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Fast HDV Shooting/Capture Workflow & Tips

MiniDV, DVD, Hard Drive, 8 mm, High Def, brands, import / capture techniques, settings ... talk about camcorders in here.

Fast HDV Shooting/Capture Workflow & Tips

Postby George Tyndall » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:10 pm

I am a photographer who vastly prefers shooting to editing, so I've been working on a method that will allow me to get from Capturing to Exporting in Premiere 3.0 in as little time as possible.

My ultimate goal is to end up with a Hi Def WMV file on my hard drive (HD) that I can view with either Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center. Occasionally, I will also wish to create a Standard Def (SD) DVD for a friend, so I will sometimes also Export the HD Video on the Timeline as a DV AVI file, from which I will subsequently burn a DVD while I am sleeping.

I created the subject video at Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey, California, on June 8. It is 33 Minutes, 56 Seconds long (File Size: 389.73MB)

As suggested by another muvipix member, before exporting I created a Custom Preset in the Export Windows Media window prior to beginning the export to my HD, and I clicked Save just before going to sleep. (The Rendering window had informed me that the Estimated Time Left to render the 61035 frames was 5 hours 30 minutes!)

The Keys to this method for creating a Hi Def video on your HD in minimal time are as follows:

1) Create a tape that you are preferably satisfied with from Start to Finish, i.e., one that requires minimal to no editing.

For example, instead of adding a title with your computer, if you are shooting a location then shoot the name of the location in your very first frames. Be sure to provide adequate time for the viewer to read all that is written. Move in as close as possible to the sign or banner. USE A TRIPOD. (The Velbon V-607 that I bought for $90 is a SUPERB videomaker’s tripod that allows effortless tilts and pans that are “smooth as silk.”)

If you plan to zoom in or out on the sign or banner, practice the maneuver in Standby until you're certain you are just where you want to be in terms of framing.

Then, while still in Standby, check your audio settings (I use an inexpensive sound-canceling headset to monitor the Canon shotgun microphone that I always use when shooting.) Follow the instructions in the JumpStartGuide to the Canon HV30 that you may have received for free if you bought your unit from certain vendors. It is VERY IMPORTANT to have GOOD AUDIO at the time you are shooting.

2) Use HDVSplit to Capture your Hi-Def tape into Premiere (I use3.0). If you Capture directly with Premiere 3.0, you will end up with a single clip that you will subsequently need to go through the hassle of “splitting” with Premiere 3.0–and the splits won’t be nearly as pretty as they do when you let HDVSplit do all the work for you.

To acquire HDVSplit, google the name and you will find a number of sites from which to download this invaluable (but free) program.

Here is how, after numerous trials, I now use HDVSplit:

Create a Folder on your HD where you wish HDVSplit to Record your clips/scenes, then Open that folder on your monitor beside the HDVSplit window.

Once you have clicked the Record button, watch as HDVSplit drops the scenes on your tape into that folder. At the same time, keep your eye on the LED window of your camera, noting both the video and the time code as it spins by. Are you happy with the video or would you prefer to delete it from your final movie? If you don’t like either the video or the audio (you do have your headset plugged into the headphone jack on the camera, I hope) wait until HDVSplit drops the next scene into your open folder, then DELETE the one just above it that you did not like, that is, the one just preceding the one that is now being recorded. (Don’t worry, you can’t delete a scene that HDVSplit is still recording.)

Important note about labeling your scenes. In the File name area of HDVSplit, I put nothing more than the number of the tape that I am using, for example, 08 (the 8th tape I have recorded so far). Under Add to file name, I check “Date and Time.” As HDVSplit drops the scenes into my open folder, they will be in perfect time order, for example

08-2008_06_08_15_42.m2t

08-2008_06_08_15_45.m2t

08-2008_06_08_15_47.m2t

Now, let’s say that, as you are watching the scenes being dropped into your folder, you see one that you wish you had placed right after the title. DO NOT CHANGE THE TIME CODE. Instead, wait for HDVSplit to finish with that scene and move on to the next, then RENAME the subject scene, for example:

08-2008_06_08_15_45 Make Second Scene After Title.m2t

Later, once you have Imported all your scenes into Premiere 3.0, that will be the time to move the scene–either by dragging it in the Media pane (which you have previously set to view Icons rather than view List–more convenient if you have lots of scenes) or in the Sceneline (less convenient if you have lots of scenes).

Note: During the entire 33 Minutes 56 Seconds that I spent Capturing this 33 Minutes 56 Seconds tape, I never once stopped the Capture process. The beauty of HDVSplit is that it is doing all the work of splitting the scenes for you. All you had to do to make this happen was stop and start your camera as you moved from location to location and scene to scene. By the way, DO NOT do any fading or wiping with your camera. Instead, as you move from scene to scene and location to location, simply “cut” from one scene to another by stopping and starting your camera in Standby, which brings me to another important point:

BUY A HIGH-CAPACITY BATTERY THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO STAY IN STANDBY WITHOUT THE NEED TO TURN THE CAMERA ON AND OFF

And

KEEP YOUR HEADSET ON AT ALL TIMES

As you walk around in Standby with your microphone on, you are going to hear all sorts of things coming through your shotgun mic that you would never notice with your ears alone. LET YOUR SHOTGUN MIC FIND INTERETING SCENES FOR YOU.

For example, yesterday, while taping the “helmsman:” statue at Burton Chase, I kept hearing this very loud “creaking” sound coming thru the mike from off in the distance. I followed that sound to its source, and that is how I discovered a floating metal dock that was populated by a dozen or more fishermen's silhouettes that were located between my camera and the setting sun, as incoming sailboats passed by in the background–a perfect time to GO TO THE “SUNSET” SETTING IN YOUR HV30 then CLICK THE “BLC” (Back Light Compensation) button, then CHECK YOUR AUDIO to be sure you are maximizing this creaking sound without distorting it.

Conclusion: I hope you will believe me when I tell you that, if you have played, played again, then re-played still once more your JumpStartGuide to the Canon HV30 (or whatever camera you have) until YOU ARE AWARE OF AND KNOW HOW TO USE ALL THE MENUS, you will be capable of producing STUNNING VIDEOS AND AUDIO that you would be proud to show to even the most sophisticated viewers.

Here are a few more important points for maximum efficiency:

1) When you are ready to import your split scenes into the Media pane, import the entire folder, then open that folder in the pane and all your scenes will "fall out" in timecode order. Use the Icon view of the pane if any reordering is desired.

2) When ready to drag the scenes to the Timeline, Select All in the Media Pane, then drag the very top scene to the very beginning of the Timeline, and all your scenes will fall in place in chronologic timecode order. Make any necessary adjustment to audio volume, edit as you wish, Auto-Save every 1 minute, then Export to your preferred format(s). Do not discard your .prel video until you are sure you are done exporting it.
Last edited by jackfalbey on Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: make title more concise
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George Tyndall
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Re: Canon HV30:Capture and Export a 34min HD Tape in About 40min

Postby jackfalbey » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:42 am

Great tutorial and tips, George! I've always preferred editing over shooting, so I tend to shoot a ton of video and edit it down to the highlights. You've really got me thinking about how to improve my workflow, especially the capture process. I'm sure many of our members and guests will find this very beneficial as well. In fact, I've made this topic a "sticky" so it'll always be near the top of the forum! =D>

I hope you don't mind, but I changed the subject heading as well, to a more general summary of your post's contents...
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