Controlling HDV when capturing HDMI or HD-SDI

Control is vital when capturing, especially if you expect to conserve the original timecode and recapturability


Most HDV editors are ecstatic when they hear about all of the many benefits of using HDMI capture in post-production, as explained in the two prior articles Why capture HDV via HDMI? and Universal HDV Deck. The next question is how to control when capturing via HDMI or HD-SDI, in order to retain timecode and recapture capability.

Case 1: Any HD-SDI system capturing from a JVC BR-HD50
All HD-SDI NLE hardware I have ever seen has onboard RS-422 control. The existing HD-SDI NLE can control the BR-HD50 directly via RS-422.

Case 2: Any HD-SDI system capturing from HDV camcorder or HVR-M25(A) or HVR-M35 deck
Connect the existing HD-SDI and RS-422 cable from the editing system to the Convergent Design converter (HD-Connect MI).
Connect an HDMI cable between the camcorder, Sony HDV deck, or camcorder and the HD-Connect MI. Then connect an IEEE-1394 (FireWire/i-Link) cable from the HD Connect MI to the HVR-M25(A), HVR-M35, or HDV camcorder. The NLE still thinks it’s controlling via RS-422, and everything works fine. This even works with Avid HD-SDI systems, and it even works with the Sony HVR-35 deck or JVC GY-HD250 camcorder. Just don’t bother connecting any HD-SDI or HDMI cable to the HD-Connect MI with these devices. With the HVR-35 or GY-HD250, you are using the HD-Connect MI as an RS-422 to IEEE-1394 control converter only.

Case 3: Intensity or Intensity Pro with Final Cut Pro/Premiere Pro and JVC BR-HD50
?Purchase the USB<>RS-422 converter cable from Addenda Electronics.

It’s model number RS-USB/4. Connect it between the BR-HD50 and any available USB port on the computer.?

Case 4: Intensity or Intensity Pro with Premiere Pro and HDV camera or HVR-M25(A):
For Premiere Pro with there is fortunately no problem to capture via HDMI while controlling the deck via IEEE-1394. Just tell Premiere that you are capturing with Blackmagic’s Intensity or Intensity Pro, and that you are controlling via IEEE-1394.

Case 5: Intensity or Intensity Pro with Final Cut Pro and HDV
Due to a phenomenon I call “Inverse Stubbornness”, Case 5 is the only one that is somewhat difficult, at least for now. “Inverse Stubbornness” is my way of describing a situation that currently exists between Final Cut Pro (even version 6.04) and most of the HDV decks and camcorders out there, when capturing via 3rd-party hardware. Here’s the situation: Final Cut Pro refuses to control via any of its “HDV FireWire” settings while simultaneously capturing via any 3rd-party hardware device. FCP actually puts up a dialog box scolding us for wanting to do that! On the other hand, many of the HDV decks and camcorders refuse to be controlled via IEEE-1394 in the DV position while simultaneously playing back high-definition. The players want either to play HD and be controlled via IEEE-1394 in the HDV position… or the opposite: play SD and be controlled via IEEE-1394 in the DV position. I had really hoped that FCP 6 would cure the “Inverse Stubbornness”, but it still hasn’t up to 6.04. (I haven’t tried yet with 6.05). In the meantime, some of the Sony HDV devices can fortunately be tricked into behaving appropriately by invoking a technique first published by Jon Thorn of AJA. Here is a summary of Jon’s technique, with his permission: 1) Remove any tape from the camera or deck. 2) In the device’s menu, set i.Link (IEEE-1394) to downconvert. 3) Power cycle the camera or deck. Then FCP will be able to control the device using one of its DV FireWire settings (not any HDV setting) while capturing HD via Intensity/Intensity Pro. This technique will not work with a BR-HD50. However, if you have a BR-HD50 with an Intensity/Intensity Pro, see Case 3 above.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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