Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Canon’s HDSLR News

Canon recently announced some updates for DSLR filmmakers. You can check out the video bellow if you are curious as to what was said exactly. But the two main things that are of immediate effect are that Canon has released a new E1 plugin for Final Cup Pro for Log and Transfer workflow right from Canon DSLRs. The second is the introduction of a new Picture Style for HD video created by Technicolor for higher detail levels.

Let’s talk about the new Canon E1 plugin for Final Cut Pro first. They supposedly have added more camera support as they have put more cameras on the market. On top of this, they new E1 plugin is supposed to allow editors to Log and Transfer DSLR footage that has not been copied over to hard drives in such a way as to maintain the exact same file structure as the CF or SD card it was originally shot on. This last bit of news is exciting, and I’m interested in putting that to the test, though at this point I’m so used to copying over my SD cards in their entirety to my hard drives that it’s no big deal.

The truth of the matter is that the new E1 plugin only introduces to the mix the newer D-series cameras. In other words, they added the 1D and the 60D to the mix. Wow, thanks Canon ... Sorry for the sarcasm here. But I had already hacked the old E1 plugin anyway so I could Log and Transfer footage from the Canon T2i and T3i. So imagine my surprise when I sat down today to Log and Transfer some footage for a new project I’m shooting and found that the new E1 plugin didn’t allow me to Log and Transfer my T2i footage. What was Canon thinking?

But the good news is the that fix is easy. I just hacked the new E1 plugin like I had done with the old one and was up and running, transcoding footage to ProRes HQ in a few minutes. If you are like me and many, many, many (getting the hint, Canon?), shooter/editors out there who are using any of the Rebel line cameras for projects, you can quickly fix this problem by following the steps in the video I’m posting bellow. This is a tutorial for the original E1 plugin, but I followed these exact steps for the new plugin as well. 

Now, about the Technicolor picture style ... This is pretty interesting. I have been shooting with two custom picture styles for HD video for a while now. The idea is that you want to lower contrast and retain as much detail as possible because, lets face it, the compression in these Canon cameras leaves something to be desired. You do this in order to have a much information in your shots as possible so that you can later color correct to your hearts content without quite the same loss of detail or introduction of noise.

There is a Super-flat picture style that has been circulating around the web for a while. It is fairly effective, and I even DPed a short film with it back in November. I’ve since then come to think that Super-flat throws off the white balance of the chip too much for my liking. So these days, I’m shooting with my own flat picture style I created using the Canon Picture Style Editor (for which there is a newer version available on the Canon website).

I am curious, however, to see how this new Technicolor picture style works. You can read more about it here. It is supposed to be release this Saturday, April 30th, 2011. It might be just in time for principle photography for the new short film I’m directing. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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