Recording a movie file to tape from an SGI
If you have a movie file (QuickTime, MPEG, AVI, etc) that you want to
record onto videotape, there are two possible ways to do so from an
SGI - with movieplayer, or with Premiere. If you're making a
master tape you should consider using a high quality format like
analog or digital beta. If you're just making a copy to show
somewhere else, use VHS.
Movieplayer live screendump
- Use the high-res patchbay to send the desired computer to the Folsom scan converter.
Use the Lyon Lamb zoom controls to zoom as
far in as possible, that will be 640x480. (Details on zooming and
scrolling the Lyon Lamb are on
You can start up movieplayer with no borders with the command
movieplayer -B segment.mov
(Note that if you're running 4Dwm, the default window manager, you use
Alt-F7 to move the window.)
Turn the desktop background black with the command
xsetroot -solid black
Make sure no other window borders are in the way. Make sure to do
this check on a monitor that's in "widescan" mode.
Route the Folsom output to your chosen deck, and record at
Pros: pretty straightforward, no need to start up Adobe Premiere.
Cons: manual positioning of windows onscreen and fiddling with Lyon
Lamb zoom/pan controls.
Premiere print to video
below if your destination is a VHS deck.)
- Route moviola's output to your chosen deck. (See
premiere segment.mov to start up Adobe
Premiere. (If it's already started, just use the Open menu.)
The video will come up in a clip window. Pick the
File->Export->Print to Video menu item. A dialog box will
come up that allows you to set a delay time (number of
seconds of black) before the video starts. You probably need
at least three seconds so that the beginning of your segment
doesn't get cut off (the deck tape heads need time to get up
Hit "OK" to start. If you're extremely confident, just
immediately hit the record button on the deck. It might good to first
test that things are set up properly before recording - if the signal
appears to be properly routed to the deck (because you've routed the
deck to a monitor and you see everything looks fine), then hit 'Esc'
to stop the playback. Then just pick Print to Video again to do it for
Pros: no futzing with Lyon Lamb controls - exactly the right
video stream is produced automatically.
Cons: those who have never run
premiere might be somewhat confused (although you can safely ignore the 99.5%
of its functionality which is irrelevant for this task).
Four details about the "print to video approach":
Square vs. CCIR pixels
If your movie was made at 640x480 pixels, you should make sure the
video control panel is set to use square pixels for output. If
your movie was made at 720x486 pixels, you should use CCIR pixels.
To set this:
It's probably better to just go with 640x480 pixels, since computer
monitors have square pixels. There's a lot of information for the
curious about why you might care about square vs non-square pixels at
Pirazzi's Lurker's Guide to Video page
vcp at the prompt to bring up the video
- The Video Output Timing choice at the bottom should be set to
either Square NTSC or CCIR NTSC.
If you are recording from moviola to a VHS deck, you need to route the
audio through the mixer. (You don't have to do this if you're using
the IO panel to get the signal to a deck
that's not part of the usual rack hookup.)
You can do this through the web interface by being
careful about ordering:
But in this case copy-pasting the following telect commands may be
easier to deal with (this assumes you're using the vhsrec deck):
- Middle-click on moviola then left-click on the deck.
- Middle-click on moviola then left-click on the view monitor.
- Middle-click on "mixer" then left-click on the deck.
telect -lntsc -imoviola -ovhsrec
telect -laudio -imoviola -omxr12
telect -laudio -imixer -ovhsrec
Follow the instructions on the audio mixer
page to set the sliders properly - your chosen channel (probably
mxr12) should be on, all other should be off, make sure to mute the
room volume by using the speaker volume button instead of the main LR
Explanation of sorts: I (Tamara) don't really understand why, but I
observed that if you go directly from moviola to a VHS deck you get a
good hi-fi signal but a terrible normal signal. So it will sound fine
if you play it back in the usual mode on our decks, but people with
consumer grade hardware won't hear any sound. Things seem to work fine
when the signal is routed through the mixer.
You can double-check that the normal channels are set properly by
either toggling the Audio Out Select button a little to the left of
the JVC deck displays until "Normal" no longer appears, or by using
the scruffy Panasonic deck in the lower right rack which is an example
of a consumer deck that can't playback hi-fi.
Remember that if you're using the digital output for any deck except
the digital beta, you'll need to go through the FS1 or FS2
transcoder: route moviola to the transcoder, and the transcoder to
the deck. Don't forget to make sure the transcoder
input select button is set to digital.
Note that in this case you will have to manually route the
audio at the command line, since it's not carried through
automatically - some telect command like
You would want to do this when you're routing to something that has
component input, like the analog beta deck, in order to get maximum
quality. If you're just going directly to VHS, you can use the
Note that although the dialog box
allows you to have colorbars in addition to a black screen, I've never
gotten that to work (I = Tamara). If you want colorbars, you can do
that either as a separate pass before dumping your video, if you've
got a nicely blanked tape that's
prepared for insert editing.
But if you're in a hurry, you can do this all in a single pass with
some quick and fancy telect
command-line action. An example of the latter, assuming that's you're
recording to the digibeta deck and want 30 seconds of colorbars,
followed by 10 seconds of black, followed by your video.
Of course, if you're recording to a VHS deck, you'll need to invert
this by going directly from bars to the deck and using the transcoder
to convert moviola digital output to NTSC. Or if it's the analog beta
deck you'd convert both to CAV, and so on.
- First, route colorbars to that deck through one of the DPS
telect -lntsc -ibars -ofs1
telect -lsdi -ifs1 -odigibeta
- Now, make sure that moviola has black on its inputs instead of
random junk like SITN or worse yet the digibeta deck itself, which
will set up a feedback loop. Use the other transcoder for this:
telect -lntsc -iblack -ofs2
telect -laudio -iblack -omoviola
telect -lsdi -ifs2 -omoviola
- Prepare the following lines in two different shell windows (one
in each), but don't hit return yet in either of them:
telect -lntsc -iblack -ofs1; telect -laudio -iblack
telect -lsdi -imoviola -odigibeta; telect -laudio -imoviola
- Ask for 43 seconds of black time in the print-to-video dialog
box, and hit OK. Then start the deck recording. It will take a few
seconds to actually start recording (thus the extra three seconds you
- Exactly 30 seconds after it started recording (presumably 33
seconds after you hit the record button), hit return in the shell
window that has the black commands. You should see the bars turn to
black, and the audio tone is replaced by silence.
- About nine seconds after that, hit return in the other telect
window so that the moviola output is routed to the deck instead of the
all-black stream. You just want to make sure you hit return *before*
the Premiere window starts playing the real movie.
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Last modified: Thu Jan 27 20:00:37 PST 2000