Transcode Digital SLR/H.264 to Apple ProRes Using Compressor (Old Version)

Note: this workflow is the highest quality and best practice to transcode/prepare H.264 footage to the codec ProRes and import it into FCP 7 and X. In the F&DM department we have the following cameras which shoot in this H.264 format: the Canon T3i, 60D, and 5D Mk II. This workflow can also be used for any camera which capture in .mov container with H.264 codec. For example: the Canon t2i, 70d, 5d mk iii, and Nikon D700. This workflow can also be used for “found footage” which is H.264 with a container of .mov or .mp4. For example, footage pulled from Youtube, Vimeo, or the iPhone 4/4s.

Step 1)

First confirm the clips you are trying to import are in fact H.264. To do this, open one of them in the program Quicktime Player, and press Command + I. This will open the inspector and allow you to confirm what the codec is under “Format”. If the files says H.264 you need to use this workflow. If the file says “ProRes” or “XDCAM”, you do not need to follow this workflow; they are ready to edit:

Step 2)
Open the program Compressor and click the Add File button:

Step 3)
A new window will open. Browse to your H.264 .mov files, select them, and click open:

Step 4)
Your clips will now queue up in the main Compressor window. Next, in the Settings tab search for “ProRes”. You will see several ProRes options appear. Drag the main “Apple ProRes 422” preset onto your clips above:

Step 5)
By default your clips will be converted and will be relocated to the folder from which they came from. If you do not want this, navigate to the “Destinations” tab and click the plus icon (). From there browse to the destination you would like, and then drag and drop this new destination onto the second column of your clips (where it says “Current”), similarly to how you added the ProRes setting to the clips earlier:

Step 6)
Press the Submit button:

Step 7)
The program will ask you for a batch name, you can give the batch name whatever you’d like. It is not important what that is called. For the other two fields, please leave them as they appear here:

Step 8)
The program will give you a status as the clips convert. Once it is completed you can quit Compressor and import them into Final Cut Pro 7 or X. Be sure to budget your time, as transcoding 1080p H.264 footage can take a long time:

Step 9)
To import the transcoded files into Final Cut Pro 7, simply navigate to File > Import > Files and select the converted clips. Alternately you can simply drag and drop the files into your “Bin.” Note that this process using Compresor replaces the need to “Log and Transfer” as you would with typical camcorders.

To import the transcoded files into Final Cut Pro X. navigate to File > Import > Media. In the window that comes up select your transcoded ProRes clips. DO NOT check “Create Optimized Media” OR “Create Proxy Media”. Both of these check boxes are unnecessary because we already converted the media to ProRes which means Final Cut Pro X can use the footage without “optimizing” it. Checking this box would create a redundant and time consuming second transcode of your footage.

You’re now ready to edit!