May 2001

Recently we completed a preliminary rough-cut of our documentary feature film Villisca: Living With a Mystery and we decided to watch it from beginning to end.  As you may know, that's impossible to do on a flatbed editor that allows the viewing of only about twenty minutes of film between reel changes.  A professional video transfer of our film would have cost several hundred dollars and all we needed was something we could use for reference.

We chose a "home-brewed" transfer process using a digital video camcorder and our Steenbeck editor.  While the quality of this technique leaves something to be desired, it more than adequately served our viewing needs.  By watching the entire film we were able to see how the story is flowing and how all the parts work together to form a cohesive whole.  We were very pleased and encouraged by what we saw and the experience will empower us as we move closer to a completed rough-cut.


To grab the picture we set up our Sony DCR-TRV11 Mini DV (digital) camcorder on a short "shooters" tripod (something we found at a yard sale for a couple of bucks) and aimed it at one of the editor's screens.  We set the focus manually and used an in-camera effect called "slow shutter" to diminish the flicker of film.  We used the flip-out video screen rather than the electronic viewfinder to monitor the transfer.

Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad appears onscreen.

Sync sound was obtained by plugging one of the editor's speaker wires into a phono plug to 1/8" phone jack attenuator (the red plug reduces the signal strength to the proper level) and then into a mono to stereo 1/8" adapter.  This contraption then plugs into the camera's microphone input.  We plugged headphones into the green connector on the camera to monitor the transfer.

Robert Moore, Jr., the great nephew of the murdered Joe Moore, appears onscreen.

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