Amanda Koster

thoughts and experiences of an international documentarian

Getting Canon 5D Mark2 footage and separate audio into FCP to edit

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I would imagine taming a tiger would be easier because I can easily see when the tiger is trying to rip my head off. This process has a lot of invisible irritations that I don’t know what is going on until much time and processing has been eaten up (versus a simple decapitation).

So, I thought I would just make this easier for others after logging hours and hours of tutorials, emails, Facebook communications.

1. Shoot your footage (albeit it 12 min increments :-l)
2. Keep the DSLR audio capture on, though you won’t want to use the sound later. That audio will serve as a ‘map’ to synch your nice audio.
3. Capture audio on a separate device. I use a jerry-rigged Olympus with my XLR adapters from my old video camera (below) because when I got into this the Zoomh 4nwasn’t on the market yet.  I will upgrade to the Zoom h4n soon because I want the XLR plugs among a few other reasons:

4. Finish capturing content.
5. Really think about how you will organize your content. I do something like this:

6. Offload the entire DSLR card contents over to your harddive, not just the footage. Yes all those files and folders that seem useless and you don’t know what they mean. Those too.
7.  Offload your audio file (s) onto your hard-drive as well.
8. I say hard-drive because I do not keep anything on my laptop. I have a Drobo that houses all of my archives, of everything.
9. You can’t just import clips from the DSLR into Final Cut Pro(FCP) and start editing. They have to be converted.  Even though Canon has a plug-in for FCP I found it to be slow and confusing, so I use this software to do this:

This one is free, though no guarantees with upgrades, etc:

My friend also recommends this:

10. Follow this how to (convert your DSLR clips) vide by Philip Bloom (who I think is great when it comes to tutorials:)

11. From there, you need to work on your audio. I like Audacity to do simple clean up jobs and processing audio.

It is important to capture it the best audio you can at first at ‘time of capture’ (I just made that up), but you can do a few things with Audacity that makes good audio sound better. You can also do major logging and labeling with Audcaity. I spent 6 months with that on a project last year in 2 languages…  let’s not go there.

So, import you audio and MAKE SURE you work at 48000 Hz.  Otherwise your audio will not synch and you’ll have and hear a very trippy (and maddening)  ‘audio drift.’ You can set that in the lower left corner of the Audacity timeline.

12. Work on your audio a bit and export as an MP3 file into the project folder.
13. Now that your video (with its bleh audio from the DSLR camera) and good audio captured from some kind of separate device are downloaded it’s time to open FCP.
14. Import your content info FCP. Again, keeping everything organized.
15. lay down all your content
16. Open Plural Eyes and sync your audio.
Here’s the software:

And a tutorial:

17. Your video and audio should be synched. Right now I am working how to ditch the DSLR audio I don’t want to hear, but I think Plural Eyes still needs to synch… I need to figure that out….
18.  Did find this nifty how-to page on Vimeo, where I will stage the rough cuts for my clients to view:

More soon……


Written by amandakoster

April 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. This seems like a solid workflow. I might quibble with your audio output settings, mp3 is compressed audio and you’re going to compress your project again in the end. AIFF would be a better choice. I throw in the raw audio and clean up the final in Soundtrack Pro.

    In your Pluraleyes timeline you can safely delete the camera audio. In the latest version there’s even an option to replace the camera audio during sync.

    I love MPEG Streamclip, though the workflow takes a little obsessing over. You only need the .xip files from the 5D if you’re using the FCP Log and Transfer plug-in. I just drag my ProRes files into the Browser and start working right away.

    Doug Plummer

    April 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

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