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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 3rd, 2005, 09:20 AM   #1
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Capturing all that footage

Another question.... I use the gl2 right now (just starting off) and since it's my only camera I also use it for capturing to the computer. I'm putting additonal wear and tear on it because of stopping/starting for each segment and was thinking about getting an inexpensive dv camera to use just for digitizing my footage to the computer. Anyone else do this and what type of camera do you use? I've got my eye on the Canon FireStore FS-4 Portable DTE Recorder but right now that's not in the budget.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 09:47 AM   #2
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The FS-4 would be nice, many use a mini-dv with good result. Try this link:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=47244

Using the "search" feature here will yeild even more results. Presonally I use

Sony DCR-HC21 Mini DV Camcorder, 20x Optical/800x Digital Zoom, B&W Viewfinder, 2.5" Touch Panel LCD Screen Mfr# DCRHC21 B&H# SODCRHC21 $349.00 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

Its been great in the four months I've used it. Good luck!
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 10:13 AM   #3
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the firestores and others like it, although good, are a rip off.. the low capacity batteries force you into buying another battery, even though you can get a friggin car kit and run it off a 12v cell type battery.
Also if you want a higher capacity storage, you have to buy the pro version, even if you dont need the codecs, ur paying for them.. i think theres a way to hack the HDD's however so u can run a higher capacity drive in a standard model.. im not sure, but i came online to ask that very same question.
Im just now tossing up whether to "upgrade" to the HDV codec on these units.. or just toss it all in and go the HVX..

Looking at my firestore here, yes, its a nice looking unit.. quiet, fanned, nice screen, a bit plasticy for my liking and the buttons.. well.. i would have prefered rubber or indented buttons.. as opposed to the clickety chinese plastic (no offense to the chinese who frequent this site.. ) but yeah, it FEELS cheap..

Battery is a bitch to remove, but then again you dont want it to slip out.. i also have the shoe mounting kit.. now this is funny.. its a manfrotto adapter FFS.. if i knew that, i would have gone to my supplier and bought the adapter on its own without all that other crap... oh not to mention the double bracket i had to buy to fit my light alongside the firestore.. that was another $75...
This is not a cheap business we're in, but $75 for a Y Bracket that gives me 2 shoe mounts is a but much..
Lucky i can claim all this crap back on tax..

Sorry dont get me wrong, the firestore has its uses, but for THAT amount of money.. its a tough question. It needs to pay itself off, like any other tool in your arsenal.
For doing corporate jobs that need to be edited on the spot, its a no brainer, works a treat, i cant fault it.. but $$ wise.. well.. im not too impressed.. there are other cheaper units, but this unit seems to be the most stable so far...
I had no choice but to go the pro model since its the only way i can get OMF support for Avid.. saves me conforming all these stupid files, anyways.. moving on..

As for capturing tape, i use an MX500 for footage shot with DVX100's and SD work from Z1 units. HDV and downsampling to SD is done with the z1 (i REFUSE to buy a deck which costs as much as the friggin FX1... Id rather buy an FX1 or an AIP and at least have 3 bloody HDV cams... ggrrr)

The biggest time waster we had in the studio last season was all the friggin footage.. There was TOO MUCH footage.. thats no bad thing, but it wastes alot of editing hours when your spending so much time capturing .. I do all my footage reviews on the timeline now and literally chop as i go along.. theres no point in reviewing footage, logging, then capturing with a batch capture, then editing.. blah blah
To me, thats doublehandling, as im going over the footage twice...if i do it on the timeline, i jsut have to go over it once.. as most of the shit is cut anyway. So why not do it all at once?

Learning the hard way, i noticed that deliveries were gettin further and further pushed back simply due to the fact that the machine would be untouchable during capture, so theres an average of 12 hours out the window while i accquire my footage.... anyways, i went out and built another system. Similar to my finishing unit here, theyre networked through firewire. This has multiple purposes.
What i do now is as im continuing to edit on this machine, I set up the MX or Z1 or what have you, to capture on the other machine using either external drives (i use afew of these for archiving and time saving) or the network (if im not doing too many strenuous activities on this machine)
Once i have all my footage on the drafting unit, my wife or assistant will do a draft cut, this saves me having to filter through the crap and just focus on the edit. Im hitting anythin between 40 to 60 jobs a year, so i dont have time to do this. Lets face it, no matter how good you shoot theres always crap to be cut.
From here the project is moved to the finishing unit where music titles and the final cuts and colour grading blah blah is processed..
All dvd authoring is done here and as i run 3 burners off this unit, i usually chain them up and go nuts.
Now, while THIS machine is rendering, or burning discor basically chugging away, i usually either network render, or i just hop over to the draft machine and continue cutting other jobs from any one of the drives ive captured to..

Its a good system, as when one machine is unusable, the other can still be used.
Also your edit workflow doesnt have to stop just for capturing.. u can keep working while the other machine captures..

Now not many people know this unless theyve used Canopus gear, but canopus have a DVCapture utility which literally allows you to capture from 3 sources at once.. no shit, hook up 3 cameras, and 9 hours worth of footage can be captured in 3 hours on the same drive.. obviously u need 3 decks, but considering how cheap minidv cams are now.. well its cheaper than a firestore, not to mention the option to offer multiple cameras at a shoot.. but thats another story..

Now can someone tell me WHY this 3 deck capture hasnt been implemented with any other system? yeah it uses the canopus codec, but thats no bad thing, also the files WORK in Vegas and Premiere (if you have the codec installed) Youd think something like this would be a huge selling point.. but no.. and the funny thing is, it only uses hardware for verification before use, its all software based.. so its not like other NLE makers cant offer it too.. Edius SP doesnt do this though.. well mine doesnt anyway.. unless im doing somethign wrong.. Only the Storm series, DVRaptor, Rex etc)

Im goin on a tangent here..
Basically the point of this ramble is to say that before you go for a firestore (even though it looks impressive to the client and does the job it says it does) is to consider maybe putting those funds towards another smaller system with some external HDD's. Not only can u use the system as a drafter, but you also capture while you continue to edit. Also, if you have a system failure, or a HDD crash you dont have to stop work.. (it happens, no PC is perfect and HDD for Video have a life of about 5 yrs.... if your lucky.. )
To me it was a no brainer.. PC or firestore, i went PC and my workload has increased in efficiency and i save ALOT of time in the edit and capture, but then i had no choice but go Firestore when doing all day Corp shoots which need delivery the next day.. 5 hours shooting, go home to the studio then capture for another 5 hours bum around for 5 hours scratching myself.....edit, render, deliver... i dont think so Tim.. yeah one corp job would easily pay off a firestore, but even with it, i still use tape as a backup in case of firestore HDD failure.. Im paranoid..

ok im shutting up
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 10:22 AM   #4
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Well thanks for the info! I'm just looking for a way to get my video from my dv tape to the computer without wearing down my gl2. I capture in segments no longer than 10 minutes so I constantly have to stop the camera, start, filter through what I even want to capture, etc. I just didn't know if it really mattered what kind of cheap dv camera I got to do that.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 10:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Graves
I capture in segments no longer than 10 minutes so I constantly have to stop the camera, start, filter through what I even want to capture, etc.
Why? If I have a 1 hour ceremony, I'll have a 1 hour capture in a single file. Why split it into 10 minute segments?
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 10:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Troxel
Why? If I have a 1 hour ceremony, I'll have a 1 hour capture in a single file. Why split it into 10 minute segments?
Because when I import a segment longer than 10 minutes into premiere it freezes up and crashes.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 10:48 AM   #7
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dont use premiere...
no shit, i have 13 hour edited weddings (indian) running on Vegas WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS (knock on wood)

this 10 mins though seems to be somethign akin to the fat32 file system though..
are ur media drives NTFS?
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 11:26 AM   #8
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I don't know anything about your system or what version of Premiere you are running but if I had that problem I would be changing something. Hard to say if it's system related or Premiere related.

Before switching to Vegas, I did have some audio sync issues on longer clips in Cinestream. However, with NTFS drives and Vegas, I can easily handle larger files (i.e. > 4 Gig and > 10 minutes). When I used Win98 and FAT32, I limited my captures to 9 minutes each section.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 12:10 PM   #9
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If using FAT32, the file size limit is 4.7GB and will capture 17min55sec of full quality DV. Longer captures can also result in audio/video sync issues since mini-DV is not using locked audio.

Jennifer, you should consider using the log and capture method where you play the tape, mark in/out points of video you want, and then you go back and do a batch capture where the software will grab only the segments you mark in one operation. Much less wear and tear on the heads this way. Many folks go the route of buying an inexpensive mini-dv camera to use as a capture deck, thus saving the wear and tear on the heads of their main camera.

best of luck,

-gb-
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 01:07 PM   #10
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The FAT32 file size limit is 4 Gig (not 4.7 Gig - which is the size of a DVD except they really only hold about 4.37 Gig)

My 9 minutes was staying under 2 Gig (which was the file size limit of the MOV files when I started). 4 Gig is somewhere around 18 to 19 minutes. Most capture programs will automatically split at the 4 Gig point if capturing to FAT32.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 01:20 PM   #11
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Quite right about 4.0 vs. 4.7gb. I should know better than to post when I'm still half asleep. The number I arrived at was from the fact that when I was using Pinnacle Studio, the capture would repeatedly end at 17:55 until I figured out that it was the limits of FAT32 filesize. This was when I converted to NTFS (surprisingly painless!), and the capture was no longer limited.

-gb-

p.s. Was good to meet you at NAB, Edward.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Graves
Because when I import a segment longer than 10 minutes into premiere it freezes up and crashes.
What are your computer specs. It sounds like you computer can't keep up. I've used premiere without many problems at all really. Actually, since I got my new laptop it hasn't given me any problems what-so-ever.

It's a AMD 64 3500 with 512mb ram.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 02:51 PM   #13
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Good to meet you too, Greg. I agree the switch to NTFS was painless and well worth the change.

Premiere should definitely be able to handle clips longer than 10 minutes.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 04:16 PM   #14
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I use premiere pro 1.5 and edit multiple tapes/files each about 10 gigs or so per tape when captured. I never have had premiere crash on me (since i've been using pp 1.5).

Eric
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Old August 11th, 2005, 10:01 AM   #15
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Canopus multi-capture

I've looked all over Canopus' website and can't seem to find a product that allows simultaneous capturing at the same time. Anyone have a name or product # for this?

TIA..
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