Recapturing HDV Footage

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the December, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]


Richard Hunn asks:

I’ve been an admirer and grateful recipient of your monthly newsletter for some time now. Many thanks and I’m looking forward to the double December issue.


I recently captured HDV (Sony tape) into FCP 7 for a wedding edit, using the down-convert on the camera and captured in SD anamorphic to produce an SD widescreen wedding video. I captured the video in roughly 10 minute chunks, and all the logging details are saved.


Now the clients want an HD version. I have the original HDV tapes and tried various ways to recapture into ProRes 422. I ended up with every camera shot listed individually – and they won’t be reconnected to my timeline edit decisions.


Is there a way or recapturing to utilize my original batch list and timeline edit and save having to re-do the whole project?

Larry replies: HDV is such a mess… You are discovering one of the big differences between capturing in tape-mode, where you can combine multiple shots into one long clip, and tapeless, where each shot is stand-alone.

The short answer to your question is you probably won’t be able to recapture. Mainly because the timecode won’t match. You shot, probably, at 50 fps, and transcoded to 25 fps for the SD version.

HDV is notorious for having finicky timecode, which only complicates things.

For the future, which doesn’t help here, it is much better to capture your HDV as HDV, edit it as HD, then down-res to SD for DVD release. That way you’ve got an HD version at hand if the clients want it.

To see if the situation is hopeless, compare the timecode of your SD version to the HD version (you can do this in FCP.) If they match, you may be able to get it to work. However, if they don’t, you are out of luck.


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