Capture 250+ hrs mini DV tape > mac mini > ext drives / best way?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Macademy, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Macademy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
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    FL
    #1
    Hello Everyone,

    My objectives are to:
    1. capture footage to harddrives (to archive and make ready for scrubb)
    2. scrubb through and LOG, to create an EDL for a professional video editor/storyteller (yet to be determined).

    Please advise how best to approach this laborious process in the most effective/efficient manner to capture 250+ 1 hour tapes.
    What else might I need (software / hardware)?

    Thank you very much, in advance, for your wisdom... I am eager to embark on this process in the most advantageous way.

    Below is my equipment list which includes standard APPLE software and Snow Leopard (no editing software purchased yet, i.e. Final Cut, etc.)

    a) Mac Mini to be dedicated to the video project
    b) Mac Book Pro will be used for admin/day to day work, etc.
    c) 2 ea - Standard def. mini DV video cameras, BOTH w/Firewire 400 ports

    1 ea - Mac Mini 2.53/ 4GB/ 320
    1 ea - Drobo DR04 w/ 2 ea - WD Caviar Green 1TB drives
    (soon to be adding another 1 or 1.5 TB drive)
    1 ea - 24" LCD Monitor connected via mini display port to DVI
    1 ea - Tripp Lite 1000 VA / 500 watt UPS

    NOTE: since the Mini has only 1 FW800 port, I'm planning to use this port to connect to the camera (for capture process only), while using USB 2.0 to connected to harddrives in Drobo. Once capture is complete, I will connect FW800 port on Mini to run directly to Drobo. I'm planning to purchase 9pin to 4pin cable (camera to Mini) today 4/14/10.

    1 ea - Mac Book Pro 2.53/ 4GB/ 250
    using same 24" LCD Monitor connected via mini display port to VGA
    using same Tripp Lite 1000 VA / 500 watt UPS
     
  2. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    Jan 26, 2008
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    victoria
    #2
    holy mutha of .....

    just out of curiousity, what compelled you to hold onto 250 tapes and THEN transfer them. Seriously, what's the project?

    ALSO WHAT IS THE BUDGET?

    not quite sure what your EDL is and what your final output is, but it seems that capturing with both computers at the same time will save a lot of time but if you can't do that, do half the captures on one camcorder and half on the other to try and save the life on them.

    IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT get a DV deck to save the life of the camcorders.

    that's all I got.
     
  3. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #3
    plus, dont forget that each tape will be 12 gigs each

    250 x 12 = 3000 gigabytes
     
  4. xStep macrumors 68000

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    Less lost in L.A.
    #4
    I didn't see any mention of a backup routine.

    Definitely test the camera firewire connection. I've seen reports of it not working. This might be connect with SL or/and FW800 ports.

    You might find that using iMovie 09 is a good way to bring in the content and then quickly scrub through it all. You could then create appropriate projects for the content you actually want to edit in something fancier, like FCP.
     
  5. Richardthe4th macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Below Sealevel
    #5
    imovie and final cut store the captured content differently.

    also regarding the enormous amounts of material, I think it is advisable to have a plan/workflow for the whole: what do you want to do with the material? with what tool do you want to edit? do you need all the material online? do you need it all together? etc...

    be aware of spending a lot of time and money (storage) and then having to do conversions etc

    why? what will be the end result? which format?
     
  6. TheXIIIth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #6
    If it were me and I was working on a tight budget.

    1. Invest in a cheap refurbished or used mini DV camcorder [maybe 2 if you can swing it] - $250-$375 price range. This will save the wear and tear on your MAIN cam.
    2. Purchase a high quality mini DV tape head cleaning kit.
    3. Hopefully all of the footage you're wanting to capture was captured on the same brand media. If this isn't the case then you'll want to organize all your footage by media brand [Sony, JVC, Canon - etc.]. After ingesting footage from one brand of media - run the tape head cleaner then ingest more footage and repeat if necessary. This may sound cumbersome and tedious but it will give you the best footage quality. Because each media maker uses different chemicals/processes in making their media and they're not always compatible with other brands. Mixing brands without cleaning increases your chances of getting some messy captures.

    Like matteusclement said -
    If you can invest in a decent DV deck do that.
     
  7. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    FL
    #7
    Thank you for each reply and inquiry. I'll attempt to respond to all here.

    First, my use for footage is as follows:

    a) online educational and entertainment segments (2-20 mins ea)
    some are interviews and/or are like a reality style show, so we are figuring to "flow" segments into the next (with subtle but obvious breaks between).
    b) documentary film (15 yr chronicle)
    c) quality reproduction (zero to little degradation during capture)

    1. I love the idea of using 2 cameras/players to capture the footage to disc "simultaneously" to save time. Have you done this before... is it possible with the equipment I have?

    2. I absolutely would prefer to use a mini DV player (rather than camcorders). Very likely this is my only massive capture project (a one-time need), so I've been seeking Used SONY GVD or DSR players. Also already over budget... so I'm kinda falling back to using $300 JVC camera as player. Very reluctant to use my prosumer SONY PDx10 for such a task.

    I'm concerned about head alignment between original tape capture (different camera) and the player. I'm figuring a true "dv player" eliminates or minimizes this issue... is it a concern? Also, will the player type affect quality of capture (if I keep heads clean)?

    3. Overwhelming majority of tapes are SONY brand. Early-on I became aware of the different chemical treatments (wet/dry) and their impacts on heads and quality, etc.

    4. Editing tool = iMovie vs FCP or FCxPress capture? I would like to capture and log (creating EDL) for seamless transfer to a pro editor. Does FCxPress capture time codes and log info to match up with FCP?
    OR do I need to purchase FCP for this process to be seamless?

    5. As for BackUp routine... the Drobo provides redundancy (competitor with RAID technology).

    6. My Drobo max is 16TB. Currently installed 2 ea - 1TB drives, with plan to purchase another 1 or 2 as I fill what I have. The Drobo is literally plugNplay to add drives.

    I look forward to your kind and thoughtful support.
    If I've missed answering any questions - please re-post them.
     
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #8
    If budget does not allow for a DV deck, I would think that a cheap miniDV camcorder or two would work fine. Just make sure you play a cross section of tapes and check that it will play them OK first. Either way you don't want to put that much wear on your main cameras.

    I would not use iMovie 09 as I have read that it does not capture DV "properly" (it uses shortcuts which degrades the image quality). iMovie HD (06) and prior would probably work fine.

    You should be able to do parallel captures on different computers and move them to one data repository. You can just import the clips later into the one machine where you'll do the editing.

    I don't know if this will work for you at all, and it's been a while since I've done it myself, but my workflow when I was editing with Final Cut Express was to capture everything in iMovie HD first. I did this because iMovie by default separates new clips into their own files -- then I could do a quick pass and delete the clip files that I knew I was not going to use. Then I imported the remaining clips into my FCE clip bin. This saved a ton of disk space. By contrast, I captured a bunch of interview footage -- take after take -- directly into FCE, which resulted in a file several gigs in size, only to end up using 30 seconds of the footage. I don't think you'll find this too useful though given that you want EDLs and don't seem to be worried about disk space.
     
  9. xStep macrumors 68000

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    Less lost in L.A.
    #9
    When it comes to miniDV material I believe iMovie and FC both import the stream into a .dv file. So the codecs are the same.

    Big oops on my part. I forgot about that problem. Although there is a fix, it is a time costly one.
     
  10. -DH macrumors 65816

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    Nashville Tennessee
    #10
    >>When it comes to miniDV material I believe iMovie and FC both import the stream into a .dv file. So the codecs are the same.

    Nope. FCE and FCP capture DV as separate video and audio streams in a QuickTime container. iMovie uses the .DV stream, which is a muxed format. Although both are part of the the DV25 codec, iMovie and FCE/FCP capture differently.

    If you capture with iMovie and plan to edit in FCE or FCP, you'll need to convert the .DV files prior to importing them into your project - or face a heck of a lot of rendering time.

    -DH
     
  11. xStep macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Thank you for that detail. Its been a while since I've used FCP with iMovie content. :eek:
     
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #12
    I never noticed a big issue with rendering when I used iMovie-captured clips within FCE, but then, I'm not working with 250+ hours of footage either!
     
  13. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    FL
    #13
    Hello DH,
    I am too new a Member of the Forums (this only my 3rd post), therefore am not yet eligible to send anyone a direct message. Would you be available for direct communication in any form?
    Thank you,
    Macademy

    ==============================================
    [DH / QUOTE] "FCE and FCP capture DV as separate video and audio streams in a QuickTime container. iMovie uses the .DV stream, which is a muxed format. Although both are part of the the DV25 codec, iMovie and FCE/FCP capture differently.

    If you capture with iMovie and plan to edit in FCE or FCP, you'll need to convert the .DV files prior to importing them into your project - or face a heck of a lot of rendering time.

    -DH[/QUOTE]
     
  14. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2010
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    FL
    #14
    Hello notjustjay,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. To save time, I'm hoping you may be available for direct communication in any form?

    Many Thanks!

    =========================================

     
  15. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
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    Canada, eh?
    #15
    Thanks for the kind words, but I think it's better if you post questions in the forum. I don't have all the answers -- I haven't done any major editing projects in a long time. If you post a question on the forum, lots of people will see and be able to give you answers more quickly than I could.
     
  16. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    notjustjay... fully appreciating the power of forums, a strict forum-based approach can (often does) take hours/days to complete. Wherein an intricate conversation with one or a few key participants can take minutes. A few ping-ponged questions/answers (some of which cannot be anticipated) does wonders.

    I find forums a great way to meet knowledgeable and cool people, some with whom it makes sense to create one-time or longer term collaborations.

    My goals are to "get it done right" quickly" and make great contacts, even friendships, in the process.
     
  17. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2010
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    #17
    simultaneous video capture (2 Macs sending to 1 destination drive)

    I'm very intrigued by using 2 cameras/dvplayers, each sending to a separate Mac (I have Mac Mini, and Mac Book Pro).

    a few questions:
    1. My Drobo4 will only handle ONE port in at a time (either Firewire or USB). How would you recommend I hook up my 2 machines to simultaneously feed into the Drobo?

    2. It seems like I may need to go with FCP or at least FCE. Would I then need to buy 2 licenses (one for each machine)?

    3. A local computer tech advised that these machines (especially the Mac Book) can handle this load (large continuous volume), however it will be taxing for the configurations I have (2.53, 4GB) and is not recommended.
    Any insight on this?
     
  18. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Is iMovie 09 not an option? Must I go with FCP or FCE to be safe?

    Can anyone elaborate further on these concerns/issues?
    Ultimately, I do believe the edits will be completed in FCP or FCE.

    IF iMovie 09 IS appropriate (i.e., maintains quality, is easy to convert .DV to FCP compatible format, etc)... then I can start capture immediately because my two machines have iMovie 09.
     
  19. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #19
    1. The captured video is just a set of files. You can capture on each machine's local hard drive, and then copy the files, in batches, to the Drobo later. Assuming each Mac has 200 gigs of free space, you can capture up to 15 hours at a time before you need to dump all the files off.

    In fact, now that I re-read your original post, I recommend this approach over connecting to the Drobo via USB 2.0 while capturing video. You'll find that USB 2.0 throughput is CPU-intensive and will be much slower compared to Firewire.

    3. DV capture is only about 3.6 megs per second sustained capture rate. This should not be a problem for any modern machines. I built my first video editing rig in 2001 and it was able to keep up, so I would think anything today should have no trouble. It won't even be really "sustained" capture because every 60 minutes you're going to take a break to change tapes.

    To summarize: I think you should split your capturing between as many miniDV players (cameras) and computers as you have. Capture video onto each computer's hard drive. Then connect them one by one to the Drobo via Firewire to dump off the footage into the one common file store. Repeat as necessary until all footage is captured.

    You might want to look into a program called FootTrack (www.foottrack.com). It claims to manage large capture volumes, catalog clips, create EDLs for Final Cut, etc. I have not used this program, but it comes up a lot when I Google and people seem to have good things to say. Check out the site to see if it sounds useful to you.
     
  20. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Great info... thanks.

    I'm investigating Foottrack as suggested.

    any further thoughts on the iMovie vs FCP or FCE?

    I ask because if I do capture through 2 machines, this could also become a cost consideration (unless FCP or FCE) allow 2 machine licenses (1 laptop & 1 desktop) the way MS OFFICE for MAC does.
     
  21. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #21
    Fce +1

    I say FCE as it sounds like you don't need the whole batch of goods that come with PRO and FCE is a great workflow.
     
  22. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Yep... I just spoke with Final Cut cust. serv. rep and we came to that exact conclusion as well. FCE should be fine.

    thanks.
     
  23. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #23
    FootTrack is a capture program, so if that works out for you (there is a free trial to evaluate it) then you would simply use FootTrack on each capture computer. Only 1 license of Final Cut would be required.
     
  24. Macademy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2010
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    #24
    Here is my "recap" verification - because I'm a novice. Please advise if I am "getting it" so far???

    My equipment is brand new (just recv'd this week):
    1 ea - Mac Mini 2.53/4GB/320
    1 ea - 13.3" Mac Book Pro 2.53/4GB/250
    1 ea - Drobo 04 w/2 ea - 1TB WD Caviar Green drives, plus 1 ea - 1.5TB WD Caviar Green drive
    1 ea - Tripp Lite UPS

    Objectives and current thinking for MAC equipment:
    1. video capture 250+ hrs of mini DV Standard def (1 hr tapes)
    - capture, logging, EDL with Final Cut Express (maybe capture w/Foottrack)
    - files then to be transferred to a professional editor (yet to be determined)
    - editing for online and documentary use is most likely to be in FCPro
    - I may do some editing in FCE too (or purchase FCP for my system - IF I HAVE TO)

    2. I'm toying with the idea of capturing simultaneously to each machines internal hard drive, then batch transferring to the Drobo ext drives

    3. I also have 2 ea - Dell PC laptops with USB/FW400/4 pin ports
    - I am buying another external drive primarily for entire system backup protection (looking at Fantom Green Drive 1TB Quad because it has USB/IEEE/FW400/800 & eSata ports)
    - I am also considering future use of connecting or transferring data to this drive from my MAC equipment. I realize this requires that I set the drive up as (FAT 32).
    - Does FAT 32 reduce speed or quality in any way (especially for PC backup use, if I NEVER end up using it with my MACs)?

    4. MY GOALS:
    a) retain quality and most efficient method of capture to seamlessly transfer files/log/EDL data to editors
    b) make sure I am purchasing the right equipment (not over or under purchasing drives/cables/software)
    c) determine best use setup for highest transfer rates in any/all configurations

    Thanks for the guidance...
     
  25. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502

    joaoferro37

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    #25
    You need at least 680 GB space if the resolution is NTSC 720x486 29.97 fps.
    I suggest
    http://www.raidon-usa.com/stardom/itank_feature.html
    You can simply swap out the tray if you need additional storage.
    I do not see a RAID 5 back up is necessary bkoz, you already have a tape backup.
    Or you can get the 2 bay with built-in raid one ( stardom sohoraid)
    and get your editor a single bay stardom itank.
    Simply capture your dv to the sohoraid, after you are done, pull out one drive and send the drive to your editor.
    you now have two copies and your editor can simply insert the drive module and start editing.
     

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