Tutorial on how to install and use a pre-render workflow for your .mov files to easier editing.

Funny even though I clearly state on my contact page that I am not an expert in DSLR video I still get a few very technical questions every so often. I don’t mind them at all, keep the questions coming, because if I don’t know then I want to dig in to it and find out.

I got several people asking me why their Canon video clips within Sony Vegas looks choppy or have a shutter effect or just show a black screen.

For years now I have been getting those same issues and while I just upgraded to a very powerful desktop and that doesn’t happen as much as it used to.

This mostly has to do with the .mov file that Canon creates in the camera that is very hard for Vegas and all other NLE to deal with since it is a compressed format and it is hard for it to decode it at the same time it is allowing the file to be edited.

Most of my videos are pretty easy to do since they have only one track of video and very little special effects so I haven’t need to do any pre-rendering yet. But since I have a larger project with tons of tracks coming up I wanted to try it out.

The only one that I found was free is the Square 5 Mpeg Streamclip converter. The other option I can see is a paid one at $129 at NeoScene CineForm.

After you download the program for Windows, extract it to a directory you like and then click on the executable.

Then if you are like me and don’t have the Avid QuickTime Codec, you can get it download it.

The rest of the instructions I found from Tom Mueller on Vimeo.

” File, Export to Quicktime

Choose Avid DNxHD.

Click Options button

Color levels RGB

Click the tiny sliver of a box at the bottom of the window (this is a bug). It will allow you to select the bit rate for DNxHD. Select 1080/24p DNxHD 175 10-bit. Or select 1080/24p 115 8-bit. Experiment with both.

Hover over the Uncompressed selection and the OK button will appear. This is another bug. Click OK.

Set quality to 100%

Uncheck Interlaced Scaling

Select 1920×1080 unscaled

Click “Make Movie”


  • Hi Dave,
    Interesting video. I use mpeg streamclip also, but I followed Eugenia Loli’s tutorial. Still, basically, it is the same workflow.
    Here are my remarks.
    First, you choose 175Mbps at 10bit. This is the best quality, but generates huge files. Taking into account that the source files (the original mov files) are 45Mbps, I thought this is ‘overdoing’ it. Therefore, I tend to choose for 36Mbps at 8 bit. These files are actually a bit smaller than the original movs. I know, there is a drop in quality, but after the Vimeo conversion, only pixel peepers with notice the difference.
    Second, a warning for more complex, longer projects. Before using Mpeg Streamclip, I would simply use the original mov files. I could live with the choppiness. But I learned the hard way that with longer projects, Vegas in prone to crash, also version 10! So there I was, having finished the editing (a couple of hours work), but unable to render the movie because Vegas would choke on the mov files. Luckily I found a solution: I closed Vegas, then I renamed the folder where the original mov files were to ‘original-name-OLD’ and, using Mpeg Streamclip, I converted the mov files. When restarting Vegas and loading the project, Vegas told me I couldn’t find the files and asked me where they were. I pointed Vegas to the folder with the transcoded files. After that, I could render the project without issues.

  • One more thing. For using Mpeg Streamclip, I suggest you use the word ‘transcoding’. This is to avoid confusion with Vegas’ ‘Selectively prerender video’ function, which is something completely different.

  • @Ivan, yes I need to work on the definitions for all this fancy words. And thanks for letting me know what settings you use.

  • Dave,

    Great post! The Cineform Neoscene is a great program and really helps make the clips work better when editing. They allow you to move it to different computers. This came in useful with a recent upgrade and depending on which machine I need to use to process the files. Videoguys.com still has is it for $99.00 ($30.00 off). I picked it up after finding the sale a few months ago and found that it really helped in the workflow.

    There was a small problem with it not converting the audio, but this was fixed with a codec install. The program allows to use me to use my 8 year old computer (DELLGX280-P4 2.8mghz) to work with these files from Canon, as well as my new one.

    There is another option from New Blue FX called AVCHD UpShift ($79.96)that I amost went with, but could not find much information on from user because it is fairly new. The features look really good though and offered a few more options.

  • @Ivan, Yea the size that the files are inflated to after choosing 175Mbps at 10bit. But the 10bit gives you a tiny bit more flexibility when it comes to color grading and correction. The 8bit has less color space and therefor more banding… but then again rendering out a vimeo version will probably put you right back at 8bit. So there is a valid argument to just editing in 8bit if you’re going to render it 8bit… but i still find i get better quality in the final when editing 10bit. Plus if you ever wanted to put your glorious work on to a DVD or something with higher bit depth options then you have a nicer render to work from.

    I don’t mind temporarily having a few big files, the cost of storage these days is so low anyways.

  • I am using Sony MXF HD EX… When more quality is needed (CG, etc) – HD 422… For batch converting – SoundForge batch converter, because it sees video codecs too and you dont need to run Vegas or Streamclip… It seems to be OK

  • Thank you so much. I will be getting sony movie studio, THREE DAYS FROM NOW.Your video will help.

  • @Radek MXF (Material Exchange Format) which is a container format – sorry no I have not tried it. Have you, is it worth trying?

  • I recently tried the demo of Neo Scene and it would always crash after converting a few clips. I also read on another forum that Neo Scene clips are not compatible with Vegas 10. By the way, am I the only one that thinks its silly that we have to convert our Canon files in order to be able to edit multiple video tracks with no choppiness? Or can this only be done on the most powerful PC’s costing over $2K? I miss the days of standard def video editing in real time with smooth playback.

  • @Dave I recently read that also… CS5 apparently plays back multiple layers of real time HD video with some NVIDIA cards that can utilize the Mercury engine. The lowest price one is the GTX 285 ($300). I’m now looking for a pre-built system that comes with that card.

  • MXF – is it worth trying? Yes, it is broadcast format, quality in timeline for my eyes the same, for Vegas Pro user included (Vegas Studio don’t know) and Vegas handle MXF very well… I don’t try it, this is my workflow…

  • Hello Dave,

    Iยดm mac User and i use StreamClip to convert the T2i .mov files with Apple Intermediate Codec. I edit in Final Cut Express. Before reading about this software, was very difficult to use, because every time I made a change had to do a render now with this trick it’s much easier. 1080p/25fps, now I can edit my videos without problems.

  • Hey Dave, another thing is that this avid codecs works fantastic in Sony Vegas but in Premiere
    loose tonality and density , try it

  • When I open it in sony vegas or a playback program, it will only sound. the film is gone. I’m not talking about the black screen in vegas.

    What is this problem ?
    Please help me !

  • @Markus, I am not sure what you are talking about, can you make a screen capture video of the issue and post a link to it?

  • hi Dave, interesting blog, I’m learning too just got a t2i, I got a nice converter from cinecomp.com , it has a lot of functions, a little confusing to me but quality seems very good

  • Hi dave.

    When i download and run these files they turn into apple software updates is this right? and if not how do i change it right?


  • Hello, I am really disappointed with my camera t2i rebel, and my program Sony Vegas 9.0 64bit, can not edit in real time in any format video camera Canon rebel t2i, I installed itunes to obtain the codec for help, project is also open in the standard necessary to mount, but again everything is going bad.
    sometimes remained black background, sometimes with Sony Vegas announces closing error, and sometimes can not Render and a million other problems, I have visited many forums but still not get to edit anything
    I am very disappointed and expect help from anyone you please.
    My computer is gatway quad core, 4 GB (ram)

  • @Bes, sorry to hear that. Sometimes Vegas crashes on me.

    Have you tried Premier? I think you can try it for 30 days and see if that helps.

  • dave im having an issue when trying to install the avid codec to my computer. im using windows 7. when i open the setup .exe file it say preparing to install then it goes away. i try to close any windows and my computer freezes. it never actually installs.

  • So far I use my Canon T2i files 720p / 29.97fps, loaded directly to Sony Vegas Pro 9 with no issue… No trans-coding is needed so far. I’m ready to edit and render final files…

  • why is it that when I transcode my footage to edit in vegas, I get no audio in After Effects after rendering from vegas O___o????

  • Another good trick if you don’t like risking quality loss is to convert to the lowest quality xvid you can handle (I convert to 720p at @ 768kbps) and then edit your movie. After you are done, rename the folder and replace all files with the originals and then final render.

    The final render might take a while with effects, but it’s worth it.

    Also, try to refrain from color grading until the files have been replaced, then the choppiness isn’t much of an issue anyways…


  • Hi. Thanks for the great vids. I wondered if anyone on here has had problems with audio out of sync. I am trying to convert files from a Canon 5D into 1080p 25fps (i’m in the UK). I am using Ulead Video studio pro X3 for editing. When I play back the converted files in Quicktime the audio is about a second out of sync. I’ve tried the 176 bit right down to the 36 bit; no use.

  • For Mac users, streamclip works extremely well. Use Apple Intermediate Codec, make sure never to change fps from the raw footage and you should be golden. The resulting files are editable in both iMovie and Final Cut Express.

  • Thanks for the instructions, Dave. I am in the midst of trying a few different video software packages, and I see that you’re using Vegas Pro 10. Sony’s web site states that Vegas Pro 10 has “GPU-accelerated AVC/H.264 encoding.” Now that you have a new, faster computer, is it still necessary to do the Square 5 conversion? I also have the trial version of Pinnacle Studio 14. Since it is an Avid product, I heard that it can edit the h.264 videos without conversion. That’s not true on my slow computer, though. Do you know anything about this?

  • My observation with playback of Canon T2i files and creating videos using a trial version of Sony Vegas is that video will play back very smoothly, but with one drawback. Sony Vegas adds a double or triple exposure to moving frames to achieve smoothness (this offset exposure does not exist in the original mov-file frames). This causes pictures to become out of focus during the panning portions. Corel Videostudio, which I have been using, does not produce this effect, but can not achieve good slow motion files. Since I may soon upgrade to either Sony Vegas or Premiere Pro I wonder if the Adobe Premier Pro uses the same method of achieving smooth frames.

  • Thanks Dave! I noticed your Mov thumbnails work in Windows from your Canon. For some reason my thumbnails do not appear when copied them from the card. Now this has happened 2 computers running windows 7 64bit. What player do you use for “open with” on mov files? I’m guessing that may help in my situation. If you know of another solution, that may be better! Thanks!

  • Thanks for the quick reply Dave. That player seems nice, although it does the same thing wmplayer does by darkening playback and it did not fix the thumbnail issue I’m having in Windows7. I tried the Avid Codec settings mentioned above with Premiere and noticed a shift in levels as mentioned in an above comment. I seem to be impressed with MPEGstreamclip. It appears that the Photo Jpeg setting seems to be the best for editing in Premiere, but for some reason when I compare a clip straight from the camera and one from Lossless PhotoJpeg, Premiere seems to take longer to generate/ encode a preview (by pressing enter). I’m not seeing a reason to convert from the compressed files from the DSLR. Have you experienced any improvements by conversion to lossless and what is the main reason for doing so? Thanks again!

  • Hi Dave,

    Thank you very much for showing us how to set up some of the properties in the transcoder. I am very new to HD video (did SD stuff back in 2000 but stopped when my top of the line Dell computer bit the dust… and when I got fed up with the Pinnacle hardware its crappy codec).

    Like another reader, I have been importing the T2i .mov files into my Acer laptop Aspire 5920 (Dual processor 2 ghz, 3 GB DDR2 ram) and working with choppy footage (scrubbing helps me look at the transitions and text overlays). I have been importing the 720p – 29.97fps and 720p 59.97 fps footage (of our new baby) and occasionally the 1080p kind (I am still deciding what format I should stick with…I want to have good footage for my children to play with when they get older…do you have any recommendations? I don’t have any money right now to purchase my dream computer with multiple cores and 12 gigs of ram… I have been using Vegas platinum 10. m and then saving it to the
    Windows Media video –
    Audio: 64 Kbps, 48,000 Hz, 16 Bit, Stereo, WMA
    Video: 29.970 fps, 1280×720 Progressive, 6.3 Mbps, CBR (Two-pass),
    Windows Media Video 9, 29.970 fps, 5 seconds per keyframe, video smoothness of 60 (sharper), Video rendering quality = “best” and the Deinterlace method on “Interpolate fields” It takes about an hour for me to (I guess you can call it transcoding?) convert the 3 minutes worth of the T2i .mov to .wmv and the .wmv can play without studdering on my laptop!

    Well, I watched your video above and wondered if you had picked videos that were already the 1080p? (since you picked that setting on the MPEG streamclip Avid codec config.) What does the 24 mean? is that FPS? or does that mean progressive? is progressive 24 and interlace 16? If I am transcoding my 720p footage, wouldn’t I select the “720p/29.97 fps DNxHD 110 10-bit” ? Is this a better way to go versus what I have been doing with exporting to .WMV files? I would like quality… if this way will give me better files to work with and that I could archive on my 1 TB hard drive…then that would be great! what about the sonyavc1, Main concept1 codecs? is the Avid codec superior than those?

    I know this is a huge request for advice… I have already spent hours reading through message boards, searching on google etc… seems like a lot of people have the resources to get nice computers… but I can settle for running batch jobs on my laptop at night… you know?
    Thanks for your time! your videos look great…good lighting!
    Dave in Alaska

  • @Dave sorry I can’t help you much since I am no longer using MPEG streamclip and Vegas, all I am using is just Premiere and the native file format during editing.

  • hey im pretty new to this, but i did all the steps and still am getting no video, only audio. i tried using all the 8 bits too.

  • Hi Dave,
    I’ve been using the T2i a lot lately and what I noticed is that my video isn’t sharp like the ones I’ve seen on youtube. At first I had my ISO at auto I think? Then I somehow changed to 3200 or something. I figured that might be why it isn’t sharp. So I reduced to down to 200-300 and my video quality still looks pretty bad. Are there steps we are suppose to do before it would look sharp like perhaps change the compression? Set the camera settings properly? I really don’t know.

  • Type text or a website address or translate a document.
    Read phonetically
    Indonesian to English translation
    hi dave, I use Vegas Movie Studio Platinum HD and I have trouble finding a good rendering. I happened to use the pc. I see on your demo rendering process using vimeo 1080-720. whether I should install the codec presets, and where I got it. thank you

  • hi dave, I use Vegas Movie Studio Platinum HD and I have trouble finding a good rendering. I happened to use the pc. I see on your demo rendering process using vimeo 1080-720. whether I should install the codec presets, and where I got it. thank you

  • Thank you so much Dave! I searched all over to find a solution to this issue with my Canon T2i and this led me to solutions that are effective for me. I was pulling my hair out of my head! I’m not using the tool you showed here but it led me to use the features already present in Adobe CS5 Media Converter to reach more or less the same results based on the conversion idea.

  • Hi, im using a canon 550D (t2i) and shooting at HD 1920x1080p at 25 fps.

    i’ve done all you recommend here, but still when i export as recommended on vimeo (AVC/AAC) i get a “choppy” looking video…

    any thoughts? beginning to be a little desperate.

    p.s. it works great while editing, just when i render is that i get that choppyness, like it was missing frames or whatever?

  • i got this part but using sony vegas movie studios 9.0 hd it wont let me render it just stops

  • Hey Dave,

    Do you know of any converters that have a 30fps option? mpeg streamclip does not, and there are so many listed on the web that it’s hard to make a decision. Thanks

  • I tried this solution, and the .mov file will play just fine. But if I pull it into Sony Vegas the clip is only sound and not video. Any ideas about what I am screwing up?

    I shot on a Canon 60D and am using Sony Vegas 10

  • This is very helpful, but im struggling with the codec. I ran the file, but it doesn’t pop up when i go to select it in the stream. What exactly am i supposed to be doing with this

  • Hi Dave,
    I follow yours instructions to convert my 7D rushs to edit with vegas.
    I just want to know when you have the ” avid DnXHd codec configuration” windows, there is a bug as you said. What do you chose for alpha? None or uncompressed?