Saturday, July 14, 2012

MIDI Designer Movies: YouTube Target at 1920x1080 with Final Cut Pro

This might just be useful for my notes, or it might help other people. Not sure, really. Personally, it took many hours to cut through the Codec bullshit and get to a fast, streamlined workflow. Anyway...

There are two general points to start with:
  1. Final Cut Pro sucks at using formats that are not "native" to it. You will have to render all the time. Rendering is evil.
  2. Final Cut Pro exports to other formats slowly and badly
Getting to Final Cut Pro and Avoiding Rendering

My goal, then, is to get everything that I'm going to use in Final Cut Pro into Apple ProRes 422 (normal, but HQ and Lite are fine too). Also, I want everything at the same frame rate (29.97).

Convert everything using MPEG Streamclip. You might say, "but wait, Mpeg Streamclip uses Final Cut Pro conversions to do it's work." I cannot answer that concern. Final Cut, bad, MPEG Streamclip, good.

After many hours and money spent (well, mostly I returned the stuff, including a Canon T3i and several camcorders) I have discovered that the best way to film an iPad is using a Sony DSC-WX5. If you record in .mov, then you will need to convert with MPEG Streamclip. On the other hand, if you record with AVCHD, then the Final Cut Log and Transfer window will bring you over to Apple ProRes 422. The only problem with this is that you'll forget where you keep your converted sources, and years later your project will be broken. You can get over these issues, but you have to be careful.

On the computer side, I'm using Screeny. The weird thing about Screeny is that it will produce videos that are something less than 1920x1080 if you are off the screen. When you convert these movies in MPEG Streamclip, do NOT change the size. Leave them as they are. They are perfectly usable in 1920x1080, but will take up only a piece of each frame.

Editing in Final Cut Pro

Every time you start working on a sequence, bring one of the clips into it that you are sure is 1920x1080 so that Final Cut Pro will change the sequence to match the clip.

That said, you should not be working with just one sequence, even for a relatively simple movie. Since sequences can go inside sequences, you get great advantages from utilizing this feature. In a word, use more sequences.

Exporting from Final Cut Pro

For reasons that I will never understand, Final Cut Pro is horrible at exporting to other formats. Use the default Quicktime exporting from Final Cut Pro, and then convert to Mpeg 4 using MPEG Streamclip.

See my latest effort at

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