Can't Remember what shots are on your tapes?

Mutley Eugenius

New member

I have a cool tape archiving technique:

Once I have a tape that I am finished shooting, capturing, editing, exporting & deleting, I never throw away my footage Instead I file it with a number and then I keep an archive of all the footage on that tape on the hard drive so I can always quickly find the shots that I want later (very quickly)

The way I archive it is as follows:

Load the tape back into the tape drive, rewind it and open the Speededit capture window.

Give the recording filename something relevant, like 'Tape 001 Archive' and Press Play on the tape from the capture window, and then click record. As soon as you start to see picture, click the fast-forward button and let the tape roll. You are capturing a fast motion preview-window image of the entire tape. Capture will stop as soon as it loses valid signal, meaning you can walk away and SpeedEdit will halt at the end of the tape, and you can come back and click stop later.

If you are capturing an HDV tape, the autochop function will hack it up each time it finds a new cut, which is no problem.

After you have rolled the whole tape which takes about 2 1/2 minutes depending on the type of deck you're using, you have an M2T file. These are much bigger then they need to be for the purpose, so try this next step:

You can drag the M2T file(s) that it made into the timeline (which is useful in the case of a chopped up archive, but make sure you have the SpeedEdit Auto In/Out Offset option set to 'No Offset' in preferences) or you can pick render/convert from the filebin for the next step.

Select the whole tape's fastroll video and open the render window. Then find the original file and right click, select 'Edit Filename & Extension', then Ctrl+C to copy the filename. Then go back over to the render window, select the whole filename to render and paste in the copied name, and press backspace 4 times to take off the extension.

If you're really a stickler for detail, then sometimes the capture will have caught a bit of normal speed video at the beginning before you hit fast-forwards. You can use the in-point window to dial through this and get to the first frame of fast-forward.

Then render it with the following settings:

FORMAT: Video for Windows *.AVI
PRESET: Nintendo Wii 320x240 1Mbps
Then click the CUSTOMIZE button, uncheck Enable Audio, Pick Newtek MJPEG as the Codec, Pixels 240 x 120, FPS 12, Progressive, click the C next to the Newtek MJPEG Codec and in the window change the Average Bitrate to 800.

Then click OK & Render it to a new Directory called Tape Archives or whatever you want.

Then watch that progress bar tear along & encode the whole thing to a tiny file, like 15 MB.

When it's done, look at the file in the SpeedEdit Filebin and roll your mouse over it. Then, hold down the shift key. You can scan all the footage on that whole tape in about 20 seconds.

But that's not all.

Drag the clip onto the timeline, and change it's speed down to about 4.4% Then the length of the clip matches the length of the tape at normal speed, and you can pretty much find the shot that you want and read off the timecode from the top and that's where that shot is on the tape. It's not infallible but It's pretty close.

After you've done a whole bunch of tapes, it is really easy to find that shot again if you haven't been keeping accurate shot logs of everything.

Have fun with that.


Lynn Cress
Wow, I would have never thought to capture the tape in fast forward. Pretty tricky, there Mutley.

Thanks for the info.

Mutley Eugenius

New member
It was an accident really, one day I pressed capture by mistake and started searching for the clip, then I discovered I could record it scanning. So I thought... Hey, this could be a real bonus.

I've got all my tapes as little .AVIs on my hard drive now. I had to find some footage so I recorded them all while I looked.
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