Getting video from a camcorder

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Getting video from a camcorder

Back when editors used videotape machines, getting video from the camcorder into the videotape editing machine was pretty straightforward. Pop the cassette out of the camcorder, put it into the videotape editing machine. But these days, videotape editing machines are pretty much things of the past. And there are several different ways to record and store video. So you need multiple means to get the video into your PC. I like the one method that's most frequently used, that is going from a DV or HDV camcorder like this guy and the way you do that is by using a FireWire cable like this. You connect one end to your camcorder, the other end into your PC. You attach this to AC power as opposed to a battery because you don't want it to go into sleep mode in the middle of the transfer and probably you switch it over to VCR as opposed to camera. And you get this all fired up and ready to go, you can start transferring or capturing the video from your camcorder into your hard drive via Premiere Elements. So let's do that.

So we are going to start with a new project here that we created for this tutorial called 03-capture. It is a standard definition NTSC. You could be HDV, Widescreen or Standard Definition, whichever one you want to use. And the way you get started is by going to the Organize Task workspace. Then go to the Get Media toolset. You click that. You want to go click on DV Camcorder or HDV Camcorder. In our case, it's going to be DV camcorder and that opens up the Capture window. One of the cool things about video capture using a digital video or HDV camcorder is that you can use what's called Device Control. FireWire cables have device control that allow you to remotely control an HDV or other kind of camcorder.

So here we have the typical VCR controls down here. I'll click the Play button. That will start playing this VCR. And this is where you do the capture process. You can set the camcorder tape to wherever you want to start the process by rewinding or fast forwarding, and then you click Capture to get going. But before you click Capture, you want to do a few things in terms of the settings. First of all, you want to give your clips a generic name that will be numbered incrementally with each new clip as it's being recorded. So this particular project is called 03-capture. So by default, the Clip Name will be 03-capture and it will be -1, -2, -3, as you start incrementally editing clips.

I want to change that, for instance, to say I want to call this horse. Because I'm going to do much of horse videos. That will then change incrementally as I grab each new clip. I also want to select where I'm going to store that, whichever file folder that might be. And down here I have some more settings. I want to capture video and audio. I do not want to capture to the Timeline because I know that the video that I shot here was not sequential. I know I'm going to have to take clips and arrange them in the timeline in a certain order that won't match the way I shot this. I'm going to turn that off. But if you know for sure that you captured something or that you shot something in a certain sequential order and that if you drop it right on to the timeline, it will be pretty much the way you want to do your finished video, then you might as well keep that thing checked.

This checkbox talks about Splitting Scenes. Now what happens when Premiere Elements looks at your videotape, it decides whether a scene had changed based upon the Timecode or the Content. The Timecode has to do with the Pause/Record button on your camcorder. Every time you press that, it puts on a new Timecode and Premiere Elements can recognize that and create a new clip for each time you press the Pause/Record button. That's a very convenient thing and it's a good idea to do that I think. If you select the Content side of things, Premiere Elements analyzes the video, looks at the video if you want to call it that way and tries to figure out when a scene has changed, whether you have pressed the Pause/Record button or not.

I think it's best to stick with the Timecode because Premiere Elements can certainly make a mistake and split a scene in two that you don't want split in two. You can always repair it later. But let's not worry about that and stick with the Timecode. Finally there is this Smart Tagging option and I think this should be unchecked all the time. Here is what happens. If you check Smart Tagging, Premiere Elements looks for all these different kinds of characteristics on each of your clips, it looks whether there are some motion in it, whether there are faces, might be blurred, might be too bright, too much contrast, might be too much camera movement and it marks that on your clips. Well I think you are a better analyzer of your videotape than Premiere Elements and you don't want to go through this time consuming process of looking at all of your clips before it loads up into your project. So I would switch off Smart Tagging and just simply never use that. You are going to be able to do a better job than Premiere Elements.

So once you have got things setup and you have got your videotape queued up to where you want to start, you just simply click Capture. And what happens now is that Premiere Elements will start recording this video from the camcorder into your hard drive. It will name each clip as it sees changes incrementally. Notice it's now horse 02, horse 03 because this is where I pressed the Pause/Record button on the camcorder. It's splitting the scenes by Timecode. We will go to one more here. There is 4, because I changed scenes again. Now when I'm done here, when I have recorded all the clips I want to record, I click Pause then I just close this guy. Then your clips will show up inside the Project View. These are those four clips we just captured and each one of them is this individual clip from beginning to end.

We will click on one just to take a look at it. There is the clip that we just captured and it captures every frame, beginning to end, until it gets to the next clip. So that's how you capture video from a videotape, DV or HDV camcorder into your project. So now that you have captured these video clips, you are ready to start creating your video project.

Getting video from a camcorder
Video duration: 5m 22s 3h 27m Beginner


Getting video from a camcorder provides you with in-depth training on Video. Taught by Jeff Sengstack as part of the Premiere Elements 7 Essential Training

Premiere Elements
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