Give me my old Final Cut Express!
September 25, 2008 2:13 AM   Subscribe

How do I get Final Cut Express to export straightforward 1280x720 HD videos from my Sanyo Xacti HD700... like it used to?

I have a Sanyo Xacti HD700. It gives me 1280x720 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 files, which my Mac just loves. I used to be able to quickly edit the clips together in Final Cut Express, export using complementary QuickTime settings (specifically, those recommended by Vimeo for HD playback), and get beautiful MP4 files, relatively quickly.

Then, one day, a friend needed me to edit a quick video using a DV camcorder. It was confusing as heck getting the footage into FCE, and not particularly elegant getting it out. But, the project was done overnight, I washed my hands of it, and wanted to get back to making beautiful MP4 files again, relatively quickly.

Except I can't! Now, for one, encoding takes hours. Hours! My source videos and export videos are very similar, yet I sit and watch as the estimate for completion actually goes up for an hour before slowly coming back down.

And frankly, that would be fine, except now my exported videos are the wrong size. They include letterboxes, and the video itself is squished, stretched. So I wait four times as long for a ghastly video. The best I could do is use the Quicktime export settings to "crop off" the letterboxing, but there's still some black bars and it's just not the same.

Here's how my videos used to look. Here's how an exported video looks now. What happened? Out of the box, everything worked perfectly. Now, tainted with actual tape, Final Cut Express seems like it's running my videos through six extra wringers and giving me clips worse than I'd get just cut-and-paste editing the Xacti files in QuickTime Pro!

I Googled my brains out, and all I've learned is, if I had Final Cut Pro, "Project Settings" would have all the switches I need. Well, I don't have FCP, just FCE.

Somewhere, something was set that I want to unset. Can anyone help? Do I have to delete every trace of FCE and just reinstall?
posted by pzarquon to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Close Final Cut Express entirely. Go to [your home folder]\Library\Preferences. Delete the "" file. Delete the "Final Cut Express User Data" folder. Start Final Cut Express and do a test version of your normal encoding. Problem solved?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:35 AM on September 25, 2008

Response by poster: Aha! I found it in the "Sequence Preset" setting. Was set to DV NTSC, not Apple Intermediate Codec 720p30. Not that I know if the latter setting is correct, either, but I'm getting the video frame sizes I'm expecting. The only downside is, I couldn't just change the existing sequence... I had to start from scratch within a sequence already set to the correct setting.

Thanks for your answer, though, Inspector.Gadget! That would've definitely been my next step (just before nuking it completely)!
posted by pzarquon at 6:38 PM on September 25, 2008

If you wanted to get the footage converted back from the existing sequence:
With the sequence open - Cmd-0 (sequence settings)
Load sequence preset
Choose the AIC 720p30)
Press Ok
Select all the clips, Opt-CMD-V...reset the motion + distort parameters .
posted by filmgeek at 1:44 PM on September 26, 2008

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