Idiot proof. Those are two words that I often like to hear when it comes to doing a technical operation that has to be repeated over and over. Often one can become lazy with repeated tasks and not check proper steps or protocol only to find you missed something and ended up with unsatisfactory results. Transcoding files for edit is one of those repetitive tasks that must be done over and over, job to job. If you’ve had to transcode Canon H.264 files for edit more than twice then you probably have some type of automated batch process that you use. If you don’t, and need to convert to PAL’s 25 frames per second then 5DtoFCP might be for you.
5DtoFCP is a free download from the minds at idustrial revolution. It’s simple in concept: provide the editor with a number of different Compressor droplets that will convert the painfully, barely-editable Canon H.264 files into ProRes Quicktimes. Since the 5D shoots at 30p you must make a choice to get to 25p. Timestretch, which will slow the footage down but keep all frames intact and provide smooth albeit slow motion. Or realtime which will keep sync with but might cause some stuttering in pans or motion. It’s one of those trades offs that happen when conforming 30p to other frame rates. It’s advisable to always do some tests to determine which conversion method is right for a particualr task. And since 5DtoFCP is free it costs nothing to download and test it out.
What if you’re in the States and need to conform to 29.97? Well there are any number of methods out there on the Internet. 5DtoFCP’s creator Peter Wiggins said that he is up for creating a 29.97 version of the package if there is enough interest and the appropriate technical details can be worked out. He does live in a 25fps PAL world after all. And I don’t think there’s a reason why a 23.98 version could be created as well but 29.97 is a closer conversion to 30 so it would cause less conversion issues. Until Canon ships the firmware update to the 5D that allows for different frames rates then little tools like this can help make life easier.
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