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Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro

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Jim AmenComputer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 5:33:20 pm

I need to capture computer screen video (and audio) for a training DVD. I've tried several screen capture software packages including Camtasia Studio 5, Captivate 2, CamStudio(freeware), MyScreenRecorder 2.5, and a bunch of other freeware things along with every kind of Codec I could find. Many of these look great when viewed using their respective codecs in Windows Media Player. However, as soon as I import them into Premier they look like crap. I've been very careful to capture 720x480 so there is an exact 1 to 1 pixel relationship. I've tried multiple computers, same result. In fact the only thing that is absolutly constant is Premiere.

Other people must be doing this every day. What am I missing? It can't be that hard to take pixels from the screen and write them into an AVI format that Premiere likes.

Any help or suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.


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Vincent BecquiotRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 7:24:50 pm

The first thing Premiere does is convert to DV for preview purposes (if you are working in a DV timeline), so the compression you are seeing in your preview may not reflect the final quality.

Are you also sure that you are not capturing square pixels and importing .9? That would either stretch the footage, or not fill the frame.

In camtasia, the best option is uncompressed if your machine can handle it.

Vince



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Jim AmenRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 7:42:40 pm

First, I am working in DV time frame and I have experienced the preview quality issue on other things so I use as my 'gold standard' rendering some or all of the test screen capture with Premiere as an AVI file, and then viewing it with Windows Media Player. The AVI in to Premier looks great in MP, the AVI out (and thus to a TV) looks crappy, almost like half or a third of the horizontal scan lines are thrown out (for example a piece of text with the capital F may have the entire top horizontal portion missing).

Not sure on the square vs .9 pixel ratio but my instinct tells me I'm a long way from worring about that one.

Finally, I tried uncompressed in Camtasia. It was no different.

Do I need a scan converter box like the AVT-3150 in order to make it look good?

Thanks



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mike velteRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 7:45:24 pm

The best option is to edit and output your finished project from Camtasia in it's finished form.

http://www.video2stream.com


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Jim AmenRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 7:54:23 pm

But thats not going to work for me. I already have several video's with people standing in front of equipment talking and I want to then show what the software they are using is doing on the computer screen. In the same movie. One obvious option would be to just shoot the screen with a camera but then I'm faced with light reflection, frame rates, etc etc. I know when I'm all done I won't get resolution on a TV like I have on a cmputer screen but I should at least be able to get something that is readable.



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Vincent BecquiotRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 8:03:54 pm

Mike does have a point, but if you are able to capture true uncompressed, there's got to abe another issue than compression. Any way to post a still ? Or you can email it to Vince (at) kaptis (.) com and I'll post it.

Vince



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Tim KolbRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:06:36 pm

Camtasia's compression is fine...there's no reason to capture very structured interface graphics as uncompressed video as it is not going to improve quality.

First, I'd set the Premiere Pro timeline for uncompressed (NOT DV) and set the frame size to DV PAL or NTSC, and bring in the Camtasia captures of the same frame size.

If the Camtasia captures look low quality, I suspect that the preview quality might be set to automatic?...or low? Not to mention that the pixel aspect ratio on a DV frame is .9 and the Camtasia capture will be square pixel, and they won't look good when they're mixed as forcing the frame to scale results in some weird results. I would make sure your Camtasia captures are being interpreted at .9 on a DV timeline or uncompressed video timeline with .9 pixel aspect ratio.

I edit Camtasia captures in Premiere Pro quite regularly, though I typically capture a 1024x768 screen and then edit on an uncompressed timeline with a 1024x768 screen size and I simply embed DV NTSC video in a graphic that fills out the frame. It works fine for me...you just have to watch the alpha channel interpretation with several past versions.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Jim AmenRe: Computer Screen Capture into Premiere Pro
by on Jan 28, 2008 at 1:23:16 am

Thanks Tim, great information. It really is helpful to know that someone else is regularly doing what I want to do.

As I worked through all the possibilities you and others here mentioned, I found marginal or no improvement. However, for me the smoking gun was 'frame blend'. True enough the preview was not my friend through the process for all the reasons mentioned but when I turned frame blend off (it defaults to on in my system, probably because I don't yet know how to set all the defaults) everything else started to make sense. I still have a little interlace jitter but not so much I can't live with it since I want to play back on old fashioned NTSC TV's.

Thanks everyone for the help.



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