A clip in CatDV can represent either a complete media file on disk or a particular clip or scene within a movie or on a tape. This means that not all clips will refer to a media file, and sometimes you may have more than one subclip referring to different parts of the same media file. (It’s also possible to have one metaclip that contains many files.)

You can switch to View>Summary Mode>Source Media View to temporarily consolidate your view and show precisely one clip for each source media file.

Locating media files

A source media file need not remain online on disk once it has been imported into a catalog (though obviously you won’t be able to play the media file if it no longer exists or can’t be found). CatDV stores the last known location of the media file. The following commands affect the media path:

  • Update Media Location is used when you have renamed or moved an existing media file on disk and need to tell CatDV the new location so it can play the media. If you have moved an entire directory you normally only need to locate the first file. Any other clips which have been similarly affected are updated automatically.
  • Attach Media, by contrast, is used to attach a clip to a completely new media file, after it’s been re-digitised for example, or if the clip was never associated with a media file in the first place.

If a directory or volume has been renamed or moved then CatDV remembers this. It keeps a list of original and current locations (under the Media Search Paths tab in Preferences) which it can use in future to automatically locate a file that has moved. Knowing that two paths are equivalent is particular useful if you work in mixed environments, where S:Media and /Volumes/Shared/Media for example might actually refer to same folder. This enables CatDV to automatically locate and play the media file even if the catalog stores the old location.

Managing media files

A number of commands in the Media menu can be used to manipulate the media file referred to by a clip:

  • Delete Media Files will delete the media files for selected clips from disk and then also delete the corresponding clips from the catalog.
  • With Move Media Files you can select a new directory and then move the selected media files there. (If you selected a single clip you can enter a new name to rename the media file.) You can also Copy Media Files.
  • By default the clip Name corresponds to the media file name and the Bin to the parent folder containing the media file. If you edit the clip Name or Bin you will be asked if you want to apply the corresponding move to the source media file (assuming the Auto rename files option is set in Preferences).
  • Reveal In Finder (or Show Parent Directory under Windows) will show the location of the media file. (Reveal Proxy File is similar but shows the location of the proxy movie, if one exists.)
  • Launch In Default App will attempt to open the media file using whatever external application is associated with that file type. You can also drag a clip out of the CatDV main window onto an external application icon (exactly as if you were dragging a document icon in the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer).
  • With the tree navigator showing you can drag a clip onto a directory in the file system to move the media file (hold down the Alt/Option key to copy the file instead). You can also create, delete or rename folders by right clicking on nodes in the File System tree.

Proxies and thumbnails

If a media file is not currently available CatDV normally falls back automatically to play a low-res proxy version of the file instead.

  • Use Build Proxy Movies to build proxy movies for selected clips from the source movies using the current settings selected in Preferences.
  • Use Manage Proxy Movies to see which proxy files are available, or to delete or rename the previews for a tape.
  • Use Build Thumbnails to build new thumbnails for selected clips, eg. after changing the thumbnail size.

Manipulating QuickTime movies

While CatDV can catalog and play back many types of media file, including MPEG, AVI and MP4, some features are specific to QuickTime .MOV files.

  • Add Timecode Track will add (or replace) a timecode track to the movie based on the tape name and In timecode value of the clip. This simplifies using these movies in other QuickTime-aware applications. (Use the Manage Proxy Movies command to add timecode to a proxy movie, and see the section on exporting movies for details on how to add a text track.)
  • Adjust Frame Size allows you to adjust the playback size of one or more QuickTime movies. This can be useful if a movie plays at the wrong aspect ratio when imported into another application. Note that only the playback size is affected, it does not re-render the movie.

The commands above will directly modify the QuickTime movie itself to affect how they play in other applications (they don’t re-render the media however, just change some movie settings).

You can also affect how media files are displayed within CatDV using the Rotate Left, Rotate Right and Toggle Widescreen commands, and by editing the Aspect ratio field for a clip. This information is stored in the CatDV catalog and doesn’t alter the media file.

Media/file information dialog

Normally a media file is analysed at the time when you import it and metadata describing the file is added to your catalog. The Media/File Information command can be used to check the contents of a file directly, whether or not it’s in your catalog (for example, you might choose a file using the tree navigator).

When you open the Media Information dialog the file is opened using either QuickTime or JMF, and technical information (including the audio and video codec and details of any dropped frames) for the file is shown. Even if it’s not a media file that can be opened then basic information is still shown about the file, for example if it’s a text file the contents are shown, or for binary files you get a hex display of the data.