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Technique

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August 2008

In the first part of this series we examined how to prepare for capture using Final Cut Pro software and now you are ready to find out more about the capture process. Final Cut Pro offers a variety of options such as Capture Now, Capture Clip and Capture Batch. In this article we’ll look at those options and examine the differences between capturing in HD and capturing in the DV format.

© Rick Young

Click here to watch Final Cut Pro keyboard capture controls that let you ‘talk’ to your camcorder.

Capture Now

Capture Now is the easiest way to Capture your material.

  • Press the Space Bar to play the tape.
  • Press the Now button in the Log and Capture window - you will now see a window showing the media as it is recorded to hard drive.
  • Press Escape to stop.

The clip or clips you have captured will now be recorded to hard drive and listed in the Browser. You will notice these are all listed numerically as untitled.

© Rick Young

An unlabelled clip on Reel 001.

© Rick Young

Reel numbering is a way of keeping track of projects.


You can Label the first clip before you begin capturing and Final Cut Pro will then numerically label all clips sequentially following the first clip. These details are entered into the Log and Capture window into the Description tab. Furthermore, it is advisable to number your Reels and if you wish to enter any other details fields are provided for these. At bare minimum one should label the reel and identify the clips before the capture process commences.

It is also worth noting, by default, when capturing HDV that on capture Final Cut Pro will break the clips into individual shots.

If we go to the Clip Setting menu one can uncheck the box Create New Clip on Start/Stop and you can capture a single longer clip made up of many shots.

Also note - you have options. You can specify if you wish to record Video and Audio (by checking each of these boxes) or you can select either video or audio only by unchecking the boxes accordingly.

Capture Clip

Capture Clip enables you to capture a single clip at a time, which is defined by the ‘in’ and ‘out’ points which you have set.

  • to a place on the tape where you wish the capture process to begin.
  • Press the letter ‘i’ to mark the ‘in’ point.
  • Press the letter ‘o’ to mark the ‘out’ point.

Press the Clip button and the computer will instruct the camera to cue up the clip, pre-roll and then capture the section you have defined by setting your ‘in’ and ‘out’ points. You will be prompted to give the clip a name before capture commences. This can be very useful to accurately capture a section of media defined by you.

Batch Capture

When you wish to capture many clips in succession Batch Capture is the way to go. The procedure is straightforward though more involved than Capture Now or Capture Clip.

© Rick Young

The clip has a red line through it to indicate it is offline and yet to be captured. When you have all your clips press the Batch button to capture.

  • Cue up your tape to where you wish the first clip to begin capture.
  • Mark an ‘in’ point by pressing the letter ‘i’.
  • Mark an ‘out’ point by pressing the letter ‘o’.
  • Press the Log Clip Button.
  • Name the clip.
  • Press OK.

You will notice the clip is then logged into the Browser. The clip is red with a line through it to indicate that it is offline and yet to be captured. Repeat the above procedure for as many clips as you wish to log and once you are ready to capture, press the Batch button. The Batch Capture process will then be invoked and all of the clips will be cued up, pre-rolled, captured until the process is complete.


Beware of any breaks in timecode as this will cause havoc when Batch Capturing. Only use Batch Capture for areas of the tape where the timecode is continuous.

© Rick Young

Click here to watch the three ways of capturing video with Final Cut Pro.


Setting a Logging Bin

The Capture we have done so far captures directly in the Browser. A better method is to specify a Logging Bin - this means any clips will be captured directly into a Bin - thus you can organise your footage as it is captured. Bins are the place where you file your media within the Browser - as you get into the editing process you will create many Bins. It is possible to have Bins within Bins.

  • To create a Bin go to the File Menu and choose ‘New – Bin’ (the shortcut is Apple + B). A Bin will now appear in the Browser.
  • Name the Bin.
  • Control Click the Bin in the Browser and select Set Logging Bin.
© Rick Young

The Bin appears in the browser and needs to be named.

© Rick Young

Scroll down and click on ‘Set Logging Bin’ to capture your files into the logging bin.


This means that all captured clips will now be captured directly into this Bin.

© Rick Young

Click here to watch how to set up a Logging Bin for file capture.

Capturing Standard Definition

Many of the HDV cameras can also down-convert the images to standard definition DV. This is particularly useful as one can set the camera to record HDV images and then captured standard definition DV video direct into Final Cut Pro.There are also many other DV only cameras on the market.

When capturing DV go to the Easy Set-up - choose the format and standard you wish to capture - and then open the Log and Capture window.

© Rick Young

Choose the format you want to work with – in this case DV-PAL Anamorphic.

© Rick Young

The standard Log and Capture window is similar in appearance to the HDV Log and Capture window.


You will see that the appearance is slightly different, however, most of the functionality is the same as with the HDV Log and Capture window.

© Rick Young

Click here to watch how to capture standard definition (DV) video.

There are a few points that are worth noting:

  • Because this Log and Capture window can be used to capture many different formats you can confirm device control and the Capture Format. These can be changed without returning to the Easy Set-up menu. Click the Capture Settings tab in the Log and Capture window to access these settings.
  • To capture SD standard 4:3 images set the set-up to either DV-PAL or DV NTSC.
  • To capture widescreen set the format to DV-PAL Anamorphic or DV-NTSC Anamorphic.

When you set the capture standard as 4:3 images the representation will be that of a 4:3 window within Log and Capture. When you set the capture standard to widescreen anamorphic the image representation will be that of letterbox. On capture the display will be squashed 4:3 as if the image has been squeezed. Do not be dismayed by what you see while capturing. This is only a preview and has no impact on the final recorded images.

Preparing for Editing

Now that your material has been captured to hard drive you can view the material and file it away into bins for easy access. This is preparation for the editing process and is very important for several reasons. First of all you get to review the material. By constantly reviewing the material means you know your images and sound and this is vital for sparking the creative editing process. It is impossible to edit your material properly if you do not know what is there to work with. Furthermore, by filing the material into different bins you effectively catalogue it and label as needed.

© Rick Young

You can use the yellow Scrubber bar at the base of the viewer to drag through a clip.

To view any of your clips simply double click a clip and straight away this will open into the Viewer. Use the same keyboard shortcuts used during the capture process to review the material:

  • J - to scrub backwards - in increments up to 5 x
  • K - stop playback
  • L - to scrub forwards - in increments up to 5 x
  • Space Bar - to play/stop or K to stop
  • I - to mark an “in” point
  • O - to mark an “out” point

You can also use the yellow Scrubber bar found at the base of the Viewer to drag through a clip. Once you have reviewed the material you then need to file it into bins.

Press File - New - Bin or Apple + B to create a new bin in the Browser. Label the Bins and, if necessary, label your clips if this was not already done during Capture.

DV Start/Stop Detect

If you have captured a long piece of media in the DV format you can run this through what is called DV start/stop detect. This will automatically identify where the camera has buttoned “on” or “off” and will place markers into the clips. You can see these being added as your footage is run through the DV stop/start process.

© Rick Young

Once a clip has been run through DV Start/Stop Detect you see pink markers at the base of the viewer showing all the shots that make up the clip.

A triangle next to the clip, once the process is complete, will indicate that the clip has now been broken into individual shots. Click the triangle and a list of the clips will be presented in the order in which they were shot.

If you click a clip once it has been run through DV Start/Stop Detect then you will see the pink markers at the base of the viewer to represent all of the shots that make up the clip.

Viewing Clips as Icons

Up until now we have been viewing the clips in list mode with words used to represent each clip in the Browser. It is also possible to show these as icons where an image is used to represent each of the clips. By default the first frame of the clip is used - this is termed the Poster Frame. This can be set by either cueing the clip in the Viewer and setting an “in” point or by cueing the frame you want to be the Poster Frame and choosing Set Poster Frame from the Mark Menu.

© Rick Young

Via View Browser Items you can decide how you want your clips to be displayed.

Once you have sorted through the material, catalogued it, labelled it and filed it away into bins you are now ready to edit.

You can cycle through the clips views of list mode and three different sizes of icons by pressing Shift + H repeatedly, or you can choose the View Menu and select View Browser Items and then make your choice of how you want the clips displayed.

In the next workshop in this series we’ll explore some of Final Cut Pro’s more advanced features.

To find out more about the Canon video products mentioned in this article or to try out or purchase Canon video products, contact your nearest Canon video dealer. For contact details just click here.