Index your DV Tapes

Dec 11, 2008 by Samantha Halfon · 3 Comments ·
Filed under: Computing, Editing 

As video and photo cameras went digital, it became cheaper to shoot. Ten hours of high quality DV tapes costs about 10 euros and with one 30 euros Compact Flash card (4 gigabytes) we can take around 800 raw pictures on our camera. Of course, with increasing footage quantities, the necessity to archive and index images becomes an urging issue.

We have several DV tapes of edited and non edited footage to edit soon. We do not erase and reuse our tapes. We keep them in case we want to go back and re-edit something. We also sometimes archive edited films back on DV tape in addition to the hard drive copy. One problem though is to be able to quickly find a scene to recapture it if we need to. All this material is useless unless we can quickly get to it.

A second thing I like to have when I edit, is printed out sheets showing shot thumbnails, timecodes and a description. When editing a movie, over a long period of time (sometimes month) it comes very handy to be able to annotate scenes and to visualize the rushes without browsing through the tapes everytime and without having to keep everything handy on the editing drive.

I recentely came across a software that could answer bth these needs. Cassette DV is a free (for non commercial use) software that offers to index a DV tape content and to browse the indexed sequences. When browsing, we can also select a scene or several scene and mark them for capture. The software will then automatically batch capture the scenes we need to edit a given movie. It’s a great gain of time as well as of hard disk space. Cassette DV can also capture the video while creating the index using either the dv format or a preinstalled DivX codec. In my case, I really appreciate the first option which is to get a serie of images showing the first frame of every scene and later on capture the sequences I really need.

Cassette DV is pretty simple to use and seems to work very well with my configuration: Win XP SP3 and JVC DV Camcorder (the one I used to record these tapes). To index your scenes with Cassette DV, just follow thes easy steps:

  • Download and install Cassette DV from it’s developer’s site.
  • Plug your camera using your firmware port and launch it in VCR mode.
  • Launch Cassette DV. The software recognizes the camera and is able to control it.
  • Open the preference pane to enter your tape name and eventually set the capture format (avi or divx) if you wish to capture. Launch the indexation by cliquing on “GO”.
  • The tape starts playing and the different scenes, auto detected, appear at the bottom. That’s all

The indexation completed, you can enter the catalog mode to browse through your scene, add a description to each shot and prepare a capture list. The indexation format (.scn) is also compatible with Pinacle Studio.

Cassette DV is developped by Paul Glagla who wrote several other tools for video makers. They are all listed on his website. I yet have to test DV Date myself.

Here are some screenshots of the application I took while indexing my first tape:

Cassette DV: capture window

Cassette DV: capture window

Cassette DV: detected scenes thumbnails

Cassette DV: detected scenes thumbnails

Cassette DV: preference pane

Cassette DV: preference pane

Cassette DV: browse catalog window

Cassette DV: browse catalog window

While indexing, I ran a quick search for similar products and found two worth testing:

  • ScenAnalyzer Live, a software dedicated to batch capturing and scene indexation compatible with Canopus products.
  • DV Quick Scan Digest which is part of the Ulead Video Studio suite developped by Corel. The software provides the same features as the above with the addition of an html export of the thumbnails. That makes the printing of my editing sheet a lot better and I will more than likely give that application a tryout very soon. Stay tuned.
ScenAnalyzer tape index

ScenAnalyzer tape index

As always, we welcome your input. If you have any tips to share about archiving and indexating photo and video content, please drop us a comment.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Index your DV Tapes”
  1. Wow, suprisingly I never knew this. I’ve been reading your web site quite a bit over the past day or two as well as earned the spot inside bookmarks. Well done!

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  1. Samantha Halfon says:

    Just published a post about dv tapes indexation with “cassette dv”: http://tinyurl.com/6kt95a

  2. samantha says:

    Just published a post about dv tapes indexation with “cassette dv”: http://tinyurl.com/6kt95a



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