Newsletter #110 - July 1, 2006
'Lost' DV-AVI File
Maybe you deleted one in a cleanup process like I did a while
ago. Or moving one from one drive to another left you with
a corrupt file. Or the audio that you hear on the tape in the
camcorder stops playing mid-way through the project. There are
many reasons you might find yourself needing to re-capture a 'lost' or
unusable DV-AVI source file.
I'd tested the re-capture process before to see if and how it would
work, but I hadn't really needed to do it until last week when I
started the DVD phase of the Renaissance wedding project. I cleaned up hard
drive space by deleting one too many files... a DV-AVI source file
was gone and all I had was the project file and low
quality movies for the website.
The re-capture process worked. Recovery was quick and easy, and the
experience led to a newsletter topic.
Instead of using my real world example, in which the
alignment of the replacement source file isn't really critical, I'll create a
sample project that is... it'll be like using a magnifying glass to see
how well the recaptured file fits into the original project position.
For some good practice following something with your camcorder, try
doing a bee gathering pollen. Here's a frame snapshot from MM2 to get a good
benchmark. I took it from the clip in the collection to get a full size
The bee wasn't in the same spot twice, and I slowed the clip playing speed
down by a factor of 8 so it'll be easy to see if the replacement file fits... we
just need to check the location of the new bee.
... before getting into it
further, a few
Vista Corner... I gave DVD Maker the 14 videos of the
Renaissance wedding project and made a couple DVDs.
Here's the opening screen of the DVD as it's playing on my XP
laptop in InterVideo's WinDVD.
for-sale video on Google
Video... submitted on May 3... still has the status of "Video is
verified; stay tuned - it will be live shortly"... that's almost 2 months
now of it being in the queue.
I'm taking bets as to whether or not it ever gets to the next step.
copies of the MaximumPC issue with the Photo Story
3 tutorial should be coming next week... as they head toward bookstands
on July 18th.
.... back to the main
the Capture Sessions -
I'll do both the original and the
'recovery' capture sessions right after each other... capturing to
different drives, with different folder paths and file names. And
I'll start and stop the captures at different points of the
plugged my camcorder in with a firewire cable, rewound the tape to the
beginning, and did some capturing, using my current standard method... the
Press the Config...
button in WinDV, set the discontinuity threshold to 1 second and select a type 2
- Type 2 files are more universally accepted
by video software apps.
First Capture Session
The tape started with some footage of flowers and bees in
a Saugatuck, Michigan garden, and was followed by some beach scenes of
I used one of my external USB 2 hard drives as the file
destination... my 'E' drive. I created a new folder named Newsletter
110 - 1st Capture, pointed WinDV to it, and told it to name the
captured file(s) Saugatuck.
I let the capture run until I started seeing waves instead
of flowers, then paused and stopped the capturing.
Second 'Recover' Capture Session
I turned right around and did the recovery capture...
For this one, I didn't start at the beginning of the tape...
maybe 20 or 30 seconds into it.
I used a different external USB 2 hard drive for the file
destination... my 'I' drive, with the captured file going
to I:\Testing\DVCapture\2nd Capture for Newsletter 110 folder. I
told WinDV to name the file(s) Flowers.
The recovery capture session started later in the tape than
the first one, and I let it run a bit further into the tape before I paused and
ended the session. WinDV reported no frames dropped in either session.
Let's use Total Commander to look at
the sets of captured files, those from the 'original capture' at the
left, and the 'recovery capture' at the right... a few
I told WinDV to name the original
capture files Saugatuck with the date and time stamp
info added automatically. I renamed the files at the left after the
capture to add descriptive info about the scenes.
The original capture session
started at the beginning of the tape, so the first file on the tape comes
in with the date and time of 06-06-20_17-08.00. June 20th was
our anniversary and we went to Saugatuck to celebrate. The date is
embedded in the tape's files. The time that the first clip was taken was
5:10 pm or 17:10. WinDV automatically adds the combo of the date and time
to the name I give it.
The recovery session started a
little bit into the 2nd segment on the tape. It missed the
first one entirely and picked up most of the second one (108+ MB
file on the recapture versus 121+ MB file on the
4 of the files are identical in date, time and file sizes... great
clues that the frames in them are identical.
The sample project uses the 6th
file from the original capture, the larger 670+ MB one with the
06-06-20_18-31.00 date/time stamp info. The recovery file aligns with it.
After making the project from the
original file, we'll delete it and see if the recovery file can be used in it's
place. It's currently on a different drive, in a different path/folder, and with
a different file name. But we know from the clues that the file is the
same, so we shouldn't have to do anything more than resolve the big red-X
in Movie Maker after it notices the source file is missing.
the Movie Maker Project
I took a snapshot of a frame and then
split the clip... in the collection to get the higher quality JPG (640x480). You
saw the frame snapshot on the way into the newsletter.
The project has only a few
the first part of the split clip...
trimmed and slowed down by 8x
a copy of the snapshot turned into
a painting by a VirtualDub filter.
another copy of the
the second part of the split
clip... trimmed and slowed down by 8x
Here's a link to the one minute
It's time to delete the original
DV-AVI source file and see what it takes to use its replacement from the
With the big red X showing up in the
project, we have to work with the info included in the project
You don't need notes about the name
of the file or its location. Open the properties of the missing clip,
linger over the source file's location, and read the tool-tip. It'll
show you the drive, path and file name of what it's looking
Double-click on the red X and browse
to the replacement file... from the recovery capture session. You know from the
clues that it's the same.
But it's in a different place
with a different name. When you tell Movie Maker to show all the
files in the folder, and you select the right one, you get this error
The tool tip tells us the file name,
so let's rename it to that one. The dialog box which is looking for the
file has the file name in it, easy to copy, and paste it into
the renaming of the recovery file.
Got 2 problems this time.... the
rename says the file name has an illegal character and points to what looks like
a period after the word Saugatuck.... added automatically by WinDV. But it
continued on to finish the renaming after closing the error
But it didn't work... got the same
error as the first attempt. It had the right name, but it's in a different
Let's re-create the folder if
needed, and copy/move the renamed replacement file to it.... BINGO!!!
double-clicking the red X results in the linking being fixed in a second,
without having to browse to the folder.
I rendered the movie to see how the
new bee fits into the project... the snapshots and painted frame are from the
original bee. The new movie uses
It fits right in.
the Capture Sessions -
Using Movie Maker 2
Before concluding that WinDV is
needed to recapture a file, after having used it to create the initial
file, let's explore doing the recovery capture with Movie Maker 2.
WinDV made a type II DV-AVI file and MM2 will make a type I... but the
differences shouldn't be in the visual. Maybe we can be equally
Using the auto-clip splitting feature
of MM2, the first step looks promising...
comparing the MM2 split clips at the left to a recapture set of split clips
at the right, we see the same as we saw when looking at the initial and
recovery captures using WinDV.
Again the 4 clips align in date,
time and duration. See that the date and time is identical to the files captured
with WinDV, just in a different format.
With WinDV we were looking at
individual files and file sizes... with MM2 it's clips within a single file, and
clip durations. Let's take a closer look.
Comparing MM2 clips
to WinDV files
Here's an interesting comparison... I
put the 4 clips captured with Movie Maker on the video track of the
timeline, and 4 of the files captured by WinDV on the audio/music
track... to see how they aligned in durations.
I didn't expect them to align as
perfectly as they did. The 4th file from WinDV was the one I split for the
project and took the snapshot of the bee. When I went to that point of the
timeline I was looking at the new bee in the exact position as
the original. Things seemed to be in sync.
As MM2 shows you every other frame, I
might have nudged it to the frame to satisfy myself... we'll take
the comparison a big step further by using the MM2 clip as a replacement for the
WinDV file and look at the rendered movie.
Replace the WinDV file with the MM2
I left just the 4th clip from MM2 on the
timeline and rendered a DV-AVI file... I was thinking about the dropping
27th frame in such a file moving the bee one frame to the left... would it be
I slipped the newly rendered DV-AVI file into
the original folder and opened the project in Movie Maker. It didn't blink
at the new type I file in either the collection or project. No red-X to be
The rendered movie looks pretty
good. Here's the link to the last of the sample clips for this issue... see
if you can spot the effect of the missing frame when the bee freezes for a bit,
and then takes off again.
The recovery MM2 clip
effectively replaced the lost WinDV file... with no need to make any
changes to the project file.
Conclusions and Closing
It turned out easier and more successfully than I thought it might be.
The recapture was for a file initially captured by WinDV
with the option of breaking the capture session into several files. If I
had captured originally to one big file with either WinDV or
MM2, it would probably be much more difficult to recover. More
studying would be needed...
Use WinDV with settings such that you get multiple files as your
routine method of capturing DV-AVI files from your camcorder... if you want
the insurance of being able to do a recapture to replace a corrupt,
deleted, or lost source file.
Date and time code data is used by MM2 to initially name the auto-split
clips. I explored that area a bit more and found something interesting.
Friendly Clip Names versus Date/Time Names
If you capture a file with MM2, naming it something
friendly such as 'Our Vacation in Maine', it won't include the date/time
stamp info as part of the file name. And if you then import it into your MM2
collection without auto-splitting, the clip name will be the same
friendly one... but the date/time info is still there, and can
be obtained as you'll see in a second.
If you import the same file
with auto clip generation turned on, the sub-clips are named with the
If you select a clip in
a collection with a friendly name, and use the option to 'Create Clips'... even
if there are no sub-clips to split it into, Movie Maker will change the file
name from the friendly one to the date/time stamp info... recovering the
date/time stamp info for the selected clip.
But if you rename the clip in
the collection to a friendly one, and then copy it into a project, the name will
only be the friendly one, as you can't rename a project clip.
Your ability to recover the clip's date/time info is gone.
Friendly clip names in
projects are good for easy editing, but not for a source file
Have a great week...