I have a Sony DSC-T1 digital camera which also captures video at "near DV quality". Now, this camera fits in my shirtpocket and has a battery that lasts for ages and so represents a fantastic alternative to my DV camcorder which is bulky-ish and which, whenever I want to use it, I find I need to spend three hours charging the batteries. The Sony can only shoot 6 minutes of footage at a time, but since I edit in camera, rarely take a shot lasting longer than 10 seconds, and would be able to dump this footage back onto my PC at the end of each day, I don't regard this as a serious drawback given the camera's go-anywhere portability.
However, it does present me with some challenges and, as a newbie to Premiere Pro (and video editing in general), I am struggling to overcome them. So, I am kindly requesting assistance or advice from anyone who can help.
Here are my questions:-
1. Video quality - it appears that this camera captures 640x480, 30 frames/second, in editable MPEG-1 format (i.e., footage consists of I-frames entirely). Sure enough these clips can be imported into Pro and trimmed as if they were AVI files. My aim in all of this is to produce DVDs of my footage. Given this, is there any point in converting these clips to AVI files prior to editting or would I be wasting my time? I mean, if the finished DVD is in a compressed format, and I am capturing in a (albeit different) compressed format, and able to edit it, why even try to decompress (even losslessly using HuffYUV)? I assume it will have zero effect on end picture quality but is this correct?
2. Encoding time - I produced a rough-cut 5 minute movie in this manner and exported it directly to DVD from Pro.... and it took an age! About 20-30 minutes to transcode into DVD format all told for a a 5 minute DVD. Is this because it has to convert from MPEG1 to some neutral format and then to MPEG2 for the DVD? If I converted the captured footage to AVI before editting would this reduce this "transcoding" time or would the overall amount of time spent converting and deconverting the footage over the entire production cycle work out to be the same?
3. Pixel ratios - I can't seem to setup a project so that it automatically converts these 640x480 clips into 750x576 PAL format on the timeline. I have the appropriate box checked in the Project Settings/General settings tab to convert sequences to project settings but it doesn't seem to do anything. At the moment, then, I have to select all the clips and use "Interpret Footage" to change the pixel ratio to 1.067 (DV1/PAL). Am I missing something? I'm also worried that this pixel conversion isn't right and that on the completed DVD the scenes are truncated - as if I have enlarged the pixels too much. Should I use square pixels instead or some different ratio?
4. SteadyMove plug-in - one of the biggest drawbacks I found when I watched my sample 5 minutes DVD on my telly, wasn't so much the picture quality (although it clearly isn't DV quality) but the camera shake. Since this little camera is so tiny and it has no image stabiliser built-in I had overlooked this as a possible problem. Based on one viewing I would go so far as to say that I could live with the picture quality but not the camera shake and so this one factor alone would prevent me using it for more than little clips I might e-mail to friends and family. However, I have installed the SteadyMove plug-in and tried to apply it to one of the clips on the timeline and it didn't seem to make any difference in the monitor window. All that happened was that the clip was clearly zoomed in a little and perhaps a little more blurry, and that it took a lot longer to render in the monitor window - I guess this last bit is to be expected? However, when I exported the "steadied" clip to an AVI file and played the resulting file it was miraculously stabilised! Is there any way around this? If not, it means I have to trust to faith that all shots ('cos I'll probably have to apply this effect to them all) will be stabilised but I just won't be able to tell until they are rendered and exported.
Any help, assistance greatly appreciated. I'm not looking to use this little Sony instead of my camcorder all the time, but the prospect of being able to have a ready-to-shoot video/still camera always on me means I would take a lot more footage and capture a lot more precious moments than I would otherwise do. I have 3 small kids and toting a camera bag and batteries around whilst trying to keep the nippers under control is a nightmare. At least this way, I will have halfway decent footage of moments which otherwise I wouldn't have been able to capture at all. That to me is worth the effort of trying to make this work as best I can
thanks in advance