Sanyo Xacti HD2000 and Mac OS X

Though Sanyo Xacti HD2000 results look good in Quicktime, the files are not readily edited in Final Cut Express. It is, however, possible to edit using Final Cut Express - by first converting files, or doing rough edit with iMovie.

Trouble in Final Cut Express

When I tried Sanyo Xacti HD2000 file directly in Final Cut Express, it seemed to be ingested ok, but was very jerky on playback - so edting looked like being a nightmare. Searching for info, I found the Xacti's AVC/H.264 files aren't readily edited by Final Cut (Express or Pro).
[Sanyo has lately released HD2000A, which supports iframe - an Apple format that is directly supported by Quicktime etc, but only 960x540 pixels, so substantially smaller than the full HD output the camera is capable of.]

Option 1: All Files Converted Before Final Cut Express

There was a solution, albeit was to prove time consuming - and demanding on my iMac's processor: transform the video files, to format Final Cut can readily accept. I did this with Mpeg Streamclip (free, excellent software for transforming video between formats). Chose to export to Quicktime file, retaining size in pixels, maximum quality, and Apple Motion Jpeg A compression.

This led to files ballooning in size - eg 25MB to over 500MB (! - good job that can get external drives such as 1TB for reasonable prices now), but the new files did work in Final Cut Express.

Here's the resulting video - edited at 1280px wide; exported to 720x486px widescreen (anamorphic, so pixels stretched to show it widescreen):

Option 2: Initial Rough Edit With iMovie

Just tried another, less time consuming method (which might not be quite so good when making longer video, as current iMovie seems best suited to shorter videos, or at least videos with relatively few clips):

Put Xacti files, trimmed to at least roughly right length, together in iMovie; don't do too much more, as various iMovie changes such as transitions aren't exported. Then, export XML version, and open this with Final Cut Express, opening the video in the timeline, where you see the clips. Result needs rendering, and can then be edited ok.

Also: iFrame May Make Things Simpler

Reading a little about iframe, looks like as well as being smaller on screen than full HD, currently not be the full quality the Xacti is capable of - but easier to use, so if you're a Mac user this is likely better for many purposes, inc videos for showing on internet.

Martin Williams

Comments

Hi there (again)!

have just sent you a message but forgot to ask - when you followed the procedures you describe to upload the footage to final cut express, did the transfers degrade the quality of the original files? For example, if you shot in 60fps and Final Cut Express doesn't handle 60fps footage, did the procedures you describe reduce the frame rate of the material (by half, I would imagine)?

Many thanks for reading this

Martin Nichols

(merekatmart@hotmail.com)

Martin also sent me an email, and I've replied:

[quote]Thanks for the email, and webpage comment.

Too bad re results from panning shots. First off: it's the camera, not the person doing the panning? (!)
How about place you're viewing: if computer, is it up to handling the files? If a potential issue here, you might try shooting lower quality images (smaller frame sizes), see if different.

I've barely used the Xacti at 60fps: get huge files, which I can't put to much use (not easy to edit, inc as my computer can't really cope with full Xacti files)
So, shooting at 30fps, and interlaced.

Haven't noticed issue with panning. Some trouble with lightning: can be part on half of a "frame", rest on half of next frame. Also noticed birds in flight seemed to have flickery wings: didn't see if full 60fps progressive would fix this.

So I don't know re 60fps and Final Cut Express; some notions it won't accept it so would indeed need to degrade first.

Hope this helps![/quote]