Editing Canon 7D & 5D MarkII video

November 23, 2009

Video

I hear about so many people having problems editing 7D & 5D2 video that I thought it would be worthwhile posting a quick note on one of the easiest ways to edit it.

The 7D & 5D2 video format is called h.264, this is the most advanced video compression format around, meaning that it can compress video extremely well while preserving quality. Whats more, is that h.264 has quickly become a standard and is supported by many different devices.

The drawback here is that h.264 requires quite a bit of horse power to decompress and compress, and when you try to edit video in this format, it requires a very powerful computer in order to do so. The way around this is to convert your video into another format that does not require so much horse power and can be edited much more easily.

I do most of my video editing in iMovie or Final Cut Express, both serve my purposes well. For editing in these programs I first convert my video into the “Apple Intermediate Codec”. This codec is pretty good, is much easier on the computer and does a good job at preserving your video quality. However keep in mind that the converted files will end up taking significantly more disk space. If you are using Final Cut Pro, I would recommend using the Apple ProRes codec.

When I am editing a movie I am usually working with many video clips, so I need something to very efficiently batch convert the couple of dozen files. For this I use great free tool called MPEG Streamclip from Squared5, they have versions for both Mac and Windows. You can find them at http://www.squared5.com/.

Once I can converted all my files, I import them into my video editor and do all the editing that I need. Once I am done editing, I then export the movie out back to h.264 as, again, this is currently the best and most widely supported video format.

You can view my latest video from my “Winter in Yellowstone” workshop here.

P.S. I have not included any specifics or screenshots of the settings I use to convert into AIC or back to h.264, but if you are interested, post a message here and I would be happy to post another article with a step by step.


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This post was written by:

- who has written 311 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Juan is a wildlife photographer who currently lives in Maine. Juan lives and breathes photography and travels around the country making images, teaching and leading photo workshops. Juan's favorite destination is Yellowstone in winter. You can follow Juan on twitter at http://twitter.com/jpons

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20 Responses to “Editing Canon 7D & 5D MarkII video”

  1. Stephanie Skiff Says:

    I am new to using the 5D Markll for video and found your article interesting. It would be really helpful if you could be more specific and detailed in a future article for those of us that are really new to editing h.264 video. Thank-you so much.

    Reply

  2. Lynn Haynes Says:

    Juan,

    I really like what I see of your 5D MarkII clips. Being a 5D user, I just recently purchased a 5D MarkII. I would be very interested in having you post another article with specifics, screen shots, and “step by step’ procedures of editing the h.264 video format. Your Yellowstone clip was especially moving.

    Best Regards,
    Lynn Haynes

    Reply

  3. Owen Benson Says:

    For those who use a PC rather than a Mac, I thought I’d mention what seems to work on there. I have a 2.3GHz quad processor Dell with 4GB of RAM running Windows 7 (it’s about 4 months old) so it’s no slouch but editing H.264 files from my 5D Mark II just didn’t work – audio plays ok but the video keeps skipping frames as it tries to uncompress and render. So I bought NeoHD from Cineform which has a conversion tool “HDLink” to create an intermediate format which works well for editing (it can batch process files). Now the video flows smoothly and I can line up edits easily. I orignally tried used Premiere Elements (7 and 8) but it can’t cope with Full HD – give it a few clips and it crashes randomly and frequently. Luckily (if expensively) Premiere Pro CS4 works fine (ok, it crashed once during a six hour editing session).

    Owen Benson

    Reply

    • Juan Pons Says:

      Owen,

      Thanks for the tip!

      I should have also mentioned in the article that MPEG Streamclip is available for both the Mac and PC and is 100% free. However with some of the work being done now by Adobe on utilizing the GPU for H.264 rendering, this intermediate step will hopefully be a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

      -J

      Reply

  4. Jaime Says:

    Juan,
    Do you know if Final Cut Express is sufficient for video editing and marrying audio from a Zoom digital recorder? Or do I have to sell the house and buy Final Cut Pro? I’ve read that I should not try it in iMovie so Im considering FC Express.
    Thanks man,
    Jaime

    Reply

  5. Juan Pons Says:

    Jaime,

    Good question. Yes you should be able to use FCE without any issues. BTW, it is possible to do in iMovie, but not easily. FCE or FCP would be MUCH easier.

    -J

    Reply

  6. Jaime Says:

    Thanks Juan for the quick response. I’m going to take the Lynda.com training for FC Express and then give it a whirl.
    Thanks again,
    Jaime

    Reply

  7. ronnie Says:

    I downloaded mpeg streamclip, I assume from reading the manual that that the apple motion jpeg is the appropriate compression choice. Where I and getting lost is on the quality choice– 100% results in huge files as does unscaled. What do you recommend?
    Thanks for any insight and guidance.
    R

    Reply

    • Juan Pons Says:

      As I noted in the article the codec you want to be using is either “Apple Intermediate Codec” or “ProRes (preferably LT)” depending on wether you are using iMovie or Final Cut.

      Hope that helps.

      -J

      Reply

  8. -whalesbulfs Says:

    Hello! Thank you for this article.

    I really need your help. Can you tell me to which format do you convert the 7d’s file using the MPEG Streamclip? Do leave the other settings at default?

    Thanks you!

    Reply

    • Juan Pons Says:

      Reread the article a little more carefully, the setting are listed in the article itself.

      You may also find this post useful.

      -J

      Reply

      • -whalesbulfs Says:

        Do you mean the Apple Intermediate Codec or Apple ProRes codec??
        I cant seem to find them in the MPEG Streamclip… Sorry Im new to video editing…

        Reply

        • Juan Pons Says:

          AIC and ProRes are Apple only formats, If you are using a Mac you should see AIC, if you have Final Cut Pro, you should also see ProRes. If you are using windows, you will need to use a windows format like WMV.

          Reply

  9. Christopher Johnston Says:

    I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and it handles the native files right out my 7D with no transcoding required.

    Reply

  10. Paul Says:

    Hello Juan- have you ever seen or heard of video on the 5d mark ii skipping during playback on the camera itself?? I have seen this happen first hand a few times recently – and it remained in the clips all the way through editing and into the final rendering….so annoying and I have no idea what to do!! This will ruin my projects if it persists…please help!! Thank you! Paul

    Reply

    • Juan Pons Says:

      The first thing that comes to mind is the speed of your memory cards. Make sure you are using cards that have a throughput of at least 30 MB/s. Then also make sure to format the cards in the camera before use.

      Hope that helps.

      -J

      Reply

  11. Jon Koenig Says:

    Hey Juan,

    Thank you for suggesting this great free program! It works just as described and I love the price tag.

    Reply

  12. Michael Says:

    Thank you very much! it works for me! now i can edit it to may video editing software.

    Reply


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