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Capture Cards for Premiere Pro

When editing with Adobe Premiere Pro on the PC, the only means of getting video in and out of the system is typically via 1394 Firewire. This may be fine if you only edit DV or HDV footage, but invariably, you or a client will need to work with some legacy analog footage from VHS, 8mm, 3/4″ or other tape format.

If working with broadcast gear having SDI or HD-SDI connectors, you’ll need a capture solution for those connections. Capture cards might also provide analog outputs that allow you to record to a VCR or DVD recorder, or view your work on a real video monitor rather than using the small computer screen preview.

For professional, broadcast-level work, AJA offers the XENA line of cards for use with Premiere Pro. There are several models to suit different needs and budgets, with I/O options for SD and HD video such as component and HD-SDI, along with professional audio connections like AES.

The AJA cards can capture uncompressed video in 10 or 12-bit resolution for stunning broadcast quality. Uncompressed footage requires special high-performance storage arrays though, so you also have the option to record to less demanding codecs like DVCPRO HD which have lighter storage requirements.

Depending on the XENA model you choose, you can get features like realtime up-down-cross convert, which can be a lifesaver in a studio setting where you may have to work with many different formats that producers and shooters provide. For example, you may be producing a documentary in 720p for cable TV, and halfway through the project, the TV station changes their required standard to 1080 HD. No problem, the Xena hardware can handle the conversion for you. The Xena card will also provide output to professional video monitors while editing, a must for accurate color grading.

For wedding, event and corporate producers that don’t work with uncompressed video or high-end decks with SDI or HD-SDI, Matrox offers the RT.X2 hardware for use with Premiere Pro.

The RT.X2 can work with DV or HDV footage via Firewire, but also includes a breakout box that accepts and outputs composite, S-video and component video signals along with stereo RCA audio. P2 720p and XDCAM EX files can be imported directly for realtime playback as well.

For capturing HDV video, the RT.X2 offers the benefits of audio level meters, capture preview, scene detect, and even output to an HD display while capturing. These are features that Premiere Pro CS3 and CS4 alone can’t provide.

The real strength of the RT.X2 is in the realtime effects plug-ins provided. By using Matrox Color Correction, Keying, 3D DVE and dozens of other provided effects, rendering is eliminate.! You can add effects and composite multiple layers of video and get immediate full-screen, full-frame rate playback to an external video display. Export to DVD, Blu-ray and web formats is also accelerated by using the realtime effects.

Another benefit of the RT.X2 hardware is its ability to mix SD and HD clips in the same project without rendering. The clips will be upscaled or downscaled automatically to suit the project settings. HD projects can also be output via analog as NTSC, with realtime downscaling applied to the output.

A third hardware capture option is the Intensity and Intensity Pro cards from Black Magic Design. These cards add the ability to capture from HDMI sources, such as most newer digital camcorders, and will also output to HDMI-equipped LCD panels. The Intensity offers HDMI only, while the Intensity Pro adds composite, S-video and component video I/O for more flexibility.

Users can capture to uncompressed or compressed formats to meet the needs of the project. HD video can be captured at the full 1920×1080 resolution for higher quality than the 1440×1080 native to HDV. Several capture formats are available including AVI, QuickTime, HDV, DV and Black Magic’s own JPEG codec, and these can be mixed in the same Premiere Pro timeline.

There are many additional benefits of working with the XENA , RT.X2, and Intensity cards, but you get the idea – adding a hardware solution to Premiere Pro can improve your workflow in many ways, saving you time and money on every project!

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Capture Cards for Premiere Pro