The Professional Edition has automatic support for importing image sequences, where folders of consecutively numbered still images (such as might be produced by animation software) are treated as a single movie.
An image sequence is a special type of clip that has references to all the images within it. An image sequence is created automatically when you import a directory if all the files within it appear to be numbered consecutively starting from zero. You can also create an image sequence manually using the Import As Image Sequence command, available in the File menu or by right clicking on a folder in the file system tree.
Several settings in the advanced tab of Preferences relate to image sequences:
- The Image sequence file filter is a filename pattern that must occur in a directory for it to be automatically treated as an image sequence. (If you leave it blank the files must be numbered starting from 0 or 1. If you set it to ‘.jpg’ any folder containing 4 or more consecutively numbered JPEGs will be accepted, and so on.) Set this option to ‘disable’ to turn off automatic image sequence detection altogether.
- The Image sequence frame rate is the default frame rate. You can edit it subsequently by editing the Frame Rate value of the image sequence metaclip.
- If you set the Create reference movies option then CatDV will attempt to create a QuickTime reference movie representing the entire image sequence whenever you import an image sequence into the catalog. The reference movie has the name of the sequence followed by ‘#Ref.mov’ and is placed alongside the image files. Although CatDV can play the image sequence without needing this file, it is useful to have a reference movie if you want to use the image sequence in another application.
If image files are added (or removed from) the directory then the image sequence is updated automatically.
Image sequences are a special type of metaclip. If you need to group clips or files which should always be treated as one together, or if you simply want to reduce “clutter” in a catalog, then you can “collapse” or “stack” a number of clips into a single metaclip.
Do this by selecting the clips you want to combine and using the Convert To Metaclip command. The clips then appear as a single metaclip. You can view the individual clips within a metaclip by selecting it in the Metaclips folder in the tree navigator, and can remove a metaclip and detach all the clips so they reappear in the catalog again by right clicking on the metaclip in the tree. You can also rearrange the order of clips in a metaclip, move new clips to it, or detach individual clips by dragging and dropping clips and using the tree navigator.
Using the tree navigator (right click on the project node) you can import a Final Cut project as a metaclip containing the project file and all the clips and sequences within the project.
If you have a Panasonic P2 volume structure or a folder of Avid MXF files the video and audio data for a clip are normally stored in separate files. When you import these files CatDV automatically matches up the associated video and audio files and creates a single “MXF metaclip” so that the audio and video can be played back in sync (this features requires the CatDV MXF Option, and assumes you have the appropriate codecs installed). You can also create metaclips for XDCAM clips.
As with metaclips you create yourself, you can view the individual files that go to make up the metaclip through the tree navigator.
In most cases you can treat MXF
metaclips just like normal clips, for example you can edit them into a sequence, send them over to Final Cut as a merged clip, or copy them to copy all the files within them.