How To Edit DVD Footage Natively With a Pinnacle DC1000 or DC2000The Pinnacle Systems DC1000 (the DC2000 simply adds component video and XLR audio) video capture card is based on MPEG-2 as its native CODEC. When capturing video footage, you have the option of capturing to a AVI file using its CODEC, or to capture directly to a DVD spec MPEG-2 video stream. I normally would recommend people editing and capturing video to use the AVI spec, since its 4:2:2-colorspace, and 25 megabit per second bit rate is much higher quality than a DVD spec file, but with the current drivers available you can mix and match files. Work with both MPEG-2 AVI files and with video streams. This lends its self to an interesting question. Instead of capturing to an MP2 file (Pinnacle for some brain-dead reason uses the MP2 extension for MPEG-2 video and MPA for MPEG-2 audio) and editing using that file, would it be possible to simply extract an MPEG-2 video stream from a DVD and use that as native source. I am happy to say that the answer is yes. Though there is a trick to it. Fixing the time codes on the video stream, but I will get to that.
The first step is to copy the VOB files on the DVD to your hard drive. It is not as simple as dragging the files over in the explorer view. They are encrypted, with a key stored on the disc. You should go to http://www.doom9.org and get a descrambling or ripping tool that will work with your DVD drive. I normally prefer the DVD Descriptor program, but I have found some drives that this does not work on. So far the only program that I have found that works 100% of the time is the vStrip program. It is basically a GUI for DeCSS, and is one of the worst UIs to work with. What ever program you use, you should get the VOB files to your hard drive.
The second step is to DeMUX the VOB files you have copied over. TMPGEnc includes an option in the MPEG Tools menu that allows you to extract out select streams within an MPEG file. There are many DeMUXing tools available, use what ever is comfortable with you. A VOB file is actually a container file that has many files, or "streams" with in it, you simply want to get the video stream out of it. Once extracted, rename the video stream to a MP2 extension.
The final step is to add the editing time codes to the MP2 file. Pinnacle in version 2.0 of their drivers added the ability to edit the MP2 files natively, and had to include a utility to convert the older MP2 files to an editable format. Previous to 2.0 the outputted MP2 files were bare video streams, very similar to the stream you just extracted. To edit the video properly, extra time code information must be added into the user section of the video stream. The information only adds a small fraction to the overall size of the video stream, and is ignored by decoders. The final step is to open the MP2 file in the ValidTC program that is included with the version 2.0 of the drivers, and simply add a new time code, starting at 00:00:00:00. That's all, once that is done, the file is now in a native format for the DC1000 and can be used in all the real-time effects. No proxy or frame server required, and since the video stream has not been decompressed or converted, it is still in its original quality.
About the only aside for this mini-guide is the ValidTC program. For some reason, the version 3.0 of the drivers for the DC1000 does not include this program. To get the program, I had to download the version 2.0 driver install, and expand the install file, then copy the program. You are able to expand the install file with out installing the drivers, so if you are using the version 3.0 of the drivers you are safe. The ValidTC is in a tools directory of the CD image that the install file creates in the temporary directory.