Choosing Your Capture Format
The previous exercise explained how to capture in DV format, which is appropriate for the vast majority of users and projects. However, when you are capturing DV video from a DV camcorder, Studio gives you two other options: preview-quality capture and MPEG full-quality capture.
Preview-Quality Capture. You select this option on the Diskometer or on the Capture Format tab of the Pinnacle Studio Setup Options dialog box. Preview-quality capture relates to Studio's SmartCapture feature, which stores the DV footage in a reduced-quality format that saves disk space but retains the original DV time code information. You edit using the preview-quality video, and then Studio captures the footage at full DV quality before rendering.
SmartCapture was wonderful when it was introduced because disk drives were pricey and workspace critical. Today, however, an 80-GB hard drive costs under $100. And although SmartCapture works well, it adds both time and complexity to the production process. For this reason, I won't discuss SmartCapture further; see Studio's manual or Help files for assistance.
MPEG Full-Quality Capture. Capturing in MPEG format is a slightly different story with a similar ending. Capturing using the MPEG option saves file space and production time if you're producing a DVD, VideoCD (VCD), or Super VideoCD (SVCD) project with MPEG video.
However, the algorithm that Studio uses to encode MPEG during capture is optimized for speed, not quality, so Studio can store the video to disk in as near to real time as possible. In contrast, when Studio outputs to MPEG format during final project rendering, say for DVD production, the algorithm is optimized for quality, not speed.
Note also that when you insert effects such as transitions, titles, or color correction into captured MPEG video, Studio implements the effects and then re-renders the affected portions of the video into MPEG format. So if your edits affect substantial portions of the video, your production-time savings will be minimal. In addition, the edited sections are encoded in MPEG format twice—once during capture and once during rendering—the digital equivalent of photocopying a photocopy.
So unless you're producing a disk-based project and your edits will be minimal—and production time is absolutely critical—you should capture in DV format and then render in MPEG format after editing. This approach will maximize production quality, though production time may be extended.
This leaves DV video as the best capture format for virtually all projects.
To choose your capture format
- On the Diskometer, click the button for the desired capture format (Figure 3.15). The light to the left of the button lights up. If you choose DV Full-Quality Capture, you're all set; there are no other options to select. If you choose MPEG Full-Quality Capture, you need to set several options before capture. (See the following section for more information.) If you choose Preview-Quality Capture, check Pinnacle's Studio 9 manual for additional help.