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Capturing video

Before you can edit your own video, you need to transfer it to your computer’s hard drive. In Lesson 3 you learned how to transfer video from tapeless media to Adobe Premiere Pro. Tapeless media has become the most common video format. But there are still plenty of video cameras around that record to tape. This section will cover how to capture video recorded onto tape to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.

To bring footage into an Adobe Premiere Pro project, you can either capture it or digitize it, depending on the type of source material. The most common video formats recorded onto digital tape are DV and HDV.

You capture digital video from a live camera or from tape to the hard disk before using it in a project. Adobe Premiere Pro captures video through a digital port, such as a FireWire or Serial Digital Interface (SDI) port installed on the computer. Adobe Premiere Pro saves captured footage to disk as files and imports the files into projects as clips.

Alternatively, you can use Adobe OnLocation to capture video. You will take a closer look at OnLocation in Lesson 18.

You digitize analog video from a live analog camera source or from an analog tape device. You digitize the analog video and convert it to digital form so your computer can store and process it. The capture command digitizes video when a digitizing card or device is installed in the computer. Adobe Premiere Pro saves digitized footage to disk as files and imports the files into projects as clips.

In the analog world, the capture process takes several steps: transfer, convert, compress, and wrap. Your camcorder transfers the video and audio as analog data to a video capture card. That card’s built-in hardware converts the waveform signal to a digital form, compresses it using a codec (compression/decompression) process, and then typically wraps it in the AVI file format on Windows systems or in the QuickTime format for users working with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 on the Mac.

Three DV/HDV-capturing scenarios

Adobe Premiere Pro offers tools to take some of the manual labor out of the capturing process. There are three basic approaches:

  • You can capture your entire videotape as one long clip.
  • You can log each clip’s In and Out points for automated batch capturing.
  • You can use the scene detection feature in Adobe Premiere Pro to automatically create separate clips whenever you press the Pause/Record button on your camcorder.

To do this exercise, you need a DV camcorder. Most DV camcorders have an IEEE 1394 cable that you hook up to your computer’s IEEE 1394 connector. If your computer does not have an IEEE 1394 connector, it is recommended that you buy an IEEE 1394 card.

You can work with HDV or with a professional-level camcorder with an SDI connector and a specialized video capture card. Adobe Premiere Pro handles HDV and SDI capture with the same kind of software device controls used with a standard DV camcorder. SDI requires an extra setup procedure.

If you have an analog camcorder, you need a video capture card that supports S-Video or composite video connectors. The only option with most analog camcorders is to manually start and stop recording. Most analog capture cards do not work with remote device control or have timecode readout, so you can’t log tapes, do batch capture, or use the scene detection feature.

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