DSLR Footage and Redraw workflows with FCP’s Log and Transfer.

DSLR Footage and Redraw workflows with FCP’s Log and Transfer.

After shooting a film on the Red, and worked with red footage on several Gaming Branding Entertainment videos, trailers and films I’ve finally figured out some solid reliable workflows for Dealing with the Red and Raw footage. It also works with Canon’s 1080p H264.

For the smaller projects I like to use the Log and Transfer tool built into final cut. So you’ll need to download all the plugins from Red.
To start you first need to drag the Folders Red creates into your Log and Transfer window. Now you have a few options on what to do from here depending on how much footage you have and your hardware setup. What I like to do is Transcode the footage to a ProRes Proxy files to work with. You can set this option in preferences under the little Gear on the top right of the Log and Transfer tool.
Once this is done you can now add your footage to Queue and they will start to render to your scratch disk. Now from what I’ve discovered a lot of people can have a problem with this if they add too many files to the Queue at once. When I was transcoding a recent film I had to only batch up 20-40 files at a time or Final Cut would pinwheel every time no matter what I’ve done.
Not this technique is great for smaller projects to get yourself a nice small offline ProRes Proxy file. However, for 40 hours of footage with an indi film these transcodes could take weeks on a single Final Cut machine. Unfortunately Final Cut does not use more than one core to transcode it’s footage with the log and transfer tools. Sad I know. So you should either start this process as the film production is going on, or get more than one Final Cut bays working on it.
But for smaller projects this will only take a few hours and can be queued up over night.
Once the footage is transcoded you can now edit it like normal. Once you are done with your cut you can now re transcode your footage back to it’s high quality source. To do this you will need to use the Media Manage tool. But first you’ll need to set a new sequence preset.
Some of these settings can be altered depending on what frame size and frame rate you shot the film in. For the Compressor you can use ProRes444, but if your going through color or into AE to spit out your final then this doesn’t really matter, because you’ll be using an XML or EDL. But DO NOT use REDCODE for the Compressor. Final cut will get pissed.
Next you need to right click your sequence and open the media manager tool and Select “Create offline,” and then “Set sequences to:” to the preset you just created. You can also Delete unused media from your duplicated items if need handles, and you can set this to whatever you need. If you don’t need handles then don’t use this option.
Once this is done it should create a new project and sequence with the offline clips in it.
Now you need to go back into the Log and Transfer tool and reload in all the footage that you are using in your edit.
Go back into the little gear on the top right and in the Preferences and this time set the target format to “Native.” Now close the log and transfer tool.
Now you need to right click your sequence again and select Batch Capture. It should now automatically recapture the offline footage using Log and Transfer into the Native Redcode format with a quicktime wrapper. Meaning. a .mov file using the Redcode codec.
You will notice that the footage is captured at 2K. This is the maximum file size Final Cut can handle. However, because redcode is variable bit rate wavelet codec all the original 4K information will still be there. So if you end up going out to After Effects you can resize you’re image up to 150% without losing quality.
This transcoding process should go quicker since it’s just wrapping the original footage in an .mov file so it’s not actually rendering anything, it just moving data around.
Not that the footage is done you’ll have an online sequence that’s trimmed down to only the footage you are using. This method works great and is simple.
The same method can also be used with Canon 5D and 7D footage. Except you first need to download the Canon EOS E1 plugin located here.
The process should be the same for everything except you’ll need to create a new sequence preset for 1080p footage at your targeted frame rate, and you’ll need to online the footage back to ProRes(HQ) or ProRes4:4:4 instead of native.
The only draw back I’ve discovered is that Final Cut looks for an external CF card to load the footage off of. So if you’ve already copied all you’re footage off you’re cards onto a hard drive, you’ll need to load it back onto a CF card when you are ready to transcode it to Prores files.
So I personally recommend building some compressor settings for an offline ProRes to work with, then use compress to bring the files back to a high-res ProRes and Reconnect when you’re done.
Now the only other technique for dealing with Raw footage that I’ve used is to use a little program called Clipfinder. You can download it here.

Unfortunely he charges $100 bucks for it now but i’m sure there are still some older free versions floating around. This program is great because it allows you to set up a queue of your red footage and even do a color pass before exporting it out to whatever format you want. Then you use the footage to edit with and when you’re done spit out an XML out of Final Cut and bring that back into clip finder, relink to the source footage and re-render it back to a ProRes4:4:4 or another mastering format.  Easy right?

For a much faster and easier way of dealing with DSLR footage check my post here.