4K in FCP7 ?

Posted by Mike Hardcastle 
4K in FCP7 ?
June 08, 2015 09:38PM
Are there any other dinosaurs out there trying to edit 4K on FCP7 ?

There seem to be conflicting reports as to whether it’s viable.

I’ve imported a short PR422 4096x2160 sequence and it seems workable so far. It does have the gamma shift Dennis Couzin mentioned in this thread: http://www.lafcpug.org/phorum/read.php?1,286508,286520#msg-286520

But I can live with that. Are there any other gotcha’s lying in wait ?

The main problem I’ve got with it is dropped frames when I try to play from a FW800 drive. If I put the test file on my main flash HD it plays just fine. Best solution I can find seems to be to get an esata to thunderbolt adapter, but I’m not sure whether even that would offer enough speed ?

As always - many thanks in advance for any advice.


15” Late 2013 MacBook Pro
2.3GHz i7
16GB 1600 MHz DDR3
GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB
OSX 10.9.5
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 09, 2015 04:24PM
According to Apple's White Paper, 4K 24p ProRes 422 runs at 63 MegaBytes/sec. That data rate is iffy with FW800 connection to a decently fast hard disk drive. 30p at 78 MegaBytes/sec is practically impossible. These data rates are easily achieved with an eSATA connection. However, 4K ProRes HQ is iffy.

I'm greatly committed to eSATA. But if you have just a few eSATA hard drives, and no need to eSATA connect them to some other computer, you could consider transferring them to USB 3.0 enclosures which will connect directly to your laptop. USB 3.0 should support the same data rates as eSATA from a decently fast HDD.

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 09, 2015 06:58PM
Many thanks, Dennis.

I’ve just run the Aja system test. It’s reporting 41MB/s Write and 52.6MB/s Read on my FW800 drive. Way below the spec you mention so no wonder it’s not working.

My drive enclosure is a Stardom iTank which has eSata but not USB3.

I see a new iTank with USB3 would be pretty much the same price as an eSata to Thunderbolt adapter, but the MBP only has 2 x USB3 ports and I’m using them both. As far as I can tell the TB adapter should be able to maintain eSata speed:

Do you have any comments on that ?

Thanks again.

Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 10, 2015 03:59PM
Mike, the HDD, the eSATA enclosure, and the eSATA adapter all matter.
I just clocked the continuous read speed from a Seagate Enterprise NAS 4TB HDD in a Delock 42406 eSATA-only enclosure at 136 MB/s and 128 MB/s depending on the PCIe card.
You're very unlikely to fail with eSATA to make the needed read speed.

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 10, 2015 04:06PM
This is just a guess at a solution but i see no reason it would not work.

You could edit through a proxy. Offline edit at say 2/3 or 1/2 resolution and then output using the original res.

Also I once did a 15s commercial where i created 2 footage folders, one with the 4k originals and one with converted 1080p clips. File names were the same but the folder names were different. When i was done i moved the 1080p folder and reconnected the 4k files and output that.

""" What you do with what you have, is more important than what you could do, with what you don't have."

> > > Knowledge + Action = Wisdom - J. Corbett 1992
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 10, 2015 11:21PM
Many thanks to you both. I've got several weeks before I actually start on the job, so plenty of time to experiment. The Esata adapter will be the first attempt. I notice many people suggesting that 4K media should be on a RAID, so it'll be intriguing to see if it is workable coming off a single drive.

I've been looking into using proxy files as you suggest, JC. That'll be the fall-back workflow if necessary. I'd be interested to know how you made your 1080P proxy files. Did you use Media Manager in FCP 7 ? Or Compressor ? I tried using MM today and it came up with a message about "Error 13". Which, of course, was very useful and told me all I needed to prevent it happening again. Not. Oddly, it had actually made the new file just fine.

Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 11, 2015 09:29AM
I just confirmed that 4096x2160 25p ProRes422 plays easily in FCP7 when the source file is on a single external HDD using eSATA connection. Activity Monitor shows the disk reading at 68 MB/s. (The gamma shift during run is unpleasant.) When you edit a double exposure, you must render it.

I'm in a do-it-all-at-once environment where we never use proxies, but it could be appropriate where complex effects are separated from editing proper. Would you make the proxy 2048x1080? If you make it 1920x1080, to gain the real-time playback advantage, shapes change noticeably.

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 11, 2015 06:01PM
I would much prefer not to use proxies if possible.

I got hold of a Seagate USB3 2.5" drive to test. The AJA test shows a write speed of 89MB/s and read at just over 100. As you say, the PR422 4K plays easily, so I think my major concerns are solved.

But I've noticed an odd thing happening. While playback out to my third monitor is fine, both the Viewer and the Canvas are frozen. I can step frame through the shots OK, so I think it'll still be possible to edit, but it's somewhat unnerving.

I also have one question about the gamma shift. When stopped, the image is brighter than when playing. Unless I'm mis-interpreting your earlier comment, that seems to be the opposite of what you're seeing ? At the moment, I'm presuming that what I see while it's running is correct ?

Many thanks again.

Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 12, 2015 12:42AM
Mike, the earlier comment was "but horrors: the colors changed between stopped and running -- gamma increased." Increase of playback gamma makes the displayed image darker (excepting full black and full white which don't change). We're both seeing that.

On my system the canvas shows the 4K with correct color is when stopped. The color looks very wrong when running. I'd estimate the gamma increase to be about 35%. Supposing it is that, and a purely gamma effect, you with your many monitors could calibrate one at gamma 2.20 for viewing the stopped images and another at gamma 1.63 for viewing the moving images!

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 15, 2015 03:29AM
i'm a fan of "proxies"
or rather a simple off-line / on-line workflow.

4K wont get you any RT in FCP, so you'll be rendering to see even the simplest effect.

ways to generate the proxies include:
FCP Media Manager
FCP Batch Export
Resolve (would not be free for 4k media)
Mpeg Streamclip
Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 15, 2015 07:01PM
Apologies for my silence over the last few days.  Got distracted by another job.

Thanks Dennis for all your terrific advice.  And thank you, Nick, for your suggestions.  

I've been given a drive with the original camera footage for the job.  It was shot on a Panasonic GH4 as 3840 x 2160 H264 MOVs.  There's 540 GBs of material. About 14 hours.  Although I've never tried it, my understanding is that FCP 7 will spew at the H264, so I'd need to transcode to ProRes.  After experimenting with Media Manager and Compressor, it seems that MPEG Streamclip is the fastest way to do the transcode, but with that amount of footage it will take several days and result in about 2.6 TBs.

As the budget for the job is tiny, I'm thinking this is impractical.  While it's been intriguing to find that FCP7 can actually handle 4K, I'm now thinking that it might finally be time for this old dinosaur to change it's spots.  Premiere, here I come...

Re: 4K in FCP7 ?
June 16, 2015 07:54AM
I'm with Nick on it. Real time playback of effects are not there and the render time is much greater. No point cutting 4k in fcp7. I'll go with a more modern NLE.

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