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Hour 3. Video Capture and Scene Selectio... > Automating Your Video Transfers—Batc...

Automating Your Video Transfers—Batch Capture

Here's one instance where DV really shines—the ability to automatically transfer selected video clips to your computer. In a few moments you're going to create a list of video clips, tell Premiere to transfer them, and then take the dog for a walk while Premiere handles the chores. Nice.

Before you grab the leash, I want to run through some scene-selection tips and naming conventions.

The basic rule of thumb in the video or film production world is that you will shoot a whole lot more raw footage than you'll put in your final production. Probably at least five times what you'll need. You've heard of film scenes “hitting the cutting room floor.” Next time you watch a DVD movie, check to see if it has “deleted scenes.” You'll be amazed at how many difficult-to-shoot, well-acted, and expensive scenes did not make it into the final cut.

Your task now is to critically review your tape(s) and weed out the chaff while retaining the grain.

You want to transfer only the best sound bites, the coolest scenes, and the highest-quality natural sound. If you did more than one take of a scene, find the one that works best. If you videotaped that soccer championship game, select all the goals, great plays, and enthusiastic crowd reactions, skipping most of the up-and-down-the-field ball handling.

Selecting Sound Bites

My view is that the video producer or writer can do a much better job telling the story than the folks you interview for the story. It's your job to distill factual information and create a coherent, cohesive story.

So it's best to use interview sound bites not to state facts but to present emotions, feelings, and opinions. You should be the one to say, “At the bottom of the ninth, the bases were loaded, with two outs.” Let the batter, who is recalling this dramatic moment say, “My legs felt like jelly.”

Even in a corporate backgrounder, employees should be the ones stating how enthusiastic they are about a new product. Your job is to say what that product does.

In general keep sound bites short. Let them be punctuation marks, not paragraphs.

A caveat: None of these admonitions are carved in stone. Some characters you'll videotape are so compelling, quirky, or humorous that your best bet is to let them be the primary narrator. Then you'll want to consider what scenes you can use to illustrate their commentary. You don't want to fill your entire video with a “talking head.”

Listening for Effective Natural Sound

As you review your raw footage, you should keep your ears tuned for brief instances of dramatic sound: a wire cutter clipping a piano wire (one of the most memorable for me—see the editing sidebar in Hour 5), the crack of a baseball bat, a gurgling brook, a hawk screeching.

You'll want to transfer these as separate clips even though you may also transfer a long clip of the soaring hawk with that sound somewhere in it. Why? Later, when you edit in that soaring hawk, you easily can find and edit in the screech “nat-sound” (which means natural sound in TV news parlance) to give the image more punch.

Logging Tapes and Using Consistent Naming Conventions

Now the winnowing down begins. Figure 3.14 shows the same Logging page you used to manually capture clips. Now you are going to log several video clips so Premiere can transfer them all at once later.

Figure 3.14. The now-familiar Logging page. This time you need to add a reel name.

Task: Log Your Video Clips

To log your video clips, follow these steps:

Return to the Movie Capture window.

Click the Logging tab.

Highlight the Reel Name window and type in a descriptive name for your videotape, such as Soccer Championship-1. You want to give each tape a unique name so that later, when you do automated transfer, Premiere will alert you to switch tapes.

Rewind your tape and then start moving through it.

As you find shots you want to transfer, mark the in- and out-points and then click Log In/Out. That pops up the File Name dialog box. You should enter a filename using the suggested video clip naming convention discussed next.

Using Video Clip Naming Conventions

Think through how you're going to name your clips. You may end up with dozens of clips, and if you don't give them descriptive names, it'll slow down editing.

You might use a naming convention for sound bites such as Bite-1, Bite-2, etc. Adding a brief descriptive comment such as Bite 1 Laughs will help. With natural sound you could say Nat 1 Hawk screech.

If your video clip naming convention uses numbers at the end of each clip name, Premiere will automatically add one to that number when you return to the Logging page. So if you name a clip Home Run-1, when you click Log In/Out, Premiere stores that clip in the Batch Capture window and then returns to the Logging page and automatically places Home Run-2 in the File Name window.

Nice? Sort of. Turns out you don't necessarily have all the home runs back to back on your tape, so the next clip you log might be Crowd Reacts-3 and you'll have to type that over Home Run-2.

With all other scenes (that is, besides natural sound and sound bites), you can drop the prefixes and just give them consistent yet descriptive names: Goal-3, Crowd React-2 Applause, Hawk Soaring-4, and Interview cutaway-1 reverse.

Later, just before you make your first edit, you'll organize your clips in file folders (Adobe calls them bins). My suggestion is to put each category of clip into a separate folder—natural sound, sound bites, and scenes. Depending on your project's size, you might want to use subcategories for scenes. Using a consistent naming convention will help in other areas. Because you can sort clips alphabetically, you can find all the nat-sound clips, select them all, and easily place them in the Nat-Sound file folder.

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