Editing Workflow for ProRes and HDV

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the Feb/March, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Dean Schweinler, from Florida, writes:

Anyway I”m working on a big project that this past year had us on the road with our Canon XL-H1 shooting interviews in HDV…. I also have a Sony MVR-15u playback deck. The more I’m learning about ProRes 422, it sounds like it’s the way to go when editing HDV.


Would I need an AJA or a BlackMagic capture card? What do you suggest? I read through your newsletters and I’m not EXACTLY sure how to progress from here on how to load all these interviews into my Mac to start editing this monster.

Larry replies: Dean, it depends. Prior to FCP 6.0.2, if you wanted real-time capture, you needed either the AJA IO HD attached to any Intel/Mac via a FireWire 800 port, or a Decklink Extreme card in a Mac Pro. Both of these solutions support real-time conversion of ProRes.

If, however, this hardware is not an option, you can convert HDV to ProRes once you’ve captured it, using either Compressor or the Batch Export function of Final Cut Pro. This is much more time-consuming, but much cheaper.

The third option is to capture HDV and render using ProRes. This option is only available in Final Cut Studio 2 and only for HDV, XDCAM HD or XDCAM EX. The Rendering article earlier in this issue explains how to do this.

UPDATE – March 6

Matt Davis writes:

I can capture directly from Z1 HDV to ProRes 422 in FCP 6.0.2 without having to transcode, which has finally ended my naughty use of AIC over HDV for editing. The workflow is very similar (in that each shot is a separate file, and there’s no log and capture, just suck everything in).


Use FCP’s easy setup for HDV 1080i50 (for example), then in Audio/Video settings, switch the Capture preset to HDV-ProRes 422 standard or HQ and the performance feels like AIC on a two year old machine.


I hope this also works for the XL-H1.

Larry replies: Matt, thanks for letting me know.


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