June 26, 2013

Workflow guide to the C100 and FCP 7 - Part 2: Transcoding

Part 1 of this guide details archiving and the reason why we do not use Clipwrap.

We've recently transitioned to using the Canon C100 as our primary camera and a 5d Mark II/III as our secondary. We are still using Final Cut Pro 7, so we needed a workflow that meshed with our DSLR workflow. The C100 records in the AVCHD format, which means you cannot use MPEG Streamclip to transcode these files like we do with the H264 files we get from the Canon DSLRs. This is a workflow that works for our archiving process and our DSLR workflow, however, we will most likely be transitioning to another editing software soon.


1. Open Final Cut

2. *Set Scratch Disk to your project folder* 

3. Create bin with same name as the disk image you will be working with (Example at right is 052013_OSF_KASH_A01) 

4. Right click bin and choose Set Logging Bin (It will have something like a final cut logo next to it seen at right)

5. Open Log and Transfer window (File > Log and Transfer) 

6. Hit the Add Volume Button 

7. Choose the disk image (.dng) file you want to transcode. This is located where you saved the SD card in the Archive to Disk Image process. 

8. It should load the Canon directory with the clips underneath 

9. Select all the clips (Edit > Select All)

10. You can preview different clips and write notes for each clip. You can also set in and out points for your clips. This is where your workflow might deviate from ours, just be consistent.

11. You can use the Name Preset to decide how each clip is named as it is transcoded. There are many ways to set up custom naming. We set ours to add an underscore and three digits after anything we type in the "Reel" box.

12. In the Reel box, we copy and paste the exact name* of the disk image file (from the archiving process) that we are converting. In the example at right, it uses the disk image 052013_OSF_KASH_A02, and adds _### to the end of each clip.

*Why do we work like this? We delete our transcodes when we are completely done with a project, but we keep the disk image file in our archive. If we ever need to revisit the project, we re-transcode our files and reconnect the media in FCP. To do this, the files need to be named exactly as they were before. This is why we transcode all of our files and name them consecutively using the naming convention established in the archive.

13. After the name is in order, you can then (with all clips selected) hit the button Add Selection to Queue. The clips will enter a queue below the button and it will show you as it makes progress through each clip. 

14. When you are done, the queue will be empty and there will be a solid blue dot* beside each clip. You can then select the Canon disk image and hit the Eject Volume button.

*If there is a half shaded blue dot or an unshaded dot, then the file did not properly transcode and it needs to be done again. 

15. When the files are done transcoding, they will be located in the Capture Scratch folder. We  move our files to our transcodes folder where our DSLR files are located. Then we import everything back into FCP.

Changing the Codec

1. Select the little gear in the Log and Transfer window. Select Preferences...

2. The C100 uses an AVCHD Codec, so you can go to the AVCHD selection and click the drop down under Target Format. Here you can change to a couple of other codecs.