Burning-In Metadata

When you are recording a scene using your video camera you will often see certain information such as the date and time and camera exposure settings overlayed across the picture in the camera's viewfinder or LCD screen. But later on, when you play the recorded file on your computer, or import it into video editing software this information is not visible - all you see is the scene that was in front of the camera's lens.

 

This can be frustrating if you need some of this information to be visible across the video as it is played but it is just not there - and that is where DVMP Pro can come to your rescue!

 

In many cases DVMP Pro can visibly overlay this information across the video. But how does it know what the date, time and other information actually was?

 

Well, many video cameras do store some of the information that you saw in the viewfinder as the recording was being made, but the information is stored in special metadata areas of the video file (or in a separate partner file) which are usually inaccessible outside of the camera. The information is there in the file, but you can't see it when you view the file on your computer because the information is digitally encoded into these special metadata areas. DVMP Pro can use this effectively hidden information to write it permanently across the video frames.

 

So now when the video file is played back on your computer using any media player software, the original date and time of the recording and other information can be seen overlayed across the picture, changing in real-time as the video plays.

 

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IMPORTANT: You should ensure that the clock in your video camera is set accurately before you start to record anything. This clock time is the date and time that the camera stores in the metadata areas, and which DVMP Pro uses by default. However if the camera's clock had been set incorrectly, you can "correct" the value that DVMP Pro uses by utilizing the Adjust Date and Time option to adjust the date or time forward or backward by a fixed amount. However you should not use this facility to falsify or misrepresent the facts - check the legal implications in your jurisdiction.

 

Technically speaking, the process of writing any information permanently across video frames is termed "Burn-in" because the information is burnt-into the visible picture area.

 

DVMP Pro has a tool called Burn-In Metadata whose purpose is to burn-in lots of this hidden metadata information. When you use this tool you can choose which of these metadata items you want to appear burned-into your video file by simply ticking which of the items you want.

 

Two of these metadata items are the recording date and the recording time. If for example you tick both of these metadata items and leave the other items un-ticked then you would simply have a time-stamped video file. But you can chose any of the other metadata items just by ticking them.

 

It's important to realize that different models of video camera store different items of metadata information. Some models may store only the date and time, while other models may also store some of the camera's exposure items. Some cameras may not store any metadata at all - if you have one of these cameras then it will be impossible to Burn-in any information because it had never been stored by the camera in the first place. Also, some cameras may store the date and time in a less reliable way that others - see the Understanding Metadata Sources - File Header topic for an example of this. Consequently DVMP Pro can not guarantee to burn-in metadata from every model of video camera - you must therefore use the DEMO version to check whether your camera model stores the recording date and time or other metadata items that you are be interested in before you purchase a license for the full version.

 

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IMPORTANT: You must use "camera-original" video files for the Burn-in Metadata tool. "Camera-original" means files that are copied directly from the camera without having been processed, filtered or transcoded in any way. The vast majority of video software does not understand the metadata that is stored in camera-original video files and simply throws it away. So if the files have been changed in any way by other software then they will probably have lost all their metadata and will therefore be impossible to Burn-in. For the same reason you should always burn-in your video files before you use video editing software - not the other way about. Remember - only use camera-original files for the Burn-In Metadata tool!

 

You can choose the position where each metadata item is burned-into the video frame. The position is expressed as a percentage of the frame's width and height, so 0,0 is the bottom-left corner of the frame and 99,99 is the top-right. Different video cameras may store video in different resolutions, so specifying the position as a percentage of the width and height makes things simpler and more consistent.

 

You can also choose the font, height, style and transparency of the burned-in text.

 

If you wish, you can choose a custom format for the recording date and time items, which may include day and month names and an am/pm indicator. You can also choose from a huge range of languages and the day and month names will appear in the corresponding language and script. See Options - Burn-in Appearance for details of how to set custom formats for the recording date and time.

 

Although it is not actually an item of metadata, you can choose to burn-in a line of arbitrary Custom Text up to 255 characters in length. For example you could use this as a special identifier that you use in your project. You can also use a special tag that includes the file's name or pathname in the custom text.

 

An image can also be burnt-into the video frames. For example you may need the video to carry your company's logo as an on-screen-graphic. The logo image file can be in PNG, JPEG, BMP or GIF format. If the file contains transparency information, then the logo will be burned-in with the transparent areas preserved and per-pixel transparency observed. For PNG files, transparency is stored as a transparency (alpha) layer. For GIF files, transparency (if present) is indicated as a single color index - that color index will be burned-in as transparent. The JPEG and BMP formats do not have transparency. For best results we recommend using the PNG format because your logo/graphic can be designed in many photo editing applications with per-pixel transparency - this means that the graphic will anti-alias naturally and pleasingly against the video background.

 

You can also set an overall transparency value for the logo image so that it can be burnt-in as semi-transparent.

 

For further details of all the above features and settings, see the Options - Burn-in chapter.

 

See Also:

Time Stamping Video

Burn-in Metadata

Options - Burn-in