Professional Edition

Professional Edition Features

The Professional Edition has several features over and above the Standard Edition:

Networked operation
The Professional Edition has an additional Server menu that contains commands to share catalogs with other users and search for clips across catalogs in a central clip database when used with the optional Workgroup or Enterprise Server.
Enhanced searching and filtering
The Professional Edition features a powerful, completely new query dialog, used for both searching within a catalog and when performing remote queries against the workgroup database. Queries can contain any number of terms, be combined with logical OR and AND operations, and include regular expressions. Queries can also be named and saved for future use. There is a new toolbar Filter drop down that can be used to apply a named clip filter to the window. The Professional Edition also features a powerful Search and Replace tool that allows textual replacements to be made across any logging field, including regular expression pattern matching.
Sequence editing
The Professional Edition has support for creating and editing simple sequences, allowing a producer to make a rough cut pre-edit of shots to use and then send an EDL over to the edit suite for finishing, for example.
Unlimited user defined fields
The Professional Edition allows you to create an unlimited number of user-defined fields, compared with the standard number of three. These can be used to record details such as videographer, producer, project, location, and so on. Each field can store up to 64K of text and is fully searchable.
Final Cut Pro integration
The Professional Edition lets you send clips and sequences to and from Final Cut projects complete with metadata and subclip information.
Improved importers and exporters
The Professional Edition supports several additional file formats, including Final Cut Pro, Avid, dpsVelocity, OMFI media files, and XML. MXF support is available as an extra option. You can create image sequences and metaclips, and catalog arbitrary file types such as Word documents or project files as well as media files.
Analog scene detection
The Professional Edition lets you perform automatic scene detection on clips subsequent to them being imported, via a separate Detect Scenes command, and also lets you tune the sensitivity for this operation. This is useful if too many false scene changes are detected, or if scene changes are missed with the default setting.
Timezone adjustments
To allow footage from different cameras, perhaps shot at different locations around the world, to be accurately correlated by date the Professional Edition has a Timezone Adjustment command allows the date to be adjusted based on timezone and camera clock differences.
JKL jog-shuttle keys
The Professional Edition supports the use of standard JKL keys to play media backwards or forwards at different speeds in both the clip details dialog, in the media dialog and when playing full screen.
Additional clip fields
To support these features and more, the Professional Edition supports several additional columns. These include Aux T/C (which displays the user-settable timecode field supported by some DV cameras), GMT Date, Location Date, Location Timezone, Clock Adjustment, Catalog and Catalog Notes.
Customisable proxy settings
In Preferences you can customise the size of proxies and the compression setting used in addition to using one of the presets.
Customisable clip details panel
You can customise which fields are shown in the clip details panel and define new tabs.
Other Professional Edition features
Use the Verbatim Logger to enter log notes while a movie is playing. Create Image sequences and metaclips to treat multiple files as a single clip.


The Professional Edition has support for creating and editing sequences. A "sequence" is a special type of clip that contains a sequence of clips in order. It corresponds to a simple timeline or cuts-only edited program.

A sequence is created:

  • when you import an EDL
  • when you import a Final Cut Pro XML file, OMFI file, or Cinestream project containing sequence information
  • when you select some clips and use the Create Sequence command
  • when you drag clips onto the Sequences node in the tree navigator.

A number of Preferences options control the creation of sequences when importing a file, for example whether to include audio tracks separately and what duration stills should have when added to a sequence.

The sequence window is also used when you use View Tape As Sequence or use the Create Real-Time Sequence command, which places clips on a timeline according to the time of day and can simplify lining up multicamera shoots if the camera clocks were set correctly.

Editing sequences

Double click a sequence clip to open it in a special sequence window. When you edit a sequence the clip details panel changes to show Source and Record playback windows with a timeline below.

The Source window (on the left) shows the current selected clip:

  • If you select a clip in the sequence you can trim its duration by adjusting the in and out points. The sequence will increase or decrease in length accordingly. The window is labelled Trim.
  • If you select a new source clip from the catalog that you want to add to the sequence (perhaps as the result of searching for more material to add) the window label changes to Source. You can set In and Out points and then cut it to the sequence.

The Record window (on the right) is labelled Sequence and shows the entire sequence:

  • You can scrub through the sequence and mark In and Out points to delete part of the sequence.
  • Switch to the Details tab to change the name or add a comment to the whole sequence.
  • Use the Clip List tab to list individual clips in the sequence, including their timecode and duration.

The timeline shows all the clips in the sequence as a continuous timeline, complete with thumbnails and clip name:

  • Click on a clip in the timeline to select the entire clip. You can then trim or remove the clip from the sequence.
  • Click just above the clip (where the timecode and tick markers are shown) to move the current play head (indicated by a vertical red line) to that point.
  • Drag the ends of the dark grey selection indicator to adjust the selection within the sequence (In and Out points).
  • Rearrange the order of clips by dragging and dropping them within the sequence.
  • The toolbar buttons below the timeline let you close the sequence window, select large or small thumbnails in the timeline, and zoom in and out.

The following commands appear in the Sequences menu:

  • Load Source Clip will display the clip you select in the timeline as a source clip, so you can change the In and Out points and use it again at another point in the sequence.
  • Toggle Subclip Limits affects source clips and is available whether you are editing a sequence or not. It turns a subclip into a master clip that refers to the whole media file, and back again (the original subclip limits are saved as a selection using In2/Out2).
  • Remove Subclip Limits is similar but applies when trimming clips in a sequence.
  • Normally a sequence has a single track representing both video and audio locked together. With the Edit Tracks command you can add extra tracks or change the type of existing tracks for multi-track editing.
  • The Sequence menu also has commands to zoom in and out of the timeline and to cycle through the tabs in the Source and Record windows.

An easy way to list the sequences in a catalog is using the Sequences node in the tree navigator.

Keyboard shortcuts

Many familiar keyboard shortcuts are available when editing sequences, including:

Deldelete selection from sequence and shift remainder up
Shift-Delerase selection from sequence leaving a gap
Enterappend the clip in the source window to the end of the sequence
\insert the source clip into the sequence at the current playhead position or replacing an existing selection, shifting the remainder up
/overwrite the sequence, replacing an existing selection with the source clip. This performs a 3-point edit, ie. if you select in and out points in the sequence to be overwritten then the appropriate amount of material from the source clip will be used.
J, K and Lcontrol playback
I and Omake a selection by marking In and Out points
Shift-I or Oclear the corresponding In or Out pont
Xselect the current clip in the sequence (based on where the playhead is), ie. set In and Out points around the clip
Shift-Xclear the selection
FMatch frames, ie. jump to the frame in the trim window that corresponds to the current frame in the sequence window
Up and Down arrowmove to previous or next interesting time (edit point)
Ctrl/Cmd Pplay the selection in a new window
Ctrl/Cmd + and -zoom in and out of the timeline
Ctrl/Cmd \automatically scale the timeline to fit window width
Ctrl/Cmd Zundo the last edit

See the Sequence menu or hover the mouse over the buttons below the Source and Record windows for details of additional shortcuts (tool tips).

Some of these shortcuts apply to whichever one or other of the Source or Record windows has keyboard focus at the time. Click on the movie player or use Ctrl/Cmd-2 or Ctrl/Cmd-4 to switch between the two windows and observe which tab has a darker background.

Other functions that affect how the timeline is shown are available via the buttons below the timeline, including the size and number of thumbnails that are shown, and whether to use a static playhead when playing the sequence movie.

Printing sequences

There are two ways of printing the clips in a sequence, depening on whether you want to display the original source timecode or the timecode of the clip based on where it is placed within the sequence:

  • If you want to print the source timecode, open the tree navigator, choose the sequence you want (under the Sequences node), then right click and select View In New Window. You can then configure the type of view (List, Filmstrip or Grid, and which fields you want displayed) and use Print > Current View.
  • If you want to print the sequence timecode, again use the tree navigator but this time right click and choose View Clips before printing the current view.

Additional information

The In and Out point of a clip usage in a sequence refers to its timecode within the timeline. If you are interested in source timecode you can drag and drop (or copy and paste) a clip usage out from a sequence into a regular window and it will create a new secondary clip referring to the relevant source.

If you import a sequence from an EDL and the sequence doesn't play because it doesn't link its media files you can use Link To Source Clips in the Tools menu to automatically repair the sequence. This command will look for matching clips in the catalog (based on tape name, clip name and timecode) and link to those clips.

Once you have created a rough cut sequence in CatDV you can render it by exporting it as a movie. You can also export a sequence as an EDL or Final Cut Pro XML file for subsequent editing in your NLE editing application.

The original sequence editing dialog available in earlier versions of CatDV is still available if you right click on a sequence in the tree navigator and choose Edit In New Window.

Please note that the basic sequence editing provided in CatDV is not intended to replace a regular video editing application. CatDV provides cuts only editing, with no support for effects or transitions and only limited support for separate audio and video tracks, but in many cases this is all you need.

Verbatim Logger

With the Verbatim Logger you can type in text while a movie plays and link text to the current time in the movie by inserting event markers. You can use the Verbatim Logger in different ways:

  • As a logging tool, to create subclips by inserting subclip markers at specified points
  • To prepare a transcript of a movie
  • As a quick way to create simple subtitles.

To use the Verbatim Logger, select a master clip in your catalog and then open the Verbatim Logger window. A movie player is shown to the left of the window, with a text area to the right. While the movie is playing you can type text in to the text area and use special keyboard shortcuts to play or pause the movie or insert the current timecode value into the text.

Movie control

As well as shortcuts to play and pause the movie you can also define keys to back up or advance the movie by a few seconds, to increase or decrease the playback speed, or to provide JKL controls. If you click on a marker in the text area the movie will jump to that point.

Inserting markers

You can define keyboard shortcuts or use the Subclip and Event buttons to insert a marker with the current timecode value into the text. When you close the Verbatim Logger window by pressing the Apply button, subclip markers will create a new subclip at that point, while event markers will create a timecode event marker. In each case the text following the marker relates to that timecode. You can also insert the timecode into the text itself.

Saving as text

Instead of creating subclips or timecode event markers you can save the text you type in as plain text in the clip's Notes field by pressing the Save Text button. The Copy Text is similar but will copy the entire text to the clip (for example, if you need to paste a transcript into a Word document).

Conversely, if you have already created a transcript with timeecode markers in it in this format using another application, you can paste it into the Verbatim Logger window using the Paste Special button.

When saving or pasting text in the Verbatim Logger, a special format is used for markers. Subclip markers appear as a line containing the timecode in square brackets, while event markers contain the timecode on a line on its own. The clip name can be set if you have a line beginning ":Name: ", followed by the name. You can set other fields in a similar way, for example :Bin:, :Notes:, :User1:

Keyboard macros

You can define up to ten keyboard shortcuts for common keywords (such as the name of a character) and map these to ten consecutive keys, such as the numeric keypad digits, F1 through F10, or a two key combination such as Ctrl-A followed by the digits 0 through 9. When you press the key (or key combination) the macro text is inserted into the text area.

If you precede the macro text with an asterisk '*' then an event marker is created at that point. For example, you could define F1 as "*Penalty" and F2 as "*Goal" and use these to quickly log events in a football match.

Defining shortcuts

You can configure the keyboard shortcuts to control the movie and insert timecode markers using the Settings button. In general you need to use special keys (for example function keys, the Tab key, or a modifier combination such as Ctrl-J/K/L) for these functions because the normal keys are used to type descriptive text into the text area.

When defining shortcut keystrokes (or key combinations) you need to enter the name of the key according to a special scheme. The following examples illustrate the names you can use:

"F1", "alt SPACE" (ie. Alt key and space bar), "NUMPAD0" (numeric keypad 0), "CAPS_LOCK", "TAB", "shift TAB", "ctrl A", "ctrl PERIOD" (ie. Control key and full stop), "alt COMMA", "ENTER", "BACK_SLASH", etc.

The following modifiers are supported: "shift", "alt", "ctrl" and "meta" (the Cmd key on Mac OS X, not available on Windows).

Time of day logging

If you open the Verbatim Logger without selecting a movie then a free running time of day timecode clock is shown, allowing you to type text and insert markers linked to the current time. You can also enter your own start timecode, or '0' to start a free-running clock from 0:00:00:00.

Image sequences and metaclips

Image sequences

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.

MXF Metaclips

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.

Workgroup Features


To use the networked features of CatDV you need to purchase and install the separate CatDV Workgroup Server (or Enterprise Server) product. This is available for various server platforms and databases. You also need a Professional Edition license for each client that will be using the server. This page describes basic networking features common to the Workgroup and Enterprise editions of the CatDV Server, while the next page details the Enterprise Server.

Because most Internet firewalls block access to non-standard ports you normally need direct access to the server machine from each client machine via a local area network.

Initially the Server menu is configured in a safe mode to allow querying only. Commands which can write data to the server are disabled by default but you can enable these via Preferences if required.

Please read the Server Release Notes for details on how to set up the CatDV Server, including the Live HTML Publisher or Web Client if you have that, and for additional notes on how to work with the server.

Connecting to the server

Use the Log On To Server command in the Server menu and enter the hostname or IP address of the machine running the CatDV Server. When you press OK you will be connected to the server and the other Server menu commands will be enabled, or you may see a message that a connection failure occurred.

If you use the Enterprise Server you will also need to log on by typing in your CatDV user name and password. (You can connect without logging on but will only have limited access to the server.)

To check that you have established a connection with the server program view the Server Status under the Server Admin Panel to display some statistics about the operation of the server, such as how many catalogs and clips are contained in the remote database.

If you predominantly use CatDV connected to the server rather than standalone then you can configure it so the Server Shortcuts window is displayed on startup, providing convenient shortcuts for connecting to the server, performing queries and so on.

Publishing catalogs

If you have created catalogs and saved them locally on your hard disk you need to publish them to make them available to other users via the shared database. (Once they are stored in the shared database you no longer need the local catalog files, though you may choose to keep these files somewhere as a backup or in case you need access to them when the server is unavailable. Once published to the database you should make all your changes there, however, rather than in the local files, as the local files will not be kept in sync with the database.)

You publish a catalog by opening it and then using the Publish Catalog command. This will publish the catalog from the current window (even if you have just created it and it has never been saved to disk - if you don't require a local copy you can then close the window without saving changes).

You can also publish an entire directory full of catalog files directly from your local hard disk by using the Bulk Publish Catalogs command.

Opening a remote catalog

Use the Browse Database command to view a list of all the catalogs in the remote database, including a short summary of the contents of each catalog. You can open a catalog by double clicking its name in the list. From this window you can also delete catalogs, or search for all the catalogs containing a particular keyword (in either the catalog description or the clip details).

You can also view remote catalogs via the Server node in the tree navigator. When you click on a catalog name you initially get a quick read-only view of clips in that catalog. To open the catalog fully you should right click and choose Open for editing.

Querying the remote database

Use Perform Query to enter search criteria to search for matching clips across the entire remote database. A window is displayed containing the query results, combining all the clips that match, even if they come from different catalogs.

You can play the clips, export them as a movie or send them to your editing application, print them out, or make changes to the clips returned, perhaps adding new logging annotations and then publishing the changes back to the remote database. You can also save a copy of the query results to a new local catalog file if you want.

Managing catalogs

Although all the clips in the remote database are stored in the same place, for convenience they are still grouped into logical groupings called catalogs. You should normally create separate catalogs for each tape, or perhaps each shoot or each project, rather than trying to store all your clips in one large catalog. This will make it easier to manage your clips. For example, you can use the Delete Catalog command in Browse Catalogs to delete a catalog from the database. (You also minimise the risk of creating a catalog that is too large to open reliably if you only have limited memory available.)

You can move clips from one catalog to another by dragging and drop them using the tree navigator.

If you have a lot of catalogs you can arrange them into folders using the tree navigator. Right click on the server Catalogs node to create a new folder, then drag catalogs onto a folder to move them. (Organising remote catalogs into folders involves renaming them, with a forward slash character to separate folder names.)

Publishing changes

When you open a remote catalog or perform a query and are working with the query results you can edit the clips in your window exactly as if you were working on a normal local catalog file. However, rather than saving any changes to disk with Save Catalog, you normally want to update the clips in the remote database instead, for which you use the Publish Changes command.

You can add logging notes, change clip names, make selections, select new poster thumbnails, delete unwanted clips, split a clip into two or create new secondary clips, and all these changes will be saved when you publish the changes. You can also create brand new clips, eg. by importing a file or using New Log Entry, but only if you have opened a remote catalog, not if you are viewing query results, as in the latter case it is not defined which catalog the new clips belong to.

Keeping in synch with the server

Once you open a remote catalog you actually work on a local copy of the clips and thumbnails from that catalog in memory on your machine. If another user on your network edits these clips and publishes their changes to the database you can use Refresh Window to update your window with the latest version from the remote database. The time at which the contents of the window were last synchronised with the remote database is shown as part of the window title. If you have had a window open for a long time it's a good idea to refresh the window before starting to make any changes.

If you want to, you can set up automatic refreshes by entering a refresh period in the Advanced Functionality tab of Preferences. If somebody else has made changes to the catalog you are working on you will be prompted to load those changes. You can also enable tethering mode, where changes you make are automatically published to the server and changes from other people are automatically loaded if there is no conflict.

Resolving conflicts

If two users try to make changes to the same catalog or clips at the same time then only the first set of changes that are published will be saved to the remote database. The second person who attempts to publish changes will receive a warning message stating there were conflicting edits (eg. trying to add a comment to a clip which the previous user has just deleted). All the changes which can be saved without conflict are saved, and the main window is refreshed to show the current contents as per the remote database. Any clips which weren't able to be saved are displayed in a new unsaved changes window. The second user then needs to manually re-apply those changes in the main window, deciding whether and how to resolve any conflicts before trying to publish the changes again.

Re-publishing a catalog

If you publish a catalog with the same name and creation time as an existing catalog in the remote database (and your local catalog is newer than the one in the database) then you will overwrite that catalog in the database with the newer one. Normally you should always use Publish Changes, as this automatically merges your changes and attempts to resolve any conflicting edits.

If you saved a remote catalog locally for offline working, however, and now want to publish changes that you made you can do this by overwriting the catalog held on the server with the Publish Catalog command. If you do this any change history associated with the old catalog will be lost, and if another user has the same catalog open they will be unable to publish their changes.

Enterprise Features

The networked features of CatDV are provided in one of two editions of the CatDV Server. The features described below extend those of the regular Workgroup Server and are only available if you use the CatDV Enterprise Edition client with the CatDV Enterprise server.

Access control

The "Enterprise" version of CatDV supports access control. When using the Workgroup Server you do not need any special privileges to connect to the workgroup server and only the system user name (as used when logging on to the Mac OS X or Windows) is recorded in log files. With the Enterprise server, however, you can define your own CatDV users and groups and give them different permissions within the CatDV database.

First, an administrator will define different production groups (these might correspond to different projects or departments, for example "Drama", "Documentaries", and "Childrens"). The administrator can then create users and roles, and give them access to different groups as required.

See Roles and Permissions for more information.

Log In Details

Use the Log In Details dialog to connect to the server. If you use the Workgroup Edition you just use this dialog to configure the host name and port of the server, but if you use the Enterprise Edition you can also:

  • log on to the server, by entering your CatDV user name and password
  • change your CatDV password
  • change your default production group (when catalogs are saved to the server this is the group they will belong to unless it's subsequently changed).

Storing settings on the server

If you work on several productions it is likely that you will be using different user-defined fields, pick list values, and view layouts for each production. An administrator can set up their Preferences for a particular production and then save these settings to the server by right clicking on the production name in the Server tree. When a user logs on to a production group they can load the settings relevant to that group so they have the right values for the group they are working on.

Field definition sets

Normally, user-defined field names and pick list values are stored with the production group settings. You can save a set of these field definitions separately from the other production group settings, however, as a named field definition set, and then apply the same field definitions to multiple production groups. This is useful if you have a standard, enterprise-wide set of custom fields you want to enforce but still want to use different production groups (to manage permissions as part of a complex workflow, for example).

To edit and manage field sets use the Field Definitions tab of Preferences.

A field definition set consists of user-defined field names, metadata field settings (ie.whether Exif and QuickTime metadata fields are used for grouping or not), and pick list values for all these fields, as well as predefined categories for timecode event markers and field mappings used when importing and exporting data to Final Cut Pro.

To save the current field settings as a new named field definition set, click on Manage and then Save As. To link those field settings to another production group, edit the preference settings for the other group (by right clicking on that group in the tree) then click Manage and Load the field set you want to use. From then on the two production groups will share the same field settings.

Normally, only an administrator can edit the settings for a production group. You can allow other users to add new pick list values however (as these may be needed on a day by day basis) by giving them the "Edit pick lists" permission.

Production blog

Using the tree navigator you can create shared group documents on the server.

Group documents relate to a particular production and can be used as a powerful communications tool in a variety of ways, for example as a shared "to do list", a repository of team information such as telephone lists, a discussion forum, or a production "blog". A group document consists of a series of entries which can be made by different people, and can contain web URLs and links to specific clips as well as text.

  • To create a group document, right click on the production group and choose New group document, then enter a title and the initial message.
  • Click on an existing group document in the tree to see the message in the clip details panel.
  • Reply to an existing message or add a new message to the document using the buttons within the message. You can also add special links to clips or catalogs of interest by dragging them onto the document node, for example to tell other team members when a sequence is finished, or to tell them that a clip needs more work.
  • Each entry in the document is tagged by date and the person making the change. You can view the document by date or as a threaded conversation, just like a discussion forum or web blog.

Clip lists and smart folders

The tree navigator provides other mechanisms to select and mark clips of interest:

  • Clip Lists are folders of clips, similar to play lists. You can drag remote clips (from a catalog or query results) onto a clip list to add them to the list. When you do this you add a reference to the clip. A clip can be in more than one list, and deleting a clip from a clip list only deletes it from that list, it doesn't delete the clip from the server.
  • Smart folders are named queries. When you click on a smart folder in the tree all the matching clips are shown as a temporary read-only view. Just as with catalogs, you need to right click and Open for editing to open the clips properly so you can edit them. You can have local smart folders (saved in local preferences on your machine) or shared smart folders which are stored on the server and accessible to everyone in the production group. If you have a large number of smart folders you can organise them into folders by using a '/' character in the name.
  • Automatic grouping folders, or automatic smart folders, are an extension of grouping mode to the server and provide a convenient way to browse clips on the central database by keyword, format or other any other grouping field.

Server Admin Panel

The Server Admin Panel has four tabs:

  • Server Status, displays version information and statistics about the server, including size of the database
  • User Admin, allows you to create groups, roles and users and edit their access permissions
  • Audit Log, displays a log of messages recording significant events on the server (including errors, when users log on and off, and of major changes to data held in the database)
  • Connections, displays a list of currently connected clients.

In the audit log there may be two names shown in the "User" column. One is the Mac OS X or NT logon of the user who was running the CatDV application, the other is the CatDV user (if any) that they logged on to the server as at the time. Each object in the CatDV database (primarily users, groups, tapes and catalogs, but also individual clips and thumbnails) has a unique remote object id which is shown in the "Obj ID" column and can be used for searching the audit log for events relating to that object.

(In the Workgroup Edition client only the Server Status and Connections panels are available.)

Broadcasting Messages

From the connections tab you can send a short message (for example, telling users that the server is about to be shut down) to other CatDV users. If you select specific users from the list you can send them a private message. If you don't make a selection you can broadcast a message to all users. Note that users may not receive the message immediately, depending on the server poll frequency they have set in Preferences.

Tape Library Management

The Library Management window displays a list of all the tapes in the database. Each tape has information such as tape format, shelf location and a description which is stored against the tape record itself, not a particular clip or catalog record in the database.

While the Browse Database commmand lets you browse the contents of the database by catalog, with the Library Management window you can also browse the database by tape. Use the Find command to search for and list tapes, then use the Tape Details command to view or edit the tape information for a selected tape, such as its format or shelf location. Press View Clips to display all the clips belonging to that tape (or selected tapes). You can also print tape information from the library management screen (see the File and Edit menus for commands relating to tapes).

With the optional wireless barcode scanner you can simplify data entry, for example doing a stock take of which tapes are on which shelf:

  • If your tapes all have a unique barcode you can scan the barcode on a tape and press the Send button to send the barcode to the computer and bring up the details for that tape.
  • If you scan a special barcode and then the tape you can indicate that that tape has been checked out.
  • Finally, if you first scan a shelf label and then the barcodes of all the tapes on that shelf, you can easily update the location information for all your tapes in one operation.

You don't need to enter the library management screen to view a tape's details. You can also do Edit > Tape Details (or press Cmd/Ctrl-T) from the main window to view the tape details for a particular clip.

Advanced Workflows

For help designing advanced automated workflows, including the CatDV Worker Node and the Live HTML Publisher or Web Client web interfaces, please refer to the release notes included with the CatDV Server and the Worker Node or consult with your systems integrator or solution provider.

Roles and permissions

When using the CatDV Enterprise Server access to clips and catalogs on the server is governed by users, groups, roles and permissions.

Each catalog on the server is owned by a particular user and group. Each user who logs on to the system has a specific role. The role governs what access they have, depending on what permissions the role has in the catalog's group. (A role can define different permissions in different groups.)

The following permissions are available:

  • Read other users' catalogs (this lets you open all catalogs belonging to the group, not just those you own)
  • Create new catalogs in this group
  • Create new clips (whether you can import new clips or create new subclips within an existing catalog)
  • Edit own catalogs (if you don't have this permission catalogs become locked once they have been published to the server)
  • Edit other users' catalogs (this lets you edit any catalog belonging to the group)
  • Delete own clips (allows you to delete clips you own from a catalog)
  • Delete own catalogs
  • Delete others (allows you to delete other users' clips and/or catalogs within this group, in addition to those belonging to you)
  • Tape management (allows you to create and edit tape information)
  • User administration (allows you to create new users and change their permissions within this group)
  • System administration (allows you to create new groups and edit any permission, effectively the "super user")
  • Edit pick lists (allows you to edit pick list values for that group)
  • Edit locked fields (allows you to edit fields that have been marked as locked in the user-defined fields section of Preferences; normally such fields are read-only)

These permissions all apply to one particular group or "production". A role can have different permissions in different groups, giving you great flexibility in setting up access control if you need it. You can also give a role access to the special System Group; any permission you have in this group will apply to the entire database, regardless of which production group the catalog belongs to.

Differences from earlier versions

Roles are a new feature in CatDV 9. In earler versions of CatDV permissions and group membership were directly assigned to individual users, which meant that any permission changes had to be applied to each user in turn to keep them in sync. When you first switch to the new client and server, new roles are created automatically based on the existing permissions and given a name starting with '##'. You should review and consolidate these roles and give them more meaningful names as required.

If necessary, you can keep the old permissions scheme by unchecking the "User roles" option in the Server Control Panel.

Checking permissions

Use the Browse Database command to view the group and user that a catalog belongs to and whether you have permission to read, write or delete the catalog. The "Access" column summarises these permissions with the letters 'r', 'w' and 'd', while '-' indicates you don't have access. If you use the tree navigator catalogs are arranged in folders according to the production group they belong to.

Use the Show Info button to display the catalog information panel where you can change the user or group the catalog belongs to (if you have permission to edit the catalog).

If you still don't see the commands to publish catalogs or save changes, even though you think you should have permission to do so, there are several other things to check:

  • Check that the "Allow write access to server" option is checked in the "Server" Preferences page
  • Make sure you are not using a Browse Only client license.
  • If the status line shows you are in a read-only view and the clips are shown with a distinctive red background this means you are quickly previewing the contents of a catalog on the server without having fully opened it. Right click on the catalog in the tree or use the Server menu and choose the Open For Editing command.

User Admin Panel

When editing users and permissions, first create the group(s) you are interested in by going to the User Admin panel and clicking the '+' button in the Production Groups section (you will need to log on as a systems administrator to do this).

Next, you can define a number of system-wide roles, for example Systems Adminstrator, Group Adminstrator, Librarian, Logger, Producer, and so on. Again, click on the '+' button to do this. For now, just enter a role name.

Once you have created groups and roles you can assign a role to particular groups by giving that role permissions in that group. Select the production group and role you wish to link together, then click on the '+' button in the Role Permissions section. Once you do this you can click on the permissions you want users with that role to have in that group. (Remember that if you give a role permissions in the System Group that's shorthand for giving the role that permission in all groups.)

Finally, once you have created your production groups and defined your roles, you can create users and assign them to particular roles.

When you select a production group, all the roles which are members of that group (ie. have access to the group) are shown with a tick mark in the Member column. Conversely, if you select a role then all the groups it is a member of are shown with ticks in the production group Member column. Once you select a group and a role, both of which tick check marks, then you can view and edit the permissions of that role in that group.

Customising functionality for roles

When a user logs on to the system, if they are a member of more than one production group they choose which group they want to work in. Selecting a group loads the preference settings for that group, including settings such as proxy locations, user-defined field names, pick list values, and customised view layouts. If you check the Advanced user interface checkbox for that role then users with that role will always see the advanced toolbar, advanced tree and advanced tree regardless of what the group settings are.

In addition to this group-based customisation, the specific role of the user can override certain default settings for the production group. For example, a details panel layout called "Advanced" could be defined that is turned off for most users in the group and is only enabled for adminstrators.

Click the pencil button to edit a role and enter override settings, such as the names of tabs that are always to be shown or hidden for that role.

Enhanced query dialog

With the enhanced query dialog (Professional Edition only) you can build up complex queries and save them for use later. Use the same query dialog when searching for clips in the catalog locally or querying the remote database (with the optional Workgroup Server).

  • First, select the clip property to search on. This will display a list of operations based on the column type (text, timecode, date, or boolean).
  • Then, select the comparison operation, enter any parameters (such as the text to search for) and options (such as case sensitive comparison).
  • If you want to search on additional clip properties at the same time press Add term to add a new row. You can add as many terms as you want (though with more terms the query may take longer to execute).
  • Normally all the terms must match for a clip to be found (ie. the terms are combined by a logical 'AND' operation). If you check the 'OR' box then one (or more) of the 'OR' terms must match, as well as all the 'AND' terms.
  • Check the 'NOT' box to exclude clips matching that term.

Named queries

  • Press the Create button, then enter a name and press Save to save a named query.
  • Named queries are stored in the local preferences file and are available in later sessions. Select a previously saved named query from the drop down list to use it.
  • Check the Show in toolbar option to turn the query into a named filter that can be used to filter the clips shown in the main window.

Remote searches

When querying the remote database (with optional Workgroup Server only) you have the following options:

  • Return additional clips similar to the ones matched by the query.
  • Return all the thumbnails associated with a clip or just the poster thumbnail.
  • Press Find Clips to create a new query results window showing all the matching clips, regardless of which catalog they are in.
  • Press Find Catalogs to display a list of matching catalogs within the database, including a count of how many clips in each catalog match the query.

Local searches

  • When searching for clips locally within a catalog you can either move to the next matching clip or create a new window showing all the matches. See searching and filtering.
  • When doing local searches within a catalog you can set a Preferences option to use the simpler, Standard Edition query dialog instead if you prefer.
  • The Browse Catalogs command is provided to search across multiple catalogs locally on disk. Because the catalogs are not stored in a relational database, as they are with remote searches, the search capability provided is much less sophisticated however.

Simple query panel

You can toggle the query panel between advanced and simple mode by checking the Advanced box. In simple mode, the list of fields you can search on is predefined and you just need to type in the values to search for (or leave a field blank if you don't care what its value is). You can configure which fields are used for a simple search. If the simple search isn't flexible enough you can switch to an advanced search.

Regular expressions

In regular expressions many characters have special meaning to match particular groups of characters.

For example, '^' and '$' match the start and end of a line respectively, '.' matches any character, '[A-Za-z]' matches any upper case or lower case letter, '\s' or '[:space:]' means any white space character, '\d' or '[0-9]' or '[:digit:]' means any digit, '\S' means any visible (non-space) character, and '\b' matches a word boundary. '*' means the previous character can match any number of times (0 or more), '?' means it's optional (matches 0 or 1 times), and '+' means matches 1 or more times. To prevent one of these characters from having its special meaning precede it with a '\'. For example, 'h[ea]llo' or '(hello|hallo)' will match 'hello' or 'hallo', while '\(.*\)' will search for pairs of parentheses.

Using the Search and Replace tool you can search for a regular expression and use the results of that expression in the replacement. Any text that matches a sub-expression in the search term inside parentheses '(' and ')' can be inserted into the replacement text using '\1' for the first term and so on. For example, you could search for '^(\S+) (\S+)' and replace it with '\2 \1' to swap the first two words of each line, or search for '.*XXX.*' and replace it with nothing to delete all comments tagged with the text 'XXX'.

Smart Labels

Using smart labels you can simplify workflows by highlighting clips in different colours to indicate their status, for example green for approved, red for in progress. In your preferences you can define different labels and the background colour to use, and associate each label with a filter condition. These labels are dynamic and will change as soon as the clip is modified.

Filter conditions can be as simple or complicated as required. Often they will just match an existing pick list field, for example if clip Status is "Approved" then label the clip as "Approved", but they can also be linked to more complicated conditions, for example "if status is 'Logged' and archive status is blank then label the clip as 'Ready for archiving'".

Use the Edit Smart Labels command in the View menu to configure smart labels:

  • Use + and - and the up and down arrows to create or delete a smart label
  • Give each label a name (this is the value that is displayed when you customise your views and add the new Label column), a colour, and edit the filter condition for that label.
  • Use the up and down arrows to change the order in which smart labels are evaluated. The first matching condition determines the label. If no conditions match, the DEFAULT label is used.
  • Choose the appearance of labels, whether colour is displayed or not.

The quickest way to set up smart labels is using the "Auto" smart label wizard. This will create smart labels automatically based on any pick list or grouping field:

  • Choose whether to create labels based on the pick list values explicitly stored in the field definition set (the 'Pick Lists' section of preferences), on the actual distinct values of a grouping field for all the clips in the current catalog, or a combination of the two (including values recently seen in other catalogs)
  • Choose which field to base the labels on
  • Choose a colour scheme to use

An alternative mechanism which provides similar capabilities to smart labels is to create a user-defined field with a calculated field (or variable expression). Using calculated fields you can display multiple smart labels at the same time.

Additional Importers and Exporters

The Professional Edition (and/or CatDV Pegasus Client) support a number of additional file formats to the standard importers and exporters.

Batch lists and other formats

It supports the following additional importers, you can Import As:

  • Avid AVB Bin File (see Avid integration)
  • Avid AAF File
  • Avid ALE Log File
  • Final Cut Pro Batch List
  • Final Cut Pro XML File
  • Generic File
  • Image Sequence
  • MXF Media File
  • OMFI Media File
  • Panasonic P2 Clip
  • PDF Document
  • SRT Subtitle File
  • XDCAM Clip

Importing MXF media files or P2 and XDCAM metaclips requires the CatDV MXF Option. You might also require the Calibrated Tin Man player to play these files.

You can export clip lists in the following additional batch file formats. You can Export As:

  • Avid AAF File (see Avid integration)
  • Avid ALE Log File
  • CatDV XML v1 and v2 (see below)
  • dpsVelocity batch List (to export a DPS BRT file)
  • Final Cut Pro batch List
  • Final Cut Pro 7 XML File (for use with Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas)
  • Final Cut Pro X XML File

Final Cut Pro 7

Although Final Cut Pro 7 XML files have been obsoleted by Apple themselves, this file format is still used as an interchange format by other tools such as Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, or Sony Vegas. CatDV uses the user-defined fields in particular ways. By default, User 1 maps to Description, User 2 to Scene, User 3 to Shot/Take, User 4/5 to Comment A/B, User 6 to Label, User 7 to Label 2, User 8 to Capture, and User 9-12 map to Master Comment 1 to 4. You can customise these mappings in the Field Definitions tab of Preferences. For each Final Cut column choose which column in CatDV it maps to.

Final Cut Pro X

Apple's Final Cut Pro X application uses a completely different project format which is incompatible with FCP 7. Using FCPX XML it is possible to exchange clips and sequences between CatDV and FCP X, using the new .fcpxml file format which CatDV can read and write.

When exporting an FCP X XML file you can either export a list of clips (to create a new event in the FCP X Event Library) or export a single sequence (to create a new project in the FCP X Project Library, including any clips it depends on in a new event if necessary). You can't mix events and projects in the same .fcpxml file however. You can also go the other way and export an event or a project as an .fcpxml file from FCP X and import that into CatDV. As well as clips and sequences, metadata in the form of descriptions and timecode markers can be sent across.

CatDV XML Files (v1 and v2)

As well as Final Cut Pro XML files the Professional Edition supports its own CatDV-specific XML batch file format:

The Export as CatDV XML command exports details about the selected clips as an XML document. XML is useful as an interchange format if you need to import clip data (including metadata) into an external application such as a database.

Export as CatDV XML v.2 uses the newer CatDV XMLv2 file format, which supports all the latest CatDV metadata fields, including custom catalog and marker fields, full field identifiers, and more. It can even contain thumbnails, encoded in the XML as base64 data. Whenever possible you should use version 2 XML files rather than the older version 1 format.

The Export CatDV XML Index(es) command saves XML v1 file(s) containing any log notes or other information that you have entered for the selected clips. These file(s) are called index.xml and are stored in the directory with the media files. The purpose of these index files is to store any data that you enter, such as the description of a media file or orientation of a still, directly with the media files, in case the files are later moved or the catalog file is lost. When you import a media file any index.xml file in the same directory is checked and the information from it is automatically added to the clip as it is imported (for example, if you misplace the catalog file and import an archive created with the CatDV Archiving option).

The Import CatDV XML File command will import either CatDV XML v1 or v2 files. The format of CatDV XML Batch Files the same as the XML files that CatDV exports. See the CatDV Worker Node Release Notes for more details on using these files.

XML "sidecar" files

If you import a media file and there's an XML file with the same name alongside (eg. MyFile.mov and MyFile.xml or MyFile.mov.xml, sometimes referred to as a sidecar file) then CatDV will attempt to read additional metadata from the XML file and associate it with the movie. CatDV will create media metadata columns that match the names of tags or attributes in the XML file, providing a way to load data from other applications if they can export data as an XML file.

OMF and MXF Files

CatDV Pegasus Client, or CatDV Pro with the CatDV MXF Option, supports importing MXF media files as used by many professional cameras including Panasonic P2 cameras, Sony XDCAM, and others, and also by Avid Media Composer. If audio and video are stored in separate files an OpAtom MXF metaclip is created so they are automatically played in synch. Note that it may be necessary to install the Calibrated TinMan software to play certain MXF media. It also adds support for importing Avid's legacy OMF media files.

Generic files

So you can manage all the files that make up a project you can actually catalog any type of file (such as Word documents, spreadsheets, project files) in CatDV, not just media files.

  • To import non-media files you need to enable the Import all types of document option in Preferences.
  • A generic CatDV clip record is created for each such file. You can add your own comments and log notes to this record, and thus catalog all the supporting files needed for a project in the same way as your media files.
  • You can launch the file in its default application (as if you double clicked it in the Finder or Windows Explorer) with CatDV's Open With Default App command.
  • To help you search for non-media files in your catalog you can choose whether to Try to extract text from binary files. Any characters that look like meaningful text that is found near the start of the file is automatically extracted and stored in the Notes field. (Even though the file itself will often be in an inscrutable binary format it is common for useful text such as author or title of the document to appear in a header near the top of the document.)
  • When you import a directory only recognised media file types are imported unless you check the 'process all types of document' option in Preferences.

Pegasus Client Application

The CatDV Pegasus Client includes all the features of CatDV Pro and CatDV Enterprise Edition client, plus additional high-end features including:

  • The CatDV MXF Option
  • Support for Pegasus custom actions
  • Support for importing and reading metadata from .R3D files (for both RED ONE and RED Epic cameras) and creating a RED Metaclip that ties together all the files for one RDC clip
  • Native support for playing and transcoding RED clips
  • Support for importing, playing, and transcoding ARRI RAW image sequences
  • Discuss work that needs doing on a clip or project using social media style chat channels
  • Native support for viewing DPX, EXR and DNG images
  • Support for importing and exporting AAF files for integration with Avid Media Composer
  • Support for importing Avid AVB bin files
  • The CatDV Archive and Archive Library option
  • The ability to configure and then print out a clip using a custom label layout (available via the Print menu)
  • Support for playing and transcoding professional formats using the optional Tin Man application (from Calibrated Software Inc.)
  • Support for server-side plugins
  • User-defined field types for auto-suggest fields, and HTML- and JSON-formatted content

CatDV Pegasus Client is the flagship application in the CatDV product family, and any new premium features that might be introduced in future will always be added to the Pegasus Client first.

To read more about integration with Avid please see the next page.

AVID integration

The following features are available to provide integration between the Pegasus Client and AVID Media Composer.

Importing from Avid

To import data from AVID into CatDV:

  • The best way to import data from Avid is to directly import an Avid AVB bin file into CatDV Pegasus Client. This works for both AMA-linked and imported files. For AMA-linked files CatDV will link to the original file. For files imported into Avid CatDV will automatically link to the file if it knows where the Avid MediaFiles folder is. If not, use the Resolve MXF UMIDs command.
  • You can export clips and sequences from Avid as an AAF file and import that into a Pegasus Client window or use the Import As Avid AAF command.
  • You can directly import the Avid MediaFiles folder into CatDV to catalog the files. Metaclips that combine the video and audio files into a single asset are created, and metadata such as the Avid project name and the original source file that Avid imported the file from are shown.
  • You can import selected clips from an Avid bin by exporting them as an ALE file and then importing that into CatDV. Only those columns which are shown in your current view are exported so it's a good idea to create a special bin view in Avid that includes all the available columns for export. When you import an ALE file CatDV will automatically do a quick import of the corresponding media file and create thumbnails from it, if that file is available online. This is suitable for AMA-linked files, or if you want to play the original media file rather than the Avid MXF version. You can also enable the "Try to link to Avid media files" Import option, in which case CatDV will search the Avid MediaFiles folder for the appropriate file(s) and create an MXF metaclip.
  • You can import markers from Avid by selecting and copying the markers you want from the Avid "Markers" window, then select the clip in CatDV and right click on the header of the Event Markers table and choose the Paste from AVID command. (You need to do this one clip at a time.)
  • Using the Apply Log File command you can create subclips from an asset in CatDV based on logging you did in Media Composer. Export an ALE log file containing the subclips from Avid, then select the master clip that represents the entire file in CatDV and apply the log file to it.

When importing MXF and ALE files into CatDV various generic metadata fields will be filled in. You can either add the specific fields you are interested in to a customised details panel view or double click the "Metadata (Media)" row on the "Other" tab to see a complete list of all the metadata for a clip.

Exporting to Avid

To export data from Pegasus Client to Avid:

  • Select the clips and/or sequences you want to export then press and hold the AAF icon in the CatDV toolbar. This will create a temporary AAF file which you can drag straight from the AAF icon in the toolbar into your bin in Media Composer.
  • If Media Composer is running on a different machine, use the Export As Avid AAF file command to create an AAF file on the desktop or other location for you to send on to your editor.
  • You can also export clips from CatDV as an Avid ALE Log File (you may need to check the "Merge events with known sources and automatically create subclips" option in Avid otherwise it won't link to the media), and export sequences as a CMX EDL File.
  • You can copy event markers by right clicking on the header of the Event Markers table and choosing Copy to AVID then pasting that into the Avid "Markers" window (but be aware that some versions of Media Composer have a bug that can cause the application to crash when you try to paste markers!)
  • If you are working with P2 files you can add comments and event markers in CatDV then use the Export P2 Metadata command to update the P2 XML file. When you import the P2 card into Avid it will read the latest P2 metadata.
  • You can directly copy files from a CatDV window into an Avid bin, though this is equivalent to dragging in a file from the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer and doesn't carry over any additional metadata.

After sending clips to Avid you can link them to their media as follows.

  • In the case of P2 and XDCAM clips ensure the original media is in your Avid project, linked via AMA. Then, when you import the AAF file generated by MME Media Composer will either link automatically or you can use the Relink command.
  • In the case of other types of file if you have already imported them into Avid then you can use the Relink command.
  • Alternatively, select the offline clips you have just imported then use the Batch Import command to import the corresponding media. (This will take a little while to complete as it transcodes the media into Avid's preferred MXF format.)

Most of these features require the Pegasus Client application, though some may be available with CatDV Pro and the MXF Option. To play AVID media correctly within CatDV you will also require the appropriate Calibrated or MXF4mac codec(s) to be installed.

Custom Actions

With the Pegasus Client you can define your own shortcuts that appear in the Actions section of the tree, in the toolbar, or in the Tools menu. Custom actions can be used at all stages of your workflow, for example to transcode clips to a particular preset movie format, to quickly log clips by setting metadata fields from a stored template, to upload files to a site such as Vimeo or YouTube, or to integrate with other third party tools or programs.

To perform a custom action on a clip (or list of clips) you can either drag the selected clips onto the relevant shortcut in the tree or apply the command to selected clips from the Tools menu or toolbar. You can also set up custom actions that don't require you to make a pre-existing clip selection.

Pegasus custom actions are able to:

  • Transcode the clips to a particular format that you have configured, for example an H.264 web proxy with a burnt in watermark
  • Execute an external command such as a shell script or command line ftp utility to upload the transcoded file to an external web site or service such as YouTube
  • Automatically display a prompt asking the user for fields such as a description of the asset or an ftp password
  • Set clip fields, for example updating the status to say a file has been archived, or to store the YouTube asset id on completion of an upload
  • Save or publish changes to the current catalog
  • Export the selected clip(s) as a still image, as XML, or using any of CatDV's other export formats
  • Move, rename, copy or delete files
  • Display a message and prompt for confirmation before continuing.
  • Import files from a particular folder
  • Change the clip selection

You can perform conditional actions, such as only perform a transcode if the proxy file doesn't exist, or check whether a file can be opened by QuickTime or FFmpeg before deciding which exporter to use.

Creating custom actions

Custom actions are only available in Pegasus Client. Use the Tools > Custom Actions > Edit command to manage your custom actions or define a new custom action by giving it a name and adding a sequence of processing steps as required.

Use the + button to add a new processing step and double click a step to configure it. Use drag and drop to change the order of the processing steps.

Most processing steps take parameters such as the destination file or folder for an export operation, or the text to burn in to an exported movie or to set a clip field to. As well as fixed text you can use variables such as $i to refer to the file being processed, $h to refer to your home directory, ${NM1} to refer to the name of the clip, and so on. Press the Help button for a summary of available variables and modifiers.

When specifying the destination for an export or file copy/move operation you can normally specify either the destination directory, in which case the file name in that directory will be taken from the clip name or the existing media file name, or you can explicitly name the destination file. If the destination you provide refers to an existing directory or ends in a directory separator character (forward slash on Mac OS, back slash on Windows) it is treated as a directory, otherwise it is taken to be the fully specified path and file name to use. Intervening directories are created automatically if required.

When developing custom actions you need to consider whether the action can apply to many clips in one go, or only one clip at a time. Some processing steps such as prompting for user input or publishing catalog changes back to the server are performed just once, regardless of how many clips it applies to. Others such as setting clip fields apply separately to each clip. Exporting a batch list or XML file will export a single file containing all the selected clips. When transcoding clips and exporting a movie, and when executing an external command via the command line, you have a choice however, and can either group the clips together into one operation or perform the step separately for each clip.

You can choose whether the action should appear in the tree and/or in the toolbar. When adding a custom action to the toolbar you can enter a shorter name for the action to fit in the more limited available space. You can also enter an optional longer description of what the action does that will appear in tool tip text for the action.

You should specify whether the custom action requires an existing selection of clips to apply to or not. Most actions will apply to the selected clips but you can also configure actions to import files from a watch folder or to automatically select clips in the current window that match some criteria, or which don't operate on clips at all (for example, if the action just executes an external command of some sort).

Custom actions can be exported to a .catdv file and then shared, allowing third parties and systems integrators to configure custom actions to address particular workflow requirements and then distribute the .catdv file. When you open one of these files in Pegasus Client you are prompted whether to install the custom action on this machine. If required, a .catdv custom action file can include additional resources (such as a shell script to run, still images to burn in as a watermark, and so on).

Relationship to the Worker Node

Pegasus custom actions bridge the capabilities offered by CatDV Pro and the CatDV Worker Node. All three provide access to the same core CatDV Media Processing Engine but are used in different ways:

  • With CatDV Pro you can do everything but need to manually configure and perform each step of the process as required,
  • With Pegasus custom actions you can pre-configure a complex sequence of steps and destinations and easily apply that to selected clips but the operation is interactive: for long-running transcodes the application is blocked while the operation completes,
  • With the Worker Node you can fully automate the CatDV Engine for unattended background processing based on watch folders or conditional triggers, and can have multiple transcode processes running for increased throughput.

Just as in Worker Node scripts, custom actions can use complex variable expressions, including regular expressions and javascript expressions, to calculate the destination and name of an exported file from the clip being exported. The mechanism used is similar to that in Worker Node scripts, though the set of variables provided differs slightly. Being familiar with how the CatDV Worker Node operates (for example, the use of regular expressions, parsing the output of executing a command to update clip variables, how to pass parameters to a command line tool, etc.) will help when developing Pegasus custom actions.

Please note that creating good custom actions is an advanced topic. If you need help developing custom actions to meet a particular workflow requirement please consult your systems integrator or the Square Box Systems professional services team.

Additional license options

CatDV supports a number of specialised optional features which can be purchased for an additional charge. Normally the license to enable the extra features is included with the main registration code for the CatDV application but if you purchase an option separately you may be send a supplementary activation code which you can enter by pressing the "Additional license..." button in the Registration page of Preferences.

The following options are available:

Basic Archiving Option

For more details see page on archive integration.

MXF Option

With the CatDV MXF Option you enable CatDV's built-in MXF and XML parser to read metadata from common MXF-based file formats including Sony XDCAM and EX, Panasonic P2, and AVID, as well as support for other complex camera card clips that might consist of more than one file, known as "metaclips".

  • In the case of AVID and P2 MXF Op-Atom clips it is normal for the audio and video information to be written to separate MXF files. When you import a P2 volume or an AVID folder CatDV will automatically match up the corresponding audio and video using the MXF UMID identifier and turn them into an MXF Metaclip so you can treat them as a single clip even though they are in separate files. Metadata entered on the camera such as subject, location, camera serial number and P2 memo markers are loaded into CatDV metadata fields (or the event markers table).
  • Other formats (including Canon XF, Sony XAVC and XAVC-S, RED, and others) store the video and audio in a single media essence file (typically MXF or MP4), but each clip has other associated files like proxies, thumbnails, and real-time and non-realtime metadata (often in a BIM or XML file) that need to be kept with the clip for it to work properly in NLE applications. If you work with individual files it's possible for clips to get corrupted so they no longer play correctly, but with the MXF Option, CatDV will keep all these files together as a metaclip, and if you archive, copy, or move one of these complex clips CatDV will ensure that all the required files from one camera card are copied together.
  • In the case of P2 media, you can log the clips in CatDV by editing the Name, Creator, PlaceName, ProgramName, SceneNo., TakeNo., Reporter, Purpose, and Object fields or by creating event markers and then export back to the P2 clip XML file using the Export P2 Metadata command. This data will transfer over to AVID, and a particular powerful feature is that you can perform bulk edits within CatDV to tag multiple clips in one operation.

Please note that in order to play MXF clips within CatDV (or to export proxy movies from them) in certain formats you may need to install the separate third party Tin Man player from Calibrated Software.

Archive Integration

Archiving refers to moving media files from expensive, high speed online storage to cheaper but slower long-term storage such as tape (when they are no longer needed at the end of a project for example). This is not the same as backing up files (creating a redundant copy for short term recovery of data in case of hardware failure), though there is overlap between the two concepts.

CatDV does not directly provide a complete archive or backup solution by itself. Instead, it integrates with a number of 3rd party solutions. It can also support you if you want to develop your own custom strategy adapted to your particular requirements (for example, you could write a Worker Node script to copy files to a suitable archive location and then update a user-defined field).

Built-In Archive Option

With the legacy basic Archive Option CatDV Pro has built-in support for archiving to a Cache-A appliance (and to other archive devices that appear as a mounted drive). If you have a ProMax/Cache-A PrimeCache or ProCache archive appliance you can control the device directly from within CatDV.

The following commands will be enabled in the Tools menu if you have the Archive Option installed:

  • Archive Media Files - copy selected files to the Cache-A vtape folder (from where they will automatically be written to LTO-4 tape by the Cache-A appliance) or to other archive drive. You can optionally include a copy of CatDV's metadata as an index.xml file with the archive so if you should lose the CatDV catalog you can restore your metadata by importing the folder from the vtape folder. After archiving a clip CatDV's Archive Status field is updated to record the tape that the file was archived to.
  • Purge Media Files - once files have been copied to the Cache-A vtape folder and archived you can delete the original media files from disk. The CatDV catalog will continue to store log notes and other metadata describing the clip, and normally you would also create low-res proxies within CatDV which continue to be available, so you can still find clips and decide whether to use them even after purging the original full-resolution version.
  • Restore Media Files - if a file has been archived and purged from local storage you can restore it back to its original location (or another location) from the Cache-A vtape folder. If the file isn't currently on the Cache-A vtape disk you will be prompted to load the relevant tape then CatDV will request the file(s) are restored (you can also do using the Cache-A web interface if required)
  • Check Archive Status - query the Cache-A catalog (maintained in a database in the appliance itself) to see if the selected files have been archived and optionally update the Archive Status stored in CatDV

To use CatDV with a Cache-A archiving appliance you need to mount the Cache-A device as a volume and press the Configure button to choose the vtape folder (for example, /Volumes/archive62/vtape). If a tape is loaded its name will appear in the Current Tape field and the Archive button will be enabled. You should also enter the IP address or host name of the Cache-A device so that CatDV can communicate with the device using its built-in API (you may need to install newer firmware to support this feature - check with Cache-A for details).

The Archive Status field is available on the "Other" tab in the clip details panel, unless you customise your details panel layout and add it in a more prominent location.

If required you can extend the Archive Option to support ProMax/Cache-A library systems. The archive dialog will display a drop down list of tapes in the library and allow you to select a tape from the library mechanism and load it into the drive.

Other file-based archives

Although CatDV's Archiving Option includes features was designed specifically to work with Cache-A devices, you can also use these commands to archive to other devices, including file-based archive systems such as XenData or even removable USB or FireWire hard drives.

To use the Archiving Option with a device other than Cache-A, choose "Other" from the Archive System drop down in the archive settings dialog then select the appropriate folder or drive as the Archive Location. In this case, the name of the folder is taken to be the "tape" name (for example, if you choose /Volumes/FW12 then "FW12" is stored in the Archive Status). You can then use the Archive, Purge and Restore commands to copy files between your main disk and the archive volume. (Using this feature you can also test the archiving functionality without having a Cache-A device.)

Advanced archive integrations

A number of other 3rd party integrations are available, including interfaces to archiving products from Spectralogic BlackPearl, Amazon S3, Archiware, Atempo, XenData, Quantum, StorageDNA, Facilis, DAX, and others.

Many of these rely on the advanced scripting capabilities of the CatDV Worker Node to schedule archive and restore operations to run in the background.

See the CatDV storage and archiving partners page or contact [email protected] for more details.