Editing a simple video using Adobe Premiere (SGI)
Premiere is a full-featured nonlinear video editing system. There's no
hope of covering the full functionality on this page. I've
concentrated on a lot of the stuff specific to our setup, and tried to
cover most of the gotchas that I've found. There's not much here about
the main function of premiere itself, namely working with clips and
editing. That's covered quite well in the manual, which you'll want to
- Log in to the console of moviola.
- If you don't already have your own subdirectory here, make one.
Move to it.
- Start premiere by typing
premiere. The first time you
do this it will take a few minutes to get everything set up. Future
startup times won't be as long (but all the plugins aren't exactly
quick to load).
- Eventually premiere will ask you what kind of presets you want.
Online Video Tape - NTSC is probably a reasonable starting point.
- A whole bunch of windows will now appear.
There are a bunch of important settings, which will stay set between
sessions until you explicitly change them.
- Pick File->Preferences->Scratch Disks. Hit the Add Folder
button. Add the name of the directory that you're in. Now pick that
new addition for the Temp/Captured Movies item. You should see a lot
of disk space available, since you should be in the large local
- If you are going to capture video and want to control the deck
from the computer, pick File->Preferences->Device Control and pick
Diaquest TimeCoder instad of None. Hit the Options button and pick
/dev/ttyts2 as the selected serial port.
- Pick Make->Compression. Select Motion JPEG for the compression
method. Pick 30 Frames Per Second. (These are good settings for making
a videotape. If you want to put a movie file up on the web, you
probably want a different compression method like Cinepak, lower the
quality slider(s), and 15 FPS motion.
- Pick Make->Output. Make sure Size is 640x480. If you're using
Audio, be sure to set Blocks to 1 frame, not the default 1 second.
I've had good quality audio with a rate of 48000 Hz and 16-bit stereo
samples. Again, if you're making a Web
video instead of a videotape you'll probably want to crank the
size down to 320x240 and possibly go for worse audio quality. If
you're going to make a video to dump to tape, you do not want
"QuickTime Composite" as your format - definitely use "QuickTime
Movie". Although the composite style is much faster to compile, you're
not guaranteed of perfect smooth playback the way you are with the
If you have some video on tape that you need to digitize, you can do
so from inside premiere.
capture page for
more on routing.
Pick Movie Capture->Video Input from the capture window. If you
don't see the right video in the capture window, then pick Video Panel
from the small popup. In the Default Window selector at the top pick
Digital Video. Then pick File->Close to shut the video panel.
Pick Compression from the small popup. Pick JPEG for compression
method. Note that this compression setting can be different from the
one you set from the Make->Compression menu item in the Construction
Window. Close the Compression window and the small popup.
Pick Movie Capture->Recording Settings. Turn off the Post-Compress
checkbox, and turn on the Conform to 30 FPS choice. You probably want
the Abort On Dropped Frames box off.
If your clip doesn't have sound turn the sound off from the Movie
Capture menu. It's a somewhat confusing UI - it's off if
there's a big red check next to the sound off entry on the
If you selected Device Control as described in the Settings
section above, then you can control the deck from the buttons in the
- Pick File->Capture->Movie Capture. The capture window will appear.
- Route the appropriate deck to moviola. For example, to route the
digibeta deck through the Web interface middle-click on the digibeta
deck and left-click on moviola. Telect:
telect -lsdi -idigibeta
-omoviola. See the
If you don't want to bother with precise in/out points through
Device Control, then you control the deck locally and just hit the
record button at the right time, and then click with the mouse when
you want to stop.
- Set the local/remote switch to remote on the deck.
- Use the RS422 patch bay to route
the deck control to moviola.
- Now the play button in the lower left should work.
- You can record on the fly by just hitting record, and then
clicking with the mouse again to stop recording.
- You can instead set precise in and out points by either typing
timecode numbers in the upper right corner, or by
positioning the tape and then hitting the "in" or "out"
buttons. Then make sure the Auto-Record checkbox is
marked, and hit Record. It will automatically stop after
the segment is digitized.
- I find that it's a lot easier to position the tape using the knob
on the deck itself, instead of the little frame-forward
buttons on the GUI, so I do a lot of switching between
local and remote modes. That's fine, if you forget to
switch it back to remote before trying to do a capture it
will remind you.
Importing existing content
Pick File->Import->File and select a still image, video clip, or audio
clip that you want to import. You'll see it appear in the Project
window. You can drag it into place in the Construction window. To make
a simple video, just import your all your pieces and drag them into
the Construction window in the right order. If you just want straight
cuts with no fancy transitions you can just shove them all
back-to-back on the top (A) track.
You can use a clip more than once by just dragging it from the project
window to a new place in the construction window. It will duplicate
itself in the project window. For instance, if you want to play a
video clip forward then backwards, drag a second copy into your
timeline and then pick Clip->Speed to set its speed to -100%.
To set the duration of a still image, you can either pick
Clip->Duration to enter an exact time or just drag the edges in the
timeline to fill up some gap.
Note that you can make title frames and such with File->New->Title.
You can fade from one clip to another by using the Cross-Dissolve
Transition. Make sure that one clip is on the A track, the other is on
the B track, and drag the transition in between them. You need to make
sure both clips overlap the transition.
- You can get a rough idea of what you've got by just dragging the
mouse across the gray line right above the timeline. Premiere will try
to keep up in the Preview window, but you'll get a lot of gaps and
- The workarea is the subset of the entire project that the yellow
top bar extends over. You can preview the workarea by hitting the |>|
button in the right corner of the Controller window. Again, it will
play in the Preview window.
- From Construction Window, pick Make->Movie. You'll need to pick a
filename, and you can see all of the current settings. The one to
really keep an eye on is Entire Project vs Work Area. It probably says
Work Area, and if you want the whole thing you need to pick Entire
Project by clicking the Options button and changing the Output option.
(Or you could make the yellow bar extend to the entire project in the
- Your movie may take a while to compile. A reasonably complex five
minute movie with a full soundtrack, many video and still clips, a few
transitions, and some superimposed titles over running video took over
- When your video is compiled, you can play it through the Premiere
clip window or from the shell using
- To output your movie to videotape, you can use the
File->Export->Print to Video menu item in the Construction Window or
in the Clip window after compilation. You'll want to set around ten
seconds of black before it starts, since you'll need to manually
control the deck to record. I don't know of a way to make premiere
automatically control the deck for recording (only for capturing).
- Route moviola to the relevant deck. For the digibeta deck and the
Web interface, middle-click on moviola and left-click on the digibeta
telect -lsdi -imoviola -odigibeta.
- Set the deck to local, not remote. You'll want to insert edit
onto the video (and possibly also the audio) tracks. See the deck
documentation for details. Keep in mind that the deck will preroll.
- See the Recording a movie
file to tape page for more details.
Don't get fooled by the manual, which recommends 1 sec for the Audio
Block Size. In the release notes for the SGI version, it's explicitly
suggested to go with the 1 frame block size for smooth playback.
Here's the explanation (from
The audio block size should be chosen based on your desired usage of
the movie. The SGI playback software is optimized for the 1-Frame
block size, and there may be dropped frames during capture or playback
with larger block sizes at higher data rates. However, Premiere
makes movies a little faster when the audio block size is 1 second,
and larger block sizes may provide better playback on other platforms
such as Macintosh or Windows computers. The display of the audio
waveform in the audio tracks of the Construction Window is optimized
for 1 second blocks, although you may want to turn off waveform
drawing altogether via Preferences > Audio > Approximate audio
for All views.
If you find that whenever you try to make or capture a movie, the
result is just a few second and all black, then maybe you forgot to
set the scratch disks in preferences. By default premiere will put
temporary things into a file called
your home directory, which will fill up your disk very quickly.
- If premiere crashes or shows error messages when you try to
use JPEG compression for capture or creation, try reseating the video
board. The connection has been known to be flaky in the past, perhaps
because moviola is in a location where it gets kicked often.
- If you have a videotape with messed up timecodes, the movie
capture controls can get confused. That is, if the timecode abruptly
jumps to a lower value, instead of increasing smoothly as the tape
plays. (This could happen if you didn't insert edit properly onto a
blacked tape.) You'll have to switch the deck to local control,
manually move it to the right section, and then switch it back to
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Last modified: Tue Mar 14 17:32:52 PST 2000