Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vanishing America Videos

I'm back.

It's been a while since I've updated the blog, and I apologize. No real excuses. Just not much about which to write.

The time has been spent wisely, though. I've intentionally taken a week or so to get my business organized. Since May, I've shot well over 2000 still images, and over 10 hours of video that have to be uploaded, cataloged and edited. And, that takes a lot of time.

But, I've run into a snag... I can’t upload (capture) video to my computer. I have a $3500 Canon XH-A1 Hi Definition pro camcorder, a firewire connection, and the top of the line Mac dual quad core Xeon maxed out with 16MB RAM, almost 4 Terabytes of hard drive space, and the best video card available. When I try to transfer video from the DV tape in the camera to Final Cut Express HD or iMovie HD editing software, the program quits -- without warning or error messages. It just quits. Every time. And, in random places during the capture.

I know that's more information than most of you wanted to read, but I included it in this blog entry because I actually need some help.

I’ve been on the phone with both Canon and Apple tech support for a total of over 4 hours. I've reinstalled the editing software, deleted the software's Preferences file, reinstalled the computer's Operating System, tried a different camera… nothing works.

Canon told me that there is no reason there should be any incompatibility between the camera and the software, and that they’ve had no complaints about problems capturing video from this camera. Apple told me that the Canon XH-A1 isn't on their "approved" device list and that I may have to upgrade to either the $8000 Canon XL-H1 camera or the $1200 Pro version of Final Cut's video editing software. That may allow me to upload video, but it still doesn’t answer the question of why the problem occurred in the first place. And, I'm not sure I'm ready to drop $1200 (much less $8000) to find out.

I’m at a loss. I've done everything I know to do, but I still can’t upload my video. Can anyone help me?


James Alguire said...


While I don't have an explicit solution for your problem I do have some alternatives that might help. Since the problem occurs in both FCP and iMovie then the problem might be related to QuickTime rather than the applications. One thing you might try is to reinstall Quicktime or downgrade QuickTime to an earlier version (making sure that whatever version gets installed meets your version of Final Cut Pro's needs).

You can also try capturing video from your camera directly in QuickTime Player 7.X (as long as you have the Pro version) Just connect your camera, launch QuickTime Player and select new movie recording from the File Menu. Start playback on the camera and click the record button in the QuickTime Player window.

Failing that, there are other programs that you can download and try for logging and capturing video outside of FCP. All the software I am mentioning has a trial version that can be downloaded and tested to make sure that it works prior to committing real money.

CatDV is one good choice, $295, It's capable of logging and capturing from most video sources.

HD Logger (Bronze $299/Silver $499/Gold $699) is a similar program. The same company has a lower price ($99) program just for DV called DV Log

One other program that can capture video from cameras is BTV Pro ($40), It is normally used for recording directly from the camera (as in live capture) but the Pro version also supports DV input.

iDive is a video cataloguing and storage program, $70, It helps you catalog what video clips you have on what tapes and will even transfer clips to a hard drive.

Give one or all of these alternatives a try. If you have a similar problem capturing with QuickTime Player Pro 7.X, BTV Pro or CatDV, then chances are high that it is a QuickTime problem.

I hope that this helps.



Jim Dolan said...

The latest iMovie has some bugs. I think you can downgrade to the previous version.

Read the forums in Apple's support area and you may find just what you need.

Nice blog, great photos.