Contributor(s): Chelsea Hall, Eric Woelfel.
“Logging” refers to the process of selecting what footage you would like to extract from the source media and deposit on your local hard drive to be manipulated further in the editing process. Logging also allows you to add descriptive comments to clips that may be helpful to editors using your logging files to recapture your project in the future when video compression standards improve.
TIP: As you become more comfortable with the entire media production process, you will be able to refine your logging technique to streamline your editing work, but when you are beginning it is best to err on the side of including more footage than you think is necessary when you are logging to give yourself ample room for making transitions and cuts during editing.
Once your tape is entered into the audio-video database, you can begin to process the footage on your physical media. Although this documentation focuses exclusively on media processing in Final Cut Pro on an Apple computer, many of the principles described here can be used with media editing software on other platforms.
TIP: Save your work often! To save in Final Cut Pro use the “Apple + S” shortcut or the “Save Project” selection in the “File” option from the top level menu. TIP: Try not to have open many project files while you are working as this can cause FCP to crash and lose unsaved work.
It is important to make sure you are working with the correct video format in Final Cut Pro before you begin your project. Using the wrong video format settings can result in unusable videos and lost work. Final Cut Pro will save your settings so if you are working primarily with PAL or NTSC you will not have to change the settings every time as long as you are consistently working with one format.
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IMPORTANT: THL’s naming convention for logging files is to save the project in XXXX-YYMMDD format (“XXXX” represents the unique four-digit ID assigned to the tape in the Audio-Video Database). The date entered should be the date at the time of logging. Example: 0575-051215.
IMPORTANT: Depending on your familiarity with the project, you may have to watch a clip before you can give it a description. If your project is already fleshed out in the AVDB, you can elect to assign the title ID to the description using the following format: “XXXXX_title-name” (the XXXXX refers to the unique THL ID assigned to the title in the AVDB. The complete description including the ID, underscores and hyphens cannot exceed 21 characters. As this description will be visible to the final user in the form of the compression’s file name, the title should be as descriptive and non-idiosyncratic as possible.
Alternately, if you have existing logging files from a project, you can use these to recapture from your source tape without having to re-edit. To do this, open the selected file, highlight the logging files, and control+click and select 'batch capture.'
“Capturing” (also called "digitizing") refers to the process of extracting the source footage from the physical media and depositing it on your local hard drive for more detailed editing. Digital audio/video data that exists on a hard drive is more easily manipulated than the same data on a tape.
TIP: Make sure you have enough hard drive space to capture your footage. Every five minutes of footage usually requires about one gig of hard drive space.
TIP: If you know that you want an entire tape's contents, you may also just cue up your tape in the "log and capture" mode, begin playing it, and then click on "Capture Now". This will immediately begin capturing the footage on the tape and continue doing so until the end of the tape. However, as mentioned above, beware of time-code breaks that may interrupt this capture. Final Cut Pro is able to negotiate, and continue capturing around, certain time-code breaks. Others will cause the capture to fail, and you must manually work around this, as described above. AGAIN, when using "Capture Now" you must not start "capturing on the fly" (as this technique is sometimes called) until just after 4 seconds into the tape. Although "Capture Now" will successfully capture some of this pre-4-second footage, any users in the future who may have to re-capture this footage (after capture scratch may have been deleted) will be unable to do so, because there won't be enough space on the tape for the computer to cue up just prior to the segment to be captured. "Capture Now" is ideal for when you want the contents of an entire tape, and when there are 5-10 seconds (at least) of non-critical footage (prepping microphones, interviewee settling in, etc.) prior to the beginning of the critical content.