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Getting DSLR Video Into Final Cut Pro

Yes, DSLR’s shoot amazing video. And, yes, most of the video files from these cameras need to be transcoded so they will edit smoothly.

Here’s a complete workflow that will get your Canon 5D Mark II footage into Final Cut Pro using tools in Final Cut Studio. And the best part is that it’s free!

DSLR cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II create video files in a format that is great for recording video. Most use some flavor of H.264 which is highly compressed. Besides being great for recording it’s also great for delivering your video on the web. You can burn a Blu-Ray DVD directly with an H.264 file as well.

But the compression scheme used in this format does not edit well.

To edit video you want to have every frame of the video available. Highly compressed formats like H.264 use algorithms that toss some data that can be restored later.

If you try to edit H.264 in Final Cut your transitions may be weird (if they work at all) and you will have to render the timeline after every change. You’ll lose most of the real time effects as well.

The solution is simple. Transcode the highly compressed H.264 files from your DSLR into ProRes files that FCP loves.

But the work flow to do this can be cumbersome. That’s where this great tool from idustrialrevolution.com comes in so handy.

Here’s how their system works:

This unique workflow package allows the user to choose to edit in 1080p, 1080i or straight to standard definition 16×9 25fps. Custom droplets give one click access to compressor that will convert the H264 files into ProRes for editing. The user also has a choice whether to make the clip realtime (i.e. 30fps to 25fps) or timestretch so that one frame in 30fps is one frame in 25fps. This will result in a slowdown of 20% for pin-sharp results.

Compressor droplets are supplied to get the final 1080p/i self contained movie into standard definition 16×9 too.

An easy to follow workflow diagram helps plot the conversions needed to get the best quality from a Canon camera’s HD output.

The new 1.1 version includes support for FCS3 Compressor 3.5. But will it work with footage from a Canon 7D or T2i?

These droplets will process any H.264 video into Pro Res so you should be okay. And the workflow details will help if you decide you want to create your own droplets with specific transcoding features to match your needs.

Download this free tool, check it out and let me know how it works for you.

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PS – check out their other great tools while you’re there…

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