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Thread: FCP/ Compressor workflow...

  1. #1
    Legend Almohada's Avatar
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    Default FCP/ Compressor workflow...

    Final Cut to Compressor... ridiculous!!!!!! Why? Why does it take so long???? I don't remember having to wait DAYS for a 3 minute clip to export when I was on Premiere (PC). What the heck?!

    Okay, so I'm exporting a small portion of my project for some final quality control tests. I've done a similar test a few weeks ago. For a one minute clip it took about two hours to export a DVD: Best Quality 90 minute preset. It's Canon XH-A1 HDV 23.98 footage.

    Today I'm trying to do a 3 minute clip. Guess what, the progress bar has reached the last quarter but for some reason the time remaining counter is going UP and not DOWN!!!! It's currently showing 28 hours remaining. I know this has to be BS! What's going on here? Why does it take so freaking long?! If my project is 20 minutes, do I have to leave my machine on for 3 weeks?!?!?! What a joke!

    Oh and I'm sure I have all my settings right. I've double checked everything.
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Really? Even on my old C2D it is about 1:2 (one hour footage takes two hours of transcoding) to get a MPEG done in Compressor.

    Are you singing your stuff directly from the FCP timeline? I have made the experience that it's much faster to export a reference file, then drop this file into Compressor (or a droplet).
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    Legend Almohada's Avatar
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    Wow. It got to 36 hours so I stopped it. There goes 5 hrs of my time.

    It's odd cause last time only took 2 hrs for a 1 min clip.

    Yeah I started a QT reference movie about 20 mins ago. I've read that there is some quality loss so I always did it straight from the timeline. At this point I just want this nightmare overwith!!! Let's see how the reference file goes...

    Thanks, CG!
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Who told you that nonsense? A reference file is noting else than a database that tells Compressor (for transcoding) or QT (for playback) where the original files are located and what you did to them during editing. It is pretty similar to an XML file.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    Who told you that nonsense? A reference file is noting else than a database that tells Compressor (for transcoding) or QT (for playback) where the original files are located and what you did to them during editing. It is pretty similar to an XML file.
    I read it online on a few different sites. Actually the section I'm doing now is 2.5 minutes and not even 3! Well the good news is, QT reference file was 140mb and took exactly 30 minutes for a 2min 35 second clip. Downside... quality. There's major quality loss during the grainy night scenes. Oh well, it's going on DVD anyways. Hopefully it will take only 3-4 hours to make this QT reference of the whole project. I don't care anymore. I just want it done! hahaha

    Now off to Compressor
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Funny, I never saw a difference. Thirty minutes for a reference file? That should have taken 30 seconds with your project size.

    A three minute project shouldn't take any longer than 10 minutes with two passes. What machine you got? You enabled Qmaster to use all cores and threads?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    Funny, I never saw a difference.

    A three minute project shouldn't take any longer than 10 minutes with two passes. What machine you got? You enabled Qmaster to use all cores and threads?
    Just finished. Took 18 minutes for DVD Best Quality 90 mins (2 passes)
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    Legend Almohada's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I just remembered. I don't know WHY the heck it's like this but when I preview the .m2v exported file in VLC, it looks like crap! The overall brightness is boosted and the colors are all funky. But when I watch it in MPEG Streamclip, it's perfect -- exactly how it looks in the timeline. You have any idea why? Also the first test DVD I did looked pretty decent on the TV but on any other computer (with LCD screen) looked more like VLC (brighter, grain is way more apparent, pixelated/ glotches, etc...)

    So tomorrow I will burn this 2.5 min. test onto DVD and see how it looks on a TV. As long as it looks fine on a TV or through a projector it's all good!
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Apple QT is "calibrated" to broadcast, not PC. That's why it looks better on a TV (best on a CRT). Did you watch it in the original size on the PC or blew it up to full screen?

    MPEG Streamclip is a third-party front end to the Quicktime engine. VLC provides its own stuff. That's why VLC looks different.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    Apple QT is "calibrated" to broadcast, not PC. That's why it looks better on a TV (best on a CRT). Did you watch it in the original size on the PC or blew it up to full screen?

    MPEG Streamclip is a third-party front end to the Quicktime engine. VLC provides its own stuff. That's why VLC looks different.

    Yeah, I thought so. Hopefully I won't get any complaints on DVD quality. I honestly don't remember. I probably tried both. I'll do some more testing tomorrow. I'm actually excited. The nightmare is almost over.
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Nightmare? A 3 minute project?
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    Legend Almohada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    Nightmare? A 3 minute project?
    Haha no, it's 20 mins. But I'm just doing some QC for the worst section.

    Hey, maybe you can answer this... how can I lock my entire Mac without logging out? I need to keep Final Cut going (exporting) but if I log out of my account (quick user switching) I think it stops the process. In the past, I've left Final Cut open, log out of my account (still signed in, but just go to the login window) but when I log back in, everything in Final Cut skips and jumps sort of like it's not connected to the external hard drive. I don't know why that happens. I just have to quit Final Cut and launch it again to fix it.
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    You want to have it inaccessible to others while on smoke break? Easiest way is a screensaver with password.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    You want to have it inaccessible to others while on smoke break? Easiest way is a screensaver with password.
    Alright, I set a hot corner as well. I tried it out and it looks like Final Cut still runs smoothly in the background. Awesome! And I don't smoke. Awesomer!
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Something has to kill you...
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    FilmMaker Extraordinaire Daniel Rutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    Something has to kill you...
    Film making will certainly try!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Rutter View Post
    Film making will certainly try!
    You know that oxygen makes your body age? Stop breathing and you'll live forever
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    It was going to be Final Cut until I tried exporting QT reference files

    Hey I finally burned that 3 minute test. I did that and exported another 3 minute test and made one DVD. It looks perfect on the TV but no so much on computers. That's good enough for me. I'll be doing it this way from now on.
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    By the way, there's a setting in Quicktime called "Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility" located in the General tab under Preferences. Reference file plays back nicer in QT now. Doesn't matter though since it's just going onto DVD. But that function could come in handy...
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    This is about the most important setting in QT.

    Ever worked in Color with a client breathing your neck, asking you to change this and give little bit more of that? Then you show him the final QT and it looks completely different from what he wants? You can kiss your paycheck good bye.
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    I still run a G5, and compressor is only dog slow making h.264's, about an hour a minute for a high quality 2 pass. Dvd's from hdv material, generally AIC, are not bad. Mpeg Streamclip is much faster, I'm not sure why so I use that for simple conversions, but I prefer compressor for making dvd elements.

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    Senior Member DebG.'s Avatar
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    I'm a little concerned with these times... are you all using FCPX or FCP7?

    I've only played around a little bit with FCPX and am still learning the best ways to go from it to DVD and web.

    Deborah
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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    I'm mainly using FCP X meanwhile. Editing is so much faster and the GUI is much easier on the user. The only reason I keep FCS around is for DVDSP (Adobe Encore is a crash fest on my machines... maybe CS6's gonna be better) and a little Color or STP. The new Compressor is still 32 bit, but with Qmaster, you get access to all cores (and can build a render farm).

    Both web and DVD export are pretty simple with FCP X. You have direct upload to YT and Vimeo from the timeline. DVD can be burned directly from there also. The DVD is no more than a screener though - nothing I'd give to my client as final product. You can export using Compressor settings (there're plenty of presets for web or DVD - actually the same as in 3.5) or sending it to Compressor. The latter has the advantage that you can keep editing, while Compressor does it's job in the background. The Compressor workflow hasn't changed at all (besides the fact that chapter markers are set in Compressor now, not in FCP anymore).

    It takes a moment to get used to new UI if you never worked with iMovie, but FCP X is deeper than it seems on the first look.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member DebG.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
    I'm mainly using FCP X meanwhile. ...

    It takes a moment to get used to new UI if you never worked with iMovie, but FCP X is deeper than it seems on the first look.
    Thanks, CG!

    I've been reading tons and tons on forums, blogs, video tutorials, YouTube, and Vimeo about FCPX and the controversy of moving from FCS/FCP7 to FCPX. It seems where most people are coming from, however, I have found next to nothing for folks who are "moving up" from iMovie '11, which is my case. I'm a ninja at iMovie but had just been dabbling and learning FCP7 when X came along. The GUI of X definitely is making my life easier! but would still like some info geared to people who have NEVER used Compressor and/or Motion before.

    Any suggestions as to where to look?

    You have direct upload to YT and Vimeo from the timeline. DVD can be burned directly from there also.
    I've always stayed away from Send to YouTube or Send to DVD in the past, because things could go wrong in the upload process which are out of my control (internet interruption/slowdown, etc.) and I also like to keep a file of the movie backed up on my hard drive.

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    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    Deb, there are loads of places that can give you a (free) overview over FCP X and Motion.

    http://www.izzyvideo.com/final-cut-pro-x-tutorial/
    http://www.pixelcorps.tv/macbreak_studio is releasing shortened versions of the rippletraining tutorials.
    The Holy Cow has a lot of outstanding tutorials.
    If you want to pay for your tutorials, the stuff from Rippletraining is about the best you can imagine.

    Send to YouTube is faster than exporting first, then upload. You are still free to export your project to any format you like (or build a batch in Compressor)

    The discussion about the move from FCS to FCP7 was hefty at the beginning. Apple brought out FCP X too early. It was a beta, and there was missing a lot of stuff. Putting FCS on EOL was not the best decision Apple ever made either. Meanwhile, most issues are addressed, and Apple is feverishly working on improving FCP X. The latest version is even more stable than FCS ever was, and even "pros" are warming up to it more and more. A lot of the complaints, however, came from folks that had never really used it. They were appalled by the "iMovie look", but if even Adobe has been copying some of FCP X' features for CS6, does that mean that CS6 is not a professional software anymore?

    I've been using it from day one. At the beginning it was a love hate relationship. Sure, it was fast like hell, but also needed some time to think in-between (beach ball's your best friend), but it got that good meanwhile, that I don't open up FCS anymore (for editing).
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