Setting up cameras

About IEEE 1394 ports and cables

Adobe OnLocation communicates with cameras and other OHCI-compliant devices using the IEEE 1394 standard, which is also known as FireWire and i.Link®. If the computer has no IEEE 1394 ports or too few for your purposes, add one or more FireWire cards (PCI cards for a desktop computer, PCMCIA® or ExpressCard® for a laptop).

Before buying a cable, check whether you need a 4-pin to 4-pin or 4-pin to 6-pin type cable. Most 1394-compatible cameras have a 4-pin port. Computers have 4-pin or 6-pin ports.

With DV and HDV cameras, you can use cables up to 25 meters (80 feet) in length. The maximum cable length for DVCPro HD is 4.5 meters (15 feet) because the data rate is much higher. You can use repeaters to daisy-chain up to 16 cables.

Note: For the latest information on troubleshooting digital video capture in Adobe OnLocation, visit the Adobe knowledgebase at www.adobe.com/support/onlocation/.

Step 1: Connect a camera

For direct-to-disc recording, Adobe ® OnLocation™ works with NTSC or PAL DV cameras, as well as HDV and DVCPro cameras. The application automatically detects the camera’s video standard and format, so you don’t have to change any switches or project properties.

Note: Adobe OnLocation does not support camcorders that record onto DVDs, hard disks, or flash memory unless they output DV or HDV over a FireWire connection.
  1. Plug one end of a 1394 cable into a FireWire port on the computer.

  2. With the camera turned off, plug the other end of the cable into the camera’s FireWire port.

    Important: Although some IEEE 1394 devices may be hot-swappable, FireWire ports might be damaged if you plug in a cable when the camera is turned on. Adobe recommends that you turn off the camera before connecting the cable.
  3. Turn on the camera, and set it to the Record or Camera mode.

  4. If the Field Monitor displays a previously recorded clip rather than video from the camera, click the panel menu icon , and choose View Camera.

To switch to another camera, close Adobe OnLocation, disconnect the current camera, connect the next camera, and restart the application. If you want to ensure that video has a common appearance, see Check continuity between multiple cameras.

Step 2: Set the monitor aspect ratio

The aspect ratio of a rectangular image describes frame dimensions in width relative to height. By default, the Field Monitor automatically reflects the aspect ratio of the video stream. You can also manually control the aspect ratio.

Aspect ratios are typically represented as ratios such as 16:9. However, you can also specify a decimal value, which equals the first value in the ratio divided by the second. For example, the value of 1.333 equals 4 divided by 3, or 4:3.

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Field Monitor, click the panel menu icon , and choose Monitor Settings.

  2. In the Monitor Aspect Ratio section, select one of the following:

    Automatic
    Automatically matches the video’s aspect ratio.

    4:3
    Specifies the aspect ratio used by conventional television.

    16:9
    Specifies the aspect ratio used by high-definition television (HDTV).

    Custom
    Lets you set a ratio ranging from 1.000 (1:1, a square) to 2.400 (12:5).

    If you’re not sure what this setting should be, point the camera at a circular image that’s parallel to the plane of the lens. If the shape looks circular in the Field Monitor, the setting is correct. If not, change the setting until the shape is circular. If you can’t achieve a circular shape, make sure the letterbox mask is disabled. (See Preview different aspect ratios.)

Step 3: Calibrate the Field Monitor

The built-in color bars calibrate the computer screen to display levels of brightness, white, and color to match what the camera records. This step ensures that what you see in the Field Monitor accurately reflects what you will see in postproduction.

Adobe recommends that you recalibrate the screen whenever the lighting around the computer changes significantly. Position the computer screen at an angle that reduces the amount of glare. When shooting in direct sunlight, you might want to consider using a computer screen sunshade for better visibility.

Note: Calibrating the Field Monitor affects only what you see within Adobe OnLocation. It has no effect on the brightness and color of recorded clips.

Because the various calibration settings interact with one another, it’s important to perform the steps below in order.

  1. Below the preview in the Field Monitor, click the Calibrate Field Monitor button .

  2. Drag the Chroma setting to zero, eliminating all color and reducing the bars to shades of gray.

  3. Locate the set of three narrow, dark bars below the second and third bars from the right. These pluge bars are used to calibrate the contrast. Adjust the Contrast value until the center and left bars are identical and the bar on the right is faintly lighter.

    To adjust values in fractional increments, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS).
    Calibrate contrast using pluge bars.

  4. Locate the set of three narrow, white bars below the second and third bars from the left. Adjust the Brightness value until the two bars on the left are indistinguishable and the bar on the right is slightly darker.

    View full size graphic
    Adjust brightness using pluge bars.

  5. Click Blue Filter. The bars turn shades of blue.

  6. Adjust the Chroma value until the tall section at the top of each outer bar is the same shade as the small block just below it.

  7. If necessary, adjust the Phase value until the third and fifth bars are the same shade as the small blocks just below them.

    View full size graphic
    A.
    Adjust Chroma until the tall outer bars match adjacent small blocks.

    B.
    Adjust Phase until the third and fifth tall blocks match adjacent small blocks.

  8. Click OK.

To return all values to original settings, click Defaults.

Step 4: Calibrate the camera with Camera Setup Assistant

Sometimes, even the best, most expensive cameras can’t record high-quality images unless you accurately set the focus and exposure. You can achieve high-quality video even with a modest camera. For high-quality video, the focus must be crisp, white balance correct, and exposure and lighting must yield the maximum dynamic range. To help you achieve the best results, the Camera Setup Assistant panel analyzes the image and provides graphical feedback. This feature takes the guesswork out of calibrating cameras and adjusting lighting.

The Waveform Monitor, Vectorscope, and Field Monitor provide analytical tools that allow you to assess focus, exposure, and white balance. However, Camera Setup Assistant has added advantages. It presents data in meters that are easy to read. Second, it analyzes only a defined region of the frame (the specific area where you place the Camera Setup Assistant card).

Note: The Camera Setup Assistant requires the Camera Setup Assistant card, which is a focus and exposure chart. Download onlocation_cs5_camerasetupassistant.pdf, and print the focus and exposure chart on a heavy stock, white paper. For more information on the Camera Setup Assistant card, see Camera Setup Assistant.
  1. Disable the camera’s automatic controls, particularly autofocus, auto-white balance, and auto-iris.

  2. Frame and light the scene.

  3. Choose Window > Camera Setup Assistant.

  4. Select Enable.

  5. Place the Camera Setup Assistant card next to your primary subject, and adjust the card so that it’s receiving the same light. If necessary, tilt the card down to avoid reflected glare.

    Placing the Camera Setup Assistant card

  6. Frame the chart using the Percentage Of Frame slider in the Camera Setup Assistant panel.

    To reposition the target area in the Field Monitor, drag the cross hairs to the center.
  7. Adjust your camera’s focus control until the Focus Meter in the Camera Setup Assistant panel is as high as possible.

  8. To maximize highlights and shadows (the upper and lower Exposure Meters in the Camera Setup Assistant panel), do any of the following:

    • Reposition, add, or remove lights.

    • Adjust camera settings, such as iris, shutter speed, exposure, or gain.

  9. Flip the chart over to the blank, white side. Then, set the white balance control on your camera to maximize the White Balance Meters in the Camera Setup Assistant panel.

    Setting the white balance control

Step 5: Set audio levels

The Audio panel provides meters that enable you to optimize audio levels before recording and analyze levels during playback.

  1. If you’re monitoring audio without sealed headphones, select Mute Pass-Through To Speakers For Live Source in the Audio panel to prevent feedback.

  2. While watching the meters in the Audio panel, adjust the position of your microphones and the audio input level on the camera.

    The meters must stay mostly in the yellow region, and audio-pop alerts must be rare. If audio-clipping alerts  occur, adjust microphone position or lower input level.

To clear clipping alerts in the Audio panel, click them.