Editing H.264 Video Natively

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the February, 2011, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Recently, I wrote an article for Post Magazine on editing H.264 video natively in Final Cut Pro.

Here’s a link to the article:


(The short version is “don’t do it.”)

Ben Balser then wrote to comment on the article.

You say FCP won’t edit H.264 natively. In fact, Compressor does have an H.264 engine, and FCP can edit H.264 natively. It’s a royal PITA, as any Long-GOP format is. But FCP does in fact edit H.264 natively. I and others here in NOLA have done so (not with a smile, though) on occasion when it was demanded of us. FCP does have an H.264 Sequence preset, and Compressor has an H.264 engine.


Side note, in tests done my myself and others here in NOLA, we found Log & Transfer ingesting to ProRes (LT) for DSLR footage, ProRes 422 for HDV, to take a FRACTION of the time it takes to output (transcode) from an FCP native H.264 Sequence to an output format. Especially when making another Long-GOP format for DVD authoring. OMG! That takes forever! All due to the Long-GOP format.


And as you obviously know, H.264 native editing does not bring time code or any other metadata into your NLE, as you get when using Log & Transfer (thank you Holy Jobness for making that a plugin architecture).


Great article, thanks for publishing, keep up the great work!

Larry replies: Thanks, Ben, for the kind words and the additional information.

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One Response to Editing H.264 Video Natively

  1. arthur brogard says:

    So what’s the best way for a non-expert to go about a little simple H264 mp4 file editing ? What software/procedures would you recommend?

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