Batch Capturing Clips

To batch capture, your device must support remote device control and your clips must have timecode numbers that accurately match the timecode numbers on your tape. Most audio CD players, VHS decks, and other consumer equipment cannot be remotely controlled and do not have timecode, so batch capturing from these devices is not possible. For more information about device control, see Device Control Settings and Presets.

Batch capturing is useful for the following workflows:

Before You Batch Capture

Batch capturing is an automated process, so make sure your settings and preferences are correct before you start. Keep in mind the following:

  • Timecode breaks: Make sure that you account for any timecode breaks when you log your tapes. If you’re capturing from DV tapes, you should have separate reel numbers for each section of tape where timecode was reset to 00:00:00:00 as a result of a timecode break. For more information about logging tapes with timecode breaks, see Logging Tapes with Duplicate Timecode Numbers.
  • Capture preset: Make sure the capture preset you’ve specified is correct. You won’t be able to change it once you start the batch capture. For more information, see Device Control Settings and Presets.
  • Scratch disk settings: Anticipate the amount of scratch disk space all of the batch captured media requires, so you can properly set up your scratch disks. In the Log and Capture window, click the Capture Settings tab and check the free space listed next to the Scratch Disks button. You can compare this to the space needed in the Batch Capture dialog.
    • If you’re capturing a lot of clips and the first specified scratch disk is getting full: Make sure you have selected additional scratch disks. This way Final Cut Pro can automatically start writing media files to another disk and the batch capture process won’t be interrupted.
    • If you only have one scratch disk selected: Make sure that it has enough room for the batch capture operation.

    For details on specifying scratch disks, see Specifying Scratch Disks.

  • Clip and media filenames: When you log clips, it’s possible to accidentally create two or more clips with the same name. However, when you batch capture, all clips in the same folder on the same scratch disk must have unique filenames. Since clip names are used as filenames, you need to change any duplicate clip names before you capture, or there will be a media filename conflict during capture. Final Cut Pro handles media filename conflicts in the following ways:
    • If you set up a batch capture that includes two clips with the same name: A dialog appears to let you change the name of one of the clips.
    • If a filename used by a clip that is about to be captured is already used by another media file on one of the selected scratch disks: A dialog appears where you can rename the new clip, skip capturing it, or replace the old media file with the new one with the same name.

    Note: When you create clip names while capturing, make sure you avoid certain special characters that could cause trouble later. See Filenaming Considerations for details.

Learning About the Batch Capture Dialog

The Batch Capture dialog provides settings and options when you are batch capturing multiple clips at one time.

To open the Batch Capture dialog
  1. Select one or more clips in the Browser.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose File > Batch Capture (or press Control-C).

    • Control-click any of the selected items in the Browser, then choose Batch Capture from the shortcut menu.

    • If the Log and Capture window is open, click the Capture Batch button in the lower-right corner.

The following settings are in the Batch Capture dialog.

Figure. Batch Capture dialog showing batch capture options.
  • Use Logged Clip Settings: Select this checkbox to capture all your clips using the settings you specified for each individual clip during the logging process. If this checkbox is unselected, all your clips will be captured using the current settings in the Clip Settings tab of the Log and Capture window and the capture preset currently chosen in the Capture Settings tab. This includes video and audio track selections, analog video level settings (only available with some video interfaces), and capture preset settings such as image dimensions, frame rate, and so on. For more information, see Changing Capture Settings.
  • Add Handles: Select this checkbox to capture additional frames beyond the head (In point) and tail (Out point) of each clip captured, then enter a duration in the handle timecode field. Handles are useful if you’ve logged your clips starting at precisely the first and last frames that you think you want to use, but you want to capture a little bit more media just in case you need additional frames for performing dissolves and other transitions.
  • Total Media Time: Lists the total time of the selected media, based on the capture settings you specify.
  • Total Disk Space: Lists the disk space needed for the captured media, based on the capture settings you specify, as well as the space available on your scratch disk.

Batch Capturing Selected Clips

When you batch capture, you need to select clips in the Browser to capture. If no clips, sequences, or bins are selected, the clips in the currently assigned logging bin are batch captured when you use the Batch Capture command.

To batch capture clips
  1. In the Browser, select the clips you want to capture by doing one of the following:

    • Select clips.

    • Select one or more bins. (All clips in a selected bin will be captured.)

    • Select one or more sequences. (All clips in a selected sequence will be captured.)

    • Control-click a bin, then choose Set Logging Bin from the shortcut menu. You can choose the entire project as the logging bin if you want to capture all the clips in your project.

    For more information, see Selecting Items in the Browser.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose File > Batch Capture (or press Control-C).

    • Control-click any of the selected items in the Browser, then choose Batch Capture from the shortcut menu.

    • If the Log and Capture window is open, click the Capture Batch button in the lower-right corner.

  3. In the Batch Capture dialog, choose your settings, then click OK.

    For detailed information, see Learning About the Batch Capture Dialog.

    1. Choose which clips you want to capture.

    2. If you want, select the Use Logged Clip Settings checkbox.

    3. If you want, select the Add Handles checkbox and enter a duration.

    4. If the Use Logged Clip Settings checkbox is unselected, choose a capture preset from the Capture Preset pop-up menu.

    Important: When you finish specifying your settings, check the total disk space needed at the bottom of the Batch Capture dialog and make sure your scratch disk has enough space. If you need to specify additional scratch disks, see Specifying Scratch Disks.

  4. When you’re ready to capture, click OK.

  5. If there are any other clips outside of your current selection that reference the same media files, the Additional Items Found dialog appears and you must choose an option.

    For more information, see About the Additional Items Found Dialog.

  6. You are prompted with a list of all the reels needed for capture. Select a reel in the list, then click Continue.

    Figure. Insert Reel dialog showing a list of reels.
  7. Insert the selected reel into your camcorder or VTR.

    You need to make sure that your equipment is properly connected and turned on. For more information, see Connecting Your Camcorder or Connecting Professional Video Devices.

  8. Final Cut Pro captures all of the clips on that reel and then prompts you to select another, until all the clips in the batch have been captured.

Warning: If you’re capturing clips that have been captured once already, you can’t recapture them at a frame rate that differs from the frame rate at which they were originally captured. For example, if you capture a clip at 25 frames per second (fps), delete the clip’s media file to make it an offline clip, and then recapture it, you must recapture the clip at 25 fps.

Stopping and Restarting the Batch Capture Process

Sometimes you need to stop a batch capture because you realize you are using the wrong capture preset or scratch disk, or you selected the wrong clips for capture.

To stop a batch capture at any time
Do one of the following:
  • Press Esc.

  • Press and release the mouse button.

All clips that weren’t captured are labeled “Aborted” in the Capture column in the Browser.

To restart the batch capture process
  1. Choose File > Batch Capture.

  2. Follow steps 3–6 in the section Batch Capturing Selected Clips.

    Make sure you choose Aborted Clips from the Capture pop-up menu in the Batch Capture dialog.

About the Additional Items Found Dialog

When you start batch capturing, Final Cut Pro verifies the master clip status of all selected clips. If any selected clips are independent (meaning they have no master clips or are not master clips themselves), Final Cut Pro checks all currently opened projects to see if there are any other clips outside of your current selection that refer to the same media files. This includes clips in other open projects, and clips in the same project that refer to the same media files but are not in your current selection. If additional clips are found, the Additional Items Found dialog appears.

Figure. Additional Items Found dialog showing the Add, Continue, and Abort buttons.

For example, suppose you have a bin containing one sequence and twenty offline clips. If you used some of the Browser clips in your sequence, the sequence clips refer to the same media files as the corresponding Browser clips. If you select the sequence and choose File > Batch Capture, the Additional Items Found dialog appears because some of the Browser clips refer to the same media files as clips in the sequence.

If you click Add, the Browser clips that refer to the same media files as sequence clips are added to the selected items before batch capturing starts. Each media file is captured only once, but both Browser and sequence clips will be reconnected to the new media files after the batch capture is complete. If you don’t click Add, only the sequence clips are connected to the new media files, and the Browser clips remain offline (unconnected to the new media files).

The Additional Items Found dialog contains the following options:

  • Add: Click this button so Final Cut Pro automatically adds additional clips outside the selection to your current batch capture. After capture, those clips reference the new media files.
  • Continue: Click this button to ignore the additional clips in other open projects (and thus not reconnect them to the newly captured media files). The clips Final Cut Pro finds are ignored and the batch capture is restricted to the clips you originally selected.
  • Abort: Final Cut Pro stops the batch capture process.

Working with Batch Lists

A batch list, also called a batch capture list, is a tab-delimited text file that contains information about clips you want to capture and use in your project. These lists provide a convenient alternative to logging tapes and creating clips within Final Cut Pro.

In another application, you can create a list of clips with descriptive information such as reel name, timecode, log notes, director’s comments, and so on, and then import the list into Final Cut Pro. The imported list becomes a group of offline clips in your project, which you can then batch capture from the original tapes. As long as you entered accurate reel and timecode information for each clip, the clips imported via a batch list are no different from clips created directly in Final Cut Pro.

There are various applications you can use to create a batch list such as Numbers, FileMaker Pro, or Microsoft Excel. You can even use text editors such as TextEdit, but it is generally easier to use a program that keeps columns of information (such as clip name, reel name, and timecode numbers) clearly separated. For more information, see Creating a Batch List.

You can use batch lists in several ways:

  • Producers and directors can create a list of clips for you to edit with and save you the tedium of reviewing every single take.

  • An editor or assistant editor can log the In and Out points of every shot and make a note about whether the director liked each one.

  • You can log material on one Final Cut Pro workstation for import and capture on another workstation.

  • You can watch your videotapes on a large projector to emulate a theater viewing experience and take your log notes on a portable computer.

Differences Between Edit Decision Lists and Batch Lists

An Edit Decision List, or EDL, describes an entire edited sequence. After you import an EDL into Final Cut Pro, the sequence described in the EDL is automatically created.

A batch list is a simpler list that describes only the clips used in your project, not any chronological order or applied effects. After you import a batch list into Final Cut Pro, your project contains a series of offline clips, one for each entry in the batch list. You then need to recapture or relink the clips to use the media.

Creating a Batch List

You can create a batch list using a VTR that can display timecode while you play your tapes back (assuming your tapes or other original media have timecode) and a spreadsheet program or word processor. Enter a reel name, Media Start, Media End, and clip name for each clip you want to log. Save this list as a text file, and then import it into Final Cut Pro. The result is a set of offline clips stored in your logging bin.

Using Equipment That Displays a Timecode Window

Professional VTRs (for example, Digital Betacam, Beta SP, and some DV decks) have an option to display a timecode window superimposed over the video. More expensive VTRs often have a separate output, labeled super (for superimpose) or monitor, dedicated to timecode display. Less expensive decks may have only one video output and a switch or menu option to turn the timecode window on or off.

Some VTRs are very expensive, and since watching your original footage can cause wear and tear on your tapes, it often makes the most sense to make copies of your footage onto a more affordable format, such as VHS or DV. You can then log your footage using the copies, noting reel name and timecode In and Out points (Media Start and Media End) for each clip on the tape. You can add as much additional logging information as you want.

Creating and Logging Window Dubs

If you receive dubs (copies) of your footage on a tape format that doesn’t support remote deck control from Final Cut Pro, you need to have the timecode “burned-in” to the video image so you can read the timecode numbers manually. These are known as window dubs, window burns, or timecode burn-ins. Although the burned-in timecode numbers can be visually distracting, they provide the critical link between the timecode on the original tapes and your log notes. VHS is a common example of an inexpensive dubbing format that usually lacks the ability to be remotely controlled.

Rules to Follow When Creating a Batch List

You can use any spreadsheet or word processing program to create a batch list. Because spreadsheets are already set up to enter rows and columns of data, they are the easiest programs to use to create batch lists. However, even a very simple program such as TextEdit will work, as long as you use tabs instead of spaces to separate entries in your list.

Figure. Spreadsheet showing a list of files.

If you format your list properly according to the columns Final Cut Pro expects, importing a batch list generated in another application is easy. Follow these rules:

  • The first row of your spreadsheet or line of your word processing document must have field headings that match exactly the column titles found in the Browser.

  • You don’t need to include every column in the Browser, but you must have Name, Media Start, Media End, and Reel column headings.

    Note: In batch capture lists created for Final Cut Pro 1.2.5 or earlier, Media Start and Media End were previously referred to as In and Out. If you’re using such a list, change the column titles In and Out to Media Start and Media End, or your clips won’t import properly.

  • If you want the clips imported from a batch list to have drop frame timecode, make sure the last pair of digits is preceded by a semicolon, such as 01:20:00;15.

  • Each entry must be tab-delimited.

Using an Exported Final Cut Pro File as a Batch List Template

One way to guarantee a correctly formatted batch list is to export a batch list from Final Cut Pro and use it as a guide, or template, to create your own batch list for another project. Export a list that contains the Browser columns you want, then open the list in a text editor or spreadsheet program. The main structure of the list is then set up for use as a template.

Note: Batch lists always export clips using their native timecode display format. This prevents you from exporting batch lists with alternative timecode displays, such as frame display mode.

To export a batch list
  1. Control-click in the Browser, then choose View As List from the shortcut menu.

  2. Select a project tab or open a bin in its own window.

  3. Arrange columns in the Browser in the order you want information exported.

    All visible columns are included in the exported batch list.

    • To hide a column: Control-click the column heading, then choose Hide Column from the shortcut menu.
    • To display a hidden column: Control-click in any column heading, then choose Show [Column name] from the shortcut menu, where Column name is the name of the hidden column.
  4. Choose File > Export > Batch List.

  5. Select a location to save the file and enter a name for the list.

  6. When you’re ready to export, click Save.

Importing a Batch List

You can import a batch list into Final Cut Pro and use it to capture clips to edit or to create a sequence originally done on another editing system. The frame rate of the batch list is determined by the currently selected sequence preset in the Audio/Video Settings window.

Note: A batch list must be a text file. In some cases, you may need to add the .txt file extension to your filename to ensure that Final Cut Pro can import your file.

To import a batch list
  1. In the Browser, open an existing bin, or create a new bin to store the offline clips and open it.

    For more information, see Organizing Footage in the Browser.

  2. Choose File > Import > Batch List.

    Note: The frame rate of the current sequence preset appears in the Import Batch List command name. For example, if a DV NTSC preset is selected, the command is named Import Batch List at 29.97 fps.

  3. Locate the batch list, select it, then click Choose.

The logged clips appear in the Browser as offline clips that you need to capture.

Figure. Browser window showing a list of offline clips.

You can capture the clips all at one time by doing a batch capture. For more information, see Batch Capturing Clips.

Note: Make sure you have all the source tapes associated with the batch list before starting the capture process.

If you’re having a problem importing a batch capture list, check the format of the text file. Final Cut Pro does not support importing RTF (Rich Text Format) text files. If you have an RTF file you need to import, open it in a text editing application such as TextEdit and save it as a plain text document first.