Sunday, 31 August 2014

Optimizing Video Playback in Logic Pro 8

I use Logic for audio post editing, it's an old version - Logic Studio 8, but it's pretty reliable and because I used it for music production prior to editing for film, I know the GUI really well and the hotkeys I need often.

After working on a few features using Logic I noticed that it functions a lot better with video if you take a few quick steps to set it up properly. This is assuming you use a dual-monitor setup with a dedicated picture monitor, if you don't, poor you.

Step 1: Video Format.
If you're doing SFX work it doesn't matter if the video resolution isn't amazing, that being said it can't be terrible but I can easily work with Standard Definition and the smaller the file size will help Logic handle the video.
For dialogue editing it may be beneficial to use HD at 720p just to ensure editing to lip-sync is as close as possible.
The main thing is getting a good file size for logic to handle; I use .mp4 using H.264 codec and whatever the source fps, SD sometimes even less - 480 x 272.
If you're supervising or running the show you can transcode using MPEG Streamclip, or if you're not then you'll probably get what you're given.

Step 2: Setting up Logic.
First go to Preferences/Video and set the Video Cache Resolution to 'Best' and Maximum Cache Size to the highest it can go.
Side note: When working with video in Logic it helps to have as much free hard drive space as possible as this will allow the computer to 'breathe' better.
I always have the Video file on my native hard drive although if you were using SSD via thunderbolt it may work faster; there's better people to ask about that one.
Second go to Settings/Audio and set the project to the right sample rate for the source material (dialogue or production FX).
Third go to Settings/Synchronization and set the frame rate to the source fps and if you need to offset the timecode to match your picture you can also do that. I always have the timecode printed onto the picture, as is standard practice.

Step 3:
Go to Options/Movie/Open Movie and it should open in a little pop-up window or in the inspector.

Step 4:
Go to Options/Movie/Import Audio to Arrange. This will load in the audio to your arrange window (surprise, surprise) to help with visual syncing of external files and allowing you to turn the video's audio on and off easily. If you don't setup the correct sample rate for the project before you do this, it will create audio issues once you correct the sample rate down the line.

Step 5:
Drag your video pop-up window over to whichever monitor will be your picture monitor, not your editing monitor.
Then go to Settings/Video, change the Video Output to 'Digital Cinema Desktop' and the Video Format to 'Digital Cinema Desktop Preview - Full Screen'.
And if it isn't already, turn down the Movie Volume.

That's it.

Your picture should run a lot smoother than if it was just in the pop-up window.
For me this has completely avoided frame skips and the scrubbing is a lot more accurate.

I'm not sure if it's a similar setup for newer versions of Logic but I'd say it's not much different.

Any tips or criticisms let me know in the comments.

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