mikerb wrote:mp4 is just a shell....
Yeah, I know. And I'm sure what you're saying about Windows machines and the codec is correct - like I say, my much punier Windows machine can play hi res mp4s straight out of the GoPro with no issues, as long as it's not with Quicktime Player. The issue I'm discussing is for Mac users - if your editing workflow is all Mac based, being able to playback properly using VLC isn't going to be of much help. FWIW, I can playback my test video on Macasaurus in VLC with no problems. But I still have to edit in FCP and be able to playback in Quicktime, which is where it starts to go horribly wrong.
I have the h.264 codec on my Mac. The problem seems to be that it is an Apple version, encoded to work with Mac software (like the entire FCP Studio suite).
Further digging around reveals that there is a long history of FCP not playing nice with the h.264 codec, with QT's own h264 codec being notoriously flaky. Seems as simple as that, with the professional advice being to transcode into another format to work with the footage, which I'm doing anyway. And which is adviseable anyway - h.264 is generally regarded as a delivery format, not an editing format.
So there you go. Looks like it's just a Mac thing.
So, in summary, if you're a Mac user and your playback is choppy, there's a good chance that it might not
be because your system isn't powerful enough. Before you go shelling out for new hardware, check that you can playback on a player that hasn't been developed by Apple. If your playback is smooth, the issue is codec, not system grunt. If it's still not smooth, then it probably is system grunt. Same goes if you're a Windows user and you've been trying to playback in Quicktime. The advice on here to use VLC is good, but it's not necessarily because the program takes up less system resources. The h.264 codec VLC uses is much more compatible with the movies straight out of the GoPro.Ryan
- to answer your question about the new Mac, if you're going to be working with HD video, check the FCP specs and make sure whatever machine you buy can run it. If it can run FCP comfortably, it will be able to work with your GoPro videos. Are you buying FCP X? If so, I strongly suggest you also spend the extra $50 to buy Compressor. It plays nice with FCP and being able to easily transcode out of h.264 for your editing workflow and playback will save you a lot of frustration. (Though GoPro's Cineform app apparently does that too, and it's free. I haven't played with it yet.)