While these buttons can be re-arranged, we will discuss them left to right as they initially appear using the program's default settings.
REC PANEL: Accesses the "record environment" as a whole. This is the environment you will be in when controlling the camera functions, manipulating the image, or capturing video onto the hard-drive. This function can also be controlled through one of the pull-down menus.
PLAY PANEL: Accesses the "playback environment" as a whole. These are the windows you'll need in order to playback footage captured to the hard-drive, or manage the storage of any video or photo files. This function can also be controlled through one of the pull-down menus.
OPTION SETTINGS: Accesses the following three pages of options.
1. GENERAL: Allows you to customize storage and name your files and folders. It also features a handy "cache time" option. With this feature, the hard-drive can capture up to 10 seconds of material BEFORE the "record button" is pressed. You can set the time-length of the cache, from "0 seconds" up to "10 seconds". This is a great option to use when recording live events, when you have no way of knowing when the action is going to begin. With this feature, you don't have to be hovering over the record button. As long as the camera's been pointed in the right direction for the given time frame, you have up to 10 seconds AFTER the action has begun to push "record".
2. DV REC: Select your options for recording in STANDARD DEFINITION MiniDV. Choose from three different file types and three different recording modes.
In the "Standard" mode, you will be creating a new file each time you press "stop" at the conclusion of a recording.
In the "Sequence" mode, you can effectively edit in-camera by pressing "record" and "stop" any number of times within the same file. The software will not close this file until you hit the "file folder" button located next to the "record" button.
In the "Frame" mode, you can literally grab a single frame from the camera over a selected interval of time (from 1 second up to 999 seconds). This is great for smooth time-lapse photography, or even for STOP-MOTION ANIMATION. Unlike time-interval recording on tape, which typically grabs a minimum of 15 frames, this mode allows you to work one frame at a time. It is similar to the "Sequence" mode in that you can stop and start again an unlimited number of times within the same file. If you do want to shoot stop-motion animation, for example, you can select a longer interval, and then control the "stopping and starting" at your own pace. NOTE: This interval option is only found in STANDARD DEFINITION due to the manner in which the HDV signal is compressed.
3. HDV REC: Select your options for recording in HDV. These options only affect the HDV signal that is coming into your computer and will NOT affect material being recorded on the video cassette in the camera. They will also NOT affect the uncompressed HD signal (which can only be accessed from the HD-SDI terminal).
Select the file type and resolution of the image being recorded to your laptop.
The choices you make for "preview resolution" and "preview picture" will affect the files that you actually capture. If you want to capture the full motion range of the compressed HDV, "Preview picture" should be set for "All pictures".
The "I picture only" option will allow you to capture the "I Frames" of the signal (otherwise known as "Key Frames") without any of the intervening Predictive or Bi-directional frames that complete the illusion of seamless motion. In this "I picture only" mode, due to the manner in which HDV is compressed, you will only capture a new image every 15 frames.
PERFORMANCE CHECK: Whatever you choose within these "Option Settings" windows, you should run a "Performance check" using the button in the lower left corner of the window, to ensure that your hard-drive is capable of capturing video with no loss of information.
ABOUT CONSOLE: The "i" button will bring you to the standard legal page regarding the copyright information, software license agreement, product identification, plug-ins, etc. This page can also be accessed by one of the pull-down menus.
FIVE "RECORD MODE" BUTTONS: The next five buttons all open and close windows within the "Rec Panel" environment. Each button controls a different window, and each of these windows will be discussed in depth in the "REC PANEL" section of this article.
THREE "PLAY MODE" BUTTONS: The final three buttons all open and close windows within the "Play Panel" environment. Each button controls a different window and each of these windows will be discussed in depth in the "PLAY PANEL" section of this article.