OK, I am posting this blog again…making a few changes and adding the fix that I got to work this morning. I originally posted in in anger and frustration, and one should NEVER post in anger and frustration. I have since cooled down, and have made changes to the post to tone down my original rantings. It is still about 90% intact, and addresses the issue. OK, here we go.

If I died and went to editor hell, I would be glued to my edit desk and forced to edit HDV for eternity. So far that is what my day feels like. Something that should have taken 1 hour, has taken 7 hours of my life. I have been beaten down by this format after 1 week of working with it.

What is my latest issue? Well, it is pretty freakin’ bad.

I am attempting to capture HDV footage into Final Cut Pro FCP 6.0.5 on a MacPro (early 2008) running 4GB RAM and utilizing an AJA Kona LH capture card. The HVR-1500 HDV deck is connected via HD SDI, 9-pin (RS-422) deck control. We are capturing HDV shot on the Z7U and we are capturing it as ProRes…some shots capturing offline as DV. Why? Don’t ask me. That was something that happened before I got here….they had their reasons…DECK issues. Something I have talked about before.

So what I needed to do was recapture all of the DV footage as ProRes, to match the rest of my footage. So I duplicated the sequence and separated all of the DV footage from the ProRes footage…and deleted all the footage in the sequence save what I needed to recapture.

From there I highlighted the sequence and opened the Media Manager, and chose CREATE OFFLINE, and chose Kona LHe ProRes 422, chose 1 second handles (to deal with time code slippage)…and clicked OK.

So now I have a project with all the media with handles that I need to recapture. But 6 times out of 10…60% failure rate…I get this error message:

Now…the media has been captured, it just won’t reconnect. If I try to capture again, it will fail again. After a few attempts it will capture and reconnect. But now I have MULTIPLE captures on my hard drive taking up space….because they were captured but couldn’t reconnect. BAD.

When I go to manually reconnect this footage, turning off the MATCH NAME option and navigating to the file that was captured for that clip (I navigated to the last clip captured) and I get this error:

If I force the issue and tell it that I don’t care…connect to that clip, it says that the output was adjusted. And now the clip is 2 to 4 seconds off. Outside my 1 second handle zone and unusable…as it doesn’t match the offline cut. It is way off.

OK…let’s look at two files that were captured for one clip. Both of these files say they couldn’t reconnect.

Two completely different file sizes. So not only is the out point incorrect, and the in point incorrect, but the DURATION is also incorrect. This is a bag of hurt.

Now, let’s open one of the failed clips and look at the MEDIA START timecode that was captured, and compare that to the MEDIA START that the clip needs in FCP…

Over 4 seconds off. VERY bad.

Here is a pic of a clip that was captured properly…the same clip as we see above:

The timecodes match.

SO here I am, on hour 6 of capturing footage one shot at a time…making between 4 and 10 attempts per clip. With a clip being captured successfully at the first attempt about one out of 10 times…causing mild surprise. Surprise that it worked the first time.

NOW…THAT WAS YESTERDAY. CUT TO TODAY. I came in early in the morning, determined to figure this out. I posed this issue to a few people, and got a few suggestions. As you can see in the comments, Andrew suggested a viable workflow that Walter Biscardi from the Creative Cow says that he does, and that works for him. I also got a couple more suggestions, that had me using the current deck, so let me go there first.

The FIRST suggestion was to change a setting in the DECK CONTROL PRESETS in the Audio/Video Settings from USE DECK CONTROL SEARCH MECHANISM to DO NOT USE…because obviously the deck control was faulty. So I tried that. And things got a LITTLE bit better. 10 clips, 7 captured fine…3 did not. Better than the 4 captured 6 did not in the nightmare listed above. But still not good. So then I hooked up firewire and tried firewire deck control. Nope…back to being bad bad bad. Even switched the firewire to DV…same issue.

Then I tried what Andrew said in the comments….that Walter Biscardi method. His method is to NOT USE THE HVR-1500 DECK AT ALL! How about that? So I grabbed our other HDV deck, the lower end HVR-M10U. This has Component outputs, so I used those to connect to the Kona LHe. Then I used firewire as deck control.

Guess what? It worked. FLAWLESSLY!

Seriously…I highlighted 10 clips, bit BATCH CAPTURE…it captured all of them, without that error popping up once, and every clip was…well, at least 2 frames in sync. Most were spot on, 3 needing shifting. Still…that rocked! Thank you Andrew for pointing out the solution that Walter came up for this. Oh, the one drawback? The M10U shuttles in near real time. Meaning that it fast forwards and rewinds maybe 1.5x to 2x faster than it would play the footage. That means that it will take some time. But it is still a much better thing that that 1500 deck and the nightmare capture issue I had. OH, and HDV does look very pretty…I’ll give it that. Although I haven’t started color correcting it yet…so…we’ll see.

OK…reposting this. But I will leave the sheep video at the bottom, for your amusement.

Thanks everyone.