Video Capture Process

Before you get started capturing video and audio, it’s important to understand that many settings in Premiere depend upon the actual equipment you have installed in your computer. It’s also important to understand that the dialog boxes that appear when capturing change depending upon the hardware and software installed in your computer.

The dialog boxes that appear in may vary from what you see on your computer, but the general steps for capturing video and audio are pretty much the same. However, if you have a capture board that digitizes analog video, the setup process is different than if you have a FireWire port installed in your computer.

Whether you are capturing digital video or digitizing analog video, one of your first steps should be to ensure that Premiere’s scratch disk is set up properly. The scratch disk is the disk used to actually perform the capture.

You want to make sure that the scratch disk is the fastest one connected to your computer, and that the hard disk is the one with the most amount of free space. To access the correct dialog box, choose File»Preferences»Scratch Disk and Device Control, or click the Edit button in the Preferences section of the Movie Capture dialog box (File»Movie Capture).

In the Capture Movie field in the Scratch Disk section of the dialog box, choose the hard disk that you wish to use for capturing video and audio in the Captured Movies pop-up menu.

If you are capturing video with a capture board that digitizes analog video, you do not need to create a project onscreen before the capture session. You can access Premiere capture settings directly from the program’s Capture dialog box. To open the Capture dialog box, choose File»Capture»Movie Capture.

After Premiere opens the capture window, the capture settings are shown onscreen in the dialog box. If these settings are correct, you’re ready to capture. However, even if you do not need to change the settings, it’s a good idea to review and understand the different options available.

Note that the Capture Location is designated in the bottom right side of the dialog box. If you wish to change this, you can click the Edit button in the Preferences section. This action opens the Scratch Disk and Device Control sections of the Preferences dialog box settings.

If you wish to view or change capture settings, click the Edit button in the Movie Capture dialog box. If the Movie Capture dialog box is not open, you can change settings by choosing Project»Project Settings»Capture. This opens the Capture section of the Project Settings dialog box.

The options in the Capture section are described in the following list.

  • Capture Format—The choices that appear here depend upon your capture board. Some boards only provide one choice. Choose the setting recommended by your capture board manufacturer.
  • Capture Video—Leave this checkbox selected to capture video. Deselect only if you wish to capture audio without video.
  • Size—Enter the frame dimensions for your capture session. Smaller dimensions produce smaller files. However, note that you can capture video at a larger frame size than the one you use for the final export.
  • Capture Audio—Leave this selected to capture audio. Deselect only if you wish to capture video without audio.
  • Report Dropped frames—Selecting this option provides an onscreen report detailing which frames were dropped during the capture. Frames are frequently dropped if the hard disk cannot support the capture rate. Some capture boards may not allow capturing at 30 frames a second.
  • Abort on Dropped Frame—Select this option if you wish to have Premiere stop the capture process if the frames are dropped.
  • Capture Limit—This enables you to set a time limit for the capture session. After the time limit expires, the capture stops.

If your hardware allows device control, these settings are available. If your hardware does not allow device control, these settings are dimmed onscreen.

  • Preroll Time—Enter the duration in seconds before capture starts. Typically, you want the tape deck or camera to get up to speed before the In point of the capture. Refer to camera and tape deck documentation for specifics.
  • Log Using Reel Name—If you are using Batch capture, enter the reel name here. The Batch capture process is described later.

The Capture section of the Project Settings dialog box provides general capture settings. You may wish to change specific settings such as the capture frame rate or what compressor to use. To view or change video settings for your capture board, click Video in the Capture section of the Project Settings dialog box. This opens the Video settings dialog box.

  • Compression settings - When Compression appears, you can choose the compression codec, color depth, quality, and frames per second. You may be able to obtain higher quality video by increasing the number of frames per second, or by choosing a compression codec that provides less compression—however, this creates larger files.

If you haven’t experimented with capture settings, start by choosing the defaults preset by your board manufacturer, or those recommended by your board manufacturer.

  • Image settings - If you set the pop-up menu to Image, the Video dialog box changes to the options. The choices onscreen enable you to correct video during the capture session. The Hue slider enables you to adjust colors, Saturation enables you to adjust color intensity, and Brightness enables you to control lightness and darkness.

Use the Sharpness slider to sharpen the image. Only change the default settings if your clip is soft, or needs to be color corrected. If you change the settings, you can return to the default settings by clicking the Defaults button.

  • Source settings - Choosing the Source pop-up menu changes the dialog box settings to those shown in Figure 4-5. After you choose this option, information about the capture card and capture settings appears. The choices in the Input pop-up menu depend upon the card you are using.

To change or review audio settings for a capture session, click the Audio button in the Capture section of the Project Settings dialog box. Like the Video settings dialog box, the audio choices change, depending upon the selected item in the pop-up menu at the top of the screen.

No matter what settings are chosen, the Audio dialog box always enables you to turn the speaker on or off, as well as control volume and gain. These settings are always active. This means that you turn on your camera or tape deck and set audio levels before you start recording.

  • Compression settings - When Compression is selected in the Sound dialog box, the settings change to enable you to choose a compression codec in the Compressor pop-up menu. Compression reduces file size. However, choosing the wrong compressor may adversely affect quality.
  • Sample settings - When Sample is chosen in the Audio dialog box, the settings, change to enable you to pick a sample rate. The sample rate is the number of times per second that sampling occurs during the conversion from analog to digital data.

You can choose between 8 bits and 16 bits, and between Mono or Stereo. Larger sample rates and higher bit rates or stereo provide better quality, but create larger files. For most purposes, a sample rate of 22.050 kHz with 16 bits and mono should provide good quality sound, although you could reduce file size further, if required.

  • Source settings - The Source setting in the Audio dialog box, shown in Figure 4-8, enables you to specify the source of the sound. The choices that appear in the Input menu depend upon your hardware settings. Many users with IEEE1394 boards see DV Audio as the choice under Device, and Two channels under Input.

Users with built-in analog capture boards probably see Built-in as the choice, and RCA in as input (indicating that RCA phono connectors are used to connect the computer to the camcorder or VCR). If the source is set incorrectly, sound won’t be recorded when you capture video.

If you wish to capture video from a DV camera or DV tape deck, the capture preparation process is different than it is with analog video. Because DV cameras compress and digitize, the capture dialog box for DV is primarily used just to start and stop recording. However, to ensure the best quality capture, you must create a project before the capture session.

Before beginning a DV capture session, make sure that the connection between your source (DV camera or DV tape deck) and computer is set up properly. In order for the transfer to operate, your system also needs a DV codec. The codec may be installed in your system as software or as a chip that communicates with the FireWire or iLink port.