The Canon EOS R5 is a revolutionary camera with capabilities you never would have believed were possible a decade ago. Despite the limitations due to its overheating issue, a lot of people are dying to get their hands on one.
When your shoot is done, you’ll probably notice that although you can shoot some amazing 4K and 8K video with your brand new Canon EOS R5 that editing that video even on the fastest computer can be a bit clunky. 10-bit 4:2:2 and 8K RAW video not only take up a lot more space on your drives, they also require your computer to work a lot harder to play that material back.
But before you run off and throw away your current system, Max Yuryev has some tips that might just save you some dough.
Different video codecs work best for different things. Video camera makers custom design their codecs for fast recording, bandwidth, efficiency, and to integrate with their imaging ecosystem. Whereas, most professional computer-based video codecs are geared toward playback efficiency, color retention, and expandability.
The short answer is that this footage wasn’t necessarily designed to be directly played or edited on your computer or any computer for that matter. It is designed to store footage and metadata from that specific camera in the absolute best manner the camera hardware will allow, and hopefully be recoverable should there be any errors or file corruption.
Back in the days of magnetic tape, codecs were never an issue in post-production because footage had to be played and digitized directly.
Even with a 12-core, Vega II Mac Pro with 192GB of ram, Max has more issues playing 10-bit 4:2:2 4K H.265 footage from the Canon R5 than he does working with the 8K raw files. This is due to the fact that most graphics cards weren’t designed to playback 4:2:2 h.265 footage, and the solution is absolutely simple.
Although a lot of people think of transcoding as an unnecessary step that wastes time, or will lead to additional work relinking everything before you output your master file, transcoding can actually save you time. Whether or not you’re transcoding proxy media, converting native footage into files that are more easily processed by your computer will lead to fewer crashes, more responsive software, and even less bandwidth requirements.
Servers will run faster. Hard drives do less work. Processors won’t have as much to process. Even more, by making proxy media a part of your ingest process, you’ve made your footage more accessible and potentially small enough to dropbox over to a remote editor.
Transcoding is a win, win. Even if you have to relink the footage as a final step, you will have saved more than enough more time working in the smooth running timeline.
Max loves graphs, and you can see by the figures he has put together here that even though he has a top-of-the-line Mac Pro, the codec that Canon is using is still so new that his system is really struggling to convert those files. The best he is able to get is a 1:1 conversion.
Compared to the 10-bit 4:2:0 clips from the Panasonic, those Canon R5 files seem almost like a nightmare to read.
Imagine, however, what you’re doing to your computer by NOT transcoding the material before you start editing. The system is still struggling to read those files, but now it’s struggling ALL DAY LONG while you play your footage back and forth in the timeline. Over and over and over again.
If your turnaround as so tight that you don’t have the time to transcode over night, you can always use an external recorder to capture proxy media off of the Canon R5. This camera has the ability to record on all modes internally and simultaneously output a clean feed to an Atomos or a Blackmagic Video Assist, or you can just ditch the internal files all together and capture native ProRes.
As a bonus, this also increases the amount of time the Canon EOS R5 will run without overheating. You can read some of my other posts on the EOS R5 if you want to know more about its overheating issues.
Even though this piece is about editing Canon R5 footage, the reality is that if you have such tight turnarounds you should probably be shooting with a camera that can record ProRes internally or maybe Blackmagic RAW – it plays back incredibly quickly and is designed for native editing.
Don’t Shoot 10 bit
The Canon EOS R5 doesn’t just shoot in 8K raw and 4k 10-bit 4:2:2, you have the option of selecting 8-bit H.264 4:2:0, and that codec is absolutely something that computers are designed to play. Though, editing will still be smoother if you transcode that H.264 footage to ProRes.
However, if that solution works for you then why did you buy the Canon EOS R5 in the first place? The H.264 codec has less color information, produces more image artifacts, and gives you fewer options for color grading in post.
Edit On An iPad Pro
Apple’s A12Z Bionic chip was purposefully built to playback H.265 footage and it makes editing 4K 10-bit footage from the Canon R5 an absolute breeze. None of the issues Max was having with his $15,000 Mac Pro are present in this $800 iPad Pro.
The downside of editing on an iPad Pro (other than the fact that you’re editing on a tiny screen) is that you can’t export 8K footage or any other professional codec. However, you can output an EDL and finish things up on your desktop which is pretty neat.
I wonder if this would work as smoothly in Adobe Premiere Rush?
We’ll have to wait a little longer for computers to catch up and create graphics processors that are designed to handle H.265 10 bit footage. Apple has announced it will be ditching Intel processors and returning to making it’s own chips for its computers at the end of this year. Maybe we’ll get the same level of playback performance we’re getting on the iPad Pro.
Hopefully, this video has helped you understand why you might not be having the easiest time working with footage from the EOS R5, these are definitely some things you can do to help speed up your workflow.
Transcoding is a massively important part of editing. If you have the time, it should be the first step of your editing processes. If you don’t have time, you should make the time. You’ll edit faster with a system that isn’t lagging and struggling to play every shot you click on.
[source: Max Yuryev]
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