Transcoding – the truth!

I’ve just been running some transcoding tests to compare the speed of Canon’s EOS plugin E1 for Final Cut against MPEG Streamclip and it’s made me realise just how slow this job is in comparison to working with something the the Sony XDCAM-EX format.

As you can see in the DSLR workflow article I just wrote the actual workflow is very similar between the two types of camera when it comes to importing footage now that Canon has released their E1 plugin. In essence the plugin works identically to the XDCAM-EX version from Sony.

To give you an idea of the speed difference between MPEG Streamclip and the Canon EOS plugin E1 I ran a quick test using a 5 minute 16 second 5D2 file on my Mac Pro. To be fair this mac is getting towards the end of it’s lifespan but it’s a quad core 2.66Ghz machine with 8GB RAM so still fairly beefy.

You can see that MPEG Streamclip transcoded this clip in 7:38 whereas the E1 plugin took 10:27.

However compare this to a 5:24 import of an XDCAM-EX clip from my EX1 and you see a very big difference indeed…

Yes that’s right, over 5 minutes of XDCAM-EX imports in just under a minute. It’s interesting because the ingest speed was one of the biggest factors that made a solid state workflow seem so much better than tape. Being able to import at high speed is a massive benefit of the XDCAM-EX system.

It’s amazing how quickly we forget the importance of this with our flashy new DSLR’s where we’re importing our solid state files at double the amount of time it actually took us to shoot the footage!

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2 Responses

  1. laurent says:

    I m starting to hear the distant trumpets of the end of DSLR fancyness coming … However, wouldnt those DSLR codec problems be discarded if recording directly from the mini-HDMI output in a Nanoflash (this recorder by Convergent Design) instead of CF cards? 220 mbps for grading and stuff + no hassle in converting the rushes methinks..

    • Paul Joy says:

      Yes, if that day comes then workflow efficiency and image quality will make a huge leap forward.

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