Preparing Your DSLR Videos for Editing

January 13, 2010

Video, Video Podcast

With the introduction of the Canon 5D Mark II and its true High Definition video capabilities, the Digital SLR landscape was changed forever. You can now expect every new Digital SLR to have similar capabilities. As photographers, we find ourselves having to learn something new, not just artistically, but also technically.

One of the main concerns that I hear from still photographers  who are trying to do a bit of video work, is the challenges they encounter when trying to edit the videos they have taken.

One of the first steps we need to take when working with the video files produced by our new DSLRs is to “transcode” them into a format more suitable for editing. This process is not unlike the challenges and technical transition we encountered 10 years ago – when photographers found themselves working with RAW files. Luckily for us, there are some fantastic tools to help us with this process.

In this short screencast I demonstrate one of the most popular and easier-to-use tools for transcoding your videos. That program is called MPEG Streamclip, and not only is it available for both the Mac and PC, it is also free.

Make sure to watch the video and give MPEG Streamclip a try.

P.S. If you’d like us to produce more screencasts like this one covering the process of editing videos, please be sure to let us to know.


This post was written by:

- who has written 347 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.

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5 Responses to “Preparing Your DSLR Videos for Editing”

  1. Glenn Taylor Says:

    Just got a new 5D MkII over the holidays, so video information is very timely. Thanks for putting this together. Any additional information on editing and preparing video would be most welcome.


  2. Alain Says:

    So far, this is the standard workflow for any HDSLR users. I hope someone will make a more integrated workflow where we can transcode/backup/archive/meta tag files all within the same app.

    Btw, visit my blog for some HDSLR related content.


  3. Lynn Haynes Says:

    This is what I have been waiting for… except, when you got to the part about what format to convert your files to, you only mentioned Mac from that point forward, not PC. You mentioned Imovie and Final Cut Pro as editing software; are they also for Mac only? Obviously, I am a beginner and a PC user. Would appreciate your help.

    Really like this site and all that you are doing!


    • Juan Pons Says:


      If you listen and watch closely at around 3:15 you will notice that I did mention some of the formats that may work for PC users, namely AVI and possibly quicktime if you have the quicktime component installed on your PC. You are correct in that both iMovie and Final Cut Pro are Mac programs only. Unfortunately I am not a PC user and am not personally familiar with the video editing programs available in that platform. Sorry.

      Take care,



  4. Jay Zed Says:

    Lynn –

    I am a PC user and have Sony Vegas and a license for Quick Time Pro on my home machine.

    The file format I use for transcoding is Avid’s DNxHD – downloadable free from Avid’s website and I use this inside a Quicktime wrapper. The recommendation to use AVI on Wintel is not as relevant as it once was as most good applications will now handle Quicktime fine on the PC. In fact, when I try to encode to DNxHD with an AVI wrapper using MPEG Streamclip I can’t open the files anyway (although as Quicktime works for me, I haven’t bothered to try to diagnose the problem).

    I work at a post production studio (for audio) and we have Adobe Premiere and After Effects there, on Macs and PCs. The reason I say this is that my QT DNxHD files open fine on those machines.

    Although Premiere now handles H264 files natively, I still get better performance with the Avid codec.

    For example, with 720p 50 –

    I choose ‘Export to Quicktime…’ from the file menu in MPEG Streamclip and in the movie exporter dialogue that appears when I select the ‘Options’ button, I click on ‘720p/50 DNxHD 185 10 bit’ in the drop down. I also click the RGB colour level radio button. I then make sure I deselect the ‘Interlaced Scaling’ checkbox and put quality at or near the top of the slider.

    Now, I’m a professional audio guy so I’m no expert on video and I’m more than prepared to stand corrected if a pro tells me I’m doing it all wrong. However, this works well for me and I’m very happy with the quality and performance I get.

    This also enables me to open my video in Protools for working on the audio which will only work with Quicktime on Mac or PC. However, to give me better performance I render at lower dimensions and at 25p for the actual audio work and then import the final audio into a full res render once I have bounced my audio tracks to stereo.

    I hope this helps.


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