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Adobe OnLocation

I use Adobe OnLocation to record live events directly from my Sony HVR-Z1P to my Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop. OnLocation takes a live HDV stream straight from the camera and records it with no problem. This is great for three reasons:

  1. It solves the 60-minute limit of MiniDV tapes.
  2. It allows me to check the picture quality on my laptop screen instead of relying on the camera's LCD/viewfinder.
  3. It saves me having to capture the footage from tape - files are ready to go immediately at the conclusion of the event.

The interface is a little unusual, it's quite different to the other applications in the CS3 Master Collection. The main window is designed to behave like a rack, where you add or remove components just like you would in a standard 19" rack in the studio.

Adobe OnLocation Screenshot

Components include:

The components are all a fixed size, which is okay once you get used to it but does feel a bit constrained compared to the beautifully fluid palettes in other Adobe applications. They aren't all the same width either, so you may need to juggle them around a bit to find a good fit. I couldn't actually find a perfect arrangement and I feel that some of my screen space is wasted but it's not a big deal.

I get the feeling that this application has yet to be properly integrated into the Adobe style - a bit like when Adobe acquired Cool Edit. I imagine Adobe will want to tweak the OnLocation interface a bit to make it flow a bit better with the rest of the Creative Suite.

One of my favourite OnLocation features is the real-time waveform monitor. Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 has a waveform monitor but you can't use it in real time - it can only analyse captured files. OnLocation's version is much more practical for capturing work.

Summary

When I purchased the Adobe Master Collection CS3 I didn't really expect to use OnLocation much, if at all. I figured that Premiere Pro does a fine job of capturing so why would I need a dedicated capture utility? I have been convinced otherwise - OnLocation is a nice, light application with specialist features that make it an attractive option for field capturing.

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Author: Dave Owen
Originally published: 2007-08-21
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