How to edit Nikon D300s Videos in Realtime in Premiere Pro CS4

OK, so I have had a few questions from people about how I was able to edit the files straight out of a Nikon D300s in realtime without any conversion. When I first got the D300s I just tried popping the files into my Premiere Pro 4.1 timeline to see what would happen, and lo and behold it worked. As it turns out the story is not that simple, after a bit more testing it seems that a stock install of Premiere Pro 4.1 on Mac or PC wont play the files natively. If however you have a BlackMagic product such as an Intensity or in my case a MultiBridge Pro however, the situation changes.

intensitypro-ban

You see one of the features of the BlackMagic line is you can capture and edit SD and HD video using the MJPEG CODEC, which it appears is quite capable of reading the MJPEG files from the Nikon D300s. This also means you get realtime monitoring of your lovely 720p 24 fps footage out through HDMI or Component to a LCD or Plasma. But what if you don’t have a MultiBridge or Intensity? Well you could go out and buy one, and to be honest considering the cost of an Intensity Pro why wouldn’t you. But, if you spent all your money on Redrock attachments like me there is a solution.

Simply go to the Blackmagic Website and download the drivers for one of their products, I would suggest the MultiBridge drivers (simply because they were the ones I tried first for this little test). And run the installer, answer yes to everything and reboot. Now you don’t have the hardware so you wont get any of the RT or monitoring but what you will get on the PC is a new series of presets (we will get to the Mac situation in a moment) under the BlackMagic Design Folder, choose HD 720, VariCam Motion JPEG, 24p. This will give you a sequence that is at the right frame rate and frame size and smooth playback and rendering of your Nikon footage.

Windows

Now under the Mac the situation is a little different, as there are still no CS4 drivers for the Decklink range of products, this wont work. However, if you wait just a little longer, there is the possibility that maybe, just maybe, some goodness might come your way ;)

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22 Responses to “How to edit Nikon D300s Videos in Realtime in Premiere Pro CS4”

  1. David Cartier Says:

    Thanks again Evan for sharing this great info. I had a look around about the instensity pro. it records the live hdmi at 50 frames per second. I was wondering if I can convert it to 24fp in premier as I’m shooting with the d300s aswell. though I ask since your a Nikon man. this is a great post hence its good to know how to get most quality out of camera without compression !! thanks again Evan.

    Regards ,

    Dave

    • evanbutson Says:

      Hi, yes you can record via HDMI, Component or Firewire (I assume your capturing from a HDV camera). Your best bet is to either convert the Nikon footage to 25 fps or the HDV footage down to 24 (really depends on hoe much footage you have of each). We just did a shoot with the Nikon and to match in with the rest of the footage I just dropped all the shots into Adobe Media Encoder and sent it out as ProRes 25 fps progressive as it was going to be cut in Final Cut Pro. In Premiere, you can have footage of varying frame rates in a timeline. So for instance if the majority of the footage is Nikon, you can select a 24p timeline and all your Nikon footage will play in RT, then any footage that is not 24p like your HDV footage will be non-realtime but depending on the speed of your computer you will probably get RT playback anyway as it converts it on the fly for playback. Then when it comes time to export out it just converts everything in the timeline to whatever format you are exporting too. I would suggest that if you are mixing footage from the Nikon and another camera you do a test, as the image is SOOO different from the Nikon compared to pretty much any HDV camera you may have trouble mixing and matching the two cameras footage.

  2. David Cartier Says:

    wao!! great info thanks for your quick response!

    A++++

    David.

  3. David Cartier Says:

    Hey Evan,

    Just wondering what your pc system is like , graphics cards,ram,Processor etc.

    thanks

    Dave

    • Hi,

      Its actually getting a little old, am running a dual core 3 gig Core 2 Duo, 4 gig of RAM Windows 7 64 bit, an aging Radoen 2600XT and a MultiBridge Pro. Looking at upgrading to a Core i7 with at least 12 gig of RAM early next year, especially now as Adobe have announced that all new versions of After Effects and Premiere will be 64 bit only from now on.

  4. Hi Evan ,

    I’m thinking about buying a IMAC

    http://store.apple.com/au-hed/configure/MB952X/A?mco=MTM3NjczMTE

    and because I’m shooting with the d300s I would like to know if i’m able to import hdmi footage with multibridge pro with the APPLE IMAC .

    do you recomend other ways to import the high quality native files from the d300s to an Apple IMAC

    thanks heaps in advance.

    David.

    • Hi, couple of things, firstly the iMac doesnt have any slots so you cant add an Intensity or MultiBridge, for that you would need a MacPro. Also for bringing footage into the iMac (especially the new one or the new MacBooks) is really easy, just shoot to SD cards and as they have an SD reader built in you can just pop the card into the Mac and there your footage is. As for monitoring with a iMac you would need either a second monitor connected and use the Digitial Preview function in FCP or Prem. And finally as for editing, Final Cut Pro you will need to batch convert your footage to ProRes 422, and for Premiere you can convert to the CODEC of your choice (I personally would use DVCPRO HD or the BlackMagic CODEC.

    • There’s actually another way to do it on the Mac without using any codex at all. All you need to do is trick premiere pro into thinking it’s the right format.

  5. David Cartier Says:

    Hey Evan,

    I’m looking into this converter . in the spec section its says it does not support the following.

    VIDEO : VC-1, H.264, MKV and WMV formats are not supported

    I’m just wondering if I can get your help and telling me if those following formats dont come with the d300s . because i’m sure the nikon d300s does not do h.264 . but the rest i’ve no clue.

    it mentions that it does support the following.
    Video Format (Containers)
    MPEG1/2/4 Elementary (M1V, M2V, M4V)
    MPEG1/2 PS: M2P, MPG
    MPEG2 Transport Stream: TS, TP, TRP, M2T
    VOB,AVI,
    ISO, IFO

    the link to the product is:

    http://www.tvix.co.kr/ENG/products/PVRR2230.aspx

    thanks so much.

    David

    • evanbutson Says:

      Correct this is not really necessary for the Nikon. If you are using a Mac and you want to convert you can use Compressor or something like MPEGstreamclip to convert the files to Mac friendly ProRes 422 files, and the best part is its free. On the PC there is no need as the BlackMagic drivers give you native access to the files. The converter you listed is not really anything you would want when working with the D300s

  6. Thank you so much for putting this solution up! Everything else I’ve run into has one converting the footage (adding a generation in the process) or something even more convoluted. I installed the blackmagic drivers on my computer and the footage works perfectly in Premiere now. Woo hoo!

  7. christian Says:

    Hi, i love your blog. i have just tried the above mwthod and i seem to have run into a problem.
    I have installed the drivers etc, and when i try to import a clip into prem pro it crashes. Any ideas?

    • evanbutson Says:

      Hi,

      What version of Windows are you running, what version of Premiere and what version and card member of BlackMagic drivers did you grab?

      Cheers

  8. Loved the info, however the Blackmagic driver download now requires that you enter a serial code. Any other ways to get these?

  9. […] To read the full post about the multibridge software and how to get it working with CS4 go here […]

  10. Thanks so much! we just posted your blog in a video we did explaining this issue that is currently on fstoppers.com

    • evanbutson Says:

      Cheers, love the fstoppers site by the way, the Vegas clip was awesome, makes me want to go back soo omuch, although probably wont be staying in a $15,000 per night room :)

  11. Ferdinand Says:

    How about the 640 x 424 videos from d300s, what can you do to edit it in realtime? I work more on the SD videos of d300s…any suggestion?

    • evanbutson Says:

      Hi,

      Should work fine for these files as well, all you will need to do however is make your own custom template for the non standard frame size. So select the 720p Decklink preset as normal but then go to the General Tab and change the frame size to 640 x 424 and click Save Preset. That being said, personally I would shoot 720p and then downsize to whatever format you want on export. protects you for the future as well as gives you a great SD image to boot.

      Also, this Blog is actually no longer active, I have moved it all over to my website at http://www.tdepost.com/blog/

      Cheers Evan

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