May 3rd, 2010

Canon E1 plugin workflow III

(This is the third in a series of articles, the others may also be of interest: Part One, Part Two, Part Three)

Here’s a third possible workflow for ingesting stills and video files, to be imported into Final Cut Pro later on using Canon’s E1 plugin… which leverages two very powerful features of Photo Mechanic (PM) – Code Replacement and Variables. I’ll assume you know what these are already, if not then scroll half-way down this page here.

The key to this one is that version 4.6 of PM added the variable: {mediatype}, which identifies the file type and gives results of: still, video, audio, meta, other. This workflow is going to separate out the stills from the video at the point of ingest in PM, and put them into a file structure that is both good for editing stills and remains compatible with the E1 plugin. I also like to keep my camera cards in separate folders, so it’ll do that too…

This workflow is possible thanks to some help from Kirk Baker, Senior Software Engineer over at Camera Bits. It is however dependent on a small change that Kirk was able to make in the application which is only implemented in the recently released PM 4.6.4 public beta 4, or later versions.

How to Set up the Photo Mechanic Code Replacement:

First, create a code replacement text document containing the mediatype variables in the left column, and the desired folder structure on the right. It’s going to look like this (the gap between columns must be a single TAB, not spaces:

Or you can download this ready-to-use one by clicking on the icon below, and tweak it as you like with any text editor:

Then, in PM, set up Code Replacements to use that document. In this example I’m using the Code Replacement delimiter symbol “=”, if you use a different one you’ll have to substitute that.

How to Set up the Photo Mechanic Ingest Settings:

What this will result in:

This will put your stills (only) into a folder structure like this:


…and your video (.MOV and their associated .THM, .XIP files) into folders like this:


If everything has been done correctly, you should end up with a folder structure looking like this:

Isn’t this all a bit overly-complicated? What’s the point?

After the initial setup, the nice thing about this workflow is that once ingested you can browse stills and video, and import video into FCP with the E1 plugin via Log and Transfer, whenever you want. For example:

1. STILLS: As soon as you’ve copied your cards you can start browsing/editing your stills, sorted by each camera card, without having to waste time looking through the video files.

2. VIDEO-BY-CARD: Whenever you want you can browse the video from each card in PM via the “Video-Disk-01”, “Video-Disk-02” folders.

3. VIDEO-FROM-ALL-CARDS: You can browse all the video from all cards that day by right-clicking on the “DCIM” folder in PM Favorites or Navigator and choosing “Open Folders and subfolders in a new contact sheet” from the contextual menu.

4. VIDEO-INTO-FCP: When you want to import video into Final Cut Pro, load up Log & Transfer and point it to the “DCIM” folder, and you’ll be able to see and import video from all the disks.

For a photographer primarily shooting stills with occasional video, this is probably the most elegant solution…


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