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MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7

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Adam White
MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 8, 2012 at 5:59:33 pm

We will soon be using the new Canon C300 as a primary camera at the production company I work at.

It'll be my job to figure out the best post production workflow, and I wondered if any of you here at Creative Cow had any stories (horror or otherwise!), tips or general advice to share.

The MXF file format (which I gather from Canon is the format the C300 wraps files in) is new to me, currently we mainly use the Canon 5D which wraps the files in a .MOV container which we then transcode to ProRes 422LT.

For the 5D we've had best results mirroring the CF cards in disk utility, mounting the DMG files and then transcoding in MPEG Streamclip. I'm very interested to see if we can do something simmilar with the C300 or if we need to rethink our approach.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Best,
Adam


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Steve Eisen
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 8, 2012 at 6:46:05 pm

Why go the MXF route when you can easily hook up the AJA Ki Pro or Ki Pro Mini and record directly to Pro Res?

For the price of the C300, I would opt for the Sony F3. The F3 is shipping now.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Phil Balsdon
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 8, 2012 at 8:34:05 pm

You just need the plug in from Canon. It's the same one they use for the XF300 / XF100 series of cameras.
You can download this plug in from Canon now.

From there the Log and Transfer process will be much the same as with the 5D.

Why use an external recorder when it's the same compression as on the CF card in the camera (4.2.2), it's just makes what is a simple and elegant package more cumbersome. No other camera in this class can record this quality on board except the RED Scarlet, but working with the 4.4.4 os the Scarlet with FCP in post is far more cumbersome.

The results coming out of this camera are excellent, especially it's low light performance.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Steve Eisen
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 8, 2012 at 11:43:48 pm

I would like to see the difference between an 8 bit output via HD-SDI to a Ki Pro and direct Log and Transfer to Pro Res via FCP.

There has to be some compression hit when going to CF card.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Phil Balsdon
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 9, 2012 at 2:31:27 am

Hi Steve,

I think you'd have to way up the effect on the ergonomics / usability impact on the camera package against a very small impact on the compression.
It's really a personal choice usability versus codec trade off thing.

The bayer system on the new 4k chip gives it a leg up over other similar cameras which greatly improves the 4.2.2.

I'm taking the stance that if I really need better compression for more sophisticated post production I'll rent an Arri Alexa for that particular job, but for 95% of my work the EOS C300 will be perfect because of its simplicity, and that it's the only camera that'll deliver the onboard 4.2.2 quality at this price. (And hopefully it'll be as reliable as all the other Canon kit I've got).

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Rafael Amador
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 9, 2012 at 5:59:39 am

[Phil Balsdon] "Why use an external recorder when it's the same compression as on the CF card in the camera (4.2.2), it's just makes what is a simple and elegant package more cumbersome. No other camera in this class can record this quality on board except the RED Scarlet, but working with the 4.4.4 os the Scarlet with FCP in post is far more cumbersome."
You are very wrong Phil.
Those MXF are exactly the same stuff (MPG2-50Mbps/422) that records the Canon XF-100 (US$ 3.300).

These MXF on a 20K camera only make sense as a back-up.
Get your self an external recorder (the Nano-flash would be good enough due to what the Canon C300 puts out the SDI barely 8n Unc).
That camera is a misconception.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Ben Holmes
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 9, 2012 at 12:04:50 pm

[Rafael Amador] "Those MXF are exactly the same stuff (MPG2-50Mbps/422) that records the Canon XF-100 (US$ 3.300)"

I take your point Rafael, but I'd add a couple in return:

1) For those moving up from the 5D this is a good quality 422 record option.
2) In the spirit of 'crap in crap out' the recordings look better than the XF100 because the souce is better - the debayered sensor output is a lot better than the XF100 and the log curves option helps even more.
3) The 8-bit from the video ports makes the advantages of an external recorder (even a nano) basically pointless - you would only bother to add so much hassle to what is meant to be a lightweight rig for 10-bit IMHO.

I think we can all agree Canon made a mistake with the 8-bit recording and output, and the camera is priced double what it should be, but the codec issues are overblown - bear in mind I've actually seen footage from it. We live in a world of H264 7D/T3i footage now, and compared to that, this is 35mm. It holds up perfectly well with most 10-bit footage, if well shot - I had the chance to compare it to Alexa footage, so I think I can say that with some certainty it ain't bad.

Now - get the price down to $7,000....

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/community/communitydetails/?UserStoryId=87...


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Rafael Amador
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 9, 2012 at 2:49:13 pm

I fully agree with you Ben.
The codec is very good, but Canon should have offer at least higher data rate (the NANO records the same codec but you can scale it from 18Mbps LGOP to 280Mbps Intraframe).
The F3 records in an even lower quality codec (SONY EX), but at least has 10b Un or even 444 Log out if you need it. You can reap all the power of the camera.
With the Canon you can't profit take advantage of all his potential.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Ben Holmes
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 9, 2012 at 3:30:18 pm

No question - the 10 bit output makes the F3 better from an acquisition perspective. Another major failing in the 300 is the lack of 1080 over cranking....

However - I look forward to the kind of video that can be produced by a Canon EF mount C300 - the combination of low light performance, minimal skew and log-type video is very attractive. If you've not seen this informative (and amusing) test of it, have a look:

Canon EOS C300 = Awesome from Jonathan Yi on Vimeo.



I have more faith in a 2.0 version of this camera (cheaper, better video out) than anything else looming.

Of course, it says a lot that these days people see an Alexa as expensive when it's half the cost an HDCAM kit used to be. All these 35mm cameras offer something we would have killed for 5 years ago....

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/community/communitydetails/?UserStoryId=87...


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Rafael Amador
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 10, 2012 at 1:48:45 am

Thanks for the clip Ben.
Amazing, but that quality and features is even more difficult to understand why they haven't implemented better output/recording options. You will need to go SLog to get the best of her..
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Jeff Meyer
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:02:18 am

Adam, as suggested above the Canon XF plugin should get you up and going. We have XF cameras at work, and while 50mbps isn't uncompressed it's a pretty good picture. I've been quite surprised by how much you can pull back in the highlights. If the C300 works like the XF cameras you'll get best results overexposing a bit.

I wouldn't get too worked up over the compressed 8-bit picture. You're in a 4:2:2 color space, and you're saving about 6x the space over uncompressed. That also means images of the cards can be made in 1/6th of the time, and your long-term storage costs are 1/12th of what they would have been if you're making two copies of the images from the card. With the time and economic advantages of 50mbps XDCAM and the elegance of the C300 package without a nanoflash recorder I wouldn't be too bothered by the trade-off. If you're going to broadcast it'll get compressed out by a cable or satellite provider, and if you're going to web it's likely to get compressed out as well. If you're going to the big screen or Blu-Ray there will be some minor differences, which would become more exaggerated if you apply a steep color grade to the footage. If you have a chroma-key project coming up (I'm guessing this isn't a normal event for you as you work with SLRs now) rent a nanoflash and run some tests with it while you have it. In terms of cost-benefit I doubt it's worthwhile.

Word of advice, on the Log and Transfer window be sure to go to the preferences. Change Canon XF to a ProRes varient, probably plain ProRes422. The "Native" setting will use the XDCAM codec you shot in. While Final Cut can work with this codec natively, it tends to get buggy. Switch to ProRes for stability.


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Phil Balsdon
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 10, 2012 at 10:13:43 am

Take a look at XXID film here, and also "the making of" sequence.
http://cinemaeos.usa.canon.com/

The results are quite amazing. I don't think I'd necessarily select the EOS C300 as my ideal camera of choice to do a project like this, but it's encouraging to know that it is capable of this result even from the files recorded on its CF cards.

Most orders for this camera will probably be placed by cinematographers who will select it for it's ergonomics and operability, vast range of EF lens options, low light performance (where it's at least equal to the Alexa), 12 stops of dynamic range and superb resolution. For a lot of cinematographers these are far more important features than codec speeds.

Also getting the external 4.4.4 output from the Sony X3 also requires a $3800 firmware upgrade to the camera.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Adam White
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 10, 2012 at 9:38:29 pm

Many thanks to you both, Jeff and Phil. Great advice which was all duly noted.

In fact, we needed to know about workflow sooner rather than later as we were very fortunate to get the C300 over the weekend for a shoot. Some very talented camera ops took it out to an airfield and we did a short feature. Great way to see what the camera can do and also a chance to have a test run with it in post. I didn't cut this one, but I did colour grade it which was a great way to see how the footage held up.

Take a look at the result if you like!


We used the Canon plugin which worked great (found it to be much more reliable than the equivalent plugin for the 5D which we never use now after it kept missing out big chunks of clips). All footage transcoded to ProRes 422 which was solid as ever. ProRes 422LT is usually our codec of choice so I think I may give that variant a go next time and see if there are any noticeable differences.

I thought the camera did an excellent job. The rushes were a joy to work with. Spent 4 or 5 hours grading it and I think the results are pretty good! Apart from how nice the footage was to work with, I was also struck (again) by what a great app Color is and how infuriating it is that its been EOL (but thats another topic altogether!)

We are delighted and very excited to start using the camera all the time. Working in 4:2:2 isnt really an issue for us as I can't see it being a problem for the kind of content we produce - 90% of our output is straight to web.

Thanks again for all the advice and discussion - all really interesting and very useful. :)

Best,
Adam


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Rafael Amador
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:15:35 am

Nothing wrong with 8b because we are watching everything on 8b computers screens.
Print some 8b stuff to 35 or watch it on a 10b screen and you will notice the difference.
8 or 10b Chroma doesn't makes much difference, but having just 256 or 1024 levels of Luminance (shadows) are two different worlds.
By 2012 doesn't makes sense to discuss this.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Ralph Martin
Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 7:49:56 pm

In my first experience with .mxf files I am at a lost as to how to import these files into Final Cut Pro 7 without the camera or XF utility program. I was given the video files on a flash drive. I have several folders with five files each in them. (cif, cpf, xml, mxf, and sif) Is there a way to import the video into Final Cut without the camera or XF Utility?

Anyone's help would be quite appreciated ...

Thank you ...


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Tom Gallon
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Mar 23, 2012 at 9:29:19 pm

Hello Ralph.

I've just shot a promo on the C300 and initially encountered the same problem as you. We shot abroad and 'guerilla', so didn't have the CF/disk images cards to import directly to the FCP plugin, and I can't remember the exact file path ro recreate the disk image.

The only work around I can think of, for now, is to encode with Adobe Media Encoder. This (for me at least) is the only application that can read .mxf files (after trying MPEG Streamclip, Episode Pro and Compressor).

So, I drag each .mxf file into the encoder (it won't read the files if you try and batch drop the folders in), and then batch select them to export to ProRes. Depending on how many files you have, this could be a long process. My first card contains 54 folders, from which I was able to drop the individual files into Media Endoder in roughly 5 minutes, and have everything transcoding soon after. So, actually, it's not quite as painstaking as I originally imagined.

I hope that helps!

Tom


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Kevin McKeever
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Mar 25, 2012 at 3:47:33 pm

To import MXF files into Final Cut, simply download the Canon XF Plugin for Final Cut Pro:

http://software.canon-europe.com/software/0040354.asp?model=

Under "Preferences" in the FCP Log and Transfer window, you can choose whether to import the native 50mbps mpeg footage or transcode it to a version of ProRes. I've had no problems so far using "native", but I do understand if some people prefer ProRes for robustness or ease of use within FCP.


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Chris Dolan
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Jun 6, 2012 at 3:12:29 pm

Hey gang,

I downloaded and installed the Canon plug-in for FCP and selected 'Canon XF Plugin' in the Log & Transfer preferences but when I try to add a volume I get the following error:

"AA0102" contains unsupported media or has an invalid directory structure. Please choose a folder whose directory structure matches supported media.

The directory I select is the one we copied over from the cameras CF Card. Actually - I didn't copy it so I never saw the directory structure. Maybe this is the problem... I assumed it was copied over correctly. Is is possible the person who copied the files did not take the whole directory? If so, what would the correct directory structure look like? Is it a similar wrapper to the XDCAM EX bpav folder?

Chris Dolan


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Chris Dolan
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Jun 7, 2012 at 2:19:21 am

Ok - looks like I found the answer; The clips were not copied over from the CF card correctly or the folders were renamed. I reset the directory structure to be 'CONTENTS/CLIPS001/xxx as described in the following link, and FCP sees the files in Log & Transfer. Hope this helps anyone else who experiences the same problem...

http://philipbloom.net/forum/threads/c300-cf-card-main-folder-name.1132/

Chris Dolan


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Leo Chou
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Mar 7, 2013 at 3:10:40 pm

In fact, Final Cut Pro 6.0.3 to Final Cut Pro 7.0.2 and Final Cut Pro X 10. 0.3 users can not enjoy the 1080i videos after editing, since XF Plug-in can not help them, only the 1280*720 video accepted. It means you have to convert C300 MXF footages to Final Cut Pro compatible format ProRes 422 .mov with a top MXF Conveter for FCP. I used UFU Soft MXF Converter fo Mac, which can fast transcode SD MXF videos to Apple ProRes 422 for FCP on Mac OS X with best vido quality. http://www.ufusoft.com/mxf-converter-for-mac/


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Leo Chou
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Mar 7, 2013 at 3:12:30 pm

I am using FCP 7, and as far as I know it does not read Canon C300 files natively. I tried Canon XF utility, with very limited success, on few different machines. Main problem with that piece of software is that it expects to see compact flash cards straight from the camera and doesn't seem to work very well with folders on an HDD. I was suggested to convert MXF clips to Apple ProRes 422 using UFU Soft MXF Converter for Mac, because FCP 7 needs to have all the footage on a timeline in the single codec, otherwise it needs to render everything and does not preview clips in realtime. The Canon Video Converter tool is able to load MXF files directly from the camera, or read from a folder stored on your computer's HDD or an external hard drive, as well as separate .MXF clips out of the camera's original folder structure. Plus, this solution is particular helpful when you need combine footage coming from different cameras with different video modes. Best of all, it is capable of keeping multiple audio tracks in your source material.


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Shirley Chi
Re: Getting MXF files into Final Cut Pro 7 without XF Utility?
on Nov 27, 2013 at 3:24:16 am

One advantage of the Canon XF codec is that it’s already supported by the major NLE software applications.
But XF plug-in/XF utilities cannot work well with 1080i, 1080P videos. I searched internet and trie to get a solution. An article-Transcoding from Canon C300 MXF to Apple Pro Res with two channels of audio, I once collected may be helpful. Of course, only if you don’t mind that using a conversion tool.



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Simen Gorden
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 6, 2013 at 3:59:26 am

I have saw an article that convert mxf file to apple prores, maybe you also can try this method, I think this will be work. http://jackstar.blog.com/how-to-convert-canon-eos-c500-mxf-video-to-apple-p...


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eason joy
Re: MXF files from the Canon C300 and Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 19, 2013 at 9:49:13 am

You can convert and transcode Canon C300 MXF files to Apple ProRes 422 MOV for Final Cut Pro 6 /Final Cut Pro 7/Final Cut Pro X follow this guide: http://www.mxf-video-converter.com/make-canon-c300-mxf-compatibility-with-f...


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