Convert Video For Use In Final Cut Pro, pt. 1

February 3rd, 2010 | Posted by david in Content | Software Tutorial | Tutorial

MPEG Streamclip is a powerful free video converter, player, editor for Mac and Windows that is used to transcode video from one format to another. It will work with just about any video codec or file format, including DVDs and Windows media.  Remember, however to observe copyright and DRM requirements.  The following article details how to use the application, and is the first of a two part series.  The second tutorial is linked here.

The article is  reprinted with permission of its author, NICK HOLMES.  Nick contributes daily and tirelessly at the Apple Discussions and is an invaluable member of the Final Cut Pro professional community.

Here is the article:

MPEG Streamclip, many of you are already using it or have heard of it. If you don’t have it, download it now! This is an invaluable tool that every video editor should have at their disposal.

So, what does it do?

MPEG Streamclip is a video format converter to make MPEG video into something that you can import to Final Cut Pro and edit with. It also converts video to any other format supported by QuickTime.

Sometimes we get clients that turn up with something that absolutely must be in their project. The problem is, all they have is a DVD and there’s no chance of getting the original footage. Well, that’s clients for you. Welcome to the world of video post production.

If you look at the structure of a DVD in the Finder, there are several files with cryptic names -IFO, VOB, VTS…. What’s all that about?

I could explain but that’s not really what this tutorial is for.

Don’t worry. Copy the entire DVD to a local hard drive and open MPEG Streamclip.

Click on File > Open Files. MPEG Streamclip knows what you want and only the relevant parts of the disc are highlighted:

Choose VTS_01_1.VOB -you don’t usually need 1_0 as this is just black padding between the menu and the stuff you really need.

You might be asked if you want to fix timecode or data errors -click OK, it’s better. Trust me.
You might be asked if you want to join files. I prefer to say no at this point -give me the individual files, I’m a professional video editor after all.

The spinning wheel does its thing….. Hey look, it’s a scene from the DVD!

Now we need to convert it to something that Final Cut pro can use. There is only one setting of any interest to Final Cut Pro editors:

Click it and we are where we really need to be:

MPEG Streamclip will always show this screen as a default. For the most part the DV codec is fully acceptable, after all the DVD is a highly compressed source to begin with. Lets change it:

What do we learn from the above illustration? you will notice that I have checked the reinterlace chroma box, Why? It looks nicer -do it. I also chose PAL DV because the rest of my material is in that format as are my Final Cut Pro settings. If you normally work in NTSC then you should choose that instead.

All you have to do now is save your movie. Click the “Make Movie” button, then give it a name and place to live. When your video has been processed it can be imported into the Final Cut Pro project.

If you are working in an uncompressed or other Timeline and your client brings a DVD that absolutely must be cut into the movie, then choose an appropriate setting from the list of those offered by MPEG Streamclip. If you are working in a HD Timeline then choose the HD format that matches your other material or take the simple route and choose Pro Res.

In part two I will discuss converting batches in MPEG Streamclip.

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