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Old April 3rd, 2011, 09:36 AM   #1
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Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

I need some very basic tips on my work flow as it applies and some Do's and Do-not's. I need someone with a little time patience to give me a jump start here. I have tried searching and am not a PC noob, and I am a CS5 PS user so I can learn fast enough.
I will reveal my level of inexperience with video processing and you will probably laugh but here goes.

I (now) use Vegas Pro 10c. Formerly used Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM).
I record to MiniDV.
Win7 Pro x64 & Robust System PC with lots of HDD's. I am setup to source and render to and from separate Non OS HDD's.

What I did before Vegas:
(I must have the time stamp (TS) ) I have two camcorders, a Panasonic PV-GS500 & Sony PD170. I cannot firewire from the Panasonic or I loose the TS. The Sony burns the TS to into the tape.

* Burn from the camcorder the full video to DVD via a Set Top Burner. Store the Tape away.
* Copy from the PC DVD burner the VTS_01_1.VOB file to a temp folder so there is no burner lag when accessing it. Store away the DVD.
* Drag the .VOB file into Windows Movie Maker (WLMM).
* Split out the unwanted or irrelevant.
* Save for computer as .wmv @ 640x480 5.69 Mbps, 40.71 MB per minute.
* Drag the a copy of the edited & saved video into WLMM.
* My file sizes have to be around 40MB so I split as best I can into sections or chapters and save each one to for computer in .wmv. Most of the time the clips do not need to be more than a minute long.

Now that I have Vegas I am diving in and having a ball. What I want is to know what not to do I guess.
I need a chart of the file formats (wmv. MPEG-1,-2, avi and so on) ) and how they relate to file size comparisons.

I transfer to DVD to save it and the tape for archives as shot for courtroom purposes.

I edit copies trimming out the irrelevance to display only the relevant content to all concerned parties.

I pull the .VOB file from the DVD as a rookie that sees an easy fast way to grab the content that knows not what he is doing bad or good to the video.

So, I need to know how you schooled and experienced guys would do it and what terrible things am I doing.

I'll come up for air now!

Thanks
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 11:08 AM   #2
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Were it me, I'd restructure the workflow for Vegas:

1) Capture tape directly into Vegas via firewire. This is the substantial difference from your previous workflow.

The encoding that your set-top DVD recording is doing highly compresses the video. When you take this recording to MLMM or Vegas, some detail has already been lost, before you even start editing for your primary use.

Video to the DVD-Video standard has been optimized for distribution, not editing. The general rule of thumb is to edit with recordings in their original format. (sometimes, people transfer their originals to a specialized editing codec, not DVD-Video MPEG2!)

2) Use AVI-DV as your intermediate format between the video editing stage and the DVD encoding stage.

WMV is also a distribution standard, not the best Digital Intermediate on the way to DVD (it is sometimes a good choice on the way to Youtube or Vimeo...)

AVI-DV, on the other hand, preserves all the original detail of your original. This format is visually lossless through at least 11 generations of copying, your footage started in it, it's a great choice in a Standard Definition workflow.

3) As a beginner with Vegas, use that AVI-DV file in DVD-Architect as the source for your video.

As you get more familiar with this workflow, slightly better results can be had by rendering to MPEG2 out of Vegas, and bringing that into DVD-A. The reason this is a more advanced workflow is that it is easy to get it wrong, and the consequences are ugly. "Getting it wrong" means that DVD-A recompresses the MPEG2 clip, visually this is almost always an unacceptable result.

4) "wmv at 40MB per minute" is an odd spec. Usually, these distribution codec bitrates are referred to as, eg. 4Mbps, or, four megabits per second. Are you displaying in the courtroom from hard drive or DVD? If hard drive, a wmv of 1.2 to 4Mbps would be a good distribution format. Or, if DVD, see #3...

I highly recommend Edward Troxel's excellent newsletters. They are a great introduction to Vegas features and functions, and Edward always presents a "best practices" approach.

All the above is related to a Standard Definition workflow, for tape shot by your PD170. The practices change for HD.

***************************************************************
Is the intention to permanently archive DVD copies of original footage? If so, I highly recommend the recordable DVDs with a gold metal layer, MAM-A is the leading manufacturer. Standard DVD-R is not a good archive medium, you can expect serious degradation of the physical medium in as little as 10 years. The aluminum layer tends to oxidize... The original camera tapes will last much longer than a conventional DVD-R.

You can find numerous references on this, under the topics of digital archive and restoration.
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 11:15 AM   #3
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Thank You, That puts me on the trail.

I am just surviving and doing the best I can reaching for lifelines like the one you tossed me.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 07:31 AM   #4
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Allan, to expand a little on Seth's comment:

Your cameras record on MiniDV (or, at least, I know the PD170 does). When you "capture" via firewire, it really simply does a bit for bit "copy" from the tape to the hard drive meaning you get ZERO loss of quality in that process and end up with an AVI file that is simple for Vegas to edit.

By contrast, converting to DVD you're losing quality/color information, then pulling the lower quality result into the computer, and giving Vegas a much harder file for Vegas to edit. MPEG2 is much harder for an NLE to process.

Once you are done editing, if you then render to DV-AVI after starting with DV-AVI, it will simply COPY any sections that have not been modified. When it does need to render, the DV-AVI codec included in Vegas is extremely good.

To get the final result onto DVD, you do need to go to MPEG2 at that point. DVDs ARE MPEG2 so there's no reason for going to any other format. However, you CAN just render from Vegas to DV-AVI and let DVD Architect automatically do the conversion to MPEG2. That's definitely the easiest workflow. If you want a little more control over the render, you can render to MPEG2 and AC3 from Vegas.

If you look at my newsletters as Seth mentioned, be sure you take a look at Vol 1 #7.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 11:29 AM   #5
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Thanks Edward, and I have been reading up on your site as recommended.
A great place!

A noob and a tad overwhelmed I'll be OK sooner or later as this was the case with me & PhotoShop.

I have another question about keeping my original files from tape to PC @ .avi.

I am looking for a way to transfer video to my PC that will leave it in .avi. On my PD170 its firewire no problem as the time stamp is burnt into the tape. But for my Panasonic GS500 I have to use the AV out cable that has S-Video & RCA's on the outgoing ends. Firewire and USB output from the cam will not include the TS.

So I was looking at Hauppauge's PCI-1 cards & USB devices and notice they output to MPEG-2 only. I called and they told me this is true. Geesh.

So unless there is a device I can afford that will allow me to go from the Panasonic to PC in AVI I am stuck.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #6
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

You're better off with something like the Canopus ADVC 100 which will convert your s-Video to firewire. Simply using your other camera might work - it should be able to convert to firewire for you as well.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 12:37 AM   #7
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

I had bought the Pinnacle DVD Creator Plus package at BestBuy a year or two ago.

It comes with a USB-based capture device which lets you capture a composite video or S-video signal. The nice thing about it though, is that you don't have to capture with their DVD Creator application. A standard PC capture driver installed with the application; this allows you to use any application that uses a standard capture driver (most applications do), using whatever codec you prefer.

I've captured from it using both Sony Vegas, and VirtualDub.

Easy-Peasey!
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Old April 5th, 2011, 10:04 PM   #8
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Gajewski View Post
I had bought the Pinnacle DVD Creator Plus package at BestBuy a year or two ago.

It comes with a USB-based capture device which lets you capture a composite video or S-video signal. The nice thing about it though, is that you don't have to capture with their DVD Creator application. A standard PC capture driver installed with the application; this allows you to use any application that uses a standard capture driver (most applications do), using whatever codec you prefer.

I've captured from it using both Sony Vegas, and VirtualDub.

Easy-Peasey!
So, for clarification, it will bring my MiniDV tape files off the camera to my PC in .avi if I so choose?

I ask because some of these USB devices bring into the PC as MPEG only.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 07:45 AM   #9
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

My personal opinion, stick with the firewire converters. A USB device may let you capture to an AVI file but I'll bet it won't be a direct transfer like firewire is and, quite possibly, won't even be DV.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #10
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Ed's right though, if at all possible, if a camera has a firewire port, capture from that. The reason for this is that the capture is purely digital - and the video is first generation.

I use the capture device from PC DVD Creator to capture from devices from which I have no other choice. If I need to capture old VHS tapes, or a laserdisc, I use it. Those devices have only analog output.

Quote:
So, for clarification, it will bring my MiniDV tape files off the camera to my PC in .avi if I so choose?

I ask because some of these USB devices bring into the PC as MPEG only.
In answer to your question, yes you can capture in avi format. In fact, that's the way most people do it.

But back to Ed's suggestion - it's better to capture via firewire. If you need an avi file, just load the captured file into vegas and render it out as an avi.


Most folks here are simply trying to be polite in pointing out that capturing via analog is a less than optimal choice, and they don't wish to be seen as giving bad advice.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #11
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

I understand and thank them all.

I thought .avi was the native format my Sony DSR PD170 captured in? I do do firewire from the PD170 but my other camcorder will not xfr time stamp over firewire or USB. I have to view it in S-video on my TV while recording to a set top DVR and haul the disc to the PC. But I get by I guess.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 10:26 AM   #12
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Alan, "AVI" is a file type - not a video type.

Think of "AVI" (and "MOV") files as paper sacks. You can put anything in the paper sack. Some of the items you pull out of the paper sack you might recognize - others you might not. Some items may look good, other items will look horrible. The same is true with AVI files. An AVI file can contain many different types of video - some are higher quality, some are lower quality, some may be recognized by your NLE, some may not - depends on whether or not you have the codec used to encode the video on your machine.

Just because you might be able to capture from a USB device into an "AVI" file, don't assume that it will be the same quality as capturing directly from the camera via firewire. If you have a minidv tape, PLEASE capture from a camera via firewire. You will be MUCH happier.

Even for things like VHS tapes, I prefer connecting them to my DV Camera/deck and still capture via firewire into a DV-AVI file. I still think that will give better quality than a similar capture via any usb device.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #13
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Troxel View Post
. If you have a minidv tape, PLEASE capture from a camera via firewire. You will be MUCH happier.
Thanks. I'm learning so much here.
I do the firewire thing from my big Sony PD150 but my little Panasonic GS500 will not deliver the time stamp via firewire or USB. So I get what ever I can. As an investigator taking video to court my hands are tied. I cannot always shoot with my big rig.

So. I am seeking a small MiniDV rig that perhaps will either burn the TS into the tape or at least let it be transferred via FW.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #14
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

If they're both minidv cameras, why not just capture them both from the Sony camera since it provides the information you need via firewire. If they're both minidv, either should play the tapes from the other camera.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 02:10 PM   #15
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Re: Need Workflow Tips and Do's & Do Nots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Troxel View Post
If they're both minidv cameras, why not just capture them both from the Sony camera since it provides the information you need via firewire. If they're both minidv, either should play the tapes from the other camera.
I love talking about this because I hope someone will come up with a magic bullet/small consumer camcorder model.
The Sony PD170 has an option to BURN the time stamp (TS) into the tape. No matter how it is transferred it the TS is there. I have yet to find a small consumer camcorder that has this burn-in feature, or that will show the TS when XFR'd or even played back via FW or USB. They will show it via Composite or S-Video.

My settop DVR will burn what ever is on the screen so if it would even play it back via FW or USB I would get a better file on my DVR.

But for now, the Judge & Jury have no complaints other than the persons who are on the wrong side of the litigation. :-)
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