How to edit 15fps .avi files in Final Cut Pro?
January 5, 2009 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I have Final Cut Studio 2. I've been asked by my mom to assemble a small edit of all the videos shot on point-and-shoot still cameras during our family vacation this year. When I try bringing the files directly into FCP, it's buggy / i can't edit without problems. I assume there's some conversion I need to do before bringing them in but nothing seems to work.

I've tried opening the files in Quicktime and exporting them as .dv and .mov files, then bringing those into FCP. Still, problems persist (audio beeps like unrendered, and when I render, it immediately goes red again - needing render).

There has to be some way of converting these files so I can edit them in something better than iMovie.

It seems a frame rate problem. The camera's 15fps and the timeline is 24. Is there some way of conforming the timeline settings to the footage capture settings, so I'm editing in a 15fps timeline?
posted by cg1 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
if you have final cut studio 2, try bringing the files into compressor. drop the compression setting "DV/DVNTSC 48K" (it may be called something else, but it'll be something like that) onto them and then submit the batch to recompress them as something final cut is much happier with. final cut hates using microsoft media formats (such as avi and wmv) and especially odd little formats like 15fps with strange audio codecs.

basically, you want the files to be NTSC DV resolution (720x480) at 29.97 frames per second, with 48khz audio in a codec final cut likes. final cut is happiest using the DV/DVCPRO ntsc codec for this type of thing, and compressor should be able to do what you need. compressor can be a bit of a drag to figure out, but there are plenty of excellent tutorials for it online, and also included in the in-program help files.

good luck.
posted by shmegegge at 4:12 PM on January 5, 2009

You can change the framerate (and aspect ration, frame size, etc) of the sequence you're working in pretty easily. If all the clips are from the same camera, the you should be able to find a setting that works (say 320x240, 15fps maybe?). Just click on the timeline window, then go to the sequence menu at the top of the screen and select 'Settings'. I think the keyboard shortcut is CMD-0.
I'm not in front of my edit machine at the moment, but if I remember correctly you can set the sequence to a pretty broad range of framerates and frame sizes. Basically open the file in quicktime player, go to the movie inspector and make note of the size, framerate, and compressor for that file, and try to make the sequence settings match as closely as possible.
posted by kid_dynamite at 5:44 PM on January 5, 2009

Couple of thoughts.

1) Use iMovie '08. It'll probably work.
2) Why are you putting it on a timeline of 24fps?

Realistically, certain codecs were made for editing (I frame) and some codecs were meant for distribution (delta frame codecs like MPEG-2, H.264, divx and WMV.)

You might try removing all the footage from the timeline, dragging one of the clips on it, and letting it change the timeline settings. You won't get RT effects, but you should get some level of RT editing (although, if the audio is screwy, maybe not

Last - coudl you MefiMail me - I'd like to play with a couple of the files.
posted by filmgeek at 6:23 PM on January 5, 2009

Thanks for all the advice, folks. I just tried bringing everything into Compressor and batch-converting to mp4 files at NTSC framerate & 44.1 kHz audio rate. I bring it into FCP, create a new project and drop the 1st (new mp4) file into the timeline. I get an error that the timeline settings are different than the clip settings - "do you want to conform the timeline to the clip?" - I say "Yes." Newly converted video is now in the timeline. As before, the render line at top is red, and when I press play, the audio just beeps... Will be trying some of the other ideas next. Oy vey - you'd think a pricey program like FCP would make this easier!
posted by cg1 at 6:47 AM on January 7, 2009

Next I tried manually changing the settings on the sequence itself. This would not work, however, as FCP only allows certain framerates from a set dropdown of options. 23.98fps is as low as it goes (nothing even close to 15fps progressive). The same goes for audio. The aud rate for my clips is 11024Hz, and FCP's dropdown only gives options for 32, 44.1, 48khz, etc. This probably explains why FCP's attempts to auto-set the timeline settings to match a clip fail (because it doesn't support this framerate).

I'm trying not to use iMovie, because I hate working in it - and because it won't allow more than the 2 tracks of audio (i want to lay music underneath the picture on a 3/4 track).

any other ideas?
posted by cg1 at 7:34 AM on January 7, 2009

just to let you know, final cut also really really hates mp4s. try quicktime .mov it'll be much larger, but final cut will love it.
posted by shmegegge at 9:58 AM on January 7, 2009

« Older How to make a bilingual child?   |   Have You Heard of this Thai Pop Music Band? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.