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Old August 22nd, 2006, 09:10 PM   #1
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Video-newb frustrated by timecode!

I'm in the process of capturing 13 hours of footage for a feature film using Final Cut Express 2 on an eMac. The timecode is discontinuous (beyond 6 breaks per tape). I don't have access to a deck, so I can't make a fresh dub with good timecode.

Since I'm running Express I realize I can't use Batch Capture anyways, and I have found a way of tricking Final Cut into thinking that each new 00:00:00:00 is the start of a new tape. So capturing itself is not a problem - I can get all of the footage on the hard drive. This leaves me with a Bin filled with 6 bloated clips for each tape, each containing a variety of different shots from a variety of different scenes.

I have many concerns about this approach. First, I'm worried that I will run into unforseen troubles later because of the timecode breaks. Second, I have no idea how I will organize my clips once they are finally all captured, since as it is right now I'm left with 19-minute chunks. I was starting to make subclips out of the footage I wanted to use, but since I can't make the Final Cut Browser into a complex directory structure (it seems to only allow one level) I can see this becoming daunting.

Everyone suggests dubbing the tapes to create a continuous timecode, but why? What am I missing out on? Will it cause problems in editing, or is it fine if I'm able to capture it all the way it is? I understand that timecode means to provide a unique label for each frame, but if repeats are in separate subclips why does it matter? Also, what am I missing out on by not having access to Batch Capture and detailed logging information? Can I add logging information later?
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 09:38 AM   #2
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FCX, as with most NLE's doesn't offer much in the way of a usable logging workflow. Avid is only tool that keeps a data base of logging information for others to access and organize. If you really need a logging database you'll have to use a program such as CatDV, iDive, HD Log or Digital Heaven's Movie Logger. Organizing imported media into bins is for your benifit as an editor. Staying organized with bins, markers and subclips will save you time. Make a bin for your footage then try making a bin for each tape inside the footage bin. Or, you could break it up into scenes. The bins are collapsible, so you can hid the footage and other media that you're not working with to make the bin window more manageable. Experiment with a few organizational techniques to find the one that works for you.

Don't worry about dubbing the tape at this point. The problem with the TC issue is that it will be very difficult to recapture the project video from an offline state. Without batch capture and reliable TC you'll have to recapture manually. To avoid recapturing, save the contents of the FCX capture scratch on a drive as an archive after you finish the project. If you keep everything online (on a hard drive somewhere), the TC and recapture problems shouldn't slow you down or cause any fatal errors.

Good luck,

CJ Rogers
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 12:36 PM   #3
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I wouldn't wish additionale expense on anyone but Final Cut Pro is where you're headed. Your needs have become sophisticated enough to warrant the upgrade, if only for fine Log and Capture control but you get tons else besides.

You're doing everything else right; you've turned the breaks into separate tapes. When you do upgrade, Batch Capture will stop and ask for the next tape. The technique I use when I can't avoid source with breaks is to vreate a child roll based on each parent roll umber. So for Reel 001 with six breaks, you'll end up with a "log" thus--


That way, master reel numbers can be maintained.

I won't debate the finer points of NLE media management, we all know Avid is the champ, but it needs an overhaul in capability, IMHO. (I trained in Avid, I use both systems.)

- Loren
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 01:21 PM   #4
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That's a great way to go. Keeping it all short and organized.
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