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Hi Everyone,

I'm pretty new to the HTPC forums though a longtime AVS member. I'm posting to just convey my recent experience using FCP5 on a mini (1.42, 1 gig RAM, 80 gig internal HD, 400 gig external HD - the ministack) to edit 1080i HDV footage shot with the new Sony HC1.


Some background - I bought the mini when they first shipped. I'm a switcher, haven't looked back (except to wonder what took me so long...) I bought the HC1 b/c my wife is expecting twins. Apparently camcorders are standard equipment for parents these days. And since I'm a gadget hound I of course had to have the new Sony HC1 HDV camera :D Finally, I bought FC Studio. Why? Partly b/c I wanted to learn to use the pro apps, and partly b/c iMovie HD downconverts HDV to AIC. I'm not sure of the resulting impact on quality, but I'm anal enough to want to keep it the best it can be, even if at the margin it's not too big a difference.


Let me say that I feel like a kid in a candy store with all these neat toys!! Okay. Got that out of the way.


The good news: yes, you can pretty happily edit 1080i HDV with FCP5 on a mini. Best to keep no other apps running, and be prepared for some long waits to render/conform/mux/etc. But it works, and actually surprisingly capably.


My first project was really an experiment to make sure I could actually use the stuff! I shot about 45 minutes of footage of my 2 little cousins acting out the "I am your father" sequence from Empire Strikes Back. I edited it shot for shot to match the original. Then I layered in some vader breathing, lightsaber sounds, music and other effects. SD DVD versions I burned with DVD STudio Pro look pretty good on a nice HDTV.


The bad news: While FCP can play the 1080i footage (both raw and edited) in a small window, the mini *cannot* cleanly play the 1080i footage cleanly at its native size - either from the HD or from an HD DVD. I know that the mini's inability to cleanly play 1080 footage is well documented here and there, but I thought there was a chance that the HDV stuff would play. Nope. It drops frames pretty badly (though the fairly complex audio I layered in played cleanly). I wound up just exporting my finished project back to tape in the HC1 for archival purposes.


Some more bad news: Motion won't even install, let alone run. The mini doesn't have the graphics horsepower so the installer won't do it.


Moral of the story: my next Mac will have some serious horsepower so that I can be sure to be able to play this stuff. But from a pure editing standpoint, it actually works, and was incredibly fun to use this short film as a learning experience.


If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to try to answer them.


TM
 

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Thanks for the report. At $1900, prices are starting to look more favorable for this type of equipment.


One thing that might be worth a try is playing your videos with VLC. VLC also has advanced options that improve HD framerates somewhat, though the default settings may be enough to get you playing with only occasional dropped frames. Stationary scenes will tend to play more smoothly than pans and fly-bys. Let us know how it works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
THanks MacHound. I tried VLC and it seems to play fine, though I haven't been able to get the VLC window to play full size (i.e. 1920x1080). I have to continue to play with its settings I think...


TM
 
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