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fastest way to get window-burn dvd's

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  • fastest way to get window-burn dvd's

    hey there,

    I just shot 6 hours of footage on DV (Canon XH-A1, a lovely little camera) of an instruction workshop.

    I want to give the client 6 dvd's with timecode window burns. The TC was on free-run, which I set to correspond with time-of-day so the client could use their own schedule / memory as a reference (favourite new trick).

    Quality is not too important since it's just for them to select bits they like for me to edit.

    Any suggestions for this workflow, just to speed up the process or avoid pain / suffering?

    1. capture in FCP at full-quality DV.

    2. add timecode-reader filter to each full-length reel / clip in the browser
    (if I instead made 6 timelines and added the filter there, I think this would force FCP to mixdown the audio before exporting, adding time and hd-space to the process).

    3. batch export the reels, using compressor, as mpeg2 / ac3 single-pass cbr 5.5 mbps

    4. one at a time, drag each clip's m2v / ac3 files into toast and burn a dvd

    The problems with this workflow are:

    The filter / export process is clunky; FCP renders and does the compressor export as one step, but exporting from FCP with compressor is the sloooooowest way to do anything.

    If i export quicktime reference files and then use compressor, that doubles the time - I think. Not willing to sit around timing the difference. Not to mention, this would require me to press plenty buttons halfway through the process, so i can't leave it converting overnight, which is the best way to remove long renders from my daily life.

    I can't just use toast on the raw quicktime files, because the quicktime on-screen timecode display (which I've forgotten how to call up anyway) is inadequate (small and bad font, no window). That way would also require six visits to Toast to switch disks, drag the new file in place, and burn again - once again preventing me from doing this process overnight, where it won't bother me.

    I've tried various workarounds and tricks with toast, but since you can't start file-conversion if you have too much on the disk, etc... it's a hassle as well. Any ideas there would be useful.
    Flick Harrison

  • #2
    fly in the ointment

    Oops! Found a flaw in this workflow.

    FCP doesn't actually read timecode from the tape during "capture now." Who knew? It reads the timecode of the first few frames, then just assumes there's rec-run timecode on the whole tape. Then, after capture, it warns you that there were timecode breaks. The free-run timecode is ignored, i.e. the captured timecode runs straight through the reel as if you never cut while shooting.

    To get the free-run timecode to read accurately, you have to choose from the dropdown in system settings that says "on timecode break: start new clip".

    In DV, this requires the deck to stop, re-cue, and start a new capture every time there's a timecode break. That means each t.c. break creates a new file on disk. So far, this has reliably captured the free-run timecode.


    I have to now create my full reels as sequences, add "tc reader" filter to each clip, and batch export the sequences to get window-burn timecoded raw footage reels for client to look at.

    It's an annoying extra step.

    Apple, save us! There must be a better way...

    PS - I know I could analog capture the reels with the XH-A1's on-screen timecode display - but it's ugly and uses up lots of space with tape-remaining indicators etc. Plus, I'd then have to re-capture everything clean for the edit.
    Flick Harrison


    • #3
      When I record free run TC, FCP captures it fine. Are you sure you're actually recording with Free Run TC?

      When you drop a clip into a Sequence, it adopts the Sequence's TC, but should retain it's own in the Master Clip. FCP in fact does read the TC of each frame during capture. Otherwise, how would it detect TC breaks?

      Make new QT on TC break does not re-cue the deck, or it shouldn't. It just creates new QT's on the fly, on our systems.

      You may want to look at the DV Start/Stop Detect function.
      Last edited by BenB; 05-13-2008, 11:27 AM.
      Digital Media Instructor for
      Louisiana State University & Delgado College


      • #4
        it does stop alright

        Thought I replied to this sooner - thanks BenB.

        As far as I know, the DV start / stop detect is using the camera's date / time stamp info to detect start / stops. If you have a dead backup battery in the camera (the little watch battery that stores time / date info) then DV Scene Start / stop detect won't work.

        If time code is rec/run, the timecode appears continuous to FCP, i.e. each frame of tape has a consecutive TC number so the TC does not give any clues as to when you hit rec / stop during shooting. That's what free-run is for.

        But indeed, the deck had to start / stop at every TC break on my tape and re-cue to capture the next clip. Other option was to fly through the tape continuously and have FCP ignore the rec-run timecode signals, i.e. continuous TC on the captured clip, ignoring the tc on tape.

        In HDV it normally DOES keep flying through, merely starting a new clip in the bin at each rec-pause - it seems to detect them fine in HDV mode, in fact there's no way to capture through them without starting new clips in HDV.

        But in DV I couldn't figure out how to make it capture straight through, notice the new TC at the cut points, and keep one continous clip in the browser with correct timecode matching the tape.
        Flick Harrison


        • #5
          Replace the little battery in your camera! That's a camera malfunction, and should be repaired ASAP.

          You can also export via Compressor, and let Compressor put the TC overlays in for you. I've found this to be much more satisfying lately.
          Digital Media Instructor for
          Louisiana State University & Delgado College