H.264 realtime editing in FCP? (rumor)

Folks. I think I have been sitting on this news long enough. As you all know, one of the most frustration thing about video editing in HD is that you can never work directly with the original clips without some serious performance hit and frame skipping.

The solution to this issue, so far, has been to either use proxies or transcode the clip into a format that can be rendered in real time (ex: ProRes 422). Each of these solutions has a disadvantage. Proxies add complexity to the workflow (I wish Premiere or FCP would handle them like After Effects does) and if you transcode to another codec, you are losing some image quality (they don’t handle the color the same way). The lost might be minimal but it is there. That is why some people just keep editing in H.264 and accept the ever present render bar as a necessary evil.

Well, it is time to rejoice because very soon all of these issues are going to be history! I have learned that the next version of Quicktime (coming with Snow Leopard) is going to allow real time editing of the Canon 5DMrkII H.264 clips!

I have yet to figure out if this improvement will be the benefit of Core Video optimization or new hardware coming in the next Macs. I guess we will know about it at the developer conference.

Of course, this is just a second hand rumor so it has to be taken for what it is: a rumor. I publish this because my source is very credible and it fits nicely in Apple video editing strategy.

I have another rumor from the same person that might be of even greater interest to us but before posting it, I will wait for confirmation of this one. After all, I dont want to be known as the guy who keep posting false rumors!

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...
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  • FCS3

    You guys understand nothing about video formats and realtime editing. After Effects is not an editing program and it doesn’t edit H.264 or any other format natively. The AE timeline (same with Motion, Shake, etc.) is codec independent RGB. Realtime playback works by loading frames into the RAM. Once the RAM is full, no more realtime playback. Also with RAM playback the realtime performance shrinks when activating a video output card. You can’t have this in video editing apps such as FCP or AVID.

    In NLE systems you need to have a native codec based timeline to edit. You can’t load everything into the RAM. This means realtime effects can only be enabled for PROPER EDITING FORMATS.

    Stopp shooting with every crap format out there, think about the NLE workflow. Your wet dreams about shooting and editing anything won’t come true. Long-GOP editing is a pain in the ass.

  • admin

    FCS3: Why are you talking about AE? This is an article related to FCP. The mention of AE was to point out how easy it is to manage proxies with it compared to other applications.

  • bros

    This is not going to happen. Why would apple implement h.264 support natively in final cut. It is the one of the most processor intensive formats and is incredibly lossy. Apple is not going integrate native h.264 in final cut just to please the minority of mark 5d canon cameras (no offense) but the majority of formats that are used with final cut are hdv, dvcpro hd, avchd/avc-intra so the first step would to refine realtime performance with those codecs.

    • admin

      With Snow Leopard Macs are going to have way enough processing power to work with h.264 so CPU is not relevant. And the 5D is not the only camera that is shooting in h.264. So yes, it is relevant for them to implement this. But I have to agree that they are most probably going to give real time to other formats at the same time. Can’t wait to get rid of ProRes!

      Rumors are that the only thing in the way of releasing fc studio 3 is the release of SL. So in this perspective all of this is making sense.

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