Canon dSLR film workflow with Final Cut Pro 7

I imagine dSLR filmmaking's only going to increase with lo/no budget films, and my university coursemates have fallen in love with Canons wholeheartedly. (Well the alternative is P2, or one of 2 JVCs, unless you're an obdoc, what would you choose?)

Canon's native video codec is currently...troublesome, and needs upgrading for editing. Fortunately, Canon and Apple had a little chat and came out with a plug-in for FCP, which enables FCP's Log and Transfer tool to see and automatically choose the right codec for transcoding. Unfortunately, as yet, this plug-in is compatible with the 5D Mark II, 500D (please don't use this model!), 550D, 7D and 60D; it is not yet compatible wih the 600D/Rebel T3i.

I've recounted this workflow several times, so here it is, with pictures, and as a pdf (click to download SOON)
I also include the PluralEyes non-sync sound workflow, and my preset for Adobe Media Encoder for the 600D/Rebel T3i (or even Avid).

Official Canon Plugin

The official Canon plug-in can be found on the downloads page on the respective model's support & downloads page, but as it is the same EOS-E1 plugin and I'm a nice person:
"Show All" -> Mac OSX -> "Software" -> EOS MOVIE Plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro (the reason I give a link to the official site is you can be sure you have the latest version. 600D users, watch your page!)
Open the dmg, install for your relevant region and you're ready to use your Canon with FCP.

Copying your raw footage

If you are using multiple cards (or making a backup, as you should), when copying your footage to your hard drive make sure you keep the folder structure, or at least a DCIM folder.
If I'm working with several cards I simply create a "Canon raw footage" folder, then numbered folders within. If you're organised you can date and even am/pm the folder but that's your pesonal preference. If someone gives you footage without the DCIM folder structure, fake it by creating a DCIM folder yourself.

[random tip] Remember when creating backups it's better to transfer off the card twice, not to just duplicate your transferred folder. [/tip]

Setting up your FCP Project for transfer


Adobe Media Encoder Preset

I haven't written this part yet, but in the meantime my preset is here.
Key settings are:

  • 1920x1080
  • 25fps
  • ProRes 4444 (best quality)

  • NB: you can use this for Avid Media Composer with AME on a Mac. Give me a few and I'll upload a DNxHD HQ AME preset. 50fps, 26fps and 60fps coming soon too.