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Analog Video Capture and Parameters with Pinnacle Studio

Analog Video Capture and Parameters with Pinnacle Studio By Chip819 - Last updated on Friday, April 11, 2014
21689 Views :: 2 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 1)
Category: Studio 1-15 Tutorials / Capture, Pinnacle Studio 21 & S16-S20 Tutorials / Capture  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Thursday, April 10, 2014
Created on Sunday, March 11, 2012 7:02 PM

The goal of this tutorial is to show you all the settings that you must know to successfully import from any analog video source with Pinnacle Studio. This is an addendum to Saby's previous tutorial: Review of Dazzle DVD Recorder HD

It is very interesting, you will see...

All the action is hidden behind the Import Tab at the left corner of the Studio Importer screen. Once selected, the import window shows many options. The way they look will change and you will understand why very soon.

Among these choices, four of them are essential, they are :

  • (1) Import from
  • (2) Mode
  • (3) Import to
  • (4) Filename

Four Principal Windows of Capture Tab

Step 1 : Import From

The first choice is the one concerning the video source. Be advised that each selected source will not display the media found in the same way.

For this example I have chosen my Dazzle DVC100. It is a small plastic box with some electronic parts and video connectors that convert analog signals such as from a VHS player or older 8mm camera to the USB port of my computer.

You will see this choice only when USB is fully connected. As for a webcam, Pinnacle Studio will automatically detect it. You could also connect your HD camcorder with composite connection (I know you will lose video quality) but if you do not care about the picture quality but the sound, for a specific project you are alright.

Import from Dazzle DVC100

Once the source is selected, the Dazzle DVC100 for this example, you must choose the connection type that you are using. This kind of apparatus offer two types of connections : (s-video and composite video). I always use the composite video method (yellow=video signal, red and white = stereo sound) . Just under the selected source, just click on Video Composite and Bingo!... now you can see the camera frames. If the good connection method is not selected, no frames are displayed on the screen and Studio displays No Input Signals in the center of the screen.

Composit Connection

At the right side of the selected source, you will see an arrow button. This button gives you access to the customizeable parameters. This button is only displayed if the source allows parameter modifications. For example, it is not shown for a DVD or Blu-Ray disc. Let's look at these choices in detail.

Connection Methods (Advanced Parameters)

Six sliders are now shown on the screen. There are separate controls for brightness, contrast, sharpness, hue, color saturation, and audio volume.Six Parameters for Composite Video

By moving the sliders, you will see immediate changes. Use these effects only to correct minor problems during the import. The original version could be your better choice in case you have any doubt.

  • Brightness: You can add light to your film but too much will wash out the image for sure; use sparingly.
  • Contrast: With a good set-up, you can get a better look with rich and deep frames.
  • Sharpness: You can add a blurred effect to remove grain, too much will be noticeable in your video.
  • Hue: This parameter could give your talent a healthy look but it could also make them look like The Hulk.
  • Color Saturation: Make colors richer for a great look. Or just the opposite, you can remove color from your video.
  • Volume: Used to adjust the original soundtrack to increase or decrease the volume. Look at the vu-meter just in side of the slider. It shows the recording level for your video acquisition. Keep the signal within the green and yellow sections and it will be ok. If the sound level is in the red section, it means that the volume is too high. Some distortion will be recorded and you do not want that for your film. Even if the picture is good but the audio track is recorded with distortion or too low, the result will be poor. Take some time to adjust the audio level properly before importing.

Because the capture is made from an analog source, you will have to manually choose the format of your video and the signal standard for your country. If you don't select the right standard for your analog source, you will not capture any signal.

If a video or audio adjustment is required during the capture, you will not be able to do it. Obviously, it is possible to change the format of the picture and the input audio level. For video standards (PAL, NTSC, SECAM) and for the type of connection, I suggest you don't try to change these parameters during the capture. Indeed, for the first case, the capture stops because the video signal is absent and in the other case, you are asked if you want to stop the capture to make the modification.

You can return to the default audio and video values for all sliders all at once by clicking on the Reset button in the upper right corner. Good thing to have, isn't it?

Step 2 : Capture Format
Now, it's time to choose the recording mode. For my part, I always import in .avi (DV) format. It gives me very large files but when space is not an issue, why would you want to sacrifice quality. So, Studio offers us these three choices:  Three Possible Set-ups

First choice, DV mode, it will create high quality, but very large files that are more difficult to manipulate on small, less powerful computer systems.

 DV Settings

The second choice, MPEG mode, it will give good quality and much smaller and more manageable files on any computer system.

 MPEG Settings

The last choice, Custom mode, will allow you to import video by choosing to balance quality versus the chosen level of compression.

 Personal Settings

Do you want to make the editing of your scenes easier after the video capture? To do that you will have to choose the ACTIVATE button to turn on the scene detection function. This function has its own three parameters which are accessible by a simple click on the small encircled arrow to the right of the window. It can be seen in the first picture of Step 2 above.

  1. Scene detection according to contents: a sudden change in the picture will give you a new scene.
  2. Automatic creation of a new scene every "X" seconds.
  3. Creation of scenes manually by pressing on the space bar during capture.
 Scenes Detection  Mode ACTIVER

During the capture, you will see the scenes appearing at the bottom of the import window as they are detected. If you have chosen to turn off scene detection, the grey bar at the bottom of the window will not appear on screen and during editing, you will have only a single scene displayed. It is perfect for a simple conversion of your VHS tapes to DVD format without too much editing. And if you change your mind once the film is already imported, you will be able to start the scene detection when you are editing.

Step 3 : Target Folder

The next to the last step before starting the video capture is to designate the path for Studio to record to.

 By default, Studio diplays the last used directory. Personally I prefer that my video captures are saved in the same main folder (Video Captures) but in a different subdirectory. Then, by clicking on the Video folder (1), at the left corner of the Import To window, we can choose another main directory instead of the one suggested by Pinnacle Studio. Another method is to click on the encircled arrow (More Settings). We now see all the Folder/Sub-Folders (2) for each type of document.

Location Setting for Video File

Click on Video and you will see your Desktop with the Studio Target folder already selected. (1).

Take note that you can create a new destination folder by a simple left click on New Folder (2) at the bottom of this window. Just rename it and click OK.

Possible Locations for Acquisition

Once done, click on the Subfolder arrow (1) and you will see four choices. See details below for each method of subfolder name and results :

If you do not want a subfolder, click on the first choice no subfolder and the "X" at top right corner to close the window.

Sub File System Not Activated

2) custom; Write the filename of your choice . Except for these symbols  \ / : * ? " <>| because they are not accepted.

3) today; The filename will be the actual date in short format YYYY-MM-DD

4)  creation date; Same as today choice just above... I don't understand what the difference is.

5) current month; The file name will include the year and the current month : YYYY-MM

For any subsequent captures which will be saved in the same folder and/or subfolder, Studio will automatically add  _001, _002 to the filename of every video captured to avoid accidentally overwriting an existing file with the same filename. You will have to change the subfolder and filename for every capture if you want to clearly separate sequences.

Step 4 : Filename
The last very simple, but important, step in working in an organized way will be to use filenames which can best describe your capture in a unique way.

Take some time to describe the video that you are importing by entering a descriptive Filename (1). It is easy to forget to do it. By default and if you erase the contents, the name "Import_xxx" is displayed. The filename used for the last capture can also be displayed automatically.

For example "Winter Sport (movie 8mm) #1" is better than just seeing "Import_002", isn't it?

Evoking File Name

Now you have to check all your settings. Once you're done click on the "Start Import" button. The button text will change to "Stop Capture". Don't forget that you will have to stop the capture manually. If you do not watch the film during capture and forget to stop the capture once it's finished, you could have a long scene with no images at all.

For the rest, you know the routine; editing, adding some video effects, transitions, menus, music...Use the search tool on Declic Video site to find tips and tricks if you need help.

I hope that this tutorial has been helpful for you.

Keep practicing and try all the options and parameters of the Import tab with Pinnacle Studio. It is the better way to learn and increase your video editing knowledge.

Screen captures have been done with Snagit 10 by TechSmith
Finetuning by Loosecanon

Share/Save this article

mike rosenthal By # mike rosenthal @ Sunday, March 1, 2015 11:36 AM
AFter completing a movie project, I naturally delete the projects and auxiliary files. However, when beginning a new project, I find that I have no audio. If I uninstall and reinstall Dazzle DVC100 audio driver (which requirers a reboot), my computer recognizes the missing audio driver (the file resides on my hard drive) and installs it. This takes time and is wearing on my patience. Is there a way to "save" the audio driver without having to re-boot the computer each time? Thanks for your response.

John By # John @ Thursday, March 17, 2016 8:24 PM
Thank you for sharing this article Chip, I've been finding the Pinacle settings a bit quirky so this is just what I needed today, I've bookmarked it to refer to it again. Thank you!
I haven't had any trouble with Dazzle audio Mike.

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