Canon endorses Thunderbolt to streamline camcorder-to-computer

Canon has officially endorsed Intel’s Thunderbolt port, giving a major boost to the new high-speed computer connection technology that could speed up the video editing process.

Canon, however, did not announce specific plans for the technology, but hinted it would be used for the connection of its professional camcorders and digital cameras to laptop computers. If Canon implements Thunderbolt on its cameras, the time for ingesting video to computer for editing would be dramatically reduced.

Thunderbolt’s 10Gb/s port would “bring new levels of performance and simplicity to the video creation market,” said Hiroo Edakubo, Canon’s video products group director. Canon is “looking to build products” using Thunderbolt, he said.

The technology would likely be used for high-speed 1080p HD video transfers from Canon’s professional camcorders to Apple MacBook portables. Apple has already implemented Thunderbolt in its new line of laptops. Thunderbolt pairs PCIe with Apple’s Mini DisplayPort standard to achieve the high transfer speeds.

Currently, video transfers from camcorders consume multiple gigabytes per hour at full quality and can take a very long time to copy to a computer using even eSATA or FireWire 800. A sufficiently fast onboard drive and computer could transfer footage in a few minutes.

Canon’s endorsement is important for Apple. Not only do all new MacBook Pros already use Thunderbolt, but it’s rumored that the company will announce a radically improved and faster version of its Final Cut Pro edit suite at NAB. The combined workflow improvements would be dramatic.

So far, most Thunderbolt-ready hardware has focused on fast external drives. Other computer manufacturers aren’t expected to have Thunderbolt products before 2012.