The Capture DV window is activated from the File>Capture DV menu.
It allows you to capture standard definition DV video via firewire from your NTSC or PAL DV camera (or HDV camera in DV
mode) to 1 or more AVI files on your hard drive. It can not be used to
capture high definition HDV video.
You can set your camera to VCR mode and capture from tape.
You can also perform "live" capture from the camera by setting
it to Camera mode, even with no tape loaded in the camera.
You can also set the Slave to Camera option which starts and stops
capture when you use the camera's pause button.
The capture can be made to a single AVI file or split between multiple AVI
files. You can set rules for when the splitting occurs, such as when sudden
changes in the date and time of recording occur.
Capture will continue unhindered across timecode breaks and unrecorded areas of
tape (unless you set splitter rules).
The Capture DV window is comprised of 4 main parts which are summarised below.
For greater detail, see the section How to use the Capture DV Window further down the
Video Preview Pane
The preview pane displays the video from the camera, whether or not a capture is
in progress. The first time the Capture DV window appears, the video pane area
will be quite small, but you can increase its size by dragging the window border
vertically. The new size and position on screen will be remembered and used each
time you open the Capture DV window in future.
Video Source section
The Video Source section is to the left of the window. This displays the name of
the DV capture device that is being used, and some tape transport buttons which
you may find more convenient to use than the controls on your camera. You can
see a tool-tip description of each key when you hover the cursor over it.
these buttons also have a hot key associated with them.
Note that the Play Rewind and Play Fast-Fwd buttons adjacent to
the Play button have the same effect as pressing the camera's rewind and
fast-forward buttons while the tape is playing - you can continue to view the
video in the Video Pane. The Rewind and Fast Fwd buttons further
to the right have the same effect as pressing the camera's rewind and
fast-forward keys from a stopped position - there is no preview available because
the tape is not threaded around the heads.
The table below lists the keys as they appear in the Capture DV window from left
||Play Fast Forward
||. or S
To the right of the tape transport buttons is a mute button and volume control
which adjusts the
loudness of the audio heard from your speakers - it does not affect the captured
The camera's state is also displayed - e.g. Mode ("VCR" or
"Camera"), Timecode and Date/Time.
The Capture section is on the right of the window. This holds the controls for
starting and stopping capture to the hard drive, the area on your hard drive
where the capture files will be stored, the capture options, and various other
The Capture Path and its Browse button is where you set the folder where
all of the capture files will be created, the "stem" filename that all
of the capture files will begin with, and a Reel name.
The Capture button starts and stops capture. The Pause button
pauses and resumes capture. The Split Now button allows you to force an
immediate split - the current capture file will be closed and a new one started.
The Options button pops up a window containing the Capture options (these
are the same as you will see in the main Tools>Options menu). For
convenience, the current setting of two of the options are also displayed
on the right of the Capture section: Use Splitter and Slave To Camera
(you can also change the settings here as a quicker alternative to clicking the Options
Other information displayed is the current Reel name, the amount of free disk
space on the partition where the Capture Path is located, the current capture
duration, and the number of dropped frames.
File Info section
The section at the bottom of the window shows the File Path of the
current (or last) capture file, and the File Number which is a count of
how many times a split has occured during capture. The pathname of the capture Log
file is also shown and the text of the Last Error that occured (if
The status of Capture DV's internal Buffer is also shown.
The Close button closes the Capture DV window.
How to use the Capture DV window
You open the Capture DV window by clicking the File>Capture DV menu on
the main DVMP Pro window.
When the Capture DV window appears it will scan for any active firewire DV
capture devices on your PC, and add their names to the Device dropdown
box. If no such devices are found then the Device box will remain empty.
A device is only "active" if the camera is plugged into the firewire
port and also switched on in either VCR or Camera mode; otherwise the device
will not be found and it will not be added to the Device box.
You can plug in and power-on your camera at any time and within a few seconds
the device will be detected and automatically added to the Device box (except
while a capture is in progress). If you unplug or power-off your camera at any
time it will automatically be removed from the Device box, and if a capture was
in progress it will be ended cleanly.
When you plug in and power-on your camera and it is added to the Device list,
the video preview pane will display the video frames that are being sent from
the camera, whether the camera is in VCR mode or Camera mode. In Camera mode the
video display will be a live view of what the camera sees. In VCR mode it will
show the playback from the tape, but if no tape is playing the video pane will
The first time the Capture DV window appears, the video pane area will be quite
small, but you can increase its size by dragging the window border vertically.
The new size and position on screen will be remembered and used each time you
open the Capture DV window in future.
If your camera is in VCR mode, you can use any of the on-screen tape transport
buttons to play, pause, fast forward/reverse etc - you may find this more
convenient than operating the camera's own tape transport buttons. If you are in
Camera mode, the transport buttons are greyed-out.
Before you can start capturing, you must tell Capture DV where you want the
capture files to be stored on your hard drive, and also the file name you would
like the files to begin with. You do this by clicking the Capture Path's Browse
button which pops up a Set Capture File Name box. Here you specify the
folder location, the File name and a Reel name.
Obviously all of the capture files can not be given the same file name, so each
file will automatically be given a unique suffix - more of which later.
The Disk Free Space indicator will then update to show the estimated amount of
hard drive space available on the partition where your Capture Path is
Now click the Options button and the Capture Options window will appear.
This shows the options that are relevant for Capture DV (these are the same
options that you will see in the Capture section of the Tools>Options menu).
The Capture options allow you to set when you want capture to stop. By
default, capture will only stop when User stops capture manually by
clicking the Stop Capture button. But instead you can specify Capture
duration reaches in hours, minutes and seconds - when this duration is
reached the capture will automatically stop, and the tape transport will stop
You can also specify No frames are delivered for N seconds - this
requires some explanation. When capturing from a tape, frames are delivered from
the camera continuously until an unrecorded area of tape is encountered. No
frames are delivered during an unrecorded section, and so this could
indicate the end of the recording on the tape. But if the tape had been
previously used or had been striped then even apparently "blank" areas
of tape will have been recorded onto, and so the camera will still deliver
frames. This is therefore not a reliable indicator of the end of a recorded area
of the tape, except perhaps where the tape had been used for the first time.
However if you find this feature useful, you can set a number of seconds and if
no frames are delivered for that length of time then capture will stop
automatically, otherwise capture will continue unhindered across unrecorded
areas of tape.
You can also set the required AVI file type of the capture files to AVI
Type 1 or AVI Type 2.
If you tick Use current date & time the capture files will have their recording date and
time metadata overwritten with the current date and time. This means that the
captured files will have the date and time of their capture instead of when they
were originally recorded on tape.
Capturing can either be done to a single AVI file, or can be automatically split
to multiple AVI files. The option Use Splitter to create multiple capture
files allows you to specify whether you want a single capture file, or to
use the Splitter to create multiple AVI files. The Splitter is actually the same
tool that can be found in the Tools>Splitter menu, but here it is used
"on the fly" to split the DV data coming from the camera into multiple
capture files. Please note that a split will always occur if the audio
properties (e.g. sampling frequency) change.
If you tick Use Splitter to create multiple capture files then you can
click the Splitter page selector (on the left of the Capture Options
window) and set the options for the Splitter which will
dictate how and where the splits will occur. You can also set the File name
format which specifies the filename suffix that each capture file will be
given when it is created. Depending on which option you choose, each capture
file will be suffixed with a sequential file number, the start timecode or
recording date/time of the file, or the user bits value.
Here are some example file names:
myfile 2009-01-16 13.36.45.avi
You can also set a preroll delay. See the Options page for more details of the
When you have set the required Capture and Splitter options, click OK to return
to the Capture DV window.
You will notice that the Use Splitter and Slave to Camera options
are also shown on the right of the Capture DV window. This allows you to see the current setting
of these options without having to go into the Options window, and also allows
you to change their settings more quickly.
You can now start capturing by clicking the Capture button. If the camera
is in VCR mode, it will start to play automatically and the capture will start.
If it is in Camera mode then live capture will begin.
Capture will continue until you stop it manually by clicking the Stop Capture
button, or until your selected Capture stops when condition is triggered.
You will also cause a capture to stop in VCR mode if you click one of
the tape transport buttons which would take the camera out of play mode. Capture
also stops cleanly if the disk becomes full or the camera is powered-off or
When capture stops, you can check the contents of the capture log file if you
wish. The pathname of the Log File is displayed near the bottom of the
Capture DV window. A new capture log file is started each time you start a new
capture session by pressing the Capture button.
During capture you can click the Pause button. This temporarily stops the
storage of frames in the capture file, but it does not stop the capture itself.
If the camera is in VCR mode then the tape will continue to play. In effect the
frames coming from the camera are being discarded. You can continue capturing by
clicking the Resume button which resumes the storage of the frames in the
capture file - note that this may trigger a new capture file to be created
depending on your Splitter settings.
You can also click the Split Now button which will manually force a split
to occur. The current capture file is immediately closed and a new one is
Each time a split occurs, the File Number increments and the new capture File
Path is shown.
Each capture file has its Date modified file property set to the start
date and time that it was recorded. The Date modified file property is
displayed in Windows Explorer and in the file properties window of many NLEs, so
it provides an easy way of seeing when the footage in each file was actually recorded
(rather than when the file was created on the hard drive).
Capture DV has a large internal memory buffer which it uses to store frames
temporarily if they can not be written to the hard drive quickly enough. This
may happen if your PC is fairly slow or is doing other activities at the same
time as the capture is taking place. This buffer helps to avoid dropped frames. The Buffer
indicator shows how much of the buffer is being used - if the indicator gets
close to the end of the scale then there is a danger of dropped frames. However
most modern PCs have more than enough power to capture DV data with ease, so you may
rarely see the level get above zero unless you are running other intensive
programs at the same time.
If you switch the camera to Camera mode, then you can capture from it without
actually recording to tape - in fact you can have no tape in the camera at all.
This is called "live" capture. Even though the camera is not recording
to tape (or may have no tape inserted) it still sends DV frames to the PC.
You can use this "live" capture feature to effectively use your PC's
hard drive as a huge DV recorder, without also having to use any DV tapes in
You can also use the Slave to Camera option. In this case, when you press
the pause button on your camera to start or stop recording, capture to the hard
drive will simultaneously be started and stopped automatically without you
having to click any PC on-screen buttons. In effect capture to the hard drive
capture is being controlled from the camera's own pause button. However this
feature only works if you have a tape in your camera because the camera's firmware
disables the pause button when no tape is present.
Note that with some cameras the timecode may be offset by a few frames between
the same live-captured and tape-captured footage. This is a hardware anomaly of
particular cameras and is not specific to DVMP Pro. You should be aware of this
if you are likely to use both live-captured and tape-captured footage in the