Magic Bullet Grinder: Convert your DSLR footage into edit friendly format

I have been waiting for this to come out ever since I heard about it last year. This for me has become the best way to convert my Canon DSLR footage into Pro Res. It takes advantage of multi core macs. If you have a quad core then you can convert 4 files at one, 8 core then 8! This definitely speeds up the conversion process if you have more cores.

It also can create proxies with burnt in time code if you want for doing offline editing. This is a big deal for me. On shoots I can convert all footage to Pro Res and do a low res proxy with timecode so I can give to the producer who can then log them without any hassle just using standard quicktime on any mac, even a basic laptop as the timecode is burnt in.

It will also conform your 50p/60p into 24p during conversion for slow motion. Although 25p is not currently supported I assume they will add it soon…I also convert most of my stuff to LT so hoping they will add that as well.

Without a doubt it is the simplest way to convert Canon footage to ProRes and it does not need a directory structure like the E1 plug in. Speed wise it depends on your Mac. Some find it faster than Streamclip others don’t. I haven’t done a side by side conversion test yet but i will soon! Be great when they do an update to support LT, HQ and loads of other formats as well as the 25p conform.

It’s just $49 bucks and you can order it by clicking the image below.



      1. Wow, really? I find it slower than mpeg streamclip, the timecode* a bit useless as it doesn’t intelligently ascend from clip to clip and it doesn’t seem to engage all 8 cores of my machine (is there some setting im missing?). I agree it is super straight forward and has a lot of potential BUT it ain’t there yet.

        *only good thing I see about the way it implements timecode is if you are giving an editor a bunch of footage, maybe from different cameras as well, you can change the hour to reflect different locations, different cams, etc…kind of the way you would do when we use to work with tape and the camera operator would change the hour timecode for each new tape.

        anyways, grinder has good potential but v1.0 just doesnt offer much more than other products on the market. IMO


  1. Hey Phil,

    Does this new program have the ability convert the H264 files to a friendly PC based format like avi? Something similar to Cineform avi?

      1. Is it better than CS5 that doesn’t need to convert? I ask as I’m stuck with these new conversion tools, ie. Cineform Neoscene and now this, that purport to improve quality during the conversion and CS5 that will handle the files natively. Any thoughts?

      1. This can be from the way you embed in your site. All of my vimeo videos that I embed on my site work on iPhone/iPad. You might want to play around with it…jsut say’n… 🙂


          1. Woops! my bad, it’s not about how we embed, but how we built the site to recognize iPhone/iPad and give the user the same experience in HTML5. Working pretty good so far!



            1. This pulls the h264 copy of your video that is on the vimeo site:

              Below is the script — you’ll need to modify the width and height to your preference, and drop in the ID of the video you’re embedding. (The ID can be found in the last part of the URL where your video appears on Vimeo.)

              var agent=navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();
              var is_iphone = (agent.indexOf(‘iphone’)!=’-1′);
              var is_ipad = (agent.indexOf(‘ipad’)!=’-1′);
              if (is_iphone) {
              else if (is_ipad) {
              else {

  2. Tried the demo of this last night – seems to work great. Will be purchasing asap. I’d like to explore a proxy workflow with my MacBook pro – any tutorials on this type of workflow with final cut pro 7?


  3. Tried to do some quick comparison tests, but I’m not seeing ProRes LT in the Grinder dropdown. What I do see is ProRes Standard, which is different, as far as I know.

    Just for grins, I ran MPEG Streamclip on three 120 mb files and it converted them to ProRes LT in about 1 minute 30 seconds. MB Grinder converted them to ProRes Standard in 2 minutes 46 seconds.

    Machine is an iMac i7 with 8 gb of RAM.

    It did work on the files at the same time when using Grinder, but the CPU still didn’t seem maxed out when I looked at it in Activity Monitor.

  4. Hi Phil, many people are still waiting for your Premiere CS5 review. I guess editing H.246 footage from Canon 5D mrkII and 7D on a machine that is compatible enough to use MPE there’s no point on using Magic Bullet Grinder, right? Or is there an advantage on re-encoding to Pro Res? Thanks for such an informative blog!

    1. Not sure why people are so hung up on wanting to edit h264, a 4-2-0 long GOP codec! Re encode to Pro Res and give your self a REAL color space to make color grading decisions on.

      Again, just my opinion. 🙂


      1. It’s what you have set as your render codec that’s the issue. So long as you have that set to a high quality codec it won’t matter whether you’ve transcoded first or stayed native.

  5. I downloaded the demo, cool and easy. One thing I like but wished it could be turned off is the auto convert 720p to 1080p. If I was editing DSLR footage into a HVX project I would be using 720p as 720p.

    I always like a way to turn “features” off.

  6. Someone else did a test and found that streamclip was much faster on an 8 core.. But I am sure this will improve soon.

    “Here is my quick speed test results on an 8core MacPro with 6 GB of RAM running OS X10.6.2
    Original Clip: 2min52sec, 1080p 23.976 shot on 1Dmark4

    time to encode to Prores (no proxy or timecode burn in, Just Main Format transcode):

    Grinder: 9min 6sec
    Mpeg Streamclip: 3min 9 sec” Quote from Evan Donn’s comment on prolost

    But this programs abilities for the online / offline which I would love to be able to use more once I start using 4k and just plain ease to do everything at once instead doing several things in different programs is what does it for me.

  7. Philip,

    My co-worker bought this and says that it can’t convert 7D files to ProRes LT. Is he missing something? His only options were ProRes HQ and ProRes 4444.

    We have been using MPEG Streamclip to convert our files with good success.

    We wanted to use Grinder though as it looked like a good option.

    Have you been able to convert to ProRes LT files?

    Daniel Weber

  8. Another Stu Maschwitz masterpiece, although I’m hearing
    conflicting feedback, this is way cool for the Mac users.

    Hey Philip, I really love the Venice’s People video
    you did a great job as per usual,
    I Grew up in the area, have since moved years ago but
    do you have any idea how well you captured that culture and
    (for a lack of better words) ambiance?
    It changes from decade to decade, but as far as the homeless
    and overall culture there you nailed it…Well except for the life guards:)

    So when are you coming back to LA or Venice?

    how about a Venice Meet up this July?


  9. Hi Phillip,

    I too was waiting for Grinder to come out but I am concerned that I have a setting off. It took MPEG just over 40 minutes to ingest 35 minutes of T2i footage (5 clips on a Mac Pro 8 core). It took Grinder 87 minutes to ingest the same footage. Plus Grinder converted to ProRes 422 and MPEG converted to ProRes LT which meant a smaller file size and better for the hard drive, although worse for color correcting. What am I missing?

  10. But NO PRO-RES LT! I thought your workflow has always suggested LT and Grinder doesn’t do it (yet)?

    Any ideas when it will do LT, as then I’ll be interested.


  11. If this had come out a few months ago it would of been more useful. With Avid 5, Prem CS5 & Edius all support native editing of these files, who would want to go through all this converting when you dont have to?. Seems like a band-aid to cover up the problem that is FCP and its lack of development.

    1. No I do not believe so, at least I cannot find out how if it does. The “timecode” is just a random time, no the internal Canon clock. One reason why the Final Cut plugin is nice. I can look at the time of day the shot was made, and easily compare to my audio recorder.

  12. I’m using the Canon plug-in mainly because it’s convenient and I can automatically rename files for easy location, and it puts them directly to the correct logging bin, all of which i’m finding extremely useful.

  13. Philip: iPhone Version on Vimeo – easy!

    to make your vimeo videos iphone/ipad compatible you need to go to a video you’ve uploaded on vimeo, click settings, click Video File Plus and in Alternate Settings select Make mobile versions of all my videos – however you will have to reupload to get the iphone versions.

    1. afraid it’s not that easy David. All my videos work on the ipad/ iphone from Vimeo’s site. Their embed code does not work for the iphone or ipad. It’s much more complicated and requires a much longer javascript code that is not from vimeo that checks to see which device you are using then displays an HTML5 version…I hope vimeo catch up soon as most of my films on the film pages play fine as they are embedded by Exposure Room which does support iphone embedding.

  14. Something from another forum to add to the cs5 native h264 grading debate…

    According to this guy (Jason Levine) who works for adobe:
    “Once the file is brought into PPro CS5, it’s effectively ‘decoded’ and upsampled from 8-bit to 32-bit float, for the very purposes of VFX and CC. You’re not editing in H.264 mode, nor are you limited to it’s native color space, so it’ll all depend on what you export TO at the end. The key is that even though the native file was H.264, you’re still in ‘first generation’, ie, you haven’t lost a gen importing into Prem (which you do in other apps when you’re transcoding). Your first output will essentially be the 2nd generation. “

  15. This is great. However I wish it would also have a feature that it would turn Progressive into interlaced. I know weird request, but when you want to match 5d footage with interlaced projects, this would be a great feature.

    Right now the process is not efficient, take the footage into AE, pixel-motion, bring it back, turn it into 59.94 then speed it up in final cut to get interlaced.

    Anyone know a better method?

  16. Bought this prior to three back to back post projects all shot with the 5D.
    I must say I am unhappy with the constant crashes and the baby sitting required to manage this program. I find it slower than QT pro conversions to Apple ProRes. I bought this product strictly based on Philips recco. I will report a complaint with the Grinder people as well. In theory this could be a very cool product, in practice…not so much.

    1. Called Red Giant software and they told me to download the newest software update that came out yesterday, it appears they addresses most of these bugs…Not sure about the speed just yet but it’s not crashing today and I don’t feel I need to monitor it non stop.

  17. Pah, MAC only at the moment is it? This is great news though and sounds like it will be very useful. When its PC ready.

    when using MPEG Streamclip, can anyone recommend a 10-bit codec? I edit in AVID MC5


  18. I have found the program to be very useful for the most part. I have many of the same complaints already registered, but all in all, it’s still a very useful app.

    My biggest gripe at this point is with the workflow for proxies. I’m wondering if anyone has one that makes it efficient such that it would be useful to do in everyday situations. It’s annoying that they decorate the filenames instead of simply putting them into a sub folder and using the same name. IMO, this would have made the workflow much better when wanting to switch between the proxies and the full-res versions.

    Maybe I’m just missing something; if anyone has a usable workflow that doesn’t entail relinking all the clips manually (or purchasing a 3rd party app that can manipulate the project file), please do share.

    Thanks very much, Philip, for always providing such great information to help us make our projects look better!


  19. Hey how do i change my footage from the proxy files to the original files so that i may get rid of the timecode? Also, does anyone know how to make the file so that it is uploadable to the internet? I can’t seem to get my stuff on youtube or vimeo since i’ve converted my footage.

  20. We did some test today on 1.5 and Grinder is finishing clips significantly slower than Mpeg stream clip and slightly slower than compressor.
    quality very close between compressor and Grinder. stream clip no burn in though. So Even?

  21. Hi Philip, this post seems old but anyway I hope you can help me with this questions!: you know of a good alternate of Grinder for Windows?… I work on Premiere cs5.5 and now starting with cs6…

    2.What compressed format would you recomend for editing (just can’t afford editing fully uncompressed and lossless codecs such as lagarith is still to heavy for me at 1920×1080).

    3. would you still recompress the output given by the 5D Mark III set to ALL-I? (it’s supposed to be edit friendly and I love the workflow).

    4. do you know a good software to do the “proxy” thing for windows? I’d love to work really really fast without compromising the final quality.

    I could be an hour asking you different things, but I wouldn’t take more of your time, Thanks!. love your work specially the photography and grading. and of course, that you share what you know…

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