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Last updated on

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Homepage of CassetteDV by Paul Glagla

a MUST HAVE for all digital video hobbyists who definitely want to know

what's inside all their DV cassettes

What is CassetteDV?


How to download CassetteDV


How to get started with CassetteDV


How to catalog with CassetteDV


How to recapture scenes to clips




What is CassetteDV?


    CassetteDV is a software that will delight all digital video hobbyists having dozens of cassettes without remembering what's on them. Its main goal is to create a database of all cassettes, and of all their scenes. One can then find easily one or several scenes by browsing through the thumbnails, and recapture when needed a selection of scenes to a video clip. It has many strong points:


      check01_green.gif everything is automatic (except to insert the tapes and make some clicks): the boring step of indexing with keywords is no longer compulsory. CassetteDV catalogues automatically whole cassettes creating thumbnails for the scenes. If you want to use keywords, it's also possible but it's never compulsory.


      check01_green.gif while the tape is played for cataloguing, you can create a DV or Divx video file from the whole cassette: it saves much time. For example, you may catalogue your cassettes and burn for each of them a CD containing a Divx video of the cassette. You may even create simultaneously the Divx file and a DV type 2 file for video editing. On my computer with a 3 GHz processor, this "triple play" of cataloguing, capturing to Divx with mp3 audio, and capturing to DV type 2  takes only about 40% of CPU power. So it's possible to surf on the web while all this work is done in the background. And it's not all, because CassetteDV can also create a scn file to open faster the video file in Studio from Pinnacle.


      check01_green.gif you can print a cover for your cassettes: When you are done cataloguing a cassette, and have given it a title and description, you may print a cover for the cassette having the same title, and description. Thus the cover will contain exactly the same text as the database.


      check01_green.gif you can find scenes by their date of capture: CassetteDV relies massively on datecode, that is to say the date of capture for each scene. This data is kept in the database and can be used to filter the scenes and find the desired ones among all scenes.


      check01_green.gif you can recapture a selection of scenes to a video clip by drag and drop: You drag the thumbnails of the selected scenes to the selection window, and with one click recapture them to a video clip either in Divx or in DV (or even both at the same time). CassetteDV will optimize the recapturing. It will ask you to insert a tape, will rewind it, and will read the scenes in the order of appearance on the tape and will prompt you for the next cassette when needed. All this is very comfortable.


      check01_green.gif CassetteDV is not afraid by timecode gaps on a tape: it can process a cassette entirely, even if there are gaps in the timecode, or changes in audio format, or even blank zones without any video information. It uses an extended timecode that permits to know what "section" of the tape is being read, a section being a seamless zone on the tape. The main goal is to give a complete description of each cassette. Therefore, even the blank portion of tape at the end is displayed with its duration.


      check01_green.gif CassetteDV can resume the catalog operation on a cassette, starting from a given scene until the end of the cassette. It is useful if you have recorded a new video sequence on a tape that has been previously catalogued, or if you had cancelled the operation of cataloguing and want to resume it later.


      check01_green.gif CassetteDV needs no installation: You will only have to tell at first launch the name and location of the database that  it should create . It installs no directshow filter, and does not disturb your system. It saves only its preferences into the registry, but a command is provided to delete them with a simple click if you want to restore your register completely unchanged.


      check01_green.gif CassetteDV is very flexible with databases: it can create new ones, browse between several databases as if they were a single one, disable some of them temporarily. Databases may be archived on CD or DVD. A database for CassetteDV is rather small on the devices: you could catalog an average of 1000 cassettes containing 300.000 scenes on one DVD.



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Download the latest version of CassetteDV



CassetteDV is freeware granted only for personal use. Any use by a company, an administration or during professional activities is not permitted and therefore unlawful. If you need to use it in such circumstances, please ask me for a license. CassetteDV may be freely distributed, if it's for free and for personal use. It is not open source, so please don't ask me for the source code.

CassetteDV is provided to you AS IS without any warranty. Use it at your own risks. It obeys to the principle: "It works well for me, it could work well for you, but perhaps not. Try it by yourself  and please report your remarks to help me improve my products". Let me remind you that I am not a professional developer, and I am not able to test my products on all different systems existing on the market.
Actually, my experience, with more than 400.000 visitors of my web pages, shows that my products are well working for a great majority of users, but not strictly for 100 %. In fact, is this really different from most commercial packages?



Download (780 Kb):

Version 3.0.2

published on Wednesday, June 1st, 2006


    The most recent update of CassetteDV is version 3.0.x to download above in English. A french version is to download here . CassetteDV has been tested under Windows XP  SP1 and SP2. It needs directX 9.0 or better. To capture in Divx, you must have installed on your system a Divx or Xvid codec. To compress audio to mp3, you must also install the free codec Mp3 lame from Elecard. I recommend the version that is to download on the Elecard freeware page under the title MPEG Layer III Audio Encoder. If you do not know how to install,  then download this little zip and follow the instructions of its readme file.

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How to get started with CassetteDV:


      check01_green.gif 1) Launch CassetteDV


      After download, unzip the file CassetteDV_30xen.exe in a folder and double-click on it. No installation is needed. For the first use , you will be prompted by a panel containing important warnings. Read it.



      Then choose a name and a folder for the database where all you cassettes and scenes will be catalogued. By default you can keep the proposed name CassettesDV.db3 in the folder My Documents. The database will become more and more bigger when you catalog more cassettes, but will stay at a reasonable size. Let's say between 1 and 3 Mbytes per cassette.  So you may catalog a thousand in the size of one DVD. You may of course save the base on a CD or DVD if it becomes bigger.  It's even recommended in order to have a safe copy of your precious database. Then type OK.

      If you had already a correct database, perhaps created with a former version of CassetteDV, you can open it instead of creating a new one. Version 3.0.x works with a new database structure, so you will have to wait some time for an update of your old database.

      If your screen is configured in anything else than 1024x768, then CassetteDV will propose to change the screen resolution because it is more comfortable to work with it at this resolution. Of course you may refuse this proposal. Anyway, if you accept, CassetteDV will restore your present screen configuration when it closes.



      check01_green.gif 2) Cataloguing the first cassette:


      For now the database is still empty, so CassetteDV gets into Catalog mode and becomes ready to catalog the first cassette. If it's not yet made, plug your DV camcorder on a firewire plug and put it ON in VCR mode with the cassette inside. The video window should then automatically be displayed.



      Now check the video files that you want to be captured in real-time during the catalog operation, either in DV or Divx (or Xvid) format or even both. You should also, at least for the first capture, check the settings in the settings panel (F10) under the tabs capture DV or Capture Divx : folder, name, DV type, Divx codec, if a scn file is wanted etc...If the Divx or mp3 codecs are not found, CassetteDV  will give you some indications about what is missing.
      Click then on the button
      Go! to start the operation: first the tape is rewinded completely, then the cassette is read and a thumbnail gets displayed for each scene as soon as it is read. Sometimes the scene is blue with a duration displayed on it. It means either that a portion of the tape was blank and not recorded at all, either that there were dropped frames (in this case the duration is generally 0). The first situation is normal and let's you have a complete description of your cassette even of empty zones. You will notice that the section number increases in this case. The second case is generally due to a lack of power either for the CPU (Divx compression needs CPU power) or for the hard disk (recording DV needs a high capture rate). In this case the section number does not increase. If there are many blue scenes of this kind, you may want to stop the operation and make some changes before restarting it. If you want to stop, click on the Stop! button, then on the Browse button, delete the cassette that was being catalogued by typing CTRL+Del and come back to the catalog mode with the button Catalog  and start again. Of course in the meantime, you will have closed some programs wasting CPU time or interfering with access to hard disks, like antivirus applications or all applications that scan the hard disk.


      You may also keep the beginning of the cassette and only recatalog starting from a given scene with the button Resume.


      For complete help about the Catalog process, read the Catalog page here

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      check01_green.gif 3) Browse the database of cassettes:


      When you are done cataloguing a new cassette, go to Browse mode by clicking on the button with the same name. The list of all cassettes (containing only one item after the first session) is displayed on the left of the window. At the bottom you can see the thumbnails of the scenes from the selected cassette. The list of all cassettes can be displayed as a list of names or as a list of thumbnails. Toggle from one view to the other by typing F11. You may navigate in the list with the scroll bar, with the wheel mouse or even with the arrow keys of the keyboard.




      You should now give a title and a description to the catalogued cassette. Write them in the panel at the right of the window, and click on the OK button (green mark) when done, in order to record these data to the database.



      After that, it's time to print a cover for your cassette. CassetteDV uses the given title and the description and prepares a cover that can be printed on any sheet of thick paper. You will only have to cut the edge and make a mark on the folds with a sharp tool (I use a screwdriver tor that). You will get a cover with exactly the same title than indicated in the database. This is useful for later captures based on the database.



      check01_green.gif 4) Recapture scenes to a clip


      When you are in Browse mode, click on Selection  to display the selection window. Select scenes by clicking on their thumbnails at the bottom. To select a series of scenes keep the Shift down. You can then drag the scenes to the selection window and drop them there.



      If necessary, select a new cassette in the list at the upper left, select some of its scenes and drag and drop them to the selection window. Repeat this operation, until the selection window contains all desired scenes. Then click on the button Clips, and act as for a catalog operation: check the files to be captured (DV and/or Divx), click on Go! During recapture, CassetteDV drives the camcorder and manages the cassettes: it rewinds them at first, plays fast forward until some seconds before the desired scene, and then captures exactly this scene. When necessary it tells you to insert the next cassette. The video window does at this stage only display the recaptured scenes. It stays black when the tape is on a position where the frames are not captured. When done, you get one (or two) files containing exactly the selected scenes and only those.


      To get more help about the function Recapture to clips, see the Recapture to clips page here


      Enjoy now the program and discover by yourself more functions. Many hints can be displayed by controls, and explanations are given in the settings panels. Don't forget to save periodically your database. You will find it as a file of type *.db3 in a folder that you can find in the settings panel, (F10) under the tab Databases.


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