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Old October 27th, 2003, 06:30 PM   #1
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HD video batch capture

Remember DV?

You had a log of your movie shots/takes on a piece of paper.

Each take's start and finish corresponded to the timecode you read off of your cam's monitor.

After the shoot, you'd resign to your editing room, connect DV camera to your PC via firewire, and start your batch capture utility (standalone or as part of NLE.)

It then would index the whole tape within minutes, giving you a nice list of shots - each with the image icon, and with the start/end timecode.

One look at your paper log would show you which take is which.

You then would click a checkbox only against the clips that you actually wanted the utility to capture, and - presto! - it would go ahead and actually batch-capture the footage you needed from tape, indexing it by its timecode.

So after the capture, you again could tell which file is which by simply looking at the file name.

Now meet prosumer HD.

You can still log the takes during the shoot, but timecode is not transferred to your PC anymore.

The bundled utility only numbers the files sequentially during the capture - no index list, no way to tell the utility which files are actually needed.

And no way to tell which file corresponds to which take - because all you see is meaningless numbering that does *not* correspond to timecode.

You see, with all the hoopla about the editing accelerators (hardware/software based) etc, haven't we forgotten the basic thing - the ability to sensibly capture, identify, and catalog the footage?

Because if we can't do that, what do we put in the NLE's timeline?

Oh, and wouldn't it be nice if the ideal HD Batch Capture Utility also allowed for automatic creation of proxy files using codec of your choice. Say, 640x360 MS Video 1 DV proxies of each HD file.

Then you'd just use these proxies (no accelerators needed!) on your current DV-editing-friendly PC.

When done, you'd simply tell your NLE to substitute the proxies with the original files while applying all the same filters/transitions. Badabim! - your HD project is ready, fast.

If the NLE was really smart, you'd also be able to capture ONLY the proxies from your batch list(s) in the first place. Then, when all editing with then is finished, you'd tell NLE to re-capture the clips in their original full HD resolution.

So you'd have all advantages of the scene indexing/batch capture of offline proxies/fast editing on the EXISTING hardware-software/onlining the project at the end back into HD.

Except for the proxies (they were not needed due to less data), we already had it all with DV.

So... am I missing something, or there is NO such basic app in existence for HD right now?
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Old October 27th, 2003, 06:35 PM   #2
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Someone write this app and I'll buy it.

Who's with me? Power in numbers!!!
Christopher C. Murphy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 27th, 2003, 08:06 PM   #3
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Ah -- it's not as simple as DV. Both DV and HDV have TC on tape.

With DV that TC passes up FW to the capture app -- or it comes up RS-422. But the capture app gets it.

Now all sorts good things can happen. Batch capture. Batch RE-capture based upon Proxy. Etc.

But NO TC comes up FW from an HDV camcorder. None. Nada.

The capture app starts each clip with a TC of zero.

Now that means HDV isn't going to be like DV.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 08:24 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steve Mullen : But NO TC comes up FW from an HDV camcorder. None. Nada.-->>>

Is this in HDV specs?

What's preventing HDV signal from carrying a timecode over firewire?
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Old October 27th, 2003, 10:16 PM   #5
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With Transport Stream the TC is in the form of TimeStamps (from zero from the start) WITHIN the data stream. It has no connection with what JVC writes on the tape.

And what's written on tape, evidently can't easily be sent up the FW at the same time as the TS data. Or, JVC did not add the logic to do so.

Who knows?

This is from CineForm. The TC data is passed up the JLIP cable so eventually, witha serial port, some hardware and some software, it might be possible to get TC. But, would it be accurate? Who knows?

All this means using DV is not a good model. Instead consider VHS or Video 8.
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Old October 31st, 2003, 09:44 AM   #6
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OK, so there's no way to batch-capture HD files from HD10 with thumbnails and timecode at this time.

Fine.

So say we capture the whole tape blindly using the bundled capture utility, as a bunch of arbitrarily named m2t files.

Next step must be to view these files one-by-one, and rename them from something like Cap0001.m2t into tape2-scene5-shot6-take3.m2t.

Frederic Haubrich advised to just view the files one by one and rename them based on the slate plate readings. (You must have "all" takes slated in this case, by the way. I didn't always do that, namely if there was no double sound system to sync with. Guess what, now all takes must be not just logged, but also slated for IDing later in post.)

OK, so next step is to view-rename the files.

I found doing it with Windows Media Player the only option available. It does read m2t files AND allows "save as" function so you can rename it and save it.

Drawbacks:
1. You can only see one file at the time.
2. Save-as works just like Windows Explorer's Copy-Paste function. Double bummer:
- Takes twice the space as a copy must be created;
- Takes some time if file is large, even with fast hard drive. Must be the way Win XP handles file copying.

Note: other m2t players like Elecard do not allow for Save-As function. You also cannot rename the original file in Win Explorer view while it is displayed by the player. Workaround of course is to release the file by opening another, ut then it all gets too inconvenient.

My solution: get a media management utility that allows to thumbnail and view m2t files, and to rename the originals on-the-fly.

So far I found only 3 utilities, best of which is iView - but it does not import MPEG files at all.

Two others are XnView and MagicMedia, which both act similarly with explorer-like interface, so there's no need to "import" files into them - they simply show you a directory. However none of m2t or mpv files are thumbnailed.

One can get exactly the same result without any utilities - just enable Thimbnail View in Win XP Folder.

So question: who knows the way to display thumbnails of the m2t/mpv/mpg/mpeg files together with ability to play the video, and then rename the original?
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Old October 31st, 2003, 10:15 AM   #7
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Sorry to answer my own question, but I already found a solution to display m2t thumbnails in the Windows Explorer.

This involves manual editing of the Win Registry, so I cannot post/recommend it here for it's too dangerous. Worked for me though.

Still the question remains: any *utilities* that would allow for flexible thumbnailing/renaming m2t and other MPEG-encoded files?
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