CatDV is a cross-platform media cataloging and video logging tool. The CatDV product family has several members, all sharing the same basic user interface but with different features:
- CatDV Standard Edition
- CatDV Professional Edition
- CatDV Professional Edition with Workgroup Server
- CatDV Enterprise Edition with Enterprise Server
- CatDV Pegasus
This reference guide describes all these versions. When there are differences these are indicated in the text.
CatDV will import and catalog media files and movies in most popular formats, including:
- still images (JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, PSD, DNG, RAW, DPX, CR2, etc.)
- audio formats (MP3, AIFF, AU, AAC, WAV, M4A, etc.)
- video formats (QuickTime MOV, MP4, WMV, AVI, MPEG, DV, MXF, etc.)
Media files are indexed with thumbnails, not just for the whole file but for each scene. Unlike many other cataloging applications, CatDV is aware of timecode and knows about scenes within a movie file, so as well as media files it will also import:
- video editing capture logs and projects (Final Cut Pro, Premiere, etc.)
- other interchange formats (edit decision lists, tab-separated text, XML, XMP/IPTC, etc.)
With the Professional Edition you can also import arbitrary files of any type into the catalog, not just media files but also related supporting files such as spreadsheets, Word documents or project files.
CatDV helps you to keep track of which video clips are where on a tape (and which projects they are used in) by maintaining a catalog of clips. CatDV lets you organise digital camera images and MP3s as well as digital video, providing a common interface to locate and manage all your digital media.
To make it easy to organise your media, each clip is annotated with metadata (ie. data about your media) that can be used for searching and sorting the catalog. This includes both technical metadata (such as file path, audio sample rate, video format, date and time of recording, or camera exposure details) which are extracted automatically from the media file, and annotations and log notes explicitly entered by the user (such as clip name, description, project, or clip status). Once extracted, this metadata is cached in a CatDV catalog file (or a central database if using the workgroup server), and therefore provides a permanent and instantly accessible record even if the original file is offline (eg. on removable media).
Logging and scene detection
To simplify logging the contents of a tape and creating a first rough draft of an edited program, CatDV supports automatic scene detection of captured footage, or you can create your own subclips. You can review each clip and enter a name and keywords describing the scene, mark it as “good” or not, and enter “in” and “out” points to select portions of interest within the clip. Use the Verbatim Logger to type in spoken dialog (perhaps to create subtitles) or other comments while a clip is playing.
Full-resolution video files are very large and it is often impractical to keep them all online at the same time. Even if the original files are online on your edit machine(s), they may be inaccessible to other machines on the network. CatDV will create low-resolution preview movies to show the contents of clips when the original media files are off-line. You can do most of your work with the previews, then relink to the media based on file path when necessary, or generate capture logs for use with the batch capture capability of your editing application if you are using a tape-based workflow.
Although CatDV is not intended as a full editing application, you can create a simple composition or sequence by trimming and concatenating together clips of interest. All editing is non-destructive as CatDV deals with references to your media files.
You can export clips or sequences as either self-contained or QuickTime reference movies, or you can convert a movie using a different codec, for example to create a web movie, perhaps adding subtitles or a burnt-in timecode at the same time. You can batch convert multiple movies in one operation.
Several unique utility functions are provided, such as a convenient timecode calculator, or adding a burnt-in security camera-style date and time display. CatDV will analyse most media files and display detailed technical information about the file, including the format of individual tracks, frame durations, sample counts, and an analysis of dropped frames, helping you to diagnose capture and playback problems. You can also print catalogs, display them as HTML, and more.
Using the optional CatDV Server, backed by a powerful relational database engine, you can store clip details in a central shared database, accessible via the local area network, thereby allowing different members of a team to work together.