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The Stress-Free, Sure-Fire Guide to Capturing Analog Video in Pinnacle Studio

Analog capture is no walk in the park, but Pinnacle Studio makes it a little easier if you know what you're doing. Author Jan Ozer shows you how.
This chapter is from the book

While DV capture is a simple file transfer with few settings to worry about, analog capture involves a plethora of controls, including resolution, quality, brightness, volume, and much, much more. To paraphrase Zorba the Greek, the sheer number of options can easily turn analog capture into "the whole catastrophe."

Fortunately, Studio simplifies the process with some well-designed presets and an excellent interface for making all the choices and adjustments necessary to capture analog video at top quality. With some care and frequent checking of your captured files, you should be in great shape.

Note that while DV capture interfaces are relatively standard among different cameras and FireWire devices, analog capture devices and their software interfaces can be as different as snowflakes. Although Pinnacle attempts to present a standard approach for analog capture in Studio, differences among the various devices abound. The best approach is to use this chapter as a guide and then consult the manual or Help files that came with your analog capture card for fine-tuning.

Because 16:9 is primarily a DV-enabled format, you most likely won't want to capture 16:9 video in analog mode. But if you do, Studio can definitely handle it, as you'll discover near the end of this chapter.

The Analog Capture Interface

As you would expect, Studio's analog capture interface (Figure 4.1) contains various controls for adjusting your analog capture. Its three main components perform the following roles:

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.1 In the analog capture interface, the Diskometer has sprouted wings, enabling you to fine-tune the incoming video and control audio volume.

The Album. Your captured clips go directly into the Album, though you can't play them back while in Capture mode. Only one captured file appears in the Album at a time. If you enable scene detection, however (see the sidebar "Scene Detection with Analog Video" later in this chapter), each scene from that file appears in the Album, thus accounting for the multiple scenes (Figure 4.2). Had you captured more scenes than could fit on the two pages in the Album, you would see a little white arrow on the upper-right corner of the Album, which lets you know more scenes are stored on subsequent pages.

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2 The Album, with scene detection enabled.

Studio may store captured files during capture, or it may store them immediately after capture, as in the case of MPEG files, which must be converted before storage. Either way, no user intervention is needed to store the files. Once you start to capture another file, your previously captured files disappear from the Album—but don't worry; they are safely stored and accessible in Edit mode.

The Player. Note the lack of playback controls in the Player window. The Player's sole role during capture is to preview the incoming video and provide information about dropped frames; you have to switch to Edit mode to actually play the captured files.

The Diskometer. If you study the analog capture interface in Figure 4.1, you'll see that the Camcorder Controller, present in the DV interface, is missing in action. That's because the lack of a FireWire or similar connection for analog capture prevents Studio from controlling the camcorder.

The Diskometer for analog capture looks vaguely similar to the DV-capture version, at least on top, where it displays the space remaining on the capture drive. However, the DV and MPEG capture options are replaced with Good, Better, Best, and Full DV quality capture settings.

In addition, the Diskometer has sprouted wings, with controls for selecting and customizing analog video source and input on the left, and controls for enabling audio capture and setting volume on the right. You open and close these wings by clicking the TV and Speaker icons on the sides of the Diskometer (video on the left and audio on the right). You'll learn how to operate these controls later in this chapter.

Click the Settings button at the lower right of the screen to open the Setup Options dialog box. It will open to the default Capture Format tab (Figure 4.3), where you select your analog capture parameters. The tab to the left is the Capture Source tab (Figure 4.4), where you choose your capture device and scene-detection options.

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.3 Here's where you set your analog capture options.

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4 Here's where you select your analog video and audio capture devices, as well as scene-detection options.

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