working with the “DIY” footage in Final Cut

If you have difficulty importing the DIY footage into Final Cut, here’s one solution.  You may find others using different formats and more expensive tools, there are many ways to get this done.  I’m going to outline a workflow that uses a free tool and optimizes for low disk use.  Using professional tools and prioritizing time and video quality above diskspace would likely be a “better” idea, but since the point here is to get some “quick and dirty” experience I’ll leave figuring out that sort of a workflow for a future exercise.

1) First and foremost, as with any video project where footage was provided which you did not shoot yourself, get organized.  Play through the video clips and sort out only the ones you want.  Half of them are from the other class.  Many of them may not fit your editing idea.  You don’t want to waste time processing video you won’t be using.  Watch the footage, note down your thoughts, then proceed with importing and editing.

2) Download MPEG Streamclip, a free transcoding tool, from 5 Squared.  Install it as you would any Mac application (mount the disk image and copy the .app into /Applications) then launch MPEG Streamclip.

3) Choose one of the DIY clips that you have already previewed and know you will want some footage from.  Drag and drop this clip onto the MPEG Streamclip window.

4) Using the play controls at the bottom of the MPEG Streamclip window, find the point in the clip where the footage you want starts.  Hit the “I” key to mark this as an in point, just like in Final Cut.  Then play or scroll forward until you reach the end of the segment of video you’d like to use.  Now mark an out point with the “O” key, again just like in Final Cut.  Now go up to the “Edit” menu and select “Trim.”

5) The “Trim” command may take a moment or two, then you will notice the MPEG Streamclip window will refresh and only the segment of video between your in and out points will be playable.  Play the clip and make sure you didn’t miss anything you wanted, and if you got any extra, repeat the above step to trim down further.  You don’t want to waste your time on extra video.

6) Once you are satisfied with the clip’s content, select “File” and “Export to Quicktime…” which will present you with a dialog box filled with settings.  For generating acceptable quality files relatively quickly which only take about the same diskspace as the originals, I suggest the following settings.  NOTE that the DIY source footage is of varying different internal formats and frame resolutions.  Below, I suggest 720p as a happy medium to transcode everything to.

6) Repeat the above steps for all the bits of footage you want, out of all the clips you’re interested in for your video.  When you save these files out, it would be a good idea to give them descriptive filenames instead of “” to aid in organizing your bin in Final Cut later on.

7) Launch Final Cut and select a “720p” Easy Setup (the one for HDV cameras will work, for example).  Start a new project, save the project with a descriptive name (this will create a usefully named folder for your render files instead of “Untitled Project”) and use “File” and “Import” to bring your DIY clips into your bin.  That’s it, edit as usual!  Note that you will probably need to render these clips after dropping them into a sequence, but this will take very little time because the audio is already uncompressed and you’re reduced the data drastically by limiting all the clips to 720p resolution.

Drew Wallner

~ by atw17 on March 20, 2011.

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