Logging and Transferring Your Clips

Premiere gives you the opportunity to complete two steps (more or less) at once: logging your raw footage and automatically transferring selected clips to your hard drive. But it uses a nomenclature that I find a bit confusing:

  • Movie Capture basically means "manual video clip transfer." During movie capture you view your video, looking for clips you like, and then transfer them one at a time to your hard drive.

  • Batch Capture basically means "logging your original footage and then automatically transferring video clips to your hard drive." In this case you use the Movie Capture window to view your video, create a list or log of segments you want to transfer, and then open the Batch Capture window to let Premiere transfer them all while you walk the dog.

There has to be a better way to name and perform these tasks, but this is how it works in Premiere.

In any event, the second task, the automated process, is the only way to go. But we'll start with the first task, the manual clip-at-a-time method, to give you a basic feel for how the video-transfer process works.

Task: Control Your DV Device with Your PC

The fun is about to begin. If you haven't used a computer to remotely control a DV device, this task is guaranteed to elevate your heart rate:

  1. Make sure your camcorder is on and set to VTR/VCR and that you've inserted your tape.

  2. Open the Capture Movie window by clicking File and selecting Capture, Movie Capture. Figure 3.11 represents what you should have in front of you: a little TV set with standard video-editing-style VCR controls.

    Figure 3.11. The Movie Capture window. Using standard VCR and videotape-editing controls, you can easily find "keeper" video clips to transfer to your hard drive.


  3. Click the play button. Is this not cool? There is your raw video playing on your computer.

  4. Try out some of the other buttons: fast forward, rewind, and stop.

  5. Now try some of the special buttons: Shuttle lets you move slowly or zip quickly, depending on how far you move the slider off center, forward or backward through your tape. You also have Frame Forward and Backward buttons, Forward and Reverse Slow Play, and a single-frame Jog control (the ruled line above all the other controls).

OK. Fun's over…for now.

Task: Select Capture Settings

Next up: selecting capture settings. The default settings will likely work fine, but I'll run through this process just in case you want to tweak things a bit. Figure 3.12 shows the interface you will access next. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Look at the Movie Capture window. If you see only a TV display window and its controls, click that handy little arrow in the upper-right corner of the window and then click Expand Window. That'll open the Logging and Settings window on the right side of the TV screen.

  2. Click that little arrow again to open a fly-out menu and select Capture Settings.

  3. Confirm the capture format is DV/IEEE 1394 Capture. If it's not, click the drop-down list and select DV/IEEE 1394.

  4. Click the Preroll Time field and type in 5. This ensures that when you tell Premiere to grab a clip, it rolls the tape back five seconds to get your camcorder up to speed before it reaches the in-point. If you have a Matrox RT 2500 card, there is no need for a preroll?it grabs clips "on the fly," which is a much faster and less machine-intensive process.

  5. Leave the Report Dropped Frames box checked. It will display a message if any frames were lost during the transfer. The Abort on Dropped Frames box should remain unchecked.

  6. I recommend unchecking the Capture Limit box. As long as you're going to specify the in- and out-points of all transferred clips, there's no need to have this feature keeping an eye on things for you.

  7. Click the DV Settings button and note that all four boxes are checked. This means that as you preview your video, it will display and play audio on your computer (as opposed to watching it and listening to it only on your external monitor or camcorder viewfinder). You can uncheck these boxes if your processor can't handle the data load.

  8. Click OK to return to the Project Settings dialog box.

  9. Click OK to return to the Movie Capture window.

Figure 3.12. The default settings in the Project Settings dialog box should work fine. I recommend only that you uncheck the Capture Limit box.



Before you "capture" your first clip, I want to clarify one point. Capture is another of those somewhat misleading terms used throughout the NLE world. On the digital video (DV) side of things, transfer would be a more descriptive term. Because DV already is digital, all Premiere does is tell your camcorder to transfer the selected digital clip data through the IEEE 1394 interface and onto your hard drive. Done. No "capturing" necessary.

In the analog world, "transfer, conversion, and compression" would more accurately describe the capture process. In that case your camcorder transfers the video and audio to an input on a video capture card. Then that card's built-in hardware converts the wave form signal to a digital form, compresses it using a codec, and stores it to your hard drive. It's a much less user-friendly process made even more tedious by the inability to remotely control your camcorder (in most cases). I'll explain that process later.

Task: Movie Capture?Manual Video Clip Transfer

Now, back to manual DV clip capture (or transfer). Figure 3.13 displays the Logging page you'll use to accomplish this task. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Movie Capture window, click the Logging tab at the top right side of the screen.

  2. Search through your videotape and find a scene you want to transfer to your computer.

  3. Roll the tape back a couple seconds and then mark the in-point. You have two ways to do this:

    • Click the little "{ " below the VCR control buttons.

    • Click the Set In button on the lower right side of the menu. Note that a timecode appears in the In window.

  4. Now move your tape forward to the clip's end and let it roll for a couple more seconds to add a trailer.

  5. Mark the out-point by clicking either the "} " or the Set Out button. Note, once again, that the timecode appears in the Out window, along with a calculated clip length.

  6. Transfer that clip to your hard drive by clicking the Capture In/Out button below the In, Out, and Duration windows.

Figure 3.13. The Logging page extends from the Movie Capture window. Use it to set in- and out-points for individual clips.


Voila. Premiere takes control of your camcorder, rewinding it to the in-point, rolling it back five seconds (the preroll), playing the clip, transferring the data, and stopping the clip at the out-point. Pretty slick.

At this point Premiere asks you to name the clip. In general you'll want to use something descriptive so you can find the clip later (I'll cover naming conventions a bit later). Type in the clip's name, click OK, and Premiere stores your clip in the file folder you created at the beginning of this process.


I had you add a few extra seconds to the beginning and end of your clip for a reason. You'll need these extra bits of video during editing if you do long cross-dissolves or other transitions. And, even if you decide to use only a small portion of the clip you saved in your final project, you always can shorten anything you transfer. So a little extra is good.

In Premiere parlance you just did a "movie capture." In my view you just did a "manual video clip transfer." Manual labor is fine for a while. Automation is better.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video