A friend of mine (The Duke of Pennsylvania) emailed me this morning asking for some help with the footage he shot with his new Canon 7D. He couldn’t get it to ‘play’ smoothly in the FCP (Final Cut Pro) timeline. It jumped and skipped and stalled and was really starting to piss him off. It was impossible to edit his project. I shared with him that I had experienced the same thing 6 months ago when I dove head first into the world of Canon DSLR video.
Through my adventures of trial, error and education I discovered a lot of useful information about work flo and Final Cut Pro, when it comes to editing 1920X1080 footage from both the 7D and the 5D.
Let me qualify this blog post by acknowledging there are much brighter bulbs than mine, in the world of Canon videography, shining light on these and other related topics. When I come up against a technical hurdle I regularly go to Creative Cow. It is a Genius bar full of some very, very smart beacons of knowledge. If I am a 100W bulb, most of the guys that help out there are Lighthouses by comparison. So if you have some questions that either I or your fellow peers can’t answer here on this blog, you’d be well served to visit and join Creative Cow. Important Note: It is important that you obey the proper decorum and respect while receiving all of the free, wonderful knowledge to be had there. The concept is premised on peer respect and reciprocal information transfer. You should give as much as you get. In this way everyone wins.
1. The video quality is awesome. It is also very hi resolution hi-def video. The clips you will import are huge files compared to say, the same length clip from a miniDV tape.
2. This footage is not interlaced, so there is no need to de-interlace and effectively lose 50% of your image by doing so. That always bothered me when shooting miniDV 1080i footage.
3. Though there are various software offerings out there to import your footage from either the camera or a card reader, I have found the easiest way is to simply plug in your card reader and drag the clips into whatever folder you create for your project’s raw movie files.
4. In their native format these files will not play well, or at all, in the FCP timeline. You must first re-compress these to one of the ProRes codecs offered in Compressor. Compressor is part of the FCP Suite of software. Once you have converted your raw files to ProRes (I use: ProRes 422 High Quality), they should play just fine in your timeline and you will not have lost any information. They will look great.
5. The current versions of Final Cut only utilizes a maximum of 3 Gigs of RAM. So if you have 8 Gigs like I do, only 3 of them are being used. FCP 8 (when/if it is finally releases), may use more RAM, but for right now it can only use 3.
6. When you are editing, try not to have other programs running in the background. EG: If you are using LiveType, export your file and quit it. Soundtrack Pro, etc. etc. Any other programs you have running can slow down rendering and editing procedures.
7. Be sure to install newer video cards in your computer. You should install the best you can afford. Some older video cards will just not be able to handle these larger files.
Well, I hope this helps anyone having issues with 5D and 7D footage. If you are like some of the guys at Creative Cow who know this stuff like the back of their hands, you could have skipped this blog post, but then you would have never read it till the very end, and I would have missed your company.