Tapeless Video Workshop

I’m currently designing a Video Workshop for Educators. And although I have done many video workshops in the past, this one is a bit different. Why?

It will be tapeless – 100% tapeless.
Yes, we have done tapeless before using Memory Cards, but this one also brings both new and old technology into the spotlight.

My background has been in the field of TV/Video & Film for more than two decades and along the way, newer technological advances have steered me toward exploring new venues for producing and distributing content. With that said, I know there are entire processes for how to complete the mulitple phases of video production – Planning, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production, and Distribution. We can add, Audio Engineering and Sweetening, Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and now Social Media Networks to the mix – but, I’m going to simplify things for this workshop and just give the broad strokes.

First, The Set-Up –

To give old video cameras a second life. We have already brought back Mini-DV cameras by connecting them via Firewire to laptops running Ubuntu 11.04. Yes, Linux, is the key to bringing existing technology back to life. Using a Video Editor known as KDEnlive, we can set up the camera without any videotape. Since raw video footage will take up much of the laptops’ hard drive, a USB to an external hard drive with as much storage capacity as possible is required. A portable terabyte drive is relatively inexpensive and is recommended. With one laptop per camera, we can now have isolated (or “iso”) multi-camera set-ups available – at least within a classroom environment.

Next, The Shoot –

Now connecting secondary monitors to these laptops via VGA ports, will provide the instructor (or the class) the exact same view as seen through the cameras viewfinder. This in turn allows the instructor to direct a cameraperson to zoom-in or out of a shot for the purposes of editing the footage at a later time.

Finally, The Editing –

Without going too far back into the history of videotape – when videotape was the norm, there was analog editing. This form of editing video involved swapping tapes back-and-forth and recording a clip-at-a-time from the “source” tapes to a “master” tape. The end result was a product that was already one-generation down from the original raw footage. The “master” served to create copies or duplicates (a.k.a. “dubs”), which were a second-generation down from the original.

With the age of digital video editing technology, however, there is no generation loss. But, when working with videotape, there was a new issue that needed to be dealt with prior to actually editing the footage. This was the converting phase – the digitizing of the raw video footage (a.k.a. “source video” or “source footage”) in order to edit with this new technology.

What this workshop emphasises is that while the cameras were recording, the footage was already being digitized to the portable hard drives, therefore, saving you the additional step to convert the footage. Hence, we have tapeless.

Although we began with Linux, now that the footage is on the portable hard drive(s), we can use any platform to edit the footage. Whether you are running Windows or Mac, editing in Avid, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or Vegas Pro, the footage is ready to go. On a side note: Editing in Linux can be done and is slowly making milestones in many industries.

I hope that everyone can see how we can take existing technology, in this case, salvaging old Mini-DV cameras and bring them into the tapeless environment. My next objective is to so see if I can replicate all this with VHS-C cameras. I am curious as to what the quality of the picture and sound are once it digitizes the content as it records it.

Til next time….You’ve been Teknolized!

-VegaDMS

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