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Technical

February 2011

One of the key factors of Canon’s XF-series of pro camcorders is the compatibility that they offer with all of the major editing and processing software programmes – from Apple, Avid, Adobe and Grass Valley – in the video imaging industry. This article guides you through the software that comes with the camcorders and gives you a detailed rundown of the compatibility the XF-series has with the third party non-linear editing (NLE) software packages, the system requirements and any plug-in restrictions.

XF Utility

The XF-series camcorders – XF305, XF300, XF105 and XF100 – come supplied with a single software CD that can be used with either Macs or PCs. This CD contains the new Canon XF Utility software and various ‘plug-ins’ for third party NLE software from Apple and Avid.

XF Utility is a simple software utility that is designed to allow you to manage recorded clips without the use of full-blown NLE software. XF Utility is not intended to replace NLE software and does not include and video or audio editing features.

The key features of XF Utility are:

  • To back-up CF card contents (entire card).
  • To transfer selected clips from a CF card or other compatible storage device to a computer.
  • The playback of clips in Full HD resolution.
  • Editing of selected metadata fields.
  • Adding ‘shot marks’.
  • The copying of clips back to a CF card or other compatible storage device.

Older versions of XF Utility supplied with the XF305 and XF300 camcorders may not support files recorded using the XF105 and XF100 models. To update to the latest version of XF Utility please click here. Please note that the update does not upgrade Final Cut Pro to support the XF105 and XF100 camcorders.

The table below shows you the system requirements needed for XF Utility:

XF Utility - system requirements
  PC Mac
OS Windows XP SP3 (32-bit only);
Windows Vista SP1, SP2 (32-bit or 64-bit);
Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit).
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard;
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard;
CPU Intel Core series equivalent;
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz or higher recommended;
SSE2 compatible processor required.
Intel processor;
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz or higher
recommended;
Not compatible with PowerPC processors
RAM 1GB or more;
(2GB or more required for 64-bit Windows 7)
1GB or more
Hard Disk
Space
80MB or more
Display 1024 x 768;
16-bit colour (High Colour) or better
1024 x 768;
32,000 colours or better
Languages User interface: Japanese/English
Installer: Japanese/English/French/German/Italian/Spanish/Russian/Chinese (simplified)

Third party NLE compatibility

The arrival of the XF-series professional camcorders saw Canon introducing the MPEG-2 Full HD (4:2:2) file-based recording codec. This codec is compatible with video industry-standard editing and processing software. Canon MPEG-2 MXF files from all of the XF-series camcorders are officially supported by the four major NLE manufacturers:

  • Apple (Final Cut Pro)
  • Avid (Media Access)
  • Adobe (Premiere Pro)
  • Grass Valley (EDIUS Pro)

As mentioned earlier Canon plug-ins are provided with the camcorders for Apple and Avid software whilst Adobe and Grass Valley have developed compatibility themselves, so no plug-ins are provided.

The table below shows the NLE software versions that support Canon MXF files, and any supporting software provided by Canon.

Third party NLE software compatibility with Canon MXF files
  NLE Name/Version Supporting software provided by
Canon
Final Cut Pro (Mac) 6.0.3 or later Canon XF Plug-in for FCP v1.0.1
Canon XF MPEG2 Decoder
Avid Media Access compatible
applications
(Windows and Mac)
Avid Media Composer 4.0.5 or
later
Canon XF Plug-in for Avid Media Access
v1.0.2 (Windows)
Canon XF Plug-in for Avid Media Access
v1.0.1 (Mac)
NewsCutter 8.0.5 or later
Symphony v4.0.5 or later
Premiere Pro (Windows) CS5 None
Premiere Pro (Mac) CS5 None
EDIUS Pro (Windows) 5.5 None

Click here to go to the Canon Europe website for the latest downloadable versions of XF plug-ins for Avid Media Access and Final Cut Pro.


Information for Avid Media Composer and NewsCutter users

The following restrictions apply regarding the use of clips recorded with a Canon XF-series HD camcorder with Avid Media Composer or NewsCutter:

  1. Clips that were recorded using the 50Mbps (4:2:2) 1280x720, 24P video configuration cannot be used with Media Composer 4.0.5/5.0.0 or NewsCutter 8.0.5/9.0.0. Upgrade to Media Composer 5.0.1 or NewsCutter 9.0.1 to use said clips.
  2. When linking MXF files using the Link to AMA File(s) menu option, a name other than Canon may appear in the Video properties. Nevertheless, the clips will be correctly linked and you will be able to use the clips without any problem.
  3. It is not possible to load a virtual volume when multi-byte characters (such as ëkanjií or special characters intrinsic to a language) are included in the folder path of that virtual volume.
  4. If a loaded clip is a spanned clip and if the frame rate setting of the project differs from the frame rate setting of the loaded clip, it will not be possible to edit it.

The latest versions of the XF plug-ins for Avid Media Access (Windows and Mac) can be found on the Canon Europe website by clicking here.

Final Cut Pro plug-in restrictions

The following restrictions apply regarding the use of clips recorded with a Canon XF-series HD camcorder with Apple Final Cut Pro:

  1. When ingesting clips that were recorded using the following video configurations: (1) 50Mbps (4:2:2), 1280x720, 30P; (2) 50Mbps (4:2:2), 1280x720, 25P or (3) 50Mbps (4:2:2) 1280x720, 24P, the clips cannot be used in Final Cut Pro if Native is selected in the "Transcode to" ("Target Format") column. Instead select one of the ProRes422 options.
  2. When ingesting clips with Native selected in the "Transcode to" ("Target Format") column, a name other than Canon may appear in the Compressor field. Nevertheless, the clips will be correctly ingested and you will be able to use them without any problem.
  3. Only I-frames are decoded and displayed during reverse playback using the shuttle control.

The latest versions of the XF plug-ins for Final Cut Pro can be found on the Canon Europe website by clicking here.