Using H.264 compression method for recording video files to the camera’s memory card is an ideal way for video capture in an SLR camera, such as Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 7D, EOS 60D and more, delivering relatively compact file sizes with image quality noticably superior to alternative video compressions (like Motion JPEG). However, if you try to edit H.264 in Final Cut Pro, you will find importing requires a long rendering time. And you may have got the simliar problems as below:

“I’m pretty new to the 7D post workflow. Reading through some threads, I realize it’s pretty important to convert the 7D’s footage which is natively in H.264 format to ProRes, or another codec, for quality and speed of editing purposes.”

“I have a bunch of H.264 files that I have synced in Final Cut Pro but editing the H.264 codec is awful so I was hoping to convert it all to ProRes to have an easier time editing.”

“I have 100Gb of material on H.264 shot using a Canon 5D Mark II(5dM2) camera. I want it converted to ProRes so I can do post work.”

As far as I know, H.264 is a distribution codec for finished work while ProRes is an editing codec to provide very high-quality images without taking lots of storage space. Therefore, the H.264 compression format requires to be transcoded into a format better suited to editing, effects and color grading. The Apple ProRes formats will be a nice choice. Here we need to get some help from the third-party software.

Video Converter app varies. A recommended one is Pavtube H.264 to ProRes Converter for Mac which makes the experience of rendering EOS HD video footage with Final Cut Pro as fast and seamless as possible. It supports to convert H.264 to various ProRes formats. The selectable ProRes formats supported by Pavtube H.264 Video Converter for Mac include:

Once your CF(CompactFlash) card or SD memory card is placed into a reader connected to your Mac, follow the instructure below to convert H.264 to ProRes for Final Cut Pro importing and editing flawlessly.

The Detailed Steps:

Step 1. Run the Mac H.264 to ProRes Transcoder program and add your H.264 footage into it.

Step 2: Choose the best ProRes format.
Click on “Format” drop-down list and choose “Final Cut Pro” category, you could see a profile list for FCP, including ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 (HQ), ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT), ProRes 422 (Proxy), Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) and more.

Here just select Apple ProRes 422 (LT) (*.mov) as the output format.

Tips:

1) Like Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and ProRes 422, the ProRes 422 (LT) balances incredible image quality with smaller file size and is perfect for digital broadcast environments where storage capacity and bandwidth are offen at a premium.

2) If you want to use ProRes format in offline editing workflows with Final Cut Server, the Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) is the ideal format.

3) The Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) is recommended for use with all HD workflows in Final Cut Express (FCE), iMovie and Final Cut Pro 5 (or lower).

Once getting the result ProRes files, you could easily import converted H.264 footage to Final Cut Pro for editing. Hope this article helps.

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