Edit Galaxy S II Video with Final Cut 7

The Samsung Galaxy S II has been praised for its high-quality high-definition video, but it can be a challenge to edit the MP4s that the phone records with professional software. (I hear it works fine on Windows Movie Maker.) Here’s how to make it work with Final Cut Pro 7.

Recording and transferring

After recording video (I used the “Long Video” setting on the phone), the first challenge was to get the files to my Mac. The S II’s USB device settings don’t play nice with OS X, so I used Bluetooth to transfer the files. (You could also move the videos to the phone’s microSD card and then use a card reader.)

Transcode with FFMPEG

First, I transcoded the video to Quicktime using ffmpeg’s default settings.

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 output.mov

You can process a whole directory of video clips using a shell script:

for f in *.mp4; do ffmpeg -i "$f" "${f%.m4a}.mov"; done

Now we have editable video, having fixed the dropped frames and other imperfections introduced by the S II.

Transcode with MPEG Streamclip

To edit the clips natively in Final Cut Pro 7, however, we’ll need another conversion, this time in MPEG Streamclip. (If you try this step first, before processing with FFMPEG, you may find there are audio glitches, or Streamclip might crash.) Here are the settings I used:

Set up the Final Cut sequence

When inserting your newly converted clips into a sequence, resist the temptation to adjust the sequence to match the clip settings. Instead, use these settings:

Enjoy the results

With this setup, you won’t have to render effects. Here’s a video I shot with the phone and edited together using the above method:

Local Pharmacy “Home of the Big Blue Nation” from Martin Burch on Vimeo.

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