VFR footage - conversion really required for simple edits?

I frequently work with 4k- videos which my smartphone delivers only with variable frame rate.
Mostly I only want to do simple edits like trimming begin/end and adding a title, sometimes using SPR filter for zoom/panning and/or adding a separate audio track. So no splicing or need for frame-accurate transitions.
I usually export in 720p quality with H264 codec for saving storage space. (SC v22.03 on Windows 8.1./10)

I understand that VFR footage is problematic for editing, so I usually accept the option of converting my original footage to a fixed framerate before editing.
However this is pretty expensive wrt processing time and storage, so I wonder if for such simple edits, such a conversion is really required.
Of course I can try, but I would prefer to get an expert opinion if I will be likely to face any undesired effects (glitches, cracks ??) due to inherent limitations, which I may only discover after I deleted the originals.
Thanks for any insights.

Not an expert here but I never convert the vfr videos (my phone also records vfr only) and haven’t had an issue so far. I assume not converting would affect something like the exact frame you cut/trim a video or apply an effect but I don’t personally care if there’s a 1-2 frame offset in the final export (and by offset I mean different to what you see in preview).

If you can export the video succesfully and play it after with no major issues I think you’re safe.

Basically what @daniel47 said. Since the VFR footage is not seek-accurate, a good idea is to turn off Parallel Processing for export. This prevents multiple threads from performing multiple (inaccurate) seeks and creating a final video with possible glitches. Crackling audio is also a possible artefact of VFR video, not just frame inaccuracy.

If your workflow requires high consistency and has rigid deadlines, then conversion every time is recommended. The bad news is that the only way to know if the export is glitch-free or not is to watch the whole thing in real-time by eye. If a glitch did happen, then it takes extra time to convert the glitched clip, export again, and verify it worked. That makes a delivery schedule unreliable if under a deadline. So basically, deadline-based work benefits from conversion just for guaranteed first-time export success. For more relaxed work, it’s fine to roll the dice and hope for the best.

2 Likes

Thanks @daniel47 and @Austin for your comments and advise.
So far my exports of VFR eidts went fine :slight_smile:

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