Canon 550D/T2i: Why not Log and Transfer?

Canon have released a plug-in to let you use Log and Transfer in Final Cut Pro. It doesn’t work out of the box with the 550D/T2i, but people have figured out  how to make it work.

I don’t recommend it. Why?

  1. It’s always a good idea to keep your original files. Metadata is important, especially if you’re building an archive for the future, especially if you have something like Final Cut Server to take immediate advantage of that metadata. It’s completely awesome to know exactly when everything was shot, automatically.
  2. You never gain quality by transcoding, and often lose something. ProRes isn’t going to lose noticeable quality, but it takes up much more space. One example: 32.2MB as shot, 86MB as ProRes. I’m not touching ProRes LT or anything else; quality is important and I try to avoid online/offline workflows wherever possible. And where’s my metadata gone?
  3. It’s possible to edit the native files if you need to save space and don’t need real-time effects. You can work in a native H.264 sequence with the native files — just be sure to set Field Dominance to None on all your clips before you start. Right-clicking lets you do them all at once, and do it before you add your first clip to a sequence and answer “yes” to the auto-conform prompt. Good for quick rough cuts or for editing long source clips down before conversion to ProRes.
  4. It’s dead simple to use a Compressor droplet to convert only the files you need. You don’t need any spare .THM files, you don’t need any kind of file structure, just the QuickTime movies that came off the memory card.

To me, it’s a miracle that we can just copy HD QuickTime movies off a disk and just play them. Why jump through all the Log and Transfer hoops we had to with AVCHD?