FCP 7: Create the Right Offline Format

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the March, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Paul Fiore writes:

I have a client that is editing a movie trailer from the 94 min HDSR master with a frame rate of 23.98.


He wants me to generate a DVCAM with VISTC for him to do the offline edit with on his home system, then bring me back the FCP Project to do the online and layoff to HDSR.


I plan to make his DV files off line and recapture the shots I need from the HDSR tape at HD 10 bit, most likely 4:2:2. I know my system can handle 10 bit HD video so that isn’t a concern.


So my question is: Once I down-covert to DVCAM I know I’m giving him 29.97 video to work with. So at what point do I account for this when I’m recapturing the HDSR with a frame rate of 23.98?


Am I in for a nightmare or is this workflow correct? Can I offer my client a different workflow that is going to make both our lives easier?

Larry replies: This leans toward nightmare – because if you edit 24 fps material at 29.97 fps, many of your edits will fall on “false frames” — frames that don’t actually exist in the master.

This makes recapture impossible and truly messes up sync.

You would be MUCH wiser to make DVCPROHD 23.98 fps masters – which is a very easy format to edit, even on older G-4 systems using FCP 4. If you have a newer system, convert it to ProRes 422. Either format keeps the frame rate and image size constant and will greatly simplify the final on-line.

However, I don’t do offline editing very often any more. I’m interested in what other readers suggest.


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