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Using ContourHD 1080p footage with FCP

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I’ve just been testing out a ContourHD 1080p video camera. I tried to import the footage into Final Cut Pro to edit but it turns out the ContourHD records to a strange h.264 format which is not the best for editing. The work-around I did for this was to transcode the files to another format more suitable for editing. I used MPEG Streamclip to batch process the files. It’s then just a matter of choosing the best format/bitrate trade-off. I think the two ones to choose from are Apple Intermediate Codec and PRORES LT. I don’t think it’s worth going up to PRORES 422.

The camera can also record 720p at 60fps but this format is unrecognised by FCP so the same transcoding method is recommended. To get get the clip to play back in slow motion it needs to be reconformed to 30fps. I tried to do this in Cinema Tools but it doesn’t work. There is a guy who wrote his own bit of software to do this job. It’s called MovieEdit and can be downloaded from the VHOLDR forum.

UPDATE 12/10/10:
I recently used my contour HD to get an underwater shot for a TV commercial I was working on. Because I am in the UK I needed the frame rate to be 25fps instead of 30fps. To get around this I just used Apple Compressor for the format conversion. Just make sure you select 25fps in the video settings button, and then select “so source frames play @ 25fps” in the motion control tab. I selected “Better” conversion but you can either so lower or higher quality depending how much time you have.

Here’s some test footage shot on the 60fps 720p mode


  • Thanks for this. I was experiencing the same issue when using FCP 7.5 and found the best solution was to export the raw Contour video to Apple Intermediate Codec from Quicktime and then set up my FCP sequence accordingly. Another glitch I found when using the Contour ‘weird’ h.264 is that, after doing a test edit in FCP with raw Contour footage, I was unable to send it to Color for grading and color effects.

    However, I have found that iMovie works fine with the Contour footage if one wants some thing quick and relatively painless. I’m wondering if this is still an issue with FCP X

  • Question for Kevin, or anyone else who can awsenr it?Kevin you mention transcoding the Dslr video file to Apple Pro Res 422, but what if you’re using Premiere and it doesn’t have that option using Mpeg Streamclip. What other file is best to transcode to using Adobe Premiere CS5?Thanks.

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