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Saturday, September 18, 2010

TriCaster and Final Cut Pro

Many people are having trouble using the MPEG files recorded in the TriCaster with Final Cut Pro. Dr. Andrew Cross of NewTek engineering posted the following on the NewTek forum Friday:

The following outlines why this happens and what you can do about it :
In order to play MPEG-2 files on FinalCutPro, or with the Mac in general you need to have the "QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component for Mac OS X" installed on your system. This component ships with FinalCutPro as standard and so from a clean install you should be able to work with NewTek MPEG-2 files. Unfortunately, if you download a QuickTime update from the web, it will replace your entire QuickTime install and so the MPEG-2 playback component is no longer available and files will not play. The solution that Apple recommend for this problem is to use your account on the Apple store to download the plugin for the new version of QuickTime and install it manually.

There are three limitations of the "QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component for Mac OS X" that one should be aware of:
  1. Unfortunately QuickTime does not support high profile MPEG-2 files; as such you will need to use the "normal profile" files as the recording format inside the TriCaster. For all normal use there will be almost no perceptible difference between normal and high profile MPEG-2 files. Both far exceed the quality of competing formats (e.g. DV).
  2. Embedded audio. It is a limitation of FinalCutPro support that it cannot read the audio embedded within an MPEG-2 file. For this reason, TriCaster writes out an MP3 file that you can lock to the video file for editing purposes.
  3. Unfortunately FinalCutPro does not tag MPEG-2 files as "an optimized file format" and so for areas of your time-line where there are transitions of effects you might need to render before you can get perfect playback.

For more information about MPEG-2 support in QuickTime, please visit

In another post a user posted a small AppleScript that re-wraps the Xd300 HQ MPEGS for use directly in FCP. It is available here. He's considering it beta so if you find it useful keep an eye out for updates.

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