Mini-Tutorial: Capture using a Dazzle
To capture the 20+ minutes of dance scenes
from the Hi8 analog camcorder, I plugged the 2 RCA cables from
the camcorder into the left and right channel inputs of the Dazzle. Then an
S-Video cable from the camcorder to the Dazzle.... S-Video gives you much
higher quality video than the yellow RCA cable would. If you have an S-Video
option, use it.
1 - Start the Capture -
the first window of the capture wizard shows your choices of devices to
capture from. I'll pick the DVC 80, as it's plugged in and ready to go....
notice that the audio and video drop down lists don't necessarily go
automatically to the right choices. The YAMAHA device and Mono Mix are not what
Capture Wizard - Select
The TV Tuner of the laptop shows in the list of available
devices.... and sometimes I'll select it just to confirm that I can't use it. It
never worked yet, as Movie Maker on Media Center Edition
computers like this one can't capture directly from the TV Tuner. The error
message is that the device is in use, which it really isn't. It
really means 'you can't use it with this application'.... but it's tempting as
it appears in the wizard.
I'm not ready to go the Next page of the wizard. If I do, I
won't get the audio.
2 - Pick the Appropriate Drop Down
List Choices - I want the DVC 80 as the audio device and
ADC as the audio input source. Sometimes I'll see the DVC 80 Audio
choice but not the ADC.... when that happens I'll go to the next
window in the wizard and then back to this window....
and then it's in the list.
And, if I forget to change the video source to S-Video and start
capturing, the process will think the video is coming from the yellow RCA line
and all I'll get is blackness. Sometimes I wonder how many of those posts about
problems capturing with a Dazzle 80 boil down to not having these settings
right.... I'll never know.
The Configure... button takes me into choices for things like
contrast and brightness. I haven't tried adjusting things there for the
capture process. I usually get whatever comes across and do any adjustments
in the editing phase.... but I think I'll do some testing with low-light
clips to see if brightness changes are better done during capture.
The next window is where you name the captured file and select
the location. It's the standard window and I won't show it here..... let's go on
to the next window.
3 - Select the Profile -
you can see in the picture that I'm using my custom profile for
capturing from the Dazzle 80. This is an important point as noted
Select Dazzle 80 Capture
See the setting details at the lower left: 640x480, 3.1
Mbps and 30 fps. The 3.1 Mbps total bitrate is about 50% higher than the
highest quality profile offered in Movie Maker's standard list. Every piece
of information on this window is helpful so it's a good time to give them
all some thought before proceeding to the next window, the actual
4 - Start the Capture - not
much to say at this step.... I'll start the capture here and play the tape
in the analog camcorder. I'll see the video both here in the capture monitor and
locally at the camcorder LCD screen. I'll hear it only at the camcorder.
Movie Maker will capture directly to a temporary
file.... and use any spare energy to start rendering the
final WMV file from the temporary one.
You can see in this picture that the 20+ minutes of video
has been captured, but it's still early in the rendering of the WMV
file. Because I gave it a really high quality goal in the custom profile,
the rendering took another 30 minutes to finish. The higher the desired
quality, the more rendering time it'll need.
Rendering the WMV
I never try to rush things.... but, once I know the data is
all on the computer in a temporary file, I can start using the computer for
other things - e-mail, instant messaging, newsgroups and forums,
website work, etc. Such activity during this part of the
process won't effect the quality.... this rendering isn't a real-time
process, as the creation of the temporary file was.
In another 1/2 hour, I can look at the new file....
5 - The Captured File -
the rendering is done and we can look at the new file's properties. Here's
the first part of the info.... you can see that the total bitrate
is up there at 3096 kbps, and the file itself gets larger with the higher
bitrate. 398 MB for a 20+ minute WMV file... at that rate a one hour file
would be 1.2 GB, about 10% the size of a DV-AVI file.
File Properties - Part
.... and here's the rest of it, showing properties consistent
with the settings of the custom profile.
File Properties - Part
It looks good in the stats, but I wasn't happy when I looked at and
listened to it playing. The video was fine, along with the sound coming from
the left audio channel. The problem was the right
audio channel was almost totally silent. Did the camcorder have a
problem? Or was it a capture issue?
At this point I decided to keep going, as I was using the analog video to
mix with and compliment the digital video for the 5-1/2 minute segment, and
I'll be using the audio recorded by the digital camcorder as the sound
track for the project.
I can afford the missing channel.... as long as I can sufficiently align
the analog and digital video clips. I use the wave patterns of the two
files to achieve that alignment and the wave patterns of one channel
will look somewhat different that two channels combined. We'll see how
it goes in the editing phase.
This capture session with the Dazzle 80 is done. On to the
6 - The 5-1/2 minute 'Dancin'
The first thing I did was save a copy of the audio from the
digital tape for the 5-1/2 minute 'Dancin' Queen' segment.... as a WMA
file. I imported that back into MM2 and used it on the Audio/Music track.
It was the first clip I placed on the project timeline.
That audio track is the key to the whole project. It's my
ruler/gauge for each step of the editing sessions. It's too hard to see in the
full project view below, as the Audio/Music track is all
scrunched together, and I had muted each of the video clips as I added
and synced them to the full digital audio track.
Zooming all the way into the timeline would let you
see the shapes, peaks, and valleys.... all the audio details needed for
alignment.... do the alignment before muting the audio that's on the
If you look closely at the video itself, you'll see that
the video clips from both the digital and analog camcorders is perfectly in
sync with the single clip of the overall sound track.
In addition to looking at the
wave patterns to align the clips with the sound track, I put earphones on and
listened to what was coming from each of the audio tracks.... sometimes you
think the peaks align pretty good, but it's best to also hear it for