Only you can really answer that question. It depends on the capabilities of your edit system. Try out a couple of clips on the timeline and see how it goes. My system is pretty beefy and handles them well.
Avid DS / PrP / After Effects Editor
Mac Pro 3,1
2 x 3.2 ghz Quad Core Intel Xeon
Nvidia Quadro 4000
24 gigs ram
Maxx Digital / Areca 8tb. raid
You really do have only two choices:
- MOV/RAW from the camera
- Transcoded AVI's
You can, of course, keep using MOV files straight from the camera.
The only downside is the speed penality.
When editing files straight from the camera in Premiere you do still get access to full 255 luma range (in contrast to Sony Vegas for example).
Visually it would be even better, since there will be no quality loss (if you're very strict) due to absence of transcoding.
2. Transcoding the files
I can recommend Cineform as an intermediate codec.
Google "Cineform neo4k".
- Fast (Vegas, Premiere - you name it)
- Stable (I've been using it for 3 years with no problems so far)
- 10-bit (Even suitable for RED RAW footage)
- Supports 3D and alpha
On the other hand Cineform Neo is not cheap.
I've been using Cineform for 3 years and can recommend this option if you are looking for relaxing, stutter-free editing experience.
I've done a good bit of editing with 7D and 5D files straight from the camera and have had no problems at all... I'd recommend just working with them as-is, unless you do notice a huge problem in speed...
And though Cineform is great, it's gotta be done JUST RIGHT with just the right settings, etc., and it can be more of a problem than a solution. If you do decide to transcode, I'd recommend going with a lossless codec like Lagarith or UT, both of which are available free for the PC (UT is also cross-platform with the Mac). Another viable alternative to those two (especially if you are going cross platform) is the Avid DNxHD codec, which is also available free...
Well, I've been using Cineform for 3 years and had no problems with it (me using a PC of course). Cineform's HDLink does the transcoding in batch mode with the right settings, so I never have to do that manually.
But great ideas on the alternatives, davidbeisner. Gotta try them, since Cineform must be licensed on all machines you use, so... Thanks!