As its core, HD
Log Gold is a highly customizable database used to log analog,
digital or previously captured video files. The Gold version
of HD Log can also capture video using firewire and serial interfaces.
Literally dozens of additional capabilities make this application
worthy of a long look for editors seeking to streamline the tedious
logging process. Three versions of HD Log, each with different
capabilities, are available from Imagine Products. A comparison
of all is available at the company's web site.
Install the app, attach the USB hardware
key, and elect a template for logging. You can use an existing
template, or modify it to meet your needs and save it for future
use. Templates can be further augmented as required. For the
Panasonic p2 card import, the default interface appears:
Data can be viewed in the clip or index
view, and using both views. The index view permits you to "mark"
a clip to be revisited and/or exported. Clips can be sorted
in the index view using the sort function and exported in a variety
of text and database formats as well as HTML with thumbnails.
HD Log's initial appeal is its ability to customize a template/log
sheet to suit the video source, the project and the editor.
The template can include any descriptive field the user determines
to categorize the clip. Templates can be tailored for unique
or recurring fields, to assign a default value to each field,
its attributes, size, and position in the database interface.
Fields can include drop down menus to speed text entry. Others
fields can be configured to copy entries from various fields
in the previous clip when a new clip is created. Fields are
accessed successively by the tab key and move right to left and
top to down.
Templates are customized for use while
in the "edit mode" which enables fields to be repositioned,
enlarged, renamed, or deleted by control/clicking on the field.
Additional fields can be added by control/clicking on the area
of the interface and adding a new field.
Fields are defined to correspond to the
type of information that is being logged. These categories include:
text, auto increment (to automatically name new clips by numerical
increments), date, quantity, time code, video, text with menu,
etc. Up to 50 template fields are available for each log template.
The type of footage and its intended use determines the character
and complexity of a template. For many uses, time code, duration,
and notes are sufficient.
One key time saver is the use of Macro
Menus. This feature uses recurrent text entries available from
a drop menu to make logging information consistent throughout
the log sheet. For example, if you are logging clips to be categorized
for use in separate parts of an edit, assign a field as "text
with menu entry" to quickly access the various categories
a clip falls into. Then upon export, you can sort by that field.
Normal copy/paste, undo and other text
conventions apply for text fields. Up to 5,000 characters may
be entered. Date entries aids extend simply typing a "d"
in a date field to automatically enter the current date.
When you have completed logging your footage, the database can
be sorted to include those clips you wish exported to your NLE.
HD Log exports batch lists to Final Cut Pro HD, Avid, Media
100, Adobe and Sony's products among others. It will also import
EDLs and list files. Check the web site for compatibility.
Beside NTSC DV logging and capture, Video Assist will log and
capture to any hardware codec supported by your system. Imagine
Products has successfully tested the app with all AJA, Black
Magic and Aurora cards, DV, and Canopus ADVC 110 boxes. A fully
functioning transport controller with JKL support, shuttle, and
cueing capabilities is included. FireWire capture from the Panasonic
HVX200 is also supported. Make certain your drives are have
the necessary capture capability.
P2 Viewer Capabilities
Imported p2 clips can be marked, sorted, trimmed, and manipulated
in various ways. You can force the app to assign a new "user"
name for each clip, which the clip retains in a XML export FCP
4.5 or higher. Upon the export, the bin includes the trimmed
clips with the names you assigned. This is a huge timesaver
for editors. Only HD Log permits trimming and sub clipping.
Both HD Log and the recently released p2 Log app can assign
user clip names upon export.
There are dozens of other features that
I haven't touched in this review. For example, the application
has a DV Scan feature for indexing tapes and a patented
scene detection technology based on color changes, extensive
sort and search features, and network based digital library sharing.
Its capabilities will be fleshed out
as you apply it to specific logging and capture tasks. As I
stated before, some may balk at the $699.00 price tag for the
Gold version of HD Log, and understandably so. Some of its features
may not be useful to a good percentage of editors. If this is
your situation, there are lesser-priced versions of HD Log whose
features better correspond with your workflow. Visit the web
site to gauge what you need and at what price point. In any
case, this is a well-constructed application that provides an
excellent interface to meet the tedious work of logging footage,
Copyright ©2006 David
A. Saraceno is a motion graphics
artist located in Spokane, Washington. He has written for DV
Magazine, AV Video, MacHome Journal, and several state and national
legal technology magazines. David also moderates several forums