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Old May 10th, 2016, 09:54 AM   #1
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FCP7 DVCAM capture settings ?

For the last couple of years I have been happily shooting HDV footage on my HVR V1e and editing in FCP 7 on both my MacPro and MBP .

A couple of weeks ago , the tape mech on the V1 developed the dreaded failure to load down fault ( but I found a company down in England who are fitting a genuine new Sony mechanism for 144 and warranted for 9 months , which seemed very reasonable and should give the camera another lease of life ) .

In the meantime , I borrowed an old DSR PD 150 out of a cupboard at work and have used it to shoot a couple of jobs using it cropped to 16:9 , which isn't brilliant , but since they are only transcripts of conferences to be put on the intranet at small size , will be OK-ish ...

At the same time , I was browsing eBay , and found someone retiring ad selling up , including a DSR 500WSP , which I bid on and won for 226 : a little more than pocket change , but a snip for what was once a 9 grand camera , and still quite a nice bit of kit . While I wouldn't have paid out a fortune for it , I felt it worth a punt at the price , and with only 700 Hrs operation and 300 odd hours on the drum , it's hardly used ! It also came with a nice Fuji 20:1 internal focus f1.8 zoom lens ; which I'm hoping to swap for a Canon lens as that's what I have a lens remote for - although if I can get an adaptor cable to use my Canon remote on the Fuji lens I'll be quite happy to keep it !

The guy had been using it to shoot wedding videos in 4:3 ratio , but once I downloaded the user manual and got it operating in its native 16:9 format , the output is quite decent . I know this camera is SD , but for a lot of the stuff I do it will be quite adequate , and the ability to use full size DV cassettes will be a bonus .

The one thing I am still experimenting with is capturing the footage into an HDV timeline , alongside stuff I have shot on my V1 . What I have done so far is to use DV PAL 48 KHz anamorphic , which looks odd as it seems to capture into a 4:3 frame , but then appears as 16:9 footage when dropped onto the timeline , and after ignoring warnings about the sequence settings not matching the source material , actually seems to work OK .

What I'm wondering is , is there a better , 'more correct' way of doing this - or perhaps not ?

Incidentally , the SD DVCAM footage looks surprisingly good when scaled up to 1920x1080 , more so than I had expected , so for what I paid for it , I'm quite pleased with it .
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Old May 10th, 2016, 10:18 AM   #2
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Re: FCP7 DVCAM capture settings ?

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Originally Posted by Derek Heeps View Post
What I have done so far is to use DV PAL 48 KHz anamorphic , which looks odd as it seems to capture into a 4:3 frame , but then appears as 16:9 footage when dropped onto the timeline , and after ignoring warnings about the sequence settings not matching the source material , actually seems to work OK
Indeed, anamorphic just means 4:3 footage stretched to 16:9. If you didn't live through this bit of history, you didn't miss much.

As far as "more correct", I would probably use an anamorphic sequence to be able to cut it natively. It's unclear to me if you're mixing formats here, i.e. one camera shooting DV anamorphic and one camera shooting HDV, but if you are, I'd probably set the sequence to the higher-res format and up-rez the lesser stuff. There are (were?) third-party filters to do this, but I always thought FCP 7 did a decent job on its own (although it takes an eternity to render).

I applaud you in the ability to use old gear in the modern era. While imaging has come a long way, and the imagery from today's cameras would surely blow yours away, that's not the part that would tempt me - it's the workflow stuff. The day I recorded my last HDV tape and moved to recording on CF then SD cards ranks up there with the day my child was born and the day I married my wife. No more tape wrinkles, no dirty heads, no tape dropouts, and when I need to transfer 4 hours worth of footage, I drag one folder into another and in 5 minutes it's done.
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Old May 10th, 2016, 10:35 AM   #3
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Re: FCP7 DVCAM capture settings ?

Hi , both cameras are native 16:9 : the HDV camera has three tiny chips shooting 1080 50i , and the DVCAM has three 2/3" , but natively 16:9 chips shooting SD . It just struck me as odd that FCP7 doesn't seem to have a ready made preset for capturing DV PAL widescreen - only anamorphic 4:3 ...

I know what you mean about tape transfer , but I started out in the 1980's shooting on VHS and U-matic , moved through 8mm , Hi-8 , and onto DV in the early 90's , then HDV a couple of years back . ( At work we shoot XDCAM ) .

I like tape , for the simple reason that I can use a new tape every time and , once shot , it goes on the shelf and is kept forever ; on the other hand , at work we have learned how unreliable hard drives can be , and even with nightly incremental backups , it is worrying ... I've also seen problems with CF cards used with still cameras , although more in the hands of colleagues rather than myself .

The time taken to ingest isn't much of a problem - I put the tape in and go away to do something else . Because I don't recycle tapes , I have to say tape problems have been minimal and I can count on my fingers the number of times I have had tape issues over the last 20 years .

I like tape because it is reliable , and , another reason : just last week , I had a lady phone me up - I had shot her wedding in the early 90's and she had lost the VHS tape I had provided . She wondered if I still had a copy of her wedding video - while I don't have the edit , I do have the original camera tapes and have undertaken to re-edit it for her and provide it this time on DVD . Although I've been away from shooting weddings for a while now , I always told customers they could come back to me if something happened - this is the first time it has .
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Old May 30th, 2016, 12:21 AM   #4
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Re: FCP7 DVCAM capture settings ?

To answer my own question , and in case it is of help to anyone else , I eventually figured this our for myself .

In the 'Final Cut Pro' menu , you can go to 'Audio/Video Settings' , then in the window that opens , select the 'capture presets' tab .

This opens a list of capture presets , many of which are locked and cannot be altered , but those which are not locked can be used as a starting point and edited .

To edit a capture preset , just click on it with the mouse to select it ( in my case DV PAL 48KHz anamorphic ) then click the 'Edit' button at the bottom of the pane . This opens another window showing all the parameters of that capture preset and I was able to uncheck 'anamorphic' , change the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 and choose my own resolution ( in this case 1920x1080 to match the resolution of my sequence ) , after which I can save and rename the preset ( which I saved as 'DVCAM widescreen' for use with footage from my DSR 500 ) .

The proof of the pudding , as always , is in the eating , and my footage now captures in a large 16:9 window and sits nicely on the timeline .

So , if you don't have a capture preset which does exactly what you want , it is fairly easy to create your own custom one .
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