I love having the capability to shoot both still photos and HD video with the E-P1. It’s worth the minor added complications in my workflow. Here are a few tips to help you integrate the E-P1’s video files painlessly into your digital photography workflow.
My still photography workflow is heavily reliant upon Adobe Lightroom, which does not import video files through the import process. As a result, downloading still+video files from the E-P1 is a two-step process.
1) After inserting the card, I open the disk in the Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Win) window, sort by file type and manually drag the .AVI video files to my hard drive.
2) Once these files are copied, I use Lightroom to import, rename and add metadata to the still images. Lightroom will add the still images to the catalog and will ignore the .AVI files.
Because the E-P1 is so new, raw E-P1 files are not natively supported in Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture or Capture One DSLR. Adobe currently has an update to Camera Raw (5.5rc) on the Adobe Labs Web site that will allow Photoshop CS4 and LR 2 users to process raw files from the E-P1 and convert them to DNG for use in other applications. If you are using older versions of Photoshop, Lightroom or any application that supports DNG files, use the DNG Profile Editor to convert the proprietary .ORF files to the .DNG format that can be read and used by a wider range of applications.
For more information, and a video tutorial, on using new camera raw files in older versions of Photoshop, read my blog post on the subject.
To quickly edit the .AVI video files, I launch Adobe Bridge and target the folder containing the still and video files. Using the Filter panel (Window>Filter) I filter the folder contents to display only the .AVI files.
Next, I’ll preview each of the .AVI files using Bridge’s Preview panel to check the video and apply a colored label to identify the best clips from the day’s shoot.
Depending on your video-editing software, working with the .AVI files can be a seamless process or a bit of a headache. The .AVI files are opened and played natively within QuickTime, QuickTime Pro, iMovie, Final Cut Express 4 and Final Cut Pro 6 & 7. These files are not natively recognized in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. Oddly, the files can be opened by Adobe After Effects CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended, but cannot be exported. Incompatibility with Premiere Pro is a known issue affecting .AVI files from all digital still cameras. For more information, read this Adobe Knowledge Base article.
To use the .AVI files in these Adobe applications, I’ve had good success using the free MPEG Streamclip application (Mac & WIn) to convert the .AVI files to QuickTime movies using the Apple Motion JPEG A codec. A screen shot of my settings file is below. From the clips I’ve tested, I can’t see any loss of quality between the original and the converted QuickTime File. At this point, I’ve only performed minimal testing on the E-P1 files on Windows. If you’re using the E-P1 on Windows, please use the comments below to let us know what works and what doesn’t.