How to work efficiently with HDV footage in Final Cut Pro 6

Hello everyone! I am fairly new to Final Cut & Mac. I have worked with Final Cut Pro 5 on my Powerbook G4 two years ago. But when I moved to HD, I switched to a PC with Adobe Premiere. Recently, I made the move back to Final Cut as I had problem with the stability of both Premiere 2.0 and CS3. I am really happy with it so far. In Premiere, I used the Cineform codec which performed very well. I also got a license for their MAC codec but unfortunately, I still have to capture under Windows.
Since I have not worked with HDV on the Mac before, I have a few questions which I hope people on these boards can answer.
1) How does Final Cut Pro 6 handle native HDV?
2) Is it beneficial to convert to Pro Res 422 (in terms of quality, but also in terms of editing speed, rendering time, in favor of processing speed etc.)
3) Which Pro Res 422 setting is advised? I will be capturing HDV through firewire and then recompress to Pro Res 422. The Canon XL-H1 squeezes 1080i into 1440x1080. So I figured I need the 1440x1080 setting. There are two options: normal and (HQ). The HQ files are around 4-times bigger then the native HDV file. The normal setting results in files around 2-times bigger. Coming from HDV, do I see the difference between normal and HQ?
4) What systems are recommended so I can work efficiently? i.e. how to setup the scratch disks. I currently have the applications installed on Disk 1, all scratch disks on Disk 2 + 3 (RAID 0) and final results on Disk 4.
I have the following system setup:
- Apple Mac Pro Quad-Core (2.66Ghz)
- 5GB of RAM
- ATI X1900XT 512MB
- Harddisks:
-1- Western Digital 750GB SE
-2- Western Digital 500GB RE2 (member of "VIDEO" - raid 0)
-3- Western Digital 500GB RE2 (member of "VIDEO" - raid 0)
-4- Western Digital 500GB SE
- Two Dell 2407 FWP 24" LCD monitors
Thanks for your help and don't feel obliged to answer all questions, I am already happy if one of them is answered!!

1) How does Final Cut Pro 6 handle native HDV?
Just like FC5.... no worries
2) Is it beneficial to convert to Pro Res 422
Just like the Cineform codec you will benefit from an all i-frame codec when working with titles and graphics. I wouldn't recommend capturing native then converting to ProRez as this will take an extremely long time. Many have found editing native up until the compositing then dropping the sequence into a ProRez timeline to render. I prefer to uncompress the HDV with hardware into a capture card and transcode on capture in real time. Depending on the flavor of HDV and the equipment you use you can probably find a method for this. I shoot run & gun field work on to tape, then with the deck I can export via HDMI and together with another product from Convergent Design it is converted to HD-SDI in the a Kona LHe into FC. The benefit for me is the all digital decompression from 1440x1080 4:2:0 to a 1920x1080 4:2:2 uncompressed HD-SDI signal to use anyway I need to. As to which level of PR I can't comment but I have used the lower level and it looks great. As to raid setup I can recommend www.maxupgrades.com to help you add two - four more drives internally for unbelievable speed and expanded storage space you will want. The owner (Syed) will give you all the support you need to take advantage of the Mac Pro capabilities for a low cost high performance raid solution. Sounds like you have a great setup in mind, you may want to look into the Kona LHe capture card for capturing and monitoring and a Convergent Design product like the HD-Connect SI or MI depending on the deck you are using. If you need broadcast quality monitoring look into the Matrox MXO.
Good Luck
Z1

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