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Multi-machine Capture System - TreetWiki

Multi-machine Capture System

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(BMD Card Preferences)
(Possibly cheaper, certainly higher quality alternatives)
Install the required items. The BMD card(s) can go in any slot, as far as I know ''except'', according to some authorities, #3. You will have a graphics card in one of the slots, so that means you can have two cameras coming into this system via BMD cards. If you want to add any more, they'll have to come in via Firewire capture devices (for example). I have only tested this system with one BMD card. Once you have installed SoundFlower, look in its folder and you will see another app called SoundFlowerbed. Run this and also add it to your Login Items. Check that you see the little flower in the menu bar top right.
Install the required items. The BMD card(s) can go in any slot, as far as I know ''except'', according to some authorities, #3. You will have a graphics card in one of the slots, so that means you can have two cameras coming into this system via BMD cards. If you want to add any more, they'll have to come in via Firewire capture devices (for example). I have only tested this system with one BMD card. Once you have installed SoundFlower, look in its folder and you will see another app called SoundFlowerbed. Run this and also add it to your Login Items. Check that you see the little flower in the menu bar top right.
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=== Possibly cheaper, certainly higher quality alternatives ===
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=== Possibly cheaper, possibly higher quality alternatives ===
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Wirecast is relatively expensive ($450US). You can download the trial version and see if it's for you, before you shell out. If you decide it's too much, you can do the following simply with a single BMD card. Capture video at 720p60 or 720p50 (see below) using either:
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Wirecast is relatively expensive ($450US). You can download the trial version and see if it's for you, before you shell out. If you decide it's too much, you can do the following simply with a single BMD card.  
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Capture video at 720p60 or 720p50 (see below) using either:
* MediaExpress (which comes with the BMD cards) to capture ProRes 422 and capture the audio another way (trickier than it sounds: er, how about you route the incoming Skype audio to the line out of the Mac and patch that into the analogue audio input jacks on the BMD card's breakout cable…); or
* MediaExpress (which comes with the BMD cards) to capture ProRes 422 and capture the audio another way (trickier than it sounds: er, how about you route the incoming Skype audio to the line out of the Mac and patch that into the analogue audio input jacks on the BMD card's breakout cable…); or
* Quicktime 7 Pro to capture Native video, and capture the Skype call via SoundFlower
* Quicktime 7 Pro to capture Native video, and capture the Skype call via SoundFlower
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…then set up a custom Compressor preset to gear-shift 720p50/60 to 720p23.976 ProRes 422.
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…then set up a custom Compressor preset to gear-shift native 720p50/60 to 720p23.976 ProRes 422.
I say "possibly cheaper" because you now need a seriously fast hard drive if you don't have one already. And you can't do as much as you can with the system described. But…
I say "possibly cheaper" because you now need a seriously fast hard drive if you don't have one already. And you can't do as much as you can with the system described. But…
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The big advantage of the simpler systems described above is that they are more reliable. The problem with Wirecast is that it is rather sloppy in some ways: specifically, the files it produces have rather a lot of dropped frames. These have to be fixed by running them through Compressor with the same settings as they came in with so it can clean them up.  
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An advantage of the simpler systems described above is that they are potentially more reliable as they are not doing as much (Wirecast does a lot more than we are using in this setup).
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If you take a file recorded by Wirecast and run it up in the file analyser in FCP, you will find an interesting thing: FCP will note that there appear to have been dropped frames. Looking at the error list it will show a (large) number of frames with different lengths. Telestream, who market Wirecast, say that what Wirecast does is to vary the frame duration to ensure smooth motion, and that this is actually fine, and that in a given period you will get around the correct number of frames - they just won't all be same same duration. The less charitable way of putting it is that what's actually happening is that WC is dropping frames and they're not admitting it – but this way of handling dropped frames (by making the duration of the adjacent frame equal its duration plus that of the dropped frame) is actually the correct way to do it.
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Whatever the explanation, do not try using these files direct in Final Cut Pro as there will be resulting duration errors and edits will appear to mysteriously move about. Instead, fix the files first by running them through Compressor with the same settings as they came in with so it can clean them up.  
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On the other hand, if you capture with the two methods described above there are no dropped frames (in fact you can have Media Express stop if there are any!) - but you still require a Compressor session to change the frame rate and in the meantime the amount of disc space you eat up is enormous and you need a respectably fast system to cope with it. Plus the audio side suddenly becomes a lot more complex.
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On the other hand, if you capture with the QT7 or MEdia Express methods described above there are no dropped frames (in fact you can have Media Express stop if there are any!) - but you still require a Compressor session to change the frame rate and in the meantime the amount of disc space you eat up is enormous and you need a respectably fast system to cope with it. Plus the audio side suddenly becomes a lot more complex.
=== BMD Card Preferences ===
=== BMD Card Preferences ===

Revision as of 10:28, 27 July 2011

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