Pinnacle Studio: Understanding the Camcorder Controller

When you begin editing a video project, your first step is transferring the footage from the camcorder to the computer. If you shot your project in DV (digital video), then the process is pretty painless in Pinnacle Studio. That's because Pinnacle allows you to control your camcorder directly through the program which makes the work flow process a lot smoother.

Step 1: Connect the Camcorder

In order for the capture process to work, you need the necessary hardware: a digital camcorder with your footage, a firewire and a computer with Pinnacle Studio that has a firewire port. Once these have been assembled, connect the camcorder to the computer via firewire and turn it on. Then open Pinnacle.

Step 2: Starting the Capture Process

Once Pinnacle is open, click on the 'Capture Tab'.  The 'Capture Tab' is comprised of four parts. 'The Album' is the section where you can see thumbnails of all your captured footage. 'The Player' is where you can watch a preview of your video during the capture process. 'The Diskometer' is a pie chart representation of the space available on your hard drive that can store video. And last but not least is the 'Camcorder Controller'.

Before you begin the capture process, you need to prepare it. Use the 'Camcorder Controller' to rewind the tape to it's beginning. While that is happening, select an appropriate destination for your footage to be stored on using 'The Diskometer'. 

Step 3: Capturing with the Camcorder Controller

'The Camcorder Controller' uses the firewire to control the camcorder. 'The Camcorder Controller' is represented with a camcorder shaped icon, where you will find all of the controls you need to control play back on the camcorder. This makes the process a lot more efficient than having to keep one hand at the computer and the other at the camera trying to stay in sync. You can also use the controller to record the digital footage to the computer and to stop the recording.

Step 4: Scene Detection

All digital video is shot on time code. Pinnacle can use the time code data to determine when there were breaks in the recording. It then uses these breaks to create scenes and break up your footage. You can essentially hit record and walk away when capturing the the program will automatically detect the scenes you shot. 

This is a good and bad thing. It can free up your time when capturing so that you can do other things, but it also eliminates an essential first step in the editing process. The editor should be very involved when performing his scene detection manually so that he is very familiar with the footage he's going to edit.

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