Preparing for Analog Capture in Adobe Premiere

Performing an analog capture is very similar to capturing digital video from a camcorder. The main difference is the hardware, but the process is essentially the same. You still use the capture window, you still capture the video in real time and after it's complete you end up with a digital file of the video on your computer that you can edit in Adobe Premiere.

Analog vs. Digital Video

Analog and digital video both record onto tapes. The difference is that digital video records the image in digital language, a series of 0s and 1s that a computer can easily read while analog does not do that. Other than that they both need a VCR to be played back on and they both play back at 30 fps.

The Hardware

Because analog does not contain a digital signal you need to have a converter to switch the signal for you. For example, let's say that you want to edit old home movies from 1989 that were shot onto VHS tapes. You need a VCR to play the tape back with composite cables to carry out the video and audio signals. These composite cables run into a converter box which digitizes the signal. The signal is then carried out through a firewire that runs into your computer, just like your digital camcorder.

The Converter

You may have a tough time finding them in a store but you can easily order one on line. Try to get one that is powered through an AC plug as opposed to one that has a separate cord that draws power from the computer. You want to try to keep your ports clear for other functions. 

Also, before buying one, check to make sure that the capture device is compatible with Adobe Premiere. Otherwise it will not be recognized and you might need to purchase additional software to make it work.

The Capture

Once all of the hardware has been set, turn on the VCR and converter. The computer should recognize that they're there. Then, open your project in Premiere. Once it has loaded choose "File"-> "Capture" for the "Capture Window" to open. 

One major difference between capturing analog and digital is that you will not be able to control play back on the VCR through the computer. The component cables don't allow that to happen so you will need to free up a hand to press play, stop, fast forward and rewind. The keyboard short cuts for recording and stop recording are still available for you to use in the "Capture Window."

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