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Capturing from Videotape

We are going to avoid searching around on the tape and grabbing things in the order we may want them edited. Instead we are going to re-rack the tape to the top and grab the elements we want effectively “live” into the bin.

You will need only two commands in Final Cut Pro to accomplish a fast capture. Click the Now button in the Log and Capture window to begin recording, and press the Esc (Escape) key to stop recording and prepare for the next clip.

The default keyboard shortcut for the Capture Now button is Shift-C, but you should consider changing it to a single-keystroke shortcut such as the F1 function key, just to the right of the Esc key. Key remapping is described in detail in Chapter 10, “Customization Overview.” Remapping that shortcut will greatly accelerate the capture process and have you editing that much faster.

Here’s a rundown on the steps:

When you’re done, press Esc to stop the capture.

If you have timecodes for sound bites or certain NATSOT (natural sound on tape) hits, shuttle to just before those points. Click the Play button and then click the Now button (or press F1 if it’s remapped). Play through the bite or NATSOT, and then press Esc to stop.

Give yourself a few seconds prior to the sound bite or NATSOT, as you may have to backtime into the sound later. It’s better to have grabbed the sound once than to have to go back and get it later. This facilitates easy backtiming and extending sound bites into B-roll when you don’t have time to find cutaways.

Having selected All Enable from the deck’s setup menu, you can type timecode values for your clips’ start points and use them for your capture, rather than shuttling to them. If you choose to enter timecode values in the Mark In window, you can press the Go To In button next to it or press Shift-I. Keep in mind that entering In points will require a pre-roll. In some cases the reporters may have spent more time identifying and transcribing the sound bite than in noticing the correct timecode. Therefore it is a good idea to subtract 5 seconds or so from reporter-logged values, just in case.

Still another direct-capture method involves the use of third-party software such as Gallery PictureReady, which enables FCP to automatically capture whatever you play using the deck or camcorder’s physical transport controls. The PictureReady software “watches” for the sync signal that comes off the deck when it is in play mode, and tells FCP to capture only what you play. This can be a tremendous timesaver and helps to overcome the obvious drawbacks of using videotape this far into the 21st century.

Once your clips are captured, you are ready to lay out your story in any of three formats: VO (voiceover), VOSOT (voiceover/sound on tape), or package.

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