Canon 7D / 5D Mark II Tips – HD video editing the easy way

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I am a Photographer experimenting with video, not the other way around. When I started thinking about editing video from my Canon 7D, I first thought of Adobe Premiere Pro.  I have an old version which I used for a project a few years back.  I would love to also get Adobe After Effects.   Since Adobe moved into the Suite system, it has become ridiculously expensive to upgrade their software.  I already have CS4 Design Premium and to purchase an upgrade to CS4 Production Premium, it would cost $1200!  No wonder they are having such an issue with software piracy.

I started looking for alternatives. I read about all of the problems associated with using Canon 5D Mark II video on  Slow processing, nightmare crashes, having to use proxy files, etc.  Many 5DII users convert their video using Cineform’s Neoscene before importing it into Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro and Final Cut.  That’s an additional step which costs $130 ON TOP of the cost for the video editing software!

Finally, I found Pinnacle’s new Studio HD Ultimate.  This new release is version 14, and since Pinnacle is a Avid company, it’s very polished.  Best yet, it is the only video software package which can directly import Canon 5D Mark II and 7D video without the need for additional conversion.  That’s right, it imported my 1920x1080p, 24 fps video without any problems.  It’s also around $100! For an extra $30, you can get the Studio HD Ultimate Collection which includes some great plugins as well as a real Chroma Key green screen.  Pinnacle offer some great video tutorials right on their website covering most of Studio HD’s features.


I have created two videos so far and posted them on YouTube.  I really love the way this one came out using multiple video clips, photos, transitions and even an audio track.  I’m impressed, see for yourself.

NOTE: I have added an additional article called Tips on Editing HD Video with Studio HD.



My Full Year with the Canon 7D

Premiere Pro CS5 & 7D HD-Video the Easy Way

Canon 7D Tips – Shooting both Stills & HD-Video with One Camera

Flip the Magic Button to Jump Between HD-Video and Still Photography

Still Video Image or Camera Raw on Canon 7D

Canon 7D – Tips on Shooting Time Lapse Video

Canon 7D – Tips on Creating/Editing Time Lapse Video

Canon 7D Tips – Image Stablization Video Comparison

Canon 7D / 5D Mark II Tips – HD video editing the easy way


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77 Replies to “Canon 7D / 5D Mark II Tips – HD video editing the easy way”

  1. — I just checked Studio HD Ultimate and they don’t mention the MOV format as being supported. How did you get this to work?
    — Once you did import the MOV file, could you do normal video editing as with other formats?
    — Could you strip the audio from a 7D video MOV file and create a separate mp3 audio file?
    Thanks, dan

  2. My 7D videos are .MOV files. Studio HD imports them without a problem. Studio HD makes it very easy to edit, mix and combine files. Friday’s post is a new video recorded at PhotoPlus Expo. It is easy to reduce the volume of the video files (even muting it completely). You can import external MP3 files and use them as either audio or background music.

  3. I have been exporting HD video as MPEG-2 1920x1080p. This format works well for YouTube. You can output to AVI. The default AVI setting is 720×480 using MPREG compression. You can customize the output settings if you know what you are doing. But, I avoid tinkering with those settings after accidentally creating a file that could not be played.

  4. It sounds like you are using the 7D and not the 5D Mk II to capture the original video. As a 5D owner my research has found that its video, unlike the 7D, is a real 30fps and not the industry standard 29.97 fps. NLE (non-linear editing) software seems to have problems with 5D MOVs and eventual audio synch problems exist. A tutorial at: suggests using the free MPEG Streamclip to transcode 5D MOV files first. That tutorial uses Final Cut Pro. Since I have used Pinnacle Studio for years I would like to know if anyone has been successful editing the 5D MOV files. This could be a direct Pinnacle edit or one involving the extra step with Streamclip or any other solution. Thanks.

  5. I have been using Studio HD to edit video from my Canon 7D. When I wrote this article, the Pinnacle website talked about the fact that it was the only over-the-shelf video editing package which allow you to directly import video from the Canon 5D Mark II without converting it first. I could not first that reference now on the site, probably because there are other software packages which can do the import now. To be sure, please contact Pinnacle.

  6. Can I ask what type of system am I looking at getting in order to edit using pinnacle studio. I am a novice who would like to edit home video of my kids from my 7d.

    I am looking at a quad core 8300 which I notice is 2.5 ghz, 8gb DDR3, 512 Nvidia, a little below what was recommended. Will it still render video in 1920?

    I want to spend on a decent computer, but the camera investment seems to cost more than I wanted. If I have to spend, I will do so.

  7. The system requirements for Pinnacle HD Studio are relatively low, even for HD video:
    * Windows® 7, Windows Vista® (SP2),Windows XP (SP3)
    * Intel® Pentium® or AMD Athlon™ 1.8 GHz (2.4 GHz or higher recommended) – Intel Core™ 2 or i7 2.4 GHz required for AVCHD* (2.66 GHz for AVCHD* 1920)
    * 1 GB system memory recommended, 2 GB required for AVCHD*
    * DirectX® 9 or 10 compatible graphics card with 64 MB (128 MB or higher recommended) – 256 MB required for HD and AVCHD*
    * DirectX 9 or higher compatible sound card
    * 3.3 GB of disk space
    * DVD-ROM drive to install software
    * Accessory:
    o CD burner for creating Video CDs or Super Video CDs (S-VCDs)
    o DVD burner for creating DVD and AVCHD* discs
    o Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray discs*
    o Sound card with surround sound output required for preview of surround sound mixes*

  8. I just shot my first HD video with a Canon 7D and built a finished product with Studio HD Ultimate 14 (the same program people seem to be talking about.)

    I’m running under Windows 7 (which is really nice). Studio is pretty fast, but the faster the machine the better. I can see that disk space is an issue too.

    I’ve used some previous versions of Studio and this one is the best. They have fixed a lot of little things and it has been very stable.

  9. I’ve been super frustrated with the native formats in 7D and the 5DII. Like you Im a photographer experimenting in videography and Premiere was so slow I thought my brand new PC was messed up! Turns out this was the problem. I hope Pinnacle has a trial, I’d like to test before I purchase. Thanks!

  10. Great site! Question…Pinnacle 14 can download directly from the camera in .avi? Doing the conversion as it uploads? I found neoscene a pain cus I still had to download mov convert and erase the mov, although the conversion gamma curve improves the look a little, thanks.

  11. The 7D (and the 5D Mark II, Rebel T1i as well as the new 1D Mark IV) use MOV files not AVI files. You could probably use the import function in Pinnacle to pull the movie files directly from the camera. However, I don’t chance corrupting the files. My SOP is to pull the card from the camera, put it in a high-speed reader, and copy the folder as a whole to my RAID drive. Once they are done copying, I import them into Studio HD without converting (neoscene is not needed).

  12. Hello photoframd, I am in desperate need of sound advice on recording 1080p on my 7D…. I shot some footage at 1080p, Im assuming by setting it to 1080p means HD, no other settings. I plug in my CF to my reader, at the moment its usb, just ordered a firewire 800… I simply imported the mov file to my desktop, and it looks very choppy, not high def at all… not sure what the problems could be.. whats the lowest speed cf that can be used? and how can I get my footage to look as HD as yours.. thank you.. please e-mail me, as well as anybody else who responds, Im not sure if I will get a notice when somebody posts something.. thank you.

  13. First, I would copy the file directly to your computer. USB/Firewire will not matter. Just pop the CompactFlash card into a card reader and copy the file over.

    Do you have Nero installed on your computer? There is a file from Nero which causes a conflict when playing the Canon 7D HD video. Read my article here.

  14. I’m new to video and have been having problems trying to make a DVD that I can watch on my home dvd player from footage that I have taken w/ my 7D. Whats the best way to do that?

  15. What software are you using to burn the DVD? Try writing the DVD (either a DVD+R or DVD-R) and be sure to finalize it. Then it should be compatible with your home DVD player. If the DVD is not finalized, it will not be readable.

    Not all home DVD players support for re-writable DVD formats like DVD+RW and DVD-RW.

  16. Am also struggling with what video editing software to use with my 7D. The software that came with it is fine but I would like other text/transition options and the ability to do slow motion. I am not a professional, I just want to put together some fabulous home movies to share. Also, for me, I am PC based and the avi format definitely looks better. Any thoughts?

  17. Did you look at Pinnacle Studio HD? It runs on a PC and has features which compare to much more expensive software programs. Take a look at my videos on YouTube and Vimeo. The results are very professional. AVI is not going to be very efficient for HD Video. The files are much larger that the MPG format.

  18. Thank you for all the great information on this site!

    Can you explain to me what you mean by not being able to edit in the software program before converting the video from the camera?

    I purchased the 7D a few months ago and my SOP is to load it to my computer and then I import it into whatever program I’m using. I’ve used iMovie, Final Cut, and Premiere to edit. All of them accept the files just fine although I can’t import them directly into the editing program.

    Is that what you mean? Not being able to directly import? I’m trying to figure all this out, just came across your site, and you have amazingly helpful information on here! Thank you!


  19. Thanks for the comments!

    I am guessing that you use Cineform’s Neoscene to convert the 7D video files. You are probably also creating proxy files to speed up editing and working with the timeline. Studio HD makes both of these steps unnecessary. No need to convert and no need for proxy files. Studio HD imports both the 7D & 5DII video files directly. That’s why I love this program. The fact that it is around $100 is great too 😉 Unfortunately, it is only available for Windows so you would need to run it through Virtual PC or something similar.

  20. I am most interested in Studio HD Ultimate Collection and I appreciate your review and opinions. I would appreciate your comments on two specific subjects that have come up in a good number of other reviews I have accessed: 1.) There are a overwhelming number of users of this, and previous versions, that regard Pinnacle totally lacking in the area of Customer Support and, 2.) That an inordinate number of people are reporting “freezes” and program “crashes” on well equipped and newer computers (most, but definitely not all, running WIN7)… On the Amazon site alone about half the 40+ people writing reviews indicated that the program was unstable. Years ago I used ULead and a coouple of other programs for video so I am not totally ignorant in the field… Studio appears to be just what I am looking for but am am a bit concerned about the Support Policies and performance issues.

  21. Yes, I do have Studio HD Ultimate Collection and I have not had any problems with freezing or crashes. It has performed very well and has been very stable. I am running it on a XP64 workstation with plenty of CPU power, RAM and hard drive space. The program will need a sufficient amount of Ram and hard drive space.

    As for Pinnacle’s Customer Support, it seems to be fully supported by an offshore (non-US) team. I have placed several questions by phone and by their support forum and found the results mixed. Pinnacle does offer a DVD/download of detailed training videos which should cover 90% of the tasks you will need. But, something out of the ordinary like importing still photos for a time-lapse animation, took several rounds through a very dense support rep. However, once he did understand the question and the desired outcome, he did suggest the appropriate solution. (I did document this incident on my blog.)

    Even with all that said, considering Studio HD Ultimate Collection is available for just over $100, it is a bargain that easily compares to programs costing significantly more.

  22. Hmmm … I just asked one of my Facebook contacts who is a Vegas pro about that. He said that Vegas will import the 7D files, but in order to playback smoothly within Vegas, it is better to convert the files with Cineform.

  23. thanks for this info. Luckily, for those of us who already use Premiere and are familiar with it, CS5 fixes all the issues. My 7D footage, which was virtually unwatchable, let alone editable, in CS4, now runs smooth as silk in CS5, CS5 media encoder is way better too, with the option to export with the original settings, and even vimeo export options, which takes alot of time and guesswork out. CS5 is what CS4 and even CS3 should have been. If you abandoned Premiere because of these issues in the past, it’s now ok to return.

  24. That is good to know. I just pulled in a 7D native movie clip to Premiere CS5 just to test (no conversions). No problems! Both the video playback and audio track were smooth. It could explain Adobe’s push for a true 64-bit program.

  25. playback of 7d files with vegas movie studio is flawless on my computer. i have had no problems with the program recognizing the 7d files and there has been no need ot convert them.

  26. I purchased Studio Ultimate 14 HD as you recommended and it is an easy program to learn and use. I am not sure what I am missing with other software options (Sony Vegas). I did need to upgrade my computer to stop the crashes and now there are not those issues. The only question I have, which may cause me to try other software programs, is that the result after I ‘Make Movie’ is not very HD. My project preferences are set for New Projects at HD 1920×1080/24p which is the same I shoot at with my Canon 7D. My settings for the ‘Make Movie-file’ are Resolution -HD 1080p, Frame Rate -Custom to 24 frames/sec, Data rate 4000 Kbits/sec. Some of the footage looks good while other clips are not good even though the settings are the same including my shooting speed. See my clip -in particular, the kayaks on the water. That is no HD quality footage… Is Pinnacle ‘lossless’? or do I need to upgrade to Sony Vegas and deal with the conversions to get footage that will look great burned to a DVD and played on a 63 inch 1080p television? Thanks for any input.

  27. Well, how does it look when you play it on your computer?

    You are correct that the Vimeo movie is not being played back at 1080p. That is because you are NOT a Vimeo PLUS member. Only the paying PLUS members get the full 1080p playback. Try uploading it to YouTube. The first pass playback will be very low quality, but typically within an hour, YouTube will make the 1080p version available.

    Even it you do pay for the PLUS membership, Vimeo by default plays the video back at 720p. You need to go into the Settings for that video and click on the Video File Tab and check Display this video in 1080p.

    Take a look at some of my recent videos. I provide both the Vimeo HD & YouTube HD enabled clips for comparison.

  28. Thanks for the response -you are correct about Vimeo but it looks the same when I save and play it from my hard drive. Other programs allow for a double pass process when making the movie. I assume this assembles more data for better quality? What I dont get is that some of the footage looks fine while others dont. Have you tried Sony Vegas or other software for comparison or am I still doing something wrong? Thanks

  29. Oh, also, when I do a full screen preview right from the Pinnacle software it looks great. It is only after I make the movie and export it does it not look as good…

  30. A couple things. Take a look at my article on Tips on Editing HD Video. Look at 3. Create the Movie Output and match those settings exactly. (It should be the default preset for HD 1080/24p.) I found that those setting look best for Vimeo & YouTube. It is very dangerous to tweak those settings since you can waste time creating a video that can not be played.

    Do you have Nero on your computer? I found that a Nero component was interfering with the playback and eventually started to crash the Windows Media Player.

    It could still be a playback issue on your computer. Windows XP & Vista do not play H.264 encoded video very smoothly. Windows 7 is great. (Windows 7 media player is much better and properly play H.264-encoded video.) Before I upgrade to Windows 7, I found that my videos actually looked better when played back in Studio HD than on the desktop. The videos looked much better when I uploaded them to YouTube/Vimeo because those sites re-encoded the videos for streaming through the web. Both YouTube and Vimeo have released their second generations of the 1080p encoding and they look great online.

    One of my Facebook Friends swears by Sony Vegas, but he is looking to jump to Premiere CS5 very soon. In fact, my latest two videos were both created with Premiere CS5 which works great with Windows 7 64-bit and Canon 7D HD-video.

    Hope this helps.

  31. Thanks -I will look at those settings. My new computer is screaming fast. Windows 7, i7 processor, 8gig ram, supposedly the second fastest machine from Dell… so I know the computer should be fine. The main thing for me is the final viewing on my computer or what it looks like when burned to DVD or Blu-ray. Vimeo or Youtube is just a quick way to share but I was hoping for HD like I see from satellite on my tv…

  32. Update -I had been adjusting the ‘settings’ tab per other recommendations but if I just use the presets as you suggested, the output video looks great. Thats what I get for trying to over complicate things… Thanks for your help!

  33. Glad to hear it worked! I fooled around with those settings too when I first started and wasted a lot of time generating a video my computer could not play. The presets work best!

  34. I shot my first video yesterday with my Canon 5d mk 2. My problem is my computers OS is windows XP 64( not Vista or windows7 ). I chose this to maximize Adobe CS4 extended. But Canon has no software for this OS to edit video. Recommendations? Needs to be simple as I am lol.

  35. And why haven’t you come by sooner??? I think we were the only poor souls still using XP64! I just upgraded to Windows 7 64-bit this past month to allow for Premiere CS5 & After Effects CS5 on my workstation. I was very annoyed that Adobe chose not to support XP64 with the 64-bit versions of PR & AE.

    Anyway, Studio HD Ultimate is a great choice for you. It works great on XP64. All of my older videos were made using this combo. I would also recommend purchasing Pinnacle’s video tutorial series. It covers EVERYTHING that you will need to know and really makes the whole process simple. The free videos are good but rushed. The full (paid) tutorial series is much more thorough and will guide you the entire way. But, before you buy anything, take a look at the “Special Offers” on Pinnacle’s site because they have really good bundles available.

  36. Thank you so much. It was a PIA to find and download drivers, programs, and software supporting x64.

  37. Well, moving to Windows 7 64-bit is a HUGE improvement assuming you can download drivers, programs, and software to support your existing hardware. Oh…wait a minute 😉 My RAID horror story says it all. But, my workstation has never been faster.

  38. Thats what makes me hesitant to switch OS. I have a custom computer in an Antec server case with 4 one tb hard drives. It is set up in raid 10, first 2 in raid 0 and other 2 in raid 1 to mirror and back up. Its a beast with quad processor and 8 gb of ram. Its lightning fast and so far have been able to overcome all challenges. CS4 runs fast and smooth. I am also disappointed in Canon for also not supporting x64 in so much of their software. I researched Studio HD Ult and it looks like a good program for me.

  39. I am struggling to find anything that will allow me to edit 550D/T2i 640×480 50fps videos maintaining the original quality. After reading this, I have downloaded the trial of Pinnacle Studio Ultimate, and I do like it. However, the output quality, whilst good, is definitely degraded from the out-of-camera MOV files. I tried all output options I could find that allowed 640×480 50fps output – the best was MPEG4, Custom Preset, Full size resolution, Custom 50fps, 12000Kb/s – but the file size is about 10% of the original, and the quality is not there (but it is significantly better than some other software I’ve tried).

    Do you know of any way to export with the original quality? I am not too worried about file size. Thanks

  40. Did you try using H.264 for encryption? The T2i/7D/5DII all use H.264 for in-camera encryption. Changing from that could cause the drop in image quality. If you are going to test different settings, be sure to test them FIRST with a small video clip. It is very easy to generate a video format which can not be read. The settings are VERY fussy.

  41. I’ve just tried with a very small, single clip out-of-camera, as you suggested. Going through the export formats, the only file types I can see that specify H.264 encryption are AVI (for which, when I have “List all codecs” ticked I can choose “MainConcept (Adobe2) AVC/H.264), and MPEG-2 TS (which doesn’t allow 50fps). The AVI gave garbage (a video with just lots of vertical lines), and the MPEG-2 TS crashes consistently on a certain frame of the export.

    Would I have to install a specific Codec from somewhere to get the H.264 encryption as you suggested, or should one of the above worked? Thanks for your help.

  42. Why are you using 50 fps? That format is usually for PAL video, not NTSC video. The US format would be 60 fps (actual 59.94 fps). That could be why its crashing.

    I just checked the settings myself. You are correct. MPEG-2 TS is the one for H.264. Try creating a Quicktime MOV with the setting DV (no compression) and your 50 fps.

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