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fabriziorizzo
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How to transcode Canon 5D mark II H.264 video into something editable?

Dec 22, 2008 12:53 PM

QT Pro v7.5 plays my 5Dm2 native video files just fine. Premiere CS4 however... unusable. I've heard that transcoding the H.264 40Mbps videos to another format allows a better editing experience.

Hardware:
Dell Precision 690, 1 quad-core 3GHz processor, 12GB RAM, 15000 rpm SAS system drive, 1TB SATA video disk (non-RAID), 1TB SATA temp disk (non-RAID), Quadro FX 3500 graphics card (non-CUDA unfortunately)

Question is... what is the most efficient format to transcode into?

A tutorial on Vimeo for Final Cut Pro on a mac mentions HDCAM EX as a format to use. (http://www.vimeo.com/2373679)
I don't see that option as shown on the Mac from my Vista box using either Adobe Media Encoder CS4 or MPEG Streamclip v1.2.

If I start a project in Premiere CS4 using the HDCAM EX 1080p presets, what is the corresponding Media Encoder format to choose for converting my clips before importing to Premiere?

I'm currently testing the following output format in AME:
MPEG2 Blu-Ray: 1920x1080,23.976 fps, Progressive, Quality 5, no audio, VBR 2-pass, bitrate setings of 25 min 35 target 40 max.

Has anyone determined a transcoding process that provides full HD quality while maintaining any ability to scrub and edit Canon 5D mark II video in Premiere CS4?
 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 22, 2008 1:21 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    If there is a software package that came with the 5D MkII, you might want to look at that first. I know for many Canon cameras Zoombrowser EX is included. It provides a number of very useful utilities, including a converter under "Export Movie."

    There is even a rudimentary editor included.

    HTH,
     
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    Dec 22, 2008 10:46 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I have the same question. What I don't understand is why I can easily play the mkII videos in VLC player and they are perfectly smooth, but the minute I drop them into the premiere timeline--w/o even doing any editing--they playback horribly. So this seems like it's a premiere issue, at least in part.
     
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    Dec 22, 2008 10:47 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    <subscribing>
     
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    Dec 25, 2008 9:10 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I've tried transcoding the 5DMII files to several formats. The only transcoding I've found that gives smooth playback in Premiere Pro is Cineform Prospect. HOWEVER this is a very expensive solution and I'm still having some problems with it; but Cineform has a 15 day free trial so you should try it out. I'm using the trial but looking for a lower cost solution.

    I have a Q6600 processor with 4GB ram, running XP.

    The Cineform problem I have is that the AVI files it produces are UPSIDE DOWN; there is a setting somewhere I've missed. If there are any Cineform experts I'd appreciate help.

    A solution I've found for other editors with 5DMII files is to transcode to MP4 at some slower rate like 21 MHz but this isn't working with Premiere Pro. I may try an even slower rate but this gives up all the advantage of the 44 MHz 5DMII files.
     
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    Dec 26, 2008 10:53 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Hmmm...I tried the trial of Prospect HD and when using HD Link Conversion tab, it said the 5D files were an unsupported format. I emailed support and haven't heard back. Is there a special way you're getting Prospect to recognize the files?

    Also I've never heard video describe in Mhz, you say 21 vs. 44...I've only heard it described in MBits/second, and DPReview says the mkII files are 38.6 Mbits/sec. Are you sure a Mhz rating makes sense for video? What does it mean?
     
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    Dec 26, 2008 10:56 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    subscribing...
     
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    Dec 26, 2008 6:42 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I've given up for now on Cineform Prospect; could not get the 5DII files to convert correctly, plus the down load version doesn't seem compatible with CS4. I do think their system concept could possibly work for the 5DII files; but I don't know if this is a market for them. I'd be interested if they respond to your email.

    Yes, Mbits/sec not Mhz. And it is probably 38.6; I've just looked at the rate shown by some converters.

    I have a strange (work around) format that lets me do real time editing. I convert the .mov file to MPEG-2 (.mpg); the only converter I have for this is Alive HD, and its maximum rate is only 12 Mbits/sec. AND when I import this into Premiere Pro it only sees the video, not the audio. So I also have to convert the audio from the .mov to .mp3. I have not taken an edited file to Blu Ray yet so I don't know what the video quality will be at 12 Mbits/sec. I would be interested if this works for anybody else, and whether anyone has a higher data rate MPEG-2 converter.

    I thought I had a solution by converting .mov to .mp4. I had this working with data rates all the way up to the 5DII maximum. But it turned out this only worked for short clips. For longer clips, a minute or so, Premiere Pro crashes. With the .mpg method I have smoothly edited a six minute clip.

    Also, FWIW I've tried all of the conversions from the Squared 5 converter. The converter works fine but nothing runs smoothly on the time line, including their Cineform .avi conversion.

    I keep thinking there must be a viable editing format out there. And it's frustrating that these files run so well with ZoomBrowser, QuickTime, and VLC but they won't run on the time line.
     
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    Dec 26, 2008 11:59 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Replacing the AVCHD issue at last.

    The Canon 5D media is the "next new issue" for 2009

    My suggestion - buy a Canon 5D but get a Mac and get FCP as well... where H264 is native.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 8:14 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    A MAC is probably my next step.

    Sadly AVCHD works great with CS4; I have a Canon HF10 with AVCHD and if I didn't also have the Canon 5DII I'd be a happy camper.

    Also sadly I can edit 5DII files with the low end Cyberlink Power Director editor if I convert them to MP4. But I need more editing capability than this.

    The Canon 5DII is being sold by the thousands around the world; this is a real challenge for PC editing software and a potential boon for MAC and FCP. I'm installing a Raid 0 on my PC today to see if this will get me over the hump; if not it's a visit to the Apple store.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 7:21 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Apparently Sony Vegas can also smoothly edit the 5dII footage.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 7:53 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    My workaround for getting 5DII Full HD movies into Premiere CS4 for editing is this: I transcode original MOVs into DVD MPEG-2 stream with highest bitrate possible (9,4mb/s) and then import MPEGs into Premiere for further processing. Works great so far.

    BTW, SD movies are edited easily without having to transcode into intermediate format.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 9:59 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Sony Vegas cannot smoothly edit the 5d footage from what I've seen, or at least vegas movie studio cannot. I've tried it...where did you hear this?
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 10:00 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Dmitri what do you use to transcode? Is there a tool that do batch transcoding efficiently? Also, when transcoding to MPEG-2, are you still at 1920x1080?

    Finally, when you are ready for final output, do you replace the MPEG-2 clips with the original MOVs before exporting?

    Thanks,

    Luke
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 10:20 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    >Sony Vegas cannot smoothly edit the 5d footage from what I've seen, or at least vegas movie studio cannot. I've tried it...where did you hear this?

    Video University forums. One of the posters mixed some 5dII footage with stuff shot on a Canon XHA1 and edited it with Vegas Prp 8.0c. Movie studio is their consumer app, no?

    This is going to be an extremely popular camera in the video production world. Hopefully Adobe (or Canon) will add support for PPro CS4.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 10:50 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Do you have the link to the forum thread? did he say it actually played smoothly in the timeline view w/o rendering?

    movie studio is their consumer app, but I used to have vegas pro 8 and as far as playing AVCHD video in the timeline they were the same...so I would assume vegas pro wouldn't have anything special that would play h.264 smoother in the timeline view than movie studio....could be wrong of course.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 11:29 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    h.264 = mpeg4 level 10
    just so everyone is on the same page!

    Ulead Video Studio 11 fully supports the Canon 5d Mark II. Who would'v figured.
     
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    Dec 27, 2008 11:34 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Hi Mark - what does it mean that Ulead Video Studio 11 fully supports the Canon 5d Mark II? Are you saying .MOV files from the mkII play smoothly in their timeline view w/o rendering?
     
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    Dec 28, 2008 7:59 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I do not have this camera, nor CS4, but I find the discussion interesting. How is this footage different from any other quicktime H.264 file? What does tech support say about this footage?

    > Replacing the AVCHD issue at last

    Craig, lol.
     
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    Dec 28, 2008 8:22 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Luke Humphrey, I use TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress for primary transcoding. It has lots of transcode templates and it supports batch processing. The outputted MPEGs have native 5dII resolution as well as progressive scan and 30fps (although I have to choose 25fps for the clips to match PAL project settings in Premiere).

    I don't replace the edited MPEGs with original MOVs when building a DVD. I'm pretty happy with the result as it matches the highest DVD quality possible (PAL, 720x576px, 25fps, interlaced).
     
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    Dec 28, 2008 9:18 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    For Luke Humphrey,

    Regarding Ulead and the 5d, take a look at the following link...
    http://www.vimeo.com/2559073.
    You may want to ask this guy some questions.
     
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    Dec 28, 2008 9:22 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    For Stanley Jones,

    "I do not have this camera, nor CS4, but I find the discussion interesting. How is this footage different from any other quicktime H.264 file? What does tech support say about this footage?"

    My gut instincts tell me the only real difference is the bitrate. Your typical computer setup even now chokes on 15mbps h.264 already. And now we have 40mbps h.264?
     
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    Dec 29, 2008 9:38 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I agree that this will be the "hot topic," along with the "footage" from the Nikon N-90 (variation on the MJPEG CODEC).

    This is about the fifth article on the Canon, that I have seen on Adobe forums. At least with two of them, the poster was doing their due dilligences, prior to purchase.

    Hope that people can come up with viable workarounds for these newer sub-formats. Of course, for many Premiere users no "workaround" will be considered viable - gotta' be native, or nothing.

    I've already linked to this thread, which has grown, since I last visited it, in hopes that it will help others.

    I'm in the same boat with Stanley, but hope to help others with the link. Keep the comments coming, as they will likely help someone else down the line.

    Hunt
     
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    Dec 29, 2008 10:16 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Has anyone tried the Canon 5d Mark II in 4x3 mode?
     
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    Dec 29, 2008 10:26 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Mark Slack, I did. As opposed to Full HD the 4:3 footage runs smoothly in Premiere and is completely editable. It's a pity it doesn't have native PAL resolution. If it did, I couldn't be happier.
     
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    Dec 30, 2008 1:31 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Hi.
    If that can be of any help, I describe in great details my workflow with the Canon 5D Mark II and Adobe Premiere CS4, using proxies and offline editing. After this video:
    http://www.vimeo.com/2641870
     
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    Dec 31, 2008 8:00 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Sebastien, Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting.

    Mark, this supports your point as well:

    > Your typical computer setup even now chokes on 15mbps h.264 already. And now we have 40mbps h.264?

    I know someone said it, but I didn't get it: the Canon H.264 is a different codec than the regular Quicktime, even though it is wrapped as a Quicktime file?
     
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    Dec 31, 2008 10:11 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Stanley,

    I'm not so sure about the Canon h.264 codec being different than 'regular' Quicktime. From what I understand the 5d video plays perfectly with Quicktime right out of the camera.
     
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    Dec 31, 2008 11:19 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Sebastien - great info, thank you very much. I'm going to try this.
     
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    Jan 4, 2009 2:53 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Interesting topic - I too will have a go at Sebastien's work around for HD when I get a moment (thanks for that).

    Quick question can anyone give me their project settings for CS4 for SD editing? I had a look and I didn't see anything exactly right - ie 640x480, 30 fps - or can you create custom settings of your own?

    Another thing ;) - probably a silly question (sorry I have been away from editing for some time) but are we now not really shooting in PAL or NTSC any more? In other words that is only an output option? Hope that makes sense,

    Cheers,

    Malcolm
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 4:53 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I'm a mac man, so I hope someone here can help have just bought the new Canon compact SX1 IS here in Australia which also shoots Full HD H264 30fps. It is NTSC/PAL switchable but still plays at 30fps! I agree with Malcolm, am I missing something here? Doesn't PAL MEAN it has to be at 25 fps?

    I note that several people above talk about software being available for Pal 30 fps -25fps down conversion.

    If that is so you are doing a lot better than I am in finding it! Just to reiterate, I need a mac program that will convert smooth,full HD H.264 PAL footage from 30fps to 25fps so I can cut it in Final Cut pro.
    By the way I've managed to put it into the final cut timeline as full HD, but when I try to change the H264 compressor setting from 30fps to 25fps it won't let me. Help, or a point in the right direction, will be greatly appreciated
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 10:32 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Followed the OP suggestions and it works like a charm. No need to do any rendering of effects on my machine. Thanks!!!
     
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    Jan 8, 2009 11:36 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Subscribing
     
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    Jan 9, 2009 10:22 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Did you also try encoding with a CBR matching the MkII's data rate, Fabrizio? Just curious why you went with the VBR 2-pass.
     
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    Jan 9, 2009 12:25 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    My guess would be that the camera itself records to a CBR (40 MB/s?), so transcoding the same way might help maintain maximum quality. I could be wrong, though. Your idea to use VBR to reduce file sizes but maintain quality makes sense.
     
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    Jan 12, 2009 7:05 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    The Canon 5D Mark II records at 38.6 MB/s. I have been using poster Rizzo's mpeg-2 work flow with full success (thanks!). I transcode CBR at 38.6 and this works well, faster than VBR with slightly smaller files.
     
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    Jan 12, 2009 10:42 PM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    Good to know Charles. Thanks for the info.
     
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    Jan 31, 2009 11:28 AM   in reply to fabriziorizzo
    I have some questions about setting up a pre-set for editing in CS4. My list is more of a "list of questions" than answers. After reading numerous posts in various forums I am trying to put together a pre-set that will be a starting point, so I can begin to understand how to solve the problems with playback. I have a quad core and I am going to add new graphics card, but not sure which one to get yet.

    -- Premiere CS4 settings --
    Editing mode: Desktop
    Timebase: 30fps (not 29.97?)
    Frame size: 1920 x 1080 pixels
    Pixel aspect ratio: 1.0 or 0.9 (?)
    Fields: Progressive scan (no fields)
    30 fps Non Drop Frame Timecode
    Audio sample rate: 44.1 (?)
    Codec for previews: V210 10-bit YUV (HD-SDI)
    Maximum bit depth
    Maximum render quality
    Set the master channel to Stereo, not mono or 5.1 surround

    I have some questions about setting up a pre-set for editing in CS4. My list is more of a "list of questions" than answers. After reading numerous posts in various forums I am trying to put together a pre-set that will be a starting point, so I can begin to understand how to solve the problems with playback. I have a quad core and I am going to add new graphics card, but not sure which one to get yet.
     
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