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Capturing DV Video to MPEG Format

The most obvious time to capture directly into MPEG format is when you're creating projects using MPEG-formatted video, such as in DVDs, VCDs, and SVCDs. Studio simplifies these captures with presets that deliver the properly formatted video for each project.

However, remember that during MPEG capture, Studio defaults to an encoding algorithm optimized for encoding speed rather than quality, so quality will be optimized if you capture with DV and encode in MPEG format during final rendering.

Also note that all versions of Studio before 8.6 re-encode all MPEG footage during final rendering. Version 8.6 introduced smart rendering for MPEG, so that only the segments of video affected during editing are re-encoded before production. This makes the upgrade to version 8.6 essential to all producers who capture MPEG video.

Finally, remember that if your edits affect significant portions of the video in the project, you will have to re-render these anyway before producing your disc. If this is the case, capturing in DV format will produce better overall quality with minimal increase in production time.

Knowing all of these caveats, if you still want to capture in MPEG format, here's how.

To capture DV video in MPEG format

  1. Open the Pinnacle Studio Setup Options dialog box to the Capture Format tab by doing one of the following:
    • From the Studio menu, choose Setup > Capture Format ( Figure 3.21 ).

      Figure 3.21 Access the Capture format tab to change your capture format to MPEG.

    • In Capture mode, click the Settings button on the Diskometer.
  2. Click the text in the first list box in the Presets section and select MPEG ( Figure 3.22 ).

    Figure 3.22 Choose the preset format for your project.

    This also changes your selection on the Diskometer, so you don't have to change it there separately.
  3. In the second list box in the Presets section, choose one of the following options:
    • If encoding for a DVD project, choose High Quality.
    • If encoding for an SVCD project, choose Medium Quality.
    • If encoding for a VCD project, choose Low Quality.
    • If you want to customize your encoding settings, choose Custom (but be sure to read the following tips first).
  4. Click OK to close the Pinnacle Studio Setup Options dialog box.
  5. If you're not in Capture mode, click the Capture tab.
  6. Use the Camcorder Controller to move the DV tape in the camera to the desired starting point.
  7. Click the Start Capture button on the Diskometer. The Capture Video dialog box opens, and the Start Capture button changes to Stop Capture.
  8. If you desire, change the duration of the video capture and/or change the name of the captured file.
  9. Click the Start Capture button in the Capture Video dialog box to start capturing.
  10. If the error message appears (refer to Figure 3.18), do one of the following:
    • Click Yes to overwrite the file and start the capture.
    • Click No to return to the Capture Video dialog box and rename the file. Then click Start Capture.
    Your DV camera starts playing, and capture begins.
  11. Allow capture to proceed through the specified duration or, to stop capture before then, do one of the following:
    • Click Stop Capture on the Diskometer.
    • Press the Esc key on your keyboard.
    Unless you have an extraordinarily fast computer, it may take Studio a while to compress the DV footage into MPEG format, and you'll see a message like the one shown in Figure 3.23 .

    Figure 3.23 On all but the fastest computers, Studio requires a few moments to finish encoding after you stop the tape.

    After encoding stops, a file labeled Video 1 (or whatever name you may have chosen) appears in the Album. You'll see multiple files if any scene changes occurred in the source video during the capture.
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