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Chapter 4. Capturing and Importing Media > Setting Up Your Deck or Camera for C...

Setting Up Your Deck or Camera for Capture

Before launching Xpress Pro, you should turn on your designated capture device and connect it to your computer (usually via FireWire) before configuring your deck, camera, or converter for capture.

✓ Tip

  • If you turn on your deck or camera after you open the Capture tool, Xpress Pro may not immediately recognize your deck. To fix this problem, go to the Capture tool and click the deck selection pull-down menu and click Check Decks. Or if Xpress Pro displays a warning dialog box that says, “The deck configuration doesn't match the decks attached to the system,” click Check Decks. Either way, Xpress Pro will automatically search for your deck and bring it online again (Figure 4.6).

    Figure 4.6. If Xpress Pro does not recognize your deck, make sure it's connected and turned on. Then click Check Decks.


Deck Configuration Settings

Once you have your playback device connected and turned on, you can use the deck configuration settings and the deck-related Capture settings to tell Xpress Pro the following:

  • What type of device is connected to your computer? Typically, your playback device is a deck (VTR), a camera, a digital-analog converter (which is, in turn, connected to a deck or camera), or the Mojo box (which generally is also connected to a deck or camera).

  • What channel are you using for input? The channel is also known as your video input. To capture anything through a FireWire cable (which is what you'll usually use when capturing DV), the channel you use is typically FireWire—OHCI.

To set the video input channel:

1.
Make sure that your camera, deck, converter, or Mojo box is turned on and connected to a FireWire cable, and that the other end of the FireWire cable is plugged into the FireWire connection on your computer.

2.
On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click your active (check-marked) Deck Configuration settings to open the settings dialog box.

3.
Do one of the following:

  • If no channel (such as FireWire—OHCI) is listed the Deck Configuration dialog box, click Add Channel.

  • If the Deck Configuration dialog box does list a channel—a gray rectangle with the channel name appears on the left—double-click the channel rectangle to open the Channel dialog box and change the channel information.

4.
In the Channel dialog box, click the Channel Type pop-up menu and choose a video channel type (for DV capture, choose FireWire). Then click the Port pop-up menu and choose a channel (for FireWire capture, you'll usually use OHCI). Click OK (Figure 4.7).

Figure 4.7. To tell Xpress Pro what connection (what channel) you are using to connect a playback device to your computer, click Add Channel in the Deck Configuration dialog box. Create multiple deck configurations for different deck setups.


In the Deck Configuration dialog box, a gray rectangle appears labeled with the name of your channel.

✓ Tips

  • You can change the channel information (video input) in the Capture tool by clicking the Video Input pull-down menu and choosing from the list that appears.

  • To change existing settings without deleting them, double-click either a channel or a deck setting (one of the gray rectangles). In the dialog box that appears, make your changes and click OK.

  • To delete your channel setting, click the setting's individual gray rectangle (Figure 4.8). Then click the Delete button. To delete both your channel and your deck setting, click the blue area of the large rectangle to select both the channel and deck information. Then click the Delete button.

    Figure 4.8. To delete a deck setting altogether, select the individual deck rectangle in the Deck Configuration dialog box and click Delete.


To tell Xpress Pro what device you're using for capture:

1.
On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click the active (check-marked) Deck Configuration settings.

The Deck Configuration dialog box appears.

2.
In the Deck Configuration dialog box, click Add Deck (note that you must add a channel before you can add a deck).

A rectangle labeled “New Machine” appears next to your channel setting rectangle. The Deck Settings dialog box opens.

3.
At the top of the Deck Settings dialog box, give the deck a name and enter a description in the Description box if you want.

4.
To choose the brand of your capture device, click the leftmost Device pop-up menu in the Deck Settings dialog box and choose the brand from the list that appears.

5.
To choose a model number for your capture device, click the rightmost Device pop-up menu and choose a specific model number from the list that appears (Figure 4.9). If your model number is not listed, then either choose a listed model that is very similar or choose Generic DV Device.

Figure 4.9. To tell Xpress Pro what deck you're using, click Add Deck and choose a brand and model number for your capture device in the Deck Settings dialog box. Give the setting a helpful name and click OK.


6.
If you are a using a VTR (deck) or camera, you can specify a preroll amount in the Deck Settings dialog box.

This setting determines how far back the deck rewinds before capturing a logged clip. A healthy number of seconds—6 is recommended for DV—ensures that your deck catches a proper momentum by the time Xpress Pro starts capturing.

7.
Click OK.

The Deck Settings dialog box closes. A deck rectangle labeled with the name of your deck appears in the Deck Configuration dialog box next to the channel rectangle (Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.10. Click Apply to save your deck configuration setting.


8.
In the Deck Configuration dialog box, click Apply.

In the Capture tool, Xpress Pro now lists the name of your deck right below the deck playback control buttons.

✓ Tips

  • To delete your deck setting, click the setting's individual gray rectangle. Then click the Delete button. To delete both your channel and deck setting, click the blue area of the large rectangle to select both the channel and deck information. Then click the Delete button.

  • To change existing settings without deleting them, double-click either a channel or deck setting (one of the gray rectangles). In the dialog box that appears, make your changes and click OK.

  • You can bypass the Deck Settings dialog box by going to the Capture tool, clicking the pull-down tab right below the Deck playback controls, and selecting Auto-Configure. This option makes Xpress Pro automatically recognize the kind of deck or camera connected to your workstation. However, since Auto-Configure does not recognize all decks or cameras, the manual method is better.


Deck Preferences

After you tell Xpress Pro what device you're using for capture and through what channel the input signal will travel to your computer, you need to specify your deck preference settings to tell the application how you want the device to behave.

The deck preference settings include the following options:

  • When the Deck Contains No Tape, Log As: When you want to log shots just by the numbers—in other words, without playing a tape in your deck—choose Drop Frame on Non-Drop Frame here to tell Xpress Pro how to notate the timecode. Drop Frame timecode uses semi-colons and Non-Drop just uses colons.

    (For more information on logging, see “Logging Clips for Batch Capture” later in this chapter.)

  • Allow Assemble Edit for Digital Cut: This setting pertains to output to tape (digital cut), not capturing. (For more information about assemble editing, see “Outputting to Tape” in Chapter 14.)

  • Stop Key Pauses Deck: If you want to pause your deck or camera by pressing the spacebar, select this option. Pausing will not dethread your tape from the deck, which is good if you're doing a lot of capturing back to back. If you want to be able to stop your deck or camera and dethread your tape by pressing the spacebar, deselect this option. In general, you should stop your deck if it's going to be idle for a long period of time.

    Setting the Right Preroll

    When you log and batch capture or capture clip by clip using In or In and Out points—in other words, when the capture involves an automated operation—preroll becomes important.

    Preroll determines how far back Xpress Pro rolls your source tape before playing forward, reading your timecode, and looking for the In point cue to start capturing. You configure your deck's preroll amount in the Deck Settings dialog box, which you can access by clicking the deck name rectangle in the Deck Configuration settings dialog box.

    The recommended preroll amounts for various formats are as follows:

    • DV decks and cameras: 6 seconds

    • Betacam: 2 or 3 seconds

    • 3/4” U-matic: 5 seconds

    If necessary, you can override the preroll amount set in your deck settings, by selecting Custom Preroll in the Capture tool and choosing a preroll time from the adjacent pull-down menu. Usually, you select Custom Preroll only when there is a timecode break problem before your In point and you need to set a preroll value lower than what you specified in your deck settings.


  • Shuttle Holds Speed: If you select this option, after you drag the shuttle control in the Capture window, the deck will continue to shuttle even after you release the mouse (Figure 4.11).

    Figure 4.11. The Capture tool's deck controls.

  • Stop Any Paused Deck When Quitting: Select this option if you want Xpress Pro to automatically stop your deck after you quit the application, instead of staying in pause mode. Always keep this option selected to save wear and tear on your deck's heads.

  • Poll Deck During Digital Cut: This setting pertains to outputting (digital cut), not capturing. (For more information, see “Outputting to Tape” in Chapter 14.)

  • DV Capture Offset: The number you enter specifies the number of frames by which you want to shift your video or audio behind or in front of the timecode track. This setting is most helpful when you capture your audio and video through FireWire while reading timecode with an RS-422 connection. After performing a series of tests to see how far off the mark your timecode is from the actual frames, you can enter an offset frame amount between –6 and 24 here.

    (For more details on performing a DV capture offset test, consult the Xpress Pro help menu.)

  • Override Recommended Digital Cut Delay and Digital Cut Delay (Frames): This setting applies to outputting to tape (digital cut), not capturing. (For more information, see “Outputting to Tape” in Chapter 14.)

To set your deck preferences:

1.
On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click the active (check-marked) Deck Preferences settings.

The Deck Preferences dialog box opens (Figure 4.12).

Figure 4.12. Use the Deck Preferences dialog box to tell Xpress Pro how you want your deck to operate during capture or output to tape.


2.
Make your changes to the deck preferences and click OK.

The Deck Preferences dialog box closes, and you can give the deck preferences a unique name on the Settings tab of the Project window.

Deck-Related Capture Settings

To govern the behavior of your deck or camera during capture, you can configure a few more settings, found on the General tab of the Capture Settings dialog box.

These settings include the following:

  • Stop Deck after Capture or Pause Deck after Capture: Select one or the other option to either stop or pause your deck after the capture process finishes.

    If you have more immediate capturing to do, choose Pause so you don't dethread the tape. If this is your last capture for awhile, choose Stop to dethread the tape.

  • Preroll Method: Select the control track Xpress Pro should use when batch-capturing logged clips. The choices are Best Available, Standard Timecode, Best Available Control Track, and Standard Control Track. (For information about preroll, see the sidebar “Setting the Right Preroll” earlier in this chapter.)

    • Force Unique Clip Names: If you want Xpress Pro to create clip names during capture instead of creating unique names yourself, you can select this option to create clip names based on the names of the bins in which the clips are logged and so avoid identical names. So if you capture on the fly by clicking the Record button (or pressing F4) to start and end each clip, without creating names, Xpress Pro will name the clips BinName.01, BinName.02, and so on in your bin.

  • Space Bar Stops Capture: Select this option if you want to be able to stop the capture process with the spacebar.

  • Capture across Timecode Breaks: If you select this option, Xpress Pro ignores any timecode breaks in your footage during capture. If you deselect this option, Xpress Pro presents an error dialog box whenever it encounters a timecode break.

    Caution: You may have major difficulties batch recapturing if you capture across timecode breaks. Choose this option with care. See the sidebar “Dealing with Timecode Breaks” later in this chapter for more information.

  • Pause Deck While Logging: With this option selected, Xpress Pro pauses the deck after you set In and Out points for a clip. Usually, you should keep this option selected because it gives you time to name your clip during the logging process.

Monitoring Your Source Video and Audio during Capture

Usually, when you capture video or audio, you want to see what you're capturing on a real broadcast monitor or hear what you're capturing on speakers or headphones. So when you capture through a deck, camera, or converter, connect video and audio analog cables to the video and audio out ports of your device and connect the other ends of the cables to the inputs on your external broadcast monitor and speakers. Then turn down your computer audio output, so you don't have to listen to the audio delay coming from your computer during capture.


To configure your deck-related Capture settings:

1.
On the Settings tab of the Project window, double-click your active (check-marked) Capture settings. In the dialog box that appears, click the General tab.

2.
Make your changes and click OK. Xpress Pro saves your Capture settings.

Reading Timecode Accurately

Generally, FireWire device control is not the most accurate means of controlling a DV deck. If you want to increase your timecode accuracy, use an RS-422 or RS-232 connection to control your deck and read the timecode information during capture, if your DV deck supports the RS-422 or RS-232 protocol (such as the Sony DSR-25). To connect an RS-422 or RS-232 cable to your computer, you typically need a serial port connection on your CPU.

Most PCs come equipped with serial ports, but most recent Macs do not. However, you can get a serial port for a Mac from a vendor such as (http://www.gefen.com), which sells the Stealth serial port for most Apple CPUs.


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