Failure to power up

If Live Capture Plus fails to power up, check that your DV camcorder or deck is connected to your computer with a FireWire cable (also known as IEEE 1394 or iLink) and that the deck is switched on and a tape is loaded. Make sure that no other video editing applications such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro are open, then unplug and reconnect the FireWire cable while the deck is still switched on. Make sure that you disconnect any other FireWire devices, such as iSight or other webcams. Finally, if Live Capture Plus still fails to power up, then try restarting your computer.

Live Capture Plus for Mac is only compatible with Macintosh computers with built-in FireWire ports, running Mac OS X 10.3 or later. Live Capture Plus for Windows requires Windows XP SP 2 or Windows Vista with a DirectShow/OHCI-compatible FireWire interface.

Intermittent capture errors

If you get intermittent capture errors or the deck going offline unexpectedly, make sure you don’t have any other FireWire devices in use on your bus at the same time. Connect the deck directly without going through a FireWire hub and on the Mac make sure background processes such as Spotlight indexing and Time Machine backups are turned off.

Tape errors

If you find you keep getting tape errors and excessive retries when capturing then some things you can try include: making sure no other software is running, replacing your FireWire cable, removing any obvious sources of electrical interference, cleaning your tape heads, or capturing to a different disk (an external drive may be too slow, for example, or a volume may be heavily fragmented). It is also possible that the tape you are capturing is damaged, or your deck’s heads are worn, resulting in tape drop outs.

Pausing at end of each scene

It is normal for the tape to pause for a few moments at the end of each scene while the previous clip finishes being compressed if you check the “Minimise compression queue” setting. Even with modern processors it is not usually possible to compress using a high performance codec such as MPEG4 in real time at the same time as capturing. Compressing each scene incrementally avoids a long wait when the end of the tape is reached, and also minimises the amount of disk space needed for temporary storage at full DV resolution.

Capturing both full quality DV and CatDV previews at the same time

It is not possible to directly convert a captured clip to more than one destination format at the same time. However, there are solutions that will enable you to capture both full quality and proxy files, depending on which editing software you use:

If you want to capture standalone DV files (for editing within Final Cut) and also create CatDV previews then you need to use CatDV to build the previews. Within Live Capture Plus you should choose “Standalone files” as the capture type and “Full Quality DV (.mov)” as the format preset, and also make sure you select the “Create CatDV catalog” setting. This will create a CatDV catalog that refers to the DV files (already converted to a form suitable for use in Final Cut). You can then create preview versions from within the CatDV application.

If you are using iMovie then you can use Live Capture Plus to compress the previews, but you should select the “Don’t delete DV stream” setting. This will preserve the raw DV stream files that Live Capture Plus creates as part of the capture process. While DV streams are compatible with iMovie they are not directly suitable for use with Final Cut Pro as it needs to render them before use.

Camera window doesn’t show what’s being captured

The camera window is also used when logging and doesn’t always show the picture coming from the deck. If the Logging panel is on an earlier clip then the thumbnail for that clip is shown. You can switch back to monitoring the picture for the clip that’s currently being captured by selecting Current Clip from the Logging menu. You also need to enable the “Monitor video while capturing” option. If you have stopped capturing but the window still isn’t showing the picture from the camera, press the “Show Camera” button.

Automatic scene and subject detection doesn’t work

Live Capture Plus will only detect separate shots if the tape was originally recorded in DV. If it was dubbed to DV from another source, if you capturing via a DV converter, or if you are playing back a Hi8 tape with a Digital8 deck, then the DV start/stop bits which Live Capture Plus uses won’t be present. Similarly, the automatic grouping of related clips into events is based on the date information stored with each DV frame. If the material wasn’t originally shot in DV, or if the camera clock was not set at the time of recording, then the date information will not be available. Make sure you set your camera clock before recording anything! (Note however that the separate CatDV Pro application has a command to perform image-based scene detection.)

Catalog panel isn’t showing

The Catalog side panel which lists all the clips that have been captured so far in the current catalog is only shown if you are creating a CatDV catalog. Edit your settings and restart Live Capture Plus if necessary.

Can’t open or add to an existing catalog

Live Capture Plus is designed for capturing straight from tape and creating a simple catalog or index file. As such it doesn’t include support for opening and editing existing catalogs. However, you can use the new “auto-append” feature to send clips to CatDV which will add them to an existing catalog for you. (If CatDV isn’t running then the clips will be saved to a temporary file and automatically appended when you next open the destination catalog.)

Can’t save catalog without closing it

The catalog window shows clips in the current logging session. They are saved to their final destination when you close the session within Live Capture Plus. (You can think of the catalog window as an “Out Box” of clips waiting to be sent on to CatDV as soon as you’ve finished capturing a tape.)

If you’re worried about the risk of losing data, note that your clips are constantly and automatically saved to a temporary file in your home directory while logging progresses. If the application unexpected quits for any reason they will be loaded into an untitled catalog next time you launch CatDV.

Compression continues after tape has stopped

It is normal for compression to continue for a while after the tape has stopped. During capture, the raw DV stream from tape is first written to disk as a temporary file and is then converted to the desired format (eg. MP4) by a separate compression process. You can control whether compression starts while the tape is still playing via the Live Capture Plus settings.

Temporary files left on disk

While capturing, Live Capture Plus creates various temporary files in the capture destination. Such files always include “$$$” in the name. They are automatically renamed or deleted at the end of the compression process but if the capture or compression is interrupted for some reason, such as a system crash or quitting the application before compression is complete, then it is possible that these temporary files will remain on disk. Live Capture Plus will prompt you to delete such files next time it is launched.

Can’t capture HDV

HDV uses inter-frame compression and a very different coding scheme from DV which means that the unique capturing features of Live Capture Plus aren’t directly applicable to HDV. You can still use Live Capture Plus however. Set your camera or deck to downconvert HDV to DV on playback (this is usually a menu option on the deck) and capture entire tapes as CatDV previews to build up a catalog of the tapes, complete with metadata. You can then select clips and even edit with the proxies and only need to batch re-capture those clips used in your timeline at HDV quality for the final render.

Missing audio (Windows)

Unfortunately, due to patent licensing issues, the QuickTime AAC audio codec is not available under Windows (even if you have a QuickTime Pro license). As a result, if you choose any of the MPEG-4 file formats (which all use AAC audio) you will capture video but the audio will be missing. Instead, capturing QuickTime movies with either H264 or Photo-JPEG video, and either uncompressed or IMA 4:1 audio, works well under Windows.

CatDV previews and archives

CatDV tape-based previews are low-resolution proxies (typically 320×240 or less) that are intended to be kept online as a permanent record of your DV tapes. They are managed by the CatDV application (available separately) and it is important that you don’t rename or move these files yourself or they will stop working as preview files.

CatDV preview files can be stored in one two ways, as regular files in a tape folder under the CatDV tape-based preview folder, or as a self-contained preview archives. Normal previews can be shared between several catalogs, whereas preview archives combine the preview movies with a CatDV catalog containing metadata index of the previews, including any comments or keywords you enter to describe the clips. By default preview archives are saved in the same place as your other catalogs but, because they are self-contained, they do not need to be kept in a particular folder and can be moved or archived, eg. to CD-ROM.

Preview archives are stored as a Mac OS X bundle or directory with file extension “.cdvp”. In normal use you should never need to access individual files within the archive but you can do so if necessary by right clicking on the archive in the Finder and selecting “Show Package Contents”.


Before you can capture with Live Capture Plus you need to edit the settings to choose the type of capture you want, the destination drive and folder, and also enter a tape name. If the combination of settings you choose is not recommended a warning message is displayed. You can disregard the warning if you want to, but if you do the capture results you get may not be optimal. Use File > Restore Defaults to restore the settings to their factory defaults, and also to clear the recent tape names drop down list. If you use CatDV then certain settings, such as the location of CatDV preview files, are automatically read from the CatDV preferences.

Status line

The status line at the bottom of the main window provides visual feedback on the current capture state and other diagnostic information. There are three areas: a main message area, a display of the current tape seek state, and a progress bar showing how much of the current clip has been compressed. Any error or warning messages appear in the main message area. Because several messages may appear in quick succession you can display a drop down list to review the most recent messages. Messages are also written to a log file (in the ~/Library/Logs folder on the Mac, or your AppData folder under Windows) that may be useful for diagnostic purposes.

Technical support

If you still experience difficulties with Live Capture Plus, please contact Please include precise details of any errors or other messages which are displayed, including any relevant details from the log file.