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Old March 8th, 2003, 04:20 PM   #1
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Capture one long file or several short files?

I just finished shooting over 2 hours of tape at a NASCAR event in Las Vegas. Out of that 2 hours, I will probably use 15 to 20 minutes (at most) in a documentary I'm putting together, but I won't know for sure which 15 to 20 minutes until I get further along in the project.

I use Premiere 6.5. What do you think would be the best way to capture this footage into my computer for editing:

1. Capture the entire 2 hours as one file and just pick out what I want once it's inside the computer?

2. Capture the entire 2 hours but in, say, 15 minute segments?

3. Try to decide before I capture which segments I'm going to want in the final product, and capture only those segments?

4. Something else.

Disk space is not really an issue. In case it matters for file size or other reasons, I run Windows XP.

Thanks for your help.
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Old March 8th, 2003, 04:33 PM   #2
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In general, I think it is better to break things into segments. I'm not sure if Premiere has a shot logger that automatically breaks the shots into small pieces or not. If it does that can make loading the clips in much easier.

There are many good reasons to break your project into segments. Mostly by breaking the project into segments or clips is so that you will know what's in each cut. This will aid you in putting the story together. If you have one huge file you may not remember where in the two hour video is the shot you want.

I use Cinestream, and I'm sure Premiere has similar features. CS allows you to select a single frame from the clip as a thumbnail that shows the significant action. That way when you are selecting clips for the sequencer or timeline, you do not have to remember them by name, you merely look at the thumbnail view. This can make putting the story together a much easier task.
Nathan Gifford
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Old March 8th, 2003, 05:03 PM   #3
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Thanks, Nathan.

As far as I can tell, Premiere does not have automatic scene detection. I would love it if someone would tell me I was wrong!

What you can do with Premiere though is make "duplicates" of a clip that comes from the large file. These "duplicates" do not actually create a separate file but they do get listed as separate clips in the project window so you can find them.

Which makes me want to re-word my original question:

I guess it seems to me that it would be easier to capture the entire 2 hours of tape, then use the "duplicate" function in Premiere to create separate clips, than to sift through the tape BEFORE capturing and only capture those clips I want to use. Does that make sense? Or does someone have other ideas?

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Old March 8th, 2003, 06:04 PM   #4
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automatic scene detection
I'm not sure what you mean by automatic shot detection, but one feature that I have started using in Premiere 6.5 is batch logging. Basically, you start watching the tape. When you find a section of tape that you want to save, you log in the in and out points. You repeat the process until you reach the end of the raw footage. After completing the logging, Premiere will go fetch all the clips for you. I think it asks for a name for the clip as you log it. By default, Premiere uses the first frame of a clip for the thumb nail, but the frame used can be changed.

Two notes that on the batch capture feature. First, a continuous time code is needed through the raw footage. Second, you may want to add five seconds or more to the in points and out points for the clips for transitions. You can trim the shot to what you need later in Premiere.

Not sure if that's what you are looking for, but it might help you.
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Old March 8th, 2003, 06:32 PM   #5
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Yeah, I guess what I'm asking is whether you think batch logging (where you decide what you want before capturing) is easier than capturing the whole tape and then selecting short clips after it's on your computer. What do you think?

BTW, automatic scene detection automatically picks up breaks in the timecode or changes in the scene and creates clips that begin and end with those breaks or changes. It's not perfect, but it's decent and, best of all, it's automatic. Just start the capture and it breaks it down into clips for you without you having to log everything. Believe it or not, the software I have found that feature on is the cheap stuff!
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Old March 8th, 2003, 06:58 PM   #6
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That automatic scene detection sounds nice. I just started using Premiere about a month ago. I can tell you that the few shorts that I've edited together, I wish that I had several shorter clips rather than the one large clip. Like you said you can create duplicate clips, but it seems to me the shorter original clips is the way to go. I don't have a lot of experience with Premiere though so remember that. I recall having to put black down on the 3/4" tape and 1/2" tapes that we used in college because the professional editing gear we had wouldn't read the tapes other wise. Maybe it's just a sign of a professional product? :)

A two hour clip takes up a lot of space on a hard drive. However, if you are using the camera as the capturing device and capture everything to the hard drive, you'd reduce the use of your camera at least 50% as a deck since you wouldn't have to watch the tape to log it and then capture it. Hopefully someone else with more experience will chime in with other pros cons.
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Old March 8th, 2003, 07:42 PM   #7
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Believe it or not, the software I have found that feature on is the cheap stuff!
Yeah, I've noticed that too, it's even in XP's movie maker. I guess the reason it's staying out of the professional tools is because most people still log manually, on set or while reviewing the footage. I never really trust those automatic ones, plus sometimes you want to split up each take and whatnot..
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Old March 9th, 2003, 06:06 AM   #8
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It's no pro tool but something you might find useful.
if you are capturing from FireWire.

It gives you control over either mode; TC detection or optical detection. It will generate an index of your tape then present the clips with thumbnails that you can then select which clips you want and then send it on it's way for batch capture. It brings the clips in using the timecode as part of the filename.

I find it quick and very useful to get the process started. Plus, for the price you can put it into your toolbox for a song.

There is a free-ware version that does not capture directly but works on AVI input that you can evaluate.

Might be worth taking a tinker with.
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Old March 9th, 2003, 10:39 AM   #9
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I second the suggestion to use Scenalyzer Live. It's much easier to work in Premiere with the clips already logged, than having to manually chop up one large clip.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 08:26 AM   #10
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A third vote for Scenalyzer

I usually dont even bother with the index. I just import everything, where each scene is put into a separate .avi file.

If you should happen to work on a non NTFS file system, this will also nicely circumvent the 2 GB file size limit, as long as no individual scene is over 18 minutes.

I think it was 20 USD to register. Otherwise you will get a "nag text" in the imported video.

Some of the best 20 bucks I ever spent.

Hans Henrik
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