio (I think there is one...otherwise use the other tech questions forum).

however, the most important thing is to never let the sound drop out completely on a channel - you need to have something there or else it will be very noticeable on a surround sound system and sound bad.
 

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Thanks; I'll try adding a composite of the L and R channels into the muted areas of the Center. And I have a surround system, though not a very good one. But I can test it there when the time comes.
 

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Once I've edited a sequence, lets say I'd like to modify something in the middle. Rather than manually drag everything afterward to be in sync, I see two alternatives. I could drag that sequence into a new sequence and edit from there, and it appears as if I had exported the sequence and reimported the resultant file. Or, I could copy the sequence and use in and out points to create multiple sequences for what is before and after the modified area. Is there any reason not to go with option one? I know it's not a true generation loss, but I can't help by feel that way.
 

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Hi Hal,

First, let me assure you that everything you are doing with regards to creation and editing of sequences is completely non-destructive, and you aren't creating any generational loss. Again, even if you are using ProRes 422 LT, you would need to re-render the same exact location (that only happens if you are stacking multiple effects on top of one another, or actually do a real export from FCP and a re-import back into FCP) about 10 times sequentially before you should possibly start to perceive degradation. (the exact number is available in Apple's white paper).

Now, I am a bit confused as to what you actually mean in terms of modifying something in the middle. Why not just open up that sequence and do the editing there?

Another completely valid approach is just to duplicate the original sequence (if you are trying to keep it around as an alternate take to go back to just in case you end up not liking your new edit), and then edit the duplicated sequence.

All sequences contain "pointers" to the actual files, and they never actually make changes to the source material. Your edits are stored as "instructions" which are only followed when rendering occurs.

I think it would be helpful if you could post a couple of screen captures of your timeline and project item panel so it is a bit more clear as to how you are approaching using sequences.

I would definitely not recommend taking a sequence and splitting that into two on the timeline (e.g., splitting a nested sequence into two). That will lead to problems down the road I think due to the complexity. Nested sequences are generally ok (you can only do one level deep though in FCP7). You just need to make sure your sequence settings are the same for all sequences.
 

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65004_1913001747247_453294029_n.jpg


If this is my timeline, let's say I would like to extend a clip somewhere in the middle. Rather than drag everything to the right of it over manually, I could duplicate the sequence twice (one is the beginning, one is the aforementioned clip, and the last is the remainder). Or, I could create a new sequence, and drag the existing sequence. That makes the above image look like this:

1013969_1913003547292_1225532086_n.jpg


From there, it apparently will let me edit the sequence as if it had been exported and reimported as a single clip. (I'd delete any past renders first to ensure that they are all done afresh.) So I could either split sequences around new edit points, OR drag sequences to new sequences and double handle them.

Did that make more sense? I plan to use the first method when there are times I'd like to add material to the timeline, and the second method when I want to cut further. Once my first pass at the film is complete, and workprints are released, I can go back and make a second pass based upon method two.
 

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Here's my advice, but it's been a while since I used FCP7 so I would bow to what a current user says if it is different.

i do recall what I did was to group my content into separate sequences, then lay all,those down into a different sequence. So it is kind like a combo of your two approaches. This would allow me to make localized changes to specific sequences to either try out new approaches or just make changes without worrying about the entire timeline. You just replace the sequence you are working in, correctly make sure the length is correct, and all the rest of the sequences will correctly ripple.

the major issue becomes where do you place transitions. You may want to keep them inside the nested sequences so you don't have to redo transitions every time you replace something in the timeline.

at any rate, I am kind of wary of your second approach. Remember, you can make copies of sequences for "free" in that they don't really make copies of real footage. So, if you don't like the nested sequence approach, stick with one sequence (your first timeline) and just make copies as you decide to add changes to it. This way you always can have access to your prior versions.
 

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seciors said:
Hi Hal,

First, let me assure you that everything you are doing with regards to creation and editing of sequences is completely non-destructive, and you aren't creating any generational loss. Again, even if you are using ProRes 422 LT, you would need to re-render the same exact location (that only happens if you are stacking multiple effects on top of one another, or actually do a real export from FCP and a re-import back into FCP) about 10 times sequentially before you should possibly start to perceive degradation. (the exact number is available in Apple's white paper).

From recollection when I researched this codec for the mac folk out there, it is "mostly" non-destructive. More specifically it does use some lossy compression techniques, but only spatially. (There are two broad categories for types of compression: 1) spatial compression that uses techniques to compress information on individual frames, and 2) temporal techniques that compress across frames.) Bottom line, ProRes422 should be totally fine for fanediting purposes. As you mention, numerous re-renders can degrade the video, so "completely non-destructive" isn't technically accurate, but for what we are doing, nobody will likely ever notice the difference and it saves the editor a bit of hard drive space also over a completely lossless codec.
 

seciors

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I should have been clearer - when editing within FCP7 you are doing non destructive editing. Yes, the codec (like just about all editing codecs) is not lossless. Only rendering can cause generational loss. However, like I said, it needs to happen multiple times in the same location before it is perceptible.

Prores 422 is actually suitable for certain professional broadcasting situations. I recommend 422 LT for fan editing since that is definitely suitable.

i suggest reading Apple's white paper on prores, as they have done extensive testing about the generational loss with this codec. It's really an excellent codec and you should not in any way be concerned about perceivable generation loss due to your use of it (except if you use the proxy version of the codec, that's not suitable for your main editing codec).
 

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Us PC users are using truly lossless codecs so... this is really more of a mac discussion. :p
 

seciors

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geminigod said:
Us PC users are using truly lossless codecs so... this is really more of a mac discussion. :p

Hence this thread being in the....Mac Forum???? :-? :)

Seriously though, Mac users do have the Apple lossless codec as an option, but that is completely overkill for when you are using source material that has already been compressed (like all fan edit material). Maybe PC users need to learn a bit more about when a lossless codec is really needed. :p
 

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:)

For those interested, I'll dig up the link to Apple's white paper, when I have better Internet access (at the moment I'm limited).

PS - also, I'll start it as a separate thread since this is kind of hijacking Hals at this point. He wasn't even asking about codec choice.

Hopefully someone can support or provide an alternate approach to the one I have regarding his question about using sequences and how to do edits later in ones workflow.
 

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Can somebody tell me how to export my 5.1 audio out of FCP7 as part of a video? When I try, it gives the resultant video four separate audio streams: L and R grouped, C, LFE, and L and R rear grouped. I'm trying to get a workprint together. Thanks.

EDIT: My original plan was to export in native ProRes as is, and let Handbrake choke on it to make a workprint file. I'm going to see if Compressor can export to a ~native ProRes file with proper audio and then let Handbrake do its thing.
 
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