16 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2009 6:03 PM by the_wine_snob

    Import formats

    mystreba

      I have a project to create a video from footage shot with a ZR900 (MiniDV camcorder).  Problem is, the camera and 13 hours of footage are on the other side of the country.  I therefore must help the camera owner through the process of getting the footage off the camera and onto mailable media.

       

      The owner has a firewire-capable computer, and transfer software (Windows Moviemaker).  What settings should the owner use in order to preserve native quality for import into PE4?  I'm assuming Moviemaker will transfer in AVI - would that be the best format?

       

      Thanks...

        • 1. Re: Import formats
          Kodebuster Level 3

          MovieMaker will output to DV-AVI Type 1, which many have used as import to PE with no issues.

           

          The ultimate would be an output format of DV-AVI Type 2, as some have experienced sync isuues with Type 1.

           

          I've used Type 1 from MovieMaker for a while and have yet to see it import into PE perfectly.

           

          DV-AVI is a fully uncompressed format and will give the best quality coming directly from the source.

           

          Regarding shipping, the three Options of Recordable Disk are DVD @ 4.7 gig, DVD Dual-Layer @ 9.0 gig, Bluray @ 25 gig, and Bluray Dual-Layer @ 50 gig.

           

          Figure about 13 gig for each hour of source video in conversion to DV-AVI.

           

          Pick your media and do the math.

           

          (Might not be a bad idea to have them burn one (1) disk and ship for testing on your end. If things work, as they should, then rip and ship)...

          • 2. Re: Import formats
            the_wine_snob Level 9
            DV-AVI is a fully uncompressed format and will give the best quality coming directly from the source.

             

            One minor correction. The MS DV (DV-AVI) is compressed, though slightly. The DV [Uncompressed] is not, and the files will be larger. Now, the advice to go with DV-AVI Type I's from WMM is a good one. These are often workable, and if OOS does exist, it can be fixed by converting to Type II's, or manually.

             

            Now, there is a size limitation on Type I files. Seems that the limit is 2GB, but check me out on that number. If the Capture is done segmentally by "scenes," that should not be an issue, but just keep it in the back of your head, should the files become truncated.

             

            I'd look to several DVD-Data discs, and I'd also opt for DL (DVD-9's) so there will be fewer discs, but that is just me.

             

            Now, one option would be to borrow/rent a similar Canon, and have the tapes sent to you for Capture. I'd try to keep the brand the same, but with miniDV tapes, most will play fine in other cameras. Head/tape alignment are not as critical, as with earlier media.

             

            Good luck,

             

            Hunt

             

            PS if the DV-AVI Type I's do give you any OOS issues, this ARTICLE will probably help.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Import formats
              Kodebuster Level 3

              Hunt, running MovieMaker on Vista, I have yet to experience a 2 gig file size limitation for Type 1.

               

              I also don't recall ever seeing this with XP SP2.

               

              (But I also know to never, say never...LOL).

               

              Might this have been a constraint on the early releases of MoveMaker ???

              • 4. Re: Import formats
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                It could also be that that 2GB number is incorrect, due to my faulty memory, and I don't mean my RAM here. There is a limitation on the Duration of Type I's, where I do not believe there is on Type II's.

                 

                I'll try to find my resources and check the exact Duration out.

                 

                Hunt

                • 5. Re: Import formats
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                  Back to the poster's original question, DV-AVI may be compressed but it's the EXACT VIDEO DATA that's currently on the camcorder's tape! That's why video editors love miniDV. The video data on the tape and the video data that streams in over FireWire is unchanged (except that it's packaged in little AVI packets).

                   

                  So capture over FireWire and it doesn't matter if you're using Premiere Elements, MovieMaker, WinDV or Sony Vegas to capture the video. The results will be the same and perfectly compatible with Premiere Elements.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Import formats
                    mystreba Level 1

                    Thanks for the info.  A couple of relevant facts:

                     

                    - OOS is not an issue, as I don't believe I'll be using the audio track

                    - Can't accept shipment of tapes as I don't want to assume risk of losing or damaging the source material

                    - Owner prefers to ship the whole lot via portable storage device (PSD - say, 180gb drive)

                     

                     

                    Still, it sounds as if the ideal format is DV-AVI Type II.  Is that limited to a specific SP of XP, and/or version of Moviemaker (MM)?  In other words, if I instruct the owner to transfer in that format, is it possible they won't find it as an available format in MM?

                     

                    Given that they prefer to send all at once in a PSD, I think it's good advice to have them send a single test scene on a thumbdrive or something.

                     

                    Finally, is there any CODEC issue I should be aware of?  Will I have to use the same CODEC that MM uses in order to handle the files?  I cuurrently use the XVID CODEC for AVI.

                     

                     

                    ~thanks again...

                    • 7. Re: Import formats
                      Kodebuster Level 3

                      MovieMaker will only output to DV-AVI Type 1 and it's not specific to any Service Pack or even to XP or Vista.

                       

                      The latest version of MM under Vista-64 (or 32), again will only output to Type 1.

                       

                      I've recently been using Cyberlinks PowerDirector to convert directly to Type 2, but this is not FreeWare and requires a purchase.

                       

                      You can use VirtualDub for conversion to Type 2, which is FreeWare, but it won't do the Capture.

                       

                      VDub can be found at:   http://www.virtualdub.org/

                       

                      You can use MM to Type 1, then VDub to Type 2, and Codecs are not an issue as PE works natively with the DV-AVI format.

                       

                      Using this 2-step approach there is no software to be purchased, only the conversion times.

                       

                      Hope this helps...

                      • 8. Re: Import formats
                        the_wine_snob Level 9
                        Still, it sounds as if the ideal format is DV-AVI Type II.  Is that limited to a specific SP of XP, and/or version of Moviemaker (MM)?  In other words, if I instruct the owner to transfer in that format, is it possible they won't find it as an available format in MM?


                        Yes, the ideal format is MS DV-AVI Type II. WMM will only Export as MS DV-AVI Type I, but other NLE's with capture capabilities, like Magix and CyberLink (plus all of the Adobe NLE's) will Capture in MS DV-AVI Type II. Type II will not be an option from WMM, but Type I will and will be your best choice.

                         

                        Given that they prefer to send all at once in a PSD, I think it's good advice to have them send a single test scene on a thumbdrive or something.


                        While this test would not hurt, so long as the owner does the Capture correctly, and it's very easy, the MS DV-AVI Type 1, or Type II, will work fine in PE. No conversions, or loss in quality.

                         

                        Finally, is there any CODEC issue I should be aware of?  Will I have to use the same CODEC that MM uses in order to handle the files?  I cuurrently use the XVID CODEC for AVI.

                         

                        The MS DV CODEC will be installed on every Windows machine. They are not version specific to any flavor of the Windows OS's. All PC's will have it, or they certainly should.

                         

                        You will need no other CODEC's, unless you wish to Export/Share in a highly compressed format. Except for final, uneditable delivery, please stay far away from DivX and Xvid. They are delivery-only CODEC's and do a good job at that. They are nothing but trouble to edit, and will involve a good conversion. Also, most quality will have been lost, when they are employed, so re-editng from any of that footage will be horrible, regarding quality.

                         

                        Good luck,

                         

                        Hunt

                         

                        PS the external device is a good idea. I ship these back and forth across the country all of the time. I have a bunch of older Maxtor 250GB USB/FW drivers, and they spend more time in the air, than I do.

                         

                        PPS MS DV-AVI files will occupy about 13GB/hour of runtime. Ten hours of tape will require about 130GB +/- a bit.

                         

                        Message was edited by: the_wine_snob Added PPS

                        • 9. Re: Import formats
                          Ed.Macke Level 3

                          I'm surprised nobody mentioned WinDV (http://windv.mourek.cz)


                          It's free, easy, does file naming, and will automatically generate DV-AVI Type 2 - no conversion or export required.

                          • 10. Re: Import formats
                            the_wine_snob Level 9

                            I have not used it. I've got Capture capabilities in my existing programs, and one "go-to" conversion program, so I do not explore many other options. With the exception of ScenAlyzer Live (SD Capture only), for better "scene detection," I'm inexperienced with many other apps.

                             

                            Does this one work well for you?

                             

                            Hunt

                            • 11. Re: Import formats
                              Ed.Macke Level 3

                              Yeah, it works great. It's frequently mentioned on the  forums as a nice piece of software to have in your toolkit, that's why I said I was surprised it hadn't come up yet.


                              It's  small (38K download!), is a single .EXE so it's easy to delete if you don't want it anymore, works great, has no spyware, and it's free. One of those things that seems too good to be true almost.


                              I used to use it all the time for SD capture (more stable than PRE's), but then I too got ScenealyzerLive so that I could do capture and AVI split in one step.


                              Seems like it'd be an easy solution for the OP. His cross-country buddy could download WinDV, use it to capture the footage directly from Camera to DV AVI Type 2 on a Firewire portable hard drive, and voila.

                               

                              P.S. Actually, I would not capture directly to the drive that was being sent. I would capture it to a hard drive, then copy the files to the external hard drive being shipped. That way if the drive gets lost in transit, you could just have to re-copy instead of re-capturing.

                               

                              Message was edited by: Ed.Macke - Added PS

                              • 12. Re: Import formats
                                mystreba Level 1

                                >>Except for final, uneditable delivery, please stay far away from DivX and Xvid. They are delivery-only CODEC's and do a good job at that. They are nothing but trouble to edit, and will involve a good conversion. Also, most quality will have been lost, when they are employed, so re-editng from any of that footage will be horrible, regarding quality.<<

                                 

                                This is interesting.  I never had to mess around with CODECs until recently, when I was given a project to create a video from footage shot with a motorcycle helmet cam.  The owner sent me the native AVI files created by the camera, but PE4 would not recognize the video portion of the files.  I went to the website of the camera manufacturer, and discovered they use the Xvid CODEC.  I downloaded it and PE4 worked fine with the native files after that.

                                 

                                I'm wondering if I should remove the Xvid CODEC now that the project is complete.

                                • 13. Re: Import formats
                                  mystreba Level 1

                                  Thanks - this is very helpful.  Unfortunately I ran out of "Helpful" buttons!

                                  • 14. Re: Import formats
                                    the_wine_snob Level 9
                                    I'm wondering if I should remove the Xvid CODEC now that the project is complete.

                                     

                                    That is not necessary. Both the DivX and the Xvid CODEC's are great for delivery. I use the commercial DivX (Xvid is just the open source version) CODEC for delivery. It will not mess up any other CODEC's, in my experience.

                                     

                                    You were very lucky that having the Xvid CODEC allowed any flavor of Premiere to actually edit the material. Even with the proper CODEC's available, most of the files will not work. Usually, one gets only the Video,or only the Audio, or a failed Import.

                                     

                                    Because of the extreme compression, more mfgr's are looking to it to cram more data onto a smaller card, or HDD in a camera. We are likely to see more in the future. Now, the footage is designed to be viewed, and not to be edited. When one does edit it, that same extreme compression causes a major quality issue, especially if one is later going on to burn a DVD-Video - another compression to the MPEG-2 of the DVD-Video.

                                     

                                    I have many CODEC's that are needed to play material, or to convert material. That is a place that the Xvid CODEC will come into play on your system. Most good conversion programs do not ship with and install CODEC's. They use what is installed at the OS level. It's just that most NLE's do not play well with many of them, so conversion handles that part.

                                     

                                    I was only warning against introducing any aspect of this extreme compression in your workflow.

                                     

                                    Also, do see Ed's reply for a small, freeware Capture program, that your client could use. I've heard of it, but have never used it, hence my making no mention of it as a possible free alternative for your client.

                                     

                                    Good luck,

                                     

                                    Hunt

                                    • 15. Re: Import formats
                                      mystreba Level 1

                                      Thanks all - I downloaded WinDV and checked it out.  As was previously observed, it seems almost too good to be true. Unfortunately, I do not own a video camera {sheepish grin} so I couldn't really run it through cycles.  I've advised the camera owner to download and use WinDV.  We'll see how it goes, and I'll report back on progress...

                                      • 16. Re: Import formats
                                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                                        Yes, please do report back with all aspects of this Project.

                                         

                                        Hope that it goes beautifully,

                                         

                                        Hunt