A Control Issue

The process of logging and then batch capturing is essentially the same in most editing systems, even if the software looks somewhat different. While this article focuses on Apple’s Final Cut Pro, the methodology can be applied to most NLEs.

Modern NLEs include a deck control panel or digitizing utility that lets you control and shuttle your VTR, mark In and Out points for clips, define clip parameters (e.g., number of video and audio channels), and add text comments describing a clip. Fortunately most NLEs let you move between these functions with keypad shortcuts, easing the logging process.

Figure 1

In Figure 1, a screenshot of Media 100’s digitizing panel, notice under the Abort key the estimated time available on the hard drive partition, almost four hours for 7.8GB. This is possible because the material is marked to digitize in draft mode at 600K per second, which is about 45:1 compression. On a M-JPEG system such as Media 100, this much compression will produce massively blocky video that’s quite unpleasant to view. If you have a client with you, warn them carefully before displaying any images on the screen. It doesn’t hurt to explain again that they’re viewing highly-compressed offline video once they see the material.

In a traditional workflow you’d then hit the Log button and save your information to a bin. In a common method of bin assignment you create separate bins for each tape. So in Figure 1 material from reel 005 gets placed in bin 005 (notice that the thoughtful cameraperson shot tapes with the hour used to mark the reel number).

During logging, you can work your way through all your tapes before you digitize anything at all. You make a lot of editorial selections during the logging process. That makes sense since logging is the key first component in the editing process.

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