Using the 'Capture Now' Option in Video Editing Software

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Time to Capture Now

Capture Now, as it is referred to in most non-linear video editing programs like Final Cut Pro, may be the easiest option you have for capturing your digital video tapes. Instead of plowing through all the footage that you have on a digital video tape and marking what sections you want to capture you simply hit Capture Now and let the entire tape go. What this does is going through the capture process and get absolutely everything on the tape in a real time recording to your computer.

This will then leave the entire video that was on the digital video tape on your hard drive, and referenced in your non-linear video editing software, as a large single video file. From here you can decide how you wan to edit and employ that video clip. There are a number of different problems that can arise when using the Capture Now option, mainly because of lack of space, difficulty in video equipment and editing technology, and issues with tape damage. Here are a few tips to successfully use Capture Now.

Dropped Frames

One of the biggest problems with using Capture Now is dropped frames. Dropped frames occurs when there is a lack of information in the timecode and will make the video playback difficult and choppy. Usually dropped frames are not a permanent fixture on any digital video tape, though it may take several runs at it to get it right. Usually your capture settings will be set to stop the tape capture when dropped frames occur. This is still a good idea otherwise you will likely capture video during Capture Now that actually does have some dropped frames.

A good way to prevent this is to use DV Cam mode on your digital video camera. This means that you have more safety on your regular digital video tape, but you will only get forty minutes out of a sixty minute tape. You can also try avoid starting and stopping the video too often and never tape over footage that is already there. Going back and forth on a digital video tape will lead to more problems on your tape, and therefore more dropped frames during Capture Now.

Once you avoid dropped frames you can try to use Capture Now on an entire digital video tape without interruption. If you are having problems with dropped frames during Capture Now you can try capturing each individual segment or scene separate, which means that if dropped frames do occur you will not have to go all the way back to the beginning to try again. This will also help with organization as you will have fewer base clips in your Browser.

Storage Space

Another main issue with using Capture Now is that you will end up with a huge amount of video footage, which requires a huge amount of storage space. This is alright for professional video houses that can afford multiple servers, but for home or low budget digital video film producers this can be a problem. A good way to avoid this being an issue is to go through the footage immediately after using Capture Now. You cannot just slice things up into sub clips and delete them because the source file is singular. Instead, you can find if there are huge pieces that are not in use and those base files can be cut out and removed.

Media Management

In the same situation you are going to have problems because you do not have organized small clips to media manage in your non-linear video editing software. Instead you have huge blocks of footage. Go through all of these and break them into sub clips. Organize those sub clips, take log notes, and identify what is in each and the quality/intent of use for each one. This will immediately make your block of Capture Now footage useful.

This post is part of the series: Video Editing Functions

Here are articles with tips and guides for specific video editing functions.

  1. Tips for Using Capture Now
  2. Slow Motion Video Editing
  3. Deciding to Use Black and White While Video Editing
  4. Tips for Video Editing Render and Compression
  5. The Best Freeware and Open Source Video Editing Software