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Tutorial: - Basic Capture Techniques for DV

May, 2001

Basic Capture Techniques for DV

As of 5/01, this article is appropriate for FCP 1.2+.
Any changes for v2.0 will be added at a later date.

By Gretta Wing Miller

Don't call it Digitizing!

If you are shooting DV, it's already digital. What you need to do is 'CAPTURE' the digital footage onto your HD.

As with everything FCP, there are at least a couple of methods to accomplish this. The methods seem to parallel certain personality types, so read the following, and pick the method that works best for you.

There is one rule that is not subject to discussion or personality type:


No ifs, ands, or buts. A cassette without a label might as well be blank, and if you are the stubborn personality type that must learn by experience, soon you will record over a very important tape because you didn't label it.

Luckily, FCP won't let us get by without entering a reel number, but it will let us get by with using the default 'Reel 001' for every tape. Please be vigilant and enter a unique reel number every time.


The default Reel 001; use this only for your Reel #1!

A note on methods:

I prefer to use and teach a two-handed, keyboard in the left hand, mouse in the right approach to editing in FCP. If you are more comfortable using the mouse alone to begin with, here is a substitution chart:


Keyboard Mouse
Space Bar Play button
Letter 'I' Mark In
Letter 'O' Mark Out
F2 Log Clip
cmd-S File > Save

Preparing to Capture:

Put your first tape in deck/camera.

Open Log and Capture under the File menu.


The open Log Capture window



Enter the Reel name on the Logging tab, and put a check in the 'Prompt' box.


Click on the Clip Settings tab to define what you want to capture:
Audio and Video, just Video, or just Audio. The default, 'Audio Video, ch1 ch 2' will be perfect for most situations.


The buttons on the 'Preferences' tab are for verification of the settings you have made earlier
when you set your Preferences (See "FCP: An Ambitious Beginning"), or for making changes
to those settings without leaving Log and Capture.


Method 1: Classic Log and Capture

Best for Slated, Multiple-Take Narratives.

Spacebar to start the tape rolling, press 'I' at your chosen In point. I would mark the In point after the slate to conserve scratch disk acreage, using the slate as a reference for naming the clip. When you come to the end of the take, press F2 (Log Clip). Pressing F2 sets the Out point and opens the Log Clip dialog.


You will get this dialog window after pressing the Log Clip button (or F2)
if you have put a check in the 'Prompt' box.

Name it correctly, write any comment in the Log Note box, and check the 'Mark Good' box for the takes you like best, then OK. The tape should continue to roll, and after the next slate, mark the next In point; F2 at the end of the take, name this take, or allow FCP to increment the take number automatically if it is another take of the same scene.


The red line through the clip icons indicates that they are 'offline' (not captured yet).

This method doesn't capture any clips to the HD; it creates a comprehensive LOG, in the Browser, of all the shots on your reels.

When you have finished Logging, you can select the takes with which you want to begin editing, and Batch Capture only those (see below). All the takes you have marked as good will have a check mark by them in the 'Good' column of the Browser for easy reference.

Some of FCP's many Browser columns. Good takes can be marked during or after logging.


Batch Capture

With clips selected in the Browser, go to File>Batch Capture. Choose 'All Selected Clips', and OK.

All the information about the clips you want to capture is presented in this Batch Capture dialog.


Specify extra seconds to be added to the head and tail of each clip as it is captured. This makes up for reaction time as you press your In and Out points. Your logging should be fairly loose anyway, with at least several extra seconds at head and tail.

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