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Lumiere HD

By Heath McKnight

In 2003, when the US learned of HDV with the JVC HD10 one-CCD camcorder that shot in 720p, videographers rejoiced.  The only problem was there was no support in Final Cut Pro, which left many in the field of videography and digital filmmaking wondering if they should take the plunge.

Enter filmmaker Frederic Lumiere, owner of Lumiere Media (; Frederic, once the CIO of Hooked on Phonics, took it upon himself to form a team to help with the issue of editing HDV in Final Cut Pro. The result was the application Lumiere HD, which helped to bring many Apple users to the HDV fold.

Later, even as Final Cut Pro began to support native HDV in 2005 with version 5.0 and its Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) in FCP, iMovie HD, and Final Cut Express, Lumiere HD made it possible to stay ahead of the curve, as Sony began releasing its 1080i HDV cameras (actually, the FX1 and Z1 were supported by January 2005 with the AIC, which darkened the video and added artifacting, but when the FX1 came out, there was no way to cut the footage). With the release of the HD100 and 24p in HDV and support in Lumiere HD, the application has been one step ahead of Apple’s updates to its editing apps. Even as FCP began to catch up, Lumiere HD is also popular as a proxy editor, which is wonderful for those who aren’t wanting to upgrade older, but pricey systems. You'd be surprised at how many are still cutting on G4 systems, as the editors spent upwards of $3,000 just for the computer! You can capture in Lumiere HD, then create a DV version to edit and finish, then go back into Lumiere HD to output as native HDV.

How it Works

It is a simple process actually, with several steps. First you capture the native HDV (mpeg2-ts, or m2t) files, and then demultiplex to separate the audio (AIFF) and video (m2v). After that, you’ll be selecting your timeline codec, i.e., the type of QuickTime video you wish to edit in Final Cut Pro. I highly recommend DV NTSC (or PAL, if you shot in 50i or 25p), but make sure you indicate in FCP and Lumiere HD that it’s anamorphic 16:9. After creating an XML file with the clips, you can edit in Final Cut Pro. Once completed, you will then use Media Manager to bring the HD files online, and render. Export an HD master (10-bit) of your film, and then encode it back to HDV via Lumiere HD (and MainConcept MPEG-2 encoder that comes with the application). You could also create a DVD, or just print back to HDV tape.

Aside from the excellent instructions that come with the application, Frederic himself provides QuickTime movie tutorials, along with a good support page including an FAQ and message board. Find those at

Lumiere HD can help you stay ahead of the curve when new cameras come out, as on occasion, Apple’s NLE apps can be a little behind with the newer video formats and frame rates attached to these new HDV cameras. If you’re on a slower system and/or an older version of Final Cut Pro (v. 1-4.5), Lumiere HD can act as an excellent proxy editor, so you won’t be slowed down.

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Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.

Related Keywords:Lumiere Media , Lumiere HD, video editing, final cut pro plugin, HDV editing

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