Canon E1 Movie plugin – we have issues

This app does it’s job, but it’s not quite ready for bigger productions

Ok, this plugin basically does what is says it does, which is very cool as before we had nothing, and for a lot of people it will do the job well,
however for large projects, it kinda stops short.. for now.

Easy to use

It works within the same system that were all used to; the ‘log and transfer’ function in Final Cit, however one of the side effects of the digital workflow is the amount of data we are capturing, and therefore I see the importance of tagging to be increasing. Here’s why I mention this:
I was in Africa filming a documentary, and every day I would make folders dating and naming all of the different shots, shoot information and cameras used etc.
I knew that transcoding this in the field would simply lead to using up more drive space, and I was already dealing with the time taking to back up so much data.
So when i returned to LA, I set about dealing with all of this data and transcoding it to something that the FCP ecosystem would work better with. After lots of testing I went with prores 4444, as it is the same size as Prores 422 and I’ve not encountered the gamma shift problem so far. Also, I knew I’d be color correcting with ‘Color’ and knew that it worked well with that codec. It’s just annoying that prores compared to many things seems to make large files.
Anyhow, here’s the problem,
The FCP canon E1 plugin puts all of the data into ONE folder.. 6TB in one folder. This is NOT GOOD.
Also, it doesn’t seem to multithread very well, after it ‘settles in’ my CPU usage seems to trickle around the 1/3 mark.
It crashes if you give it too many clips. I find that more than 200 clips makes it unstable
Also I have an issue with Canon’s own description of how to use and store multiple CF cards. Their answer is simply unnecessary, and potentially shows a misunderstanding of the OSX, as it is NOT required to use the .DMG files.
There is a much better way of doing this
  • inset a CF you want to copy/archive for transferring later
  • Open a finder window
  • open preferences and make sure the top one that shows your computer in the sidebar list in a finder window

  • now, with an open finder window, click on the one marked for your computer
  • you should also see in the list the CF card
  • open another finder window and navigate/make a directory to where you want to archive
  • drag the icon for the CF card into that area, you might have to hold down option to reveal a ‘+’ sign showing that it’s copying. Now I can do all of this OUTSIDE of FCP, and I don’t need to wait for the thumbnails to appear in the list etc.. basically it’s MUCH quicker.
  • However, when it IS time to transfer, you simply open FCP and activate the ‘log and transfer’, then press the top left button

  • Navigate to where you archived it and make sure you highlight the DCIM folder, and it will find all the data perfectly.
Now I could use the batch converter from Red Giant Software ‘Grinder’ , however, it has some limitations of it’s own ; the timecode it burns in is arbitrary , and the gamma it applies seems to be wrong, giving me decidedly different looks in final cut.
So, overall; it works, but if you’re shooting a documentary, or out of the country and aren’t going to transcode all your footage until you get back.. then you might run into the issues that I did.
So, here’s how I kept myself out of trouble
  • Sync all your camera’s clocks : this is especially important if you are using any kind of GPS tagger, but more important when you tag the data and want to only show a certain date.
  • When using ‘Log and Transfer’ make sure you make a new ‘IMPORT’ type, and make sure you add things like ‘DATE’, ‘TIME’, ‘CAMERA MODEL’, ‘FPS’ into the clip name
  • After Transcoding use a program like ‘LEAP’ to meta-tag all your data.. I’ll be writing more on ‘metadata’ soon.

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