Canon 1D C Internal 4K Workflow
We have run many posts about the Canon 1D C and its powerful 4K in camera capture, but I have really never discussed the workflow. Many people have asked about how I am processing these huge files, and in the blog survey, you requested more about post workflow, so I thought I would go into how we roll it out. KISS (keep it simple stupid) is our mantra.
On Need for Speed, the 1D C has been our driver’s POV camera, which puts the audience right in the racer’s seat. No other camera would have been able to give us the 4K capture and small, lightweight, user-friendly nature in the restricted space. It has also been my crash cam and my go to camera on this movie. We embedded them in the small super car body frames. The versatility of Canon Log has been huge. I have been able to capture the extreme exposures of hot daylight sun while holding detail inside the car. My theory is to allow each camera to do what it does best in the field while shooting extreme action. All right, let’s get to it.
We are going to review a few options for this workflow with the goal of keeping it as simple as possible. To quote Canon’s Tim Smith in the Hollywood Reporter, “4K processes have come together in the last year, but we need more work before it is an everyday occurrence.”
How the 1D C Records 4K:
The 1D C uses a full frame CMOS sensor, but pixels are cropped to an area equivalent to an APS-H sensor – preventing the need to scale/resize and preserving the image quality. The 4K RAW output signal is debayered and converted to three 4K components which are recorded internally on to the CF card. The camera uses a Motion JPEG codec as 8-bit 4:2:2 YCbCr color sampling.
Motion JPEG employs JPEG compression, every frame in a video track is encoded as a still image. The video tracks are stored in a .mov file format. In order to work with 4K in most NLE programs, you will need to transcode it to a more manageable file size.
Canon’s 1D C site link: http://cinemaeos.usa.canon.com/products.php?type=Camera-1DC
Once you have your proxies ready, you can import them into the NLE of your choice, edit, color grade and export for final delivery.
Transcoding is the step that will require some research into the best option for your project and software/hardware capabilities. For this post, we are transcoding to ProRes HQ on a Mac. Since ProRes is not native to Windows, some other options PC users can explore are Avid DNxHD, Cineform, and Canopus HQ /HQX.
Here’s a quick overview to transcode your files using Apple’s Compressor:
Open Compressor and add files:
Under the settings tab-navigate to the ProRes HQ option:
Create your custom settings in the Inspector window:
Under Destinations Tab- where you will save the files to and drag up to Batch Window:
Drag and drop your settings to the batch window:
Hit submit to process:
Your files are transcoded and ready to import into the NLE application.
There are a variety of other applications that you can use to transcode. You’ll have to decide between the advantages/disadvantages of each for your project. Here are a few options listed below:
MPEG Streamclip (squared5.com): Mac/Windows – Be aware that timecode will be stripped.
Ffmpeg: (FFmpeg .org): Mac/Windows – You will need to add the ProRes encode and batch processing.
Adobe Media Encoder: Mac/Windows – 1D C footage may be slightly softer.
5D to RGB: rarevision.com – Lite is free/donation. iTunes App store is $49.99 High quality batch transcoder; latest version has a 1D C fix.
For Mac users, another interesting option is Automator, which was first released with Mac OS X Tiger (10.4). Here is a screen shot of the set-up. A search on the internet offers tutorials for the application.
Your next step is into import the proxy files into your NLE application. In our example, we have imported the proxy files into a new Premiere Pro CS project.
Once you have all your proxy media imported and you have completed your edits, you could send to Speedgrade for color grading or export as an XML, which can then be imported into other applications for finishing.
From Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro 7, you can export your project using the XML option and conform in DaVinci Resolve. Aside from its exceptional color correction tools, you will have the ability to deliver your final project in 4K (full software version only).
ProRes HQ vs ProRes:
Depending on your preference and storage capabilities, you can transcode your 4K footage to either codec. To the naked eye, it is extremely difficult to detect the image difference. Apple’s whitepaper offers this comparison:
“Users may select either the ProRes 422 or ProRes 422 HQ quality setting. Both settings feature HD quality that is indistinguishable from the original, even after many generations of re-encoding. Normal ProRes 422 provides excellent preservation of either 8-bit or 10-bit source quality at an economical bit rate. ProRes 422 HQ offers even greater headroom to preserve the quality of even the most demanding, complex material with no visible artifacts.”
Tips for shooting with the 1D C that may assist in workflow:
1 – Be sure to plan ahead for the necessary media requirements. Both 4K and ProRes HQ need lots of hard drive space.
2 – When shooting in CLog, keep your ISO between 100 and 6400 to prevent banding/blocking. 400 ISO is the preferred ISO to get the most dynamic range out of the camera. I find that anything over 4000 ISO starts to lose serious color information. The 8 BIT color space seems to drop to 4 BIT. Try to overexpose this camera about 1/3 of a stop. This camera loves light, unlike the 5D where you have to underexpose the sensor and starve it of light.
3 – Use fast CF cards – UDMA 7 and at least 1000mps. I found the Hoodman cards to be the most reliable to date.
4 – Watch rolling shutter with this camera. It seems to have more than a 5D MK II or III. The camera can easily moiré, so all the pitfalls of a DSLR hold true with this camera. Shoot with all of them in mind.
For additional information on the 1D C, check out our previous tests.
Buy the Canon 1DC:
B&H – Adorama
Thank for the post, how do you overexpose with Canon Log? I find the highlight in Canon Log is often blown out in a nasty way if overexposed.
Lucas, yes it does blow out in a horrible way. I am saying just to over expose 1/3 of a stop
Great info Shane. I’m still refining my 4k workflow. Some people render directly to 4k ProRes and then throw out their masters. I’m also experimenting with using Resolve for my original ingest, the advantage being that any custom metadata you tag files with is saved with your renders, unlike say FCPX which saves metadata as project only based info. I’m constantly amazed at the quality of the images am getting with this camera, even when shooting at 64000 ISO and higher. One test shot from a recent project
Jim Bachalo, thanks for the kind words. That shot is awesome. This camera has a 3 dimensional quality like no other. I cannot put my finger on it, but your test is a perfect example.
Shane, thanks for this post! I am in Haiti as I type this shooting a doc with the 1dc. I am loving the look of this camera and enjoy using it a lot. This post came at the perfect timing as I am now about to start editing the piece while I am still here! I still honestly dont know what to think about this camera. The image out of it is amazing but I miss the helpful tools that come with the other Canon cinema cameras like peaking, ND’s, etc. It truly is a confusing little camera and it sure is a one of a kind…but I LOVE IT! :)
going through the footage and boosting in post it is helpful for me to see that i need to overexpose a 1/3rd stop. i totally can see what you are talking about. very interesting…
thank you so much for your help and dedication to the film industry!
Dave Altizer, You are very welcome. I love the look and feel of this camera. I am glad you are happy with it as well. Yes their are quirks to it, that is why it is a DSLR, quirks come with the package unfortunately for the size. Thanks for the kind words.
ProRes is available on Windows.
I use a software called Cinec to create my proxies.
Everything works fine on Premiere Pro CS6.
Thanks for your comment, Yann. We’ve updated the post to note that ProRes is not native to Windows, rather than not available.
Anyway, thanks for the workflow.
Interesting overview, thanks Shane.
After some detailed testing, I’m finding the headroom for overexposure much lower than expected (in comparison with the camera shooting RAW stills). It is OK in C-Log, but for anyone using something like Stu’s ProLost flat settings, I would suggest that +1/3 is not ideal. Depending on the scene, I might suggest erring towards -1/3
Red Giant’s new BulletProof app is shaping up well in public beta and transcodes the 1Dc files well. There is also a (beta) LUT, specifically designed to decode C-Log and the result is a good looking file.
Now all we want is RAW, 4k output from the HDMI and a decent 1080 50/60p
Nick WB– Thanks for your support. Good to hear you are have success with Red Giant’s BulletProof, we are in the process of testing it.
Thanks for the great workflow overview. I do have a couple of questions though. The first is you have chose the preset for Pro Res for Interlaced material, rather than for progressive material – is there are particular reason for this?
Also, how do you you get your 4096×2160 image down to 1920×1080, without it looking stretched? I have been converting my 4K footage to 2048×1080, which is the correct proportional scale. Do you crop the image on conversion or is there something I am missing?
Not trying to be a pain, just want to make sure I’m doing things right.
Thanks in advance
Adam-thanks for your support and questions. The example was just to show where to navigate to find the ProRes HQ settings in Compressor. Progressive/Interlace is another choice to make based on project specifics and final delivery. The custom settings in Compressor allows you to crop, scale or pad.
Thanks again for the great posts Shane!! Hope shooting is going well, can’t wait to see some of your images from the c500.
Daniel Friedberg, you are very welcome. The C500 is kicking ass and taking names
Thanks shane , your an inspiration as a DP .
Manoj, thank you for your kind words
Thanks,his helps me to understanding some industrial standard workflow. I have a small question: wouldn’t compressing all 4K motion jpeg into 1080P lose the qualities? According to Adobe, Premiere currently has its abilities to edit 4K/5K materials fluently. Thanx for answering.
Hi Nick- Yes, there would be a slight loss in quality, but this was for the sake of having enough storage space for the huge file sizes. While both After Effects and Premiere can handle 4K natively, you would need a very powerful set-up to work this way. The final delivery of the project i.e. how it will be used, projected etc, would assist in making the right choices for workflow options.
Hello shane , i dropped anne an email to set up a meeting with you as you told me to do but there is no reply , when i desired to intern you , on one of your blog , i am from India and i follow you on your blog which helped me immensely and like your cinematography personally , right now i am in burbank CA , please let know if we can meet , thanks.
Manoj Narula, I am sorry that Anne did not get back to you. I am in Moab Utah finishing up Need For Speed. Won’t be back in LA till late July
This is the best post I have seen on the web, regarding the work flow of 4K files in post filming. After buying the 1DC in March, I tried to edit the hours of footage I have taken (I use a early 2011 MBP a CS5.5) without much success. I end up spending days to upload the file to youtube to edit. I read about transcoding to ProRes from a few forums just not much detail on the full work flow. So am I correct that no one work directly on the MOV file? Also wonder what notebook or workstation are you using to work on the 1DC mov files? IS the new 15″ Retina OK, I want to wait till that new apple deep fryer come before I buy a workstation.
David Hung- You can work natively in some NLE programs but the issues you encounter with the large file sizes is the ability to work in realtime with your footage and storage requirements. Transcoding your footage first is an easier way to deal with it. Check out DaVinci Resolve which handles 4K. You can download the Lite version for free and review their configuration manual to get an idea of the requirements to run an application like that. It’s difficult to recommend a workstation, not knowing the types of projects you will be involved in. Something that is 1-5 minutes long could be handled on laptop with the right configuration, longer projects with motion graphics or effects would need some power behind it. Research the requirements to run your software and check out Apple forums that have similar questions. The 1 DC offers different recording functions-does your project need to be 4K?
It was really a nice help in context of preparing myself for 1DC shoot.
I tried 4K Motion jpeg (native) in DaVinci Resolve (4K compatible). But it was not very successful. Images are not performing smoothly where as the Red Epic 5K files performs perfect in same DaVinci console. Then I converted the 1DC 4K files to ProRes4444 keeping resolution as 4K. Still it was not a happy situation in DaVinci Resolve. Do you suggest me to go for ProRes422 HQ for the solution? Please keep in mind that I’m planning to shoot a feature film with this camera.
Mrinmoy Nandi, I shot Need for Speed which will be in 12,000 theaters on March 2014 with this camera. I think it will hold up my friend
Muchas gracias amigo!!! Grettings from México!!!
This is an awesome tutorial :)
Santiago Arau, you are very welcome.
Great article and write up on this camera. I am going to move from a 5dmk2 to this with the purpose of using the 4K to produce/direct films, with a great crew of dedicated people, that can stand up to Hollywood! I recently moved to LA to pursue post-grad at UCLA Extension and will use the 1dC in classes as well as projects I am self-funding. Do you think it is worthy to get this? I edit with Adobe CS5/FCP 7 and FCP 10 on a MacBook Pro. I definitely see the value in investing into a bigger Mac and More Hard drives/Memory cards if the 1dC is truly worth it. I would appreciate any feedback you can give, thank you.
Stefan, this camera is truly unbelievable. It has all the quirks of a DSLR, but the image is so three-dimensional, so hard to describe but I have not seen anything like it.
Your work is amazing is amazing and your web site helps indie film makers like me so much.
When shooting with the 1DC, what do you find to be the IRE sweet spot on a waveform monitor for properly exposing skin tones in C-Log? I was told by others that skin tones should read around 32-38 IRE, but that sounds quite low.
Thank you in advance.
Nick James, Thank you for your kind words. I don’t use any IRE levels. Everything is to my eye off of the back LCD screen or an AC-7 OLED Small HD display. Sorry but never went for nay of the waveforms or Histograms.
WOW great information, Thanks a lot for this info here it really makes us feel that we are in the right direction. We started with video after closing our Online Portal in México and people started asking us to do video fro their business and there we started, a simple canon Camcorder, them 7D and them 5D2 and 5D3. 3 Years pass and now we are getting better and more demanding projects so we are looking into the 1DC. I am a bit worry about the amount of space need it for this 4K quality and resolution but Here we go.
thanks a lot for your work man, we really appreciate it, you just help me decide to get the 1DC for my next project. I will share our experiences with you here.
God Bless You
Frank Suero, that is so great to hear. Keep killing it and look forward to you sharing what you are up to. Thanks again for all the support
Great post. It’s taken me ages to find a good post on workflow for the 1DC and this is really helpful. Thank you. I have a couple of quick questions as I still cannot get my head around proxies and how to achieve this workflow.
So I film in 4K and end up with lots of 4K MJPEG files ready to go to edit. Ultimately I will be delivering in 1080p but want to be able to use the 4K to produce a great 1080p image and also keep the ability to reframe/compose the shot using the 4K resolution. I am editing in Premiere Pro CC on a well powered MacPro (Mid 2012 12 core; 32 GB Ram; Internal HDD Raid; Nvidia GEForce GTX680 with 2GB) as well.
Previously, I have transcoded to ProRes 422 HQ maintaing resolution of 4K then imported this into my NLE and put into 1080p timeline and scaled to 50%. This does not play back that smooth without me rendering it first. I suppose if I dropped the playback resolution to 1/2 speed then this would essentially be 1080? Anyway, is a proxy basically a smaller version of the original media that fits the capabilities of the system I am editing on? Should I maintain the resolution where possible if I do want to reframe so perhaps opt for a 4K ProRes LT proxy to edit with? When it comes to relinking the media to the original 4K MJPEG media, do I simply offline the clips in the timeline and then get Premiere to relink to original media? I have heard that this can cause issues with in and out points created in the edit.
Apologies for all the questions any advice would be really gratefully received. BTW, loved your work on Act of Valor!
Alex Cameron- Thank you for your comments and questions. The use of proxies is to create files that are a more manageable file size. If you look at our example in this post the 1DC footage used came in at 4.08GB and after the transcoding process was reduce to 1.43GB.
High compression and high data rate can effect the playback in Premiere Pro. By setting playback resolution to a lower value it should be smooth playback. You can also set the pause resolution to Full. This way you can check your details like focus etc. Use this method when reframing.
Adobe offers excellent online help and I would recommend this section on relinking in Premiere Pro: http://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/relinking-media.html
As a professional DP, I would like to add- while being able to reframe a 4K image in a 1080p timeline is an option, you are putting in a lot of work to throw away a huge portion of your image. Composition is a key skill for any filmmaker/photographer and I feel it is something you should create in that moment of capturing your image. It can be slippery slope to shoot knowing you can reframe everything in post…just my two cents.
I am really stuck on deep color.
5dMk3 ML hack has color I like
Red has color I like
But I don’t find 8 bit 4:2:2 has the rich color I crave
Just saw need for speed 3d – fabulous
Hope you got to test drive some of the rides ;)
Normally don’t like postconverted 3D but this was great – probably helped reduce the ‘hurl factor’ on quick pans ;)
Anyway – for indie filmaker woh is on a budget – would be really nice to have one camera that could be used for cover quality photos and also cinema quality film.
1D is a little pricey (just under cost of bare bones equipped Scarlet X) – did you find 8bit 4:2:2 was enough to get cinema results? I have found 8bit and 4:2:2 provide very narrow range of cinema quality exposure – and I like natural light when possible.
So maybe in an upcoming post you can compare different combinations for rich color and high frame rates. Right now I rent an Epic if I want great color (of course I can still screw it up ;). I have doen some shots with hacked 5DMk3 and it is nice, just not 4K (and lots of CF cards to DIT).
Seems 1D would not be big improvement (educate me), maybe same for BMCC.
Mick Finn- Interesting question, I think the 1DC does this very well but yes, it is not an inexpensive investment. Australian Filmmaker Abraham Joffe captures stills from video with this camera – this link offers insight on that process: http://bit.ly/1hm4WZS
I personally do not worry about what the bit depth of a camera is. We used the 1DC on “Need for Speed” and we had beautiful results.
Aside from that I think Sony has some great cameras in a variety of price ranges – the video is Full HD. These cameras perform very well in natural light, as you mentioned you liked. Look at their Alpha mirrorless camera lines such as the a7 or the new 7s w/4K output.
You could explore the Blackmagic Pocket Camera since it records DNG. With the use of the ACR filter feature in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC and video support – there are possibilities there.
You mention that the image may get softer in Adobe Media Encoder – care to elaborate why or where you got that from? I Have not observed this fact, although then again i have not worked with 4k Jpeg footage yet.
Thanks, great article as usual.
frank T – Thanks for your question. This comment was specific to the camera and not the 4K format in general. Different cameras that can record 4K produce the format differently and those variations can directly effect your workflow. Since this blog post was written almost a year ago there have been both camera firmware and Adobe Creative Cloud software updates and improvements.
Are there any Cf card recommendations you have in using this camera? Did you use Lexar, Sandisk or which high speed card?
Chad, LEXAR proved to be very successful
Chad, We loved the Lexar 1000 speed 64GB
Does anyone know where I can download a good LUT for the 1DC C-Log footage which would work with the FCPX LUT Utility? There is a LUT in the utility but it gives a very contrasty picture and we have to dial it down to 50% to make the picture acceptable. Has anyone done a better job at creating a LUT for this camera?
Geko, I light off of the back LCD screen with View assist on, the only way I have found to work well, the view assist is way too contrasty on a monitor. No LUT, so sorry
I am from Pune,India. I watch all your videos on net and they are always very helpful.
I am shooting my first feature film as a cinematographer. Its a complete out door shoot in a village environment in a bright sunny day.(temperature around 38 degrees).
I am planning to shoot on canon 1 dc because our film budget is low and entire film demands a small size camera. so I am not opting from red epic or alexa. We have some long sequences in our film which goes up than 1 minute.
Now my concern is 1dc splits file into 2 after 1 min of recording. I think this is causing a frame lag when it splits the file. This frame lag happens when the camera is not static. I want to know your view on this issue.
Awaiting your reply.
Thanks and Regards,
dhaval ganbote, That camera will make you shine bright. I love the look and feel of the IDC. No problem with the splitting of the files. I never had any problems on The Ticket or on Need For Speed. You should be all good to go, their is a program that Canon supplies now to thread them together.
Hi Shane, first and foremost your work is phenomenal, I mean sincerely awesome!!!
I have been following this post on your 1DC workflow and it has provided great insight for me. Im a 1DC owner and I would like to get your most recent suggestions on working with motion Jpeg files natively. Premiere Pro CC 2014 allows you to work natively with 1DC files but they still don’t playback smooth and you would hope they would. I have a 2013 6 core MacPro, 32 gigs ram and dual FirePro D700 graphic cards and I’m editing off of the Lacie Thunderbolt 2 raid SSD drive and it still won’t play smooth every time, If i render it, then it will play smooth or if I transcode the files to a 4096×2160 ProRes file, it will play smooth as well. But I’m not understanding why the Motion Jpeg file doesn’t play nice with the NLE’s especially when they state they can work natively. Working natively is one thing but being able to play them is another. Have you found any updated success on natively working with these files? Oh and one again your work is AWESOME!!!!!
Hey there, thanks a lot for the post.
Is it possible with the 1DC to record uncompressed 4K on a shogun for example ?