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How to set up the Canon HG20 camera settings and import that footage into Premiere Pro

Notes on the Canon HG20 camcorder:

It is strongly recommended that you shoot to removable SDHC card media over the camera's internal hard drive. Shooting to SDHC cards allows you to keep a copy of your footage on-hand and transfer when convenient to you and not be reliant on the camera. In addition, SDHC cards are less susceptibleto possible corruption and drive failure when compared to the internal drive in the HG20s. Lastly- you will be able to use the card not just with the camcorder but also with most of the cameras sold today and most available through the Media Center (so it's a good investment).

If you choose to shoot to SDHC cards, you must use SDHC (not SD), and that the card is rated at least speed class 6 or higher (it will say on the packaging and on the card itself.)


HG20 camera settings

The following settings are recommended for optimal image quality and compatibility with Premiere Pro:

1. Begin by setting the camera to its highest record setting:
  • FUNC. > MXP

Note- This setting sets the recording bitrate to 24Mbps as well as the resolution to 1920x1080. Any setting lower than MXP will result in a 1440x1080 "anamorphic" resolution and will not work with the following settings.

2. Set the frame rate to 60i or 30p*:
  • FUNC. > Menu > Camera (first camera icon) > Frame Rate > 60i (Standard) or 30p
3. Set the camera to shoot to your choice of media:
  • FUNC. > Menu > Camera > Rec Media for Movies > Set to either HDD (internal hard drive) or Mem. Card (SDHC card)


* A note about the various shooting frame rates in the HG20: The camera is capable of shooting in either 29.97 frames-per-second interlaced (also called "60i" for 60-fields-per-second, interlaced video) or 29.97 frames-per-second progressive (also called "30p" for 30 frames-per-second, progressive scan video.)

While the camera does have a 24p option in the frame rate menu, you need to understand that it's not recording "true" 24 frames per second. It's actually recording 24fps but applying 3:2 pulldown during the recording process to convert it in real-time to 30fps. So it's not "true" 24p. It's 24p inside of a 30p file. As such, you need to remember to either just shoot with the 30p format in the first place or, if it's too late and you already shot with the HG20 set to 24p, be sure to choose the 30p setting in Premiere (not 24p!).


Importing footage from the HG20:

1a. If you shot directly to the camera's internal hard drive, connect the camera now to your computer via USB. Turn on the camera and set the mode to video playback (blue video camera icon on the back of the camera.) Choose "Computer/Printer" from the camera's LCD screen when prompted.

1b. If you shot to a removable SDHC card, insert your SDHC card either into either the computer_s SD card reader (MacBook Pros and iMacs) or into a USB Card reader plugged into the computer.


2. Copy the files off of the SDHC card/ hard drive. It is strongly recommended you copy these files to an exiting project folder you're keeping all your consolidated video elements in.

a) If copying from an SDHC card, open the folder named "PRIVATE" and drag the folder named "AVCHD" from the card directly onto your computer to copy its contents

b) If copying from the camera's hard drive, drag the folder named "AVCHD" from the camera directly onto your computer to copy its contents

  • *Note: It is safest to make a Disk Image as a back up before you begin importing your footage.


3. With the files saved to your computer, eject the SDHC card/ camera hard drive.


4. Open up Premiere Pro CS6 and select New Project from the welcome window.


5. Set the Project location and scratch disks:

  • In the New Project window,locate the Location bar and click the Browse button.
  • Select a folder on your FireWire drive or Temp_Storage drive (if on a lab computer) or your Macintosh HD drive (if on an MCAD laptop) to save your transferred movies to.Once again, it is best if you use the same folder you selected above in step 2.
  • Click Choose to select the selected folder.
  • Back at the New Project Window, give your project a name and click OK.


6. Setting the Sequence Settings in the New Sequence window that opens:

  • 6a. If you shot with the 60i setting on the HG20:
    • Under the Sequence Presets tab double click or twirl down "AVCHD"
    • Double click or twirl down "1080i"
    • Select "AVCHD 1080i30 (60i)
    • Name your sequence and click OK

  • 6b. If you shot with the 30p setting on the HG20:
    • Under the Sequence Presets tab double click or twirl down"AVCHD"
    • Double click or twirl down"1080p"
    • Select"AVCHD 1080p30"
    • Name your sequence and clickOK


7. Import your footage into Premiere Pro

  • Go to FILE > IMPORT
  • Navigate to your Disk Image or the AVCHD folder you copied off earlier
  • Select your video (MTS) files:
    • AVCHD>BDMV>Stream


8. Clips will import into the Project window of Premiere Pro.

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