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Digitizing analog video in Premiere Pro

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Wondering if you can edit video shot in analog format? Learn all about digitizing analog video in Premiere Pro.

In order to edit video shot in an analog format, you must first digitize it. You can digitize it by routing the video signal through either a digital camcorder that can digitize on the fly or a digitizing device installed in your computer. Alternatively, you can dub the analog footage to a digital format, and then capture the video from a digital device through a capture card as any other digital source. Depending on your equipment, you may be able to digitize analog video from any of several signal types, including component video, composite video, and S-Video. Some third-party digitizers provide device control. They connect to your source device through RS-232 or RS-422 ports, enabling you to control the device through Premiere Pro’s Capture panel and to perform batch capturing. Refer to the instructions included with your camcorder and digitizer/capture card.

About capture card settings

Some of the capture settings you see in Premiere Pro may be from the plug-in software that came with your digitizer/capture card. Because of the differences among brands of cards, specific options and supported formats can vary. This complex relationship between video capture cards and Premiere Pro can make it difficult to identify which part of the system is responsible for a particular option or problem. Adobe, as well as most capture card manufacturers, provides troubleshooting documents online that can help you determine whether an option or problem is related to the video capture card and its software or to Premiere Pro. Check the Premiere Pro website and the capture card manufacturer’s website for troubleshooting resources.

Most of the supported capture cards install a settings file (preset) that you can select in the Premiere Pro New Project dialog box, in the Load Preset pane. This preset automatically sets all capture settings for optimal support of your capture card. For best results, use your capture card’s preset, if provided, and don’t change the capture settings in the Custom Settings pane.

Digitize analog video

  1. Exit from Premiere Pro.
  2. Connect the analog device’s video and audio outputs to the digital device’s (digitizer, digital camcorder or digital deck) analog inputs.
  3. If the digital device is an external digitizer, deck, or camcorder, connect its FireWire or SDI port to the computer’s.
  4. If the third-party digital device is a digitizer with device controls (and has device drivers for Premiere Pro), connect its device control port (RS-232 or RS-422) with the same type port on the analog device.
  5. Turn on the analog source and the digitizing device.
  6. If the digitizing device is a camcorder, put it into VTR, VCR, or Play (not Camera) mode.
  7. Set the input selection control on the digitizing device to the correct analog input.
  8. Start Premiere Pro.
  9. When the Welcome screen appears, do one of the following:
    • To start a new project using a capture card, click New Project, select the capture card’s preset (if available) from the Load Preset pane, and click OK.

    • To open an existing project using a capture card, select an existing project that was set up with the capture card’s preset.

    • To start a new project using an external device, such as a camcorder or deck, to digitize, click New Project, select a DV or HDV preset that matches your target television standard and format, and click OK.

    • To open an existing project using an external device, such as a camcorder or deck, to digitize, select an existing project that was set up with the correct DV or HDV preset.

  10. (Optional) Specify how Premiere Pro maps the audio channels from the digitizing device to audio tracks. Select Edit > Preferences > Audio (Windows), or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Audio (Mac OS). In the Source Channel Mapping pane, select an audio channel format from the Default Track Format menu.
  11. Choose File > Capture.
  12. In the Capture panel, carefully check the settings on the Settings pane. If you need to change them, click Edit. (If you’re using a capture card, the settings are provided by the card manufacturer’s plug-in software, not by Premiere Pro, and vary according to the capture card’s brand and model. See the documentation for the software driver provided by the capture card manufacturer.)
  13. Do one of the following:
    • If the digital device offers no device control, cue up your source using the analog device’s own controls. Press Play on the analog device and click the Record button in the Capture panel.

    • If the digital device offers device control, capture or log footage using the Capture panel’s controls, as you would with a digital source.

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