CatDV 13 Reference Guide

This user manual is a copy of the online help text. It is designed both for reference and to be read from beginning to end.

Table of Contents

How to use help

Getting started

Quick start guide

Clips and catalogs

Importing clips and movies
Exporting clips and movies

Basic operation

Clip details panel
Tree navigator
Customise views
Workspace configurations
User-defined fields
Event details

Viewing media and media metadata

Proxies and thumbnails
Media dialog
Menu keyboard shortcuts
Media playback options
FFmpeg transcoding
Media metadata
Supported file formats
Import warnings

Advanced operation

Marking and selecting clips
Searching and filtering
Summary mode
Grouping fields


Media management
Other commands
Managing multiple catalogs
Identifying clips
Clip popup panel
Old details dialog

Professional Edition

Professional Edition features
Verbatim Logger
Image sequences and metaclips
Workgroup features
Enterprise features
Roles and permissions
Enhanced query dialog
Smart Labels
Additional importers and exporters
CatDV Pegasus Client
AVID integration
Custom Actions
Additional license options
Archive integration

Change History

CatDV 13 Features
CatDV 12 Features
CatDV 11 Features
CatDV 10 Features

How to use help

The online help documentation is arranged in separate pages or topics. It is designed to be suitable both for reference or to be read from beginning to end.

Use the CatDV Help menu command to access online help:

The online help text is also available as a standalone Reference Guide which you can view or print out with your web browser.

Other sources of help and documentation

A large number of FAQs, tutorials, and other helpful information are available on the CatDV Support Site, and there is a Creative COW user forum available also. If you took out a technical support or maintenance agreement you may also be eligible for telephone and email support.

Getting started


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:

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:

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:

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.

Although mostly obsolete now, CatDV also has tape-workflow capabilities; it 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 allows users to create their own subclips. You can review each clip and enter a name and keywords describing the scene, rate it using a five-star system, 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.

Proxy files

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 proxy movies (also known as "previews") to show the contents of clips when the original media files are off-line. You can do most of your work with the proxy files, then relink to the media based on file path when necessary.

Video editing

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.

Movie export

You can export clips or sequences as self-contained 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.

Networked operation

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.

Installation and registration

System requirements

CatDV is available for both Macintosh and Windows. It includes Java and other software such as FFmpeg that it needs within the application itself, so there is no need to download other software separately.

Consult the release notes in the Read Me file for further details.


The latest version of CatDV is always available at You should check this site regularly for updates and bug fixes or subscribe to the CatDV announcements mailing list.

Normally minor bug fix updates are issued free of charge while a small upgrade fee is charged for major feature upgrades.

Purchasing CatDV

CatDV Pro works as a 30-day limited-functionality demo until you purchase a license, which you can do online. You will then be sent a registration code to unlock the full application. Enter the name and registration code in the Registration tab of Preferences. (The easiest way to do this is by copying both lines of your registration details and pressing the special Paste button.)

If required we can provide temporary license codes to give you full access to CatDV's features for your evaluation. For sales and registration enquiries please contact; for technical support please contact You can also use the web shortcuts in the CatDV Help menu.

Quick start guide

This page provides a quick overview of the main features of CatDV. Each feature is described in more detail by following the links. Use the "<" back button at the top of this window to return to this page.

Screen layout

Importing clips

Viewing clips

Outputting clips

Use CatDV's searching and filtering tools to find the clips you want to use. It doesn't matter whether you have only just captured and logged them or are searching a library of old stock footage. Once you have selected the clips you want or created a rough sequence, you can output them in various ways:

Unlike some database applications such as iTunes, which save their data automatically in a hidden internal database location, CatDV uses an explicit 'document' metaphor for its catalogs. Once you have logged your clips you need to remember to save the catalog document to your computer's hard disk (or to the CatDV Server). On the other hand, you have the flexibility to organise these documents how you want (for example, you might create one catalog for each project you are working on, or you could email a catalog to a colleague).

Clips and catalogs

Managing catalogs

CatDV stores details about your clips (including any notes or keywords you enter and the clips' thumbnails) in a catalog:

Catalogs are normally saved in a file with extension .cdv. You can open more than one catalog at the same time and copy and paste clips between them. Catalogs are portable between Macintosh and Windows.

The trial version of CatDV will not normally let you save catalogs (or export or print data).

With the optional CatDV Server, CatDV users can store clips in a central shared database rather than in files on the local file system. Even then, however, CatDV still uses the concept of catalogs as a way to group related clips.

Regardless of whether you are using the single-user or the networked version of CatDV, to keep catalogs a manageable size it's a good idea to have a separate catalog for each project, rather than storing all your clips in one huge catalog. See managing multiple catalogs for hints on how to manage a large clip library.


All data within a CatDV catalog is held in the form of clips. There are different types of clip, such as still images, movie files, scenes within a movie, lines of an EDL or batch list, and so on.

Each clip has the following main properties (often referred to as fields when shown in a dialog, or as columns when the clips are shown in a table).

Some of these properties are editable while others are filled in automatically at the time of import. Depending on the type of the clip, some of these properties may not be relevant and are left blank.

Built-in clip properties

NameName of the clip
NotesDescription or other comments you enter about the clip
BinProject bin or directory on disk where the clip came from; used for grouping clips
TapeLegacy feature for tape-based workflow compatibility, states the name of the tape or reel the clip is on
Import sourceThe file that details of this clip were imported from (eg. a movie file, EDL, or batch list)
Source mediathe media file that holds the video data the clip refers to (not necessarily the same as the Import Source)
In & OutTimecode values for the whole clip. The Out point of a clip is the timecode of the frame after the last frame of this clip (and normally equals the In point of the following clip). (Corresponds to Media Start and End in Final Cut.)
DurationThe corresponding clip length, i.e. the difference between In and Out points.
In2 & Out2Timecode values for a selection made within the clip (corresponds to In and Out in Final Cut).
Start & EndCurrent clip bounds, either In/Out or In2/Out2 depending on the Export clips based on selection Preferences option
TypeClip type, whether still, audio or movie file, and if so whether a master clip (correspond to entire file) or a sub-clip. The icon is crossed out with a red X if the file is offline or unplayable.
Underlying TypeMore detailed type information that distinguishes QuickTime, OMF and WMV movies, for example. For DV clips the icon indicates whether a definite scene change at the start or end of the clip has been identified.
FormatA summary of the format of the movie (whether DV, other QuickTime movie, still, etc.). See the list of media-related properties for more details about the media file.
PosterEach clip has a poster thumbnail, normally the first frame of the clip but a different poster can be set from the clip details movie tab
MarkA general purpose check box to mark clips of interest or to save a selection
HideClips may be flagged as hidden so they don't normally appear unless the Show hidden menu command is used (you could use this to hide rejected clips but without deleting the clip record, or hide master clips once they have been divided into subclips.)
Big NotesAn additional comments field, capable of storing notes larger than 65,000 charactes
EventWhich event this clip is part of
RatingA star rating from 0 to 5 stars. 0 means unreviewed, while conventionally 1 star means a rejected clip, and 2 to 5 stars means a good clip
GoodAn older mechanism for marking good or bad clips, replaced by Rating
ExposureA summary of the camera exposure details (available with some DV camcorders and digital cameras)
Record DateThe original date/time of recording of the clip or image (available with some DV camcorders and digital cameras)
DateEither the Record Date, or failing that the earliest modification time of the source media
User 1..NGeneral purpose user-defined text fields (in the Standard Edition you can have up to 3 user fields, in the Professional Edition you can have any number).
Clip IDSeveral fields are used to uniquely identify clips in different ways
StatusA general purpose clip status field (you can define your own statuses in the Pick List section of Preferences, for example 'Approved' and 'Rejected')
HistoryAny changes to the Status of a clip, along with other significant changes, are recorded in the History field
TransitionLegacy feature, available when importing EDLs (edit decision lists)
Seq. No.Sequence number when importing more than one clip from a file, eg. an EDL or scenes within a movie
OnlineIndicate whether the clip is currently online, or a proxy or thumbnail is available

Additional properties that provide full details of the media file format that a clip was imported from are listed separately.

Making sense of property names

Some of these properties might appear more than once with similar names, for example where long and short forms of the same data are available. Or you might see two fields with the same name and quite different contents, or the same content in different fields!

There are several possible reasons for this apparent confusion. The important thing to remember is that the property name is just a label used to annotate the property on the screen. The label doesn't necessarily have to be unique:

Use tool tip text (hover the mouse pointer over a field name) to display a short explanation of the field if you are unsure which property you are viewing. (You can also set the Show attribute IDs option in Preferences to automatically display a unique field identifier after each property.)

When choosing properties from a drop down (for example, when customising view layouts or performing a complex query) colour coding is used to indicate the type of field: green for built-in fields, red for user-defined fields, and blue for metadata fields. Also, a small icon indicates whether the field is a grouping field, a multi-grouping field, a plain text field, or a date or timecode field, and also whether it is editable or read-only.

Importing clips and movies

You can import clip data into a catalog from many different types of file.

The Automatic native importer will allow CatDV to import the majority of media file types, including still images, sound clips, and movies. For visual media a poster thumbnail is created, typically the first frame of the movie. If you select the Scene analysis Preferences options the movie is scanned as it is imported and separate secondary clips are created automatically for each scene within the movie. Importing files with the default automatic setting should work well in most cases but for troubleshooting you can manually import files with a specific importer, including:

CatDV also has dedicated importers for certain batch and project files that contain a list of clips, such as CatDV XML Files. These batch importers include:

CatDV also allows users to import Tab-Separated Text - clips defined in a tab-separated text file, one per line, which can be used if you have manually logged a tape using pencil and paper or a spreadsheet.

Various professional and additional formats, including MXF and RED media files and Avid AVB and AAF files, are only available in the Professional Edition or in the CatDV Pegasus Client.

Several options in Preferences control how movies are imported, for example which importers are used, how errors and inconsistencies are handled, and whether automatic scene detection is used to create a separate clip for each scene.

Use Import Directory to import all the recognised media files in an entire directory. If the appropriate Preferences option is set it will recursively scan the contents of any subdirectories. You can also drag and drop files or folders from the Macintosh Finder or Windows Explorer directly into a CatDV window to import them. If you use the tree navigator you can navigate to a folder in your file system then right click on the node and choose Import Into Catalog.

Use Scan For New Files to re-scan all the directories previously included in a catalog and import any new files that have been added since last time.

Using a specific importer

Sometimes several importers are able to import the same file and might give different results, for example you could use CatDV's own built in MPEG parser or try to open the file as a QuickTime movie.

In most cases CatDV will determine the file type automatically when you import a folder of files, but you can also use the Import As submenu to use a specific importer if required. If the file is already in the catalog you can use Re-Import As to import the file again using a different importer. In the Advanced media handling Preferences page you can enable or disable particular importers.

Exporting clips and movies

You can export clips from a CatDV catalog in various formats for use in other applications. Some of these commands export the media itself, while others export references to the media including metadata.

Select the clips you want to export from the main window and use one of the Export As commands:

Use the Export Clips Based On Selection checkbox in Preferences to select whether the whole clip (as defined by its "in" and "out" timecode values) or a selected portion within each clip (as defined by "in2" and "out2") is exported. (If a clip has no selection the whole clip is always used.)

Note that the trial version of CatDV will not normally let you export or print clip definitions.

Exporting Movies

You can export movies from CatDV in several formats, either from the original media (if currently online) or from CatDV's proxy versions if you have created them.

Exporting stills

With the Export As Stills command you can create JPEG still images from the poster frame (or other specified frames) of each movie clip. In the case of still image clips you can export a scaled version of the image.

Normally the poster frame of each clip is exported but in the Professional edition you can choose additional frames to export, such as all thumbnail frames, all event markers, or all markers of a particular category. Use the "HTML Thumbnails" option to export high resolution versions of the thumbnails used when exporting an HTML page, named consistently with the way that the Export As HTML command does it. To simplify emailing images, by default the exported images are scaled down to smaller size, and a whole set of images can be combined into a single convenient ZIP archive.

When exporting a single image you can choose the filename yourself but when exporting multiple images you just specify the directory in which to place the images and the files will be named automatically.

HTML Export

You can export selected clips and their poster thumbnails as a simple HTML catalog. A single index page containing all the selected clips is output, to a file location that you specify.

You can choose which columns to list on an index page and whether to include a separate detail page for each clip or not. You can also add a custom footer to each page.

(The Export As Still command, described above, provides another way to create an HTML index of selected clips and images when you choose the ZIP archive option.)

Note that pages exported from within CatDV form a static snapshot of the catalog at the time of the export. With the CatDV Server and optional CatDV Web Client component you can make similar information available as a dynamic view of the current contents of the central database. The Web Client web interface also provides dynamic searching capabilities.

Basic operation


CatDV's main application window displays a list of clips. These can be displayed in one of three main ways:

Click on the List, Film Strip or Grid toolbar buttons to select the next view of that type. You can have different views of each basic type (eg. with different columns shown, or different thumbnail sizes), and select a particular named view from the drop down list - see Customising views for more details.

Main window

When using the main window you can:

To display a given clip in a separate window use the appropriate toolbar button or menu command, or double click on the clip. (You can configure the double click action in Preferences, or hold down the control key while you double click for an alternate action.)

See also: Tree navigator, Quick start guide, Summary mode

List views

In a list view you can change the order or width of the columns by dragging the column headers. Press Cmd/Ctrl-\ (or use the Adjust column widths command) to automatically set the column widths. These changes are temporary unless you save the view definition.

You can edit values directly in a list view by checking the Allow cell editing option in Preferences.

Sorting clips

Clips have both a 'natural' order within the catalog (usually the order they were imported in) and a 'display' order within the current window.

Clip details panel

Use the clip details panel at the tope of the main window to view a selected clip. This includes playing the movie, viewing all the properties of the clip, and entering your own log notes.

You can show or hide the clip details panel by toggling the clip details toolbar button or using the View menu. You can also choose whether to split the panel and move the fields list to the right of the window by selecting Detached Details.

In earlier versions of CatDV the functionality of the details panel was provided in a separate window by the old details dialog. This is still available, if you enable the old-style details dialog in Preferences, though in most cases the new clip details panel has greatly improved functionality.

Viewing media

There are three panels that show the different media representations available for a clip: thumbnail images, the original movie, or a low-resolution proxy movie.

Movie controller

When you play a movie (using either the clip details panel or the standalone media dialog) the following controls are available:

Viewing and editing clip details

The Summary, Log Notes and Technical tabs display the various properties of the clip selected in the main window.

Logging menu

Use commands in the Logging menu to navigate within the clip details window, move to other clips, and perform logging.


In the Professional Edition you can create timecode markers to flag particular events of interest within a clip without having to create subclips for each event. Timecode event markers can also have a range and be assigned to particular categories, for example "highlights" or "bad language".

Defining marker categories

Under the Field Definitions section of Preferences, press the Marker Categories button to define your own event marker categories. Click '+' to define a new category or '-' to remove the selected category.

Marker categories have a name, a type, and can be assigned a colour which is used when displaying the marker in the Movie Controller. The following types are available:

Event marker
a single timecode value within the clip is flagged
Range marker
the marker has a start timecode and a duration and can be used to flag portions of a clip, eg. for "bad language".
Chapter marker
chapter markers are a special type of range marker and divide the clip into sections. When you insert a chapter marker the duration is automatically set to take it up to the next chapter mark.

Creating and using timecode markers

You create and edit event markers using the movie controller:

Markers panel

Using the new Markers tab in the Details panel (enabled by checking the relevant tick box in Preference > Customise Details Panel) you can use the toolbar controls and click on the "hamburger" menu (with three horizontal bars) to:

Other features

Tree navigator

The tree navigator is shown on the left of the main window and provides a convenient way to organise the clips in a catalog, to browse files on the file system, and access other functions such as the contents of the CatDV server.

You can show or hide the tree navigator using the toolbar button or menu command.

Catalog node

The Catalog node represents all the clips in the current catalog.

Smart folders

The Filters node provides some convenient ways of filtering the current view so you only see the clips you are interested in. If you create named filters these appear as Smart Folders. Clicking on a smart folder automatically applies that filter.

Automatic filters

Using Automatic Filters you can quickly organise the clips according to any clip property, for example grouping by date, by file format, by tape, or by bin. You can think of grouping as providing dynamic "virtual folders":

Server node

If you use the CatDV Server use the Server node to quickly browse clips on the server without opening up a remote catalog in a new window.

If you use the Enterprise Server additional features are available:

File system node

The file system mode provides access to your file system from within CatDV without having to switch to the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer.

You can browse directory contents using CatDV's media analysis features without having to import them into a catalog. You can also perform common media file management operations straight from the tree navigator, for example drag and drop to move or import files.

Under Mac OS X, click on a directory in the tree and type your search terms into the quick search box to perform a Spotlight search within that folder, for example to find all files of a particular type wherever they are on your hard disk. You can view thumbnails for the search results, sort them in various ways, and import selected results into your catalog.

Final Cut X libraries

The Final Cut node lists your recently used Final Cut Pro libraries and events. You can drag and drop clips and sequences from CatDV to Final Cut Pro X by dragging onto one of these nodes. This will save a temporary FCP XML file and tell Final Cut Pro to import the file.

Note that if you drag a clip straight to the Final Cut application window, whether from CatDV or the Finder, it is sent over as a file reference to the complete media file. Using XML and the Final Cut tree node is much more powerful however, as you can send subclips, log notes and sequences from CatDV to Final Cut and all the metadata is preserved.

Temporary views

When you use the tree navigator to view the contents of the file system, a catalog on the server, or the contents of a Final Cut project you are temporarily replacing the window's view on the current catalog with temporary clips. It is important to note that these temporary clips are not part of the current catalog and won't be saved when you save the catalog.

Because changes to a temporary view aren't saved in the catalog the clip details panel won't let you edit or add log notes to a temporary clip. Additionally, the background colour of the clips changes to a shade of red to remind you when you are in a temporary view.

It is easy to add temporary clips to the current catalog however. Simply drag and drop them onto the catalog node (or right click and select Import To Catalog). Once you do this they become normal clips that you can edit and save with the rest of the catalog.

Scratch Pad

The clip Scratch Pad is a holding area where you can drag clips of interest to save them temporarily, for example to build up a result set of clips from multiple catalogs or queries. Drag clips to the Scratch Pad node to save them, or drag them into a normal catalog window (or onto the Catalogs node) to add them to a normal catalog. Clips are stored in memory in the Scratch Pad as long as the CatDV application is open, even if you have closed the catalalog they came from.

If you prefer, you can use View > Scratch Pad to access the scratch pad via a new tab in the clip details panel rather than the tree navigator.

Customising views

Use the Customise Views command to create your own view definitions, containing just those columns (or clip properties) that you are interested in:

Adjust column widths

Use the Adjust Column Widths command to automatically adjust the width of columns in a list view according to the data being displayed in them. You can also adjust column widths manually by dragging on the column divider line in the header row.

You can also rearrange the order of columns graphically by dragging the column header. However, you need to use the Customise Views command to add or remove columns.

If you make changes to the column widths then bring up the Customise Views dialog you are asked whether to import the current column widths into the view definition. You can then save the view definition including the column widths. Alternatively, use the Save Column Widths command. (If you do not save the column widths in this way then they will only apply as long as the current window is open.)

Customise details panel

In the Professional Edition you can customise which fields are shown in the clip details panel using the Customise Details Panel command. You can:

You can define different panels and choose which ones are visible at any time by checking or unchecking the visible flag. For example, different panels may make sense depending on which kind of asset you are working on.

Workspace configurations

Using workspaces you can quickly switch between different window layouts for different workflow tasks. The following workspaces are predefined:

Workspaces can be customised as required. When configuring a workspace you can control:

You can edit the predefined workspaces or create new ones by using the View > Workspace > Edit command, but note that configuring workspaces is a specialised task that will normally be done by a systems integrator or workflow consultant when installing a system. Workspaces are defined using a simple text-based configuration script. In the workset editor press the 'Help' button to get a brief summary of the syntax, or press 'Defaults' to revert to the built-in predefined workspaces. If you don't want to use workspaces at all, simply delete all the workspace definitions and press OK. You can also choose the 'None' workspace if you don't want to override anything and just use normal settings from your preferences.

When you load a workspace all the settings specified in that workspace configuration are applied, to change the view and tree layout for example. Other settings which aren't specified by the workspace configuration continue to have their normal value as specified in the preferences dialog.

If you change one of these settings (for example, you decide you want to see the clip details panel even though the workspace you are using turns it off by default) then the value you have changed is remembered for the duration of the current session only. As soon as you quit and relaunch the application, or if you use the View > Workspace > Reload Rules command, then the workspace will revert to its default settings. This allows you to quickly change your view layout without messing up your stored workspace configurations.

To permanently change the configuration you need to explicitly use the workspace editor and then save your preferences. (It is also possible to configure a workspace with the LockSettings option, preventing any temporary changes from being made.)

User-defined fields

In the Professional edition you can have an unlimited number of user-defined logging fields. In Preferences you can give each user-defined field a name and specify its type:

Field types

The following types of field are available for user-defined columns and media metadata fields:

Don't Show
User-defined field values are stored by their index number so once allocated it isn't possible to delete a field and "shift the others up" as that would change the index numbers. Instead, you can mark unwanted fields so they are skipped and not shown. You can also mark metadata fields not be shown.
Plain Text
A free format plain text field. You can indicate whether this is intended for a single line or multiline text, though you can override this when adding the field to a custom panel layout.
Multiline Text
As above but normally shown in a scrolling multi line text area.
Grouping (Picklist)
A drop down pick list of values. The values are defined on the Pick Lists section of Preferences. Normally only a predefined value from the list can be chosen, unless the field is marked as extensible. Grouping fields can be used to quickly filter clips in the main window using the tree navigator or grouping panel.
Multi Grouping
Similar to Grouping fields, except that the clip can be tagged with any number of values from a list, for example a list of keywords. When tagging a clip, start typing in the field to display the first matching keyword, then use the Up and Down arrows to view other matches. Press ';' to start a new keyword, or click on the '*' button to display a chooser dialog.
Very similar to a grouping field with a drop down list of predefined values but you can start typing and the system will filter the choices based on what you type
Multi Auto-suggest
Like a multi grouping field with filtering capability.
This is like a drop down pick list but where the available values are organised in a tree to make it easier to organise a large number of options (for example: continent/country/state/city) or when working with a structured vocabulary. Values are defined in the Pick Lists section, using '/' to separate the components.
Multi Hierarchy
A combination of functionality from the Hiearchy and Multi Grouping fields.
Linked Hierarchy
This allows you to link two pick lists, so the values shown in one depend on the value picked in another. You can the field id or name of the field it depends on in the parameter field. For example, if you had a grouping field called "Team" containing values TeamA, TeamB etc. then you could create a linked hierarchy field called "Player, "Team" in the parameters area, and with pick list values such as TeamA/Player1, TeamA/Player2, TeamB/Player3.
Linked Multi Hierarchy
A linked hierarchy field where you can select multiple values.
A single true/false checkbox. You can add an optional label for the checkbox in the parameters field, for example you might have a field called "Widescreen" with a label of "Anamorphic".
Multi Checkbox
Provides multi-grouping where the list of values is very small and can be displayed as checkboxes. The values are defined within the parameters area, one per line.
Radio Button
Similar to a Grouping field but where the number of options is small and can be specified within the parameters area (as for Multi Checkbox fields).
Select Buttons
Similar to radio buttons but where the options are defined in the pick lists section and appear as plain push buttons. In the parameters area you can specify the colour of the buttons.
Multi-Select Buttons
Similar to multi checkboxes but where the options are defined in the pick lists section and appear as plain push buttons. Just like single select buttons you can specify the colour of the buttons.
Accepts a date or a date-time value. The format of the dates is specified in the General tab of Preferences (hover the mouse over the field to see tool tip help that shows an example of the format that it is expecting). You can also type in a date in ISO format, eg. "2016-12-31 23:59:59".
Accepts either a time of day or a timestamp value, eg. "12:30:05" or "0:05:00;00".
Accepts any numeric input, eg. "100" or "-17.5"
Accepts an upper case alphanumeric identifier up to 32 characters, for example a project code number. Period, hyphen and underscore characters are permitted but other spaces and punctuation are removed.
No Punctuation
Accepts up to 80 alphanumeric characters plus space, hyphen and underscore. This is designed for entering short names or phrases that could be used when building a filename so punctuation and other illegal characters that can cause problems in filenames like period, asterisk, quotes, parentheses etc. are all excluded.
Regex Validated
For full control over what data can be entered in a formatted text field you can specify a regular expression in the parameters area. For example, "[A-Z][0-9]{3}" would only accept an upper case letter followed by 3 digits, eg. "A123" or "C999" and reject other values.
This is a special field that is not editable by the user but is used for displaying HTML formatted text that might have been stored in that field by a server plugin or worker script.
Calculated Field
If you create a user defined field of type 'Variable Expression' then this will result in a special kind of field where you can't directly type in a value but where the value is calculated dynamically based on other clip fields. The value is calculated when the clip is first loaded, or whenever the clip is modified.
When configuring the field you can enter a CatDV Worker Node-style expression including regular expressions or use JavaScript. If the resulting value is of the form #rrggbb:xxx then it is interpreted as a hex color value. This provides another mechanism to achieve similar results to smart labels, and also to combine the results from a number of different fields into one. For example:

  js:clip.rating>=3 ? "#00FF00:Pass" : "#FF0000:Fail"

  javascript:($('P5').startsWith("Online") ? "#00FF00:" : "#FF0000:") + $('P5')

  javascript:($('U5')=='Approved' ? "#00FF00:" : $('U5')=='Rejected' ? 
      "#FF0000:" : "#0080FF:") + $('U5')

  javascript:$('@Model') || $('@ModelName') || $('@CameraModel')
  js:media['Model'] || media['ModelName'] || Media['CameraModel']
For certain advanced workflows (e.g. using the Worker Node, server plugins, and Pegasus client) some fields might store read-only JSON-formatted data. You can display these using an HTML template such as
Object Link
If you use Pegasus Server you can have a special kind of field that links to a custom object. This feature is not currently supported in the desktop client.
Multi Object Links
As above but linking to multiple objects.

Please note that writing regular expressions and variable expressions, creating custom objects, and writing server plug ins to set HTML fields etc. are all very advanced topics designed for use by systems integrators or the Square Box Systems professional services team. A variable expression tester is available to help you test your calculated fields.

User and metadata fields

User-defined fields apply to clips and are commonly used to enter logging information, or to trigger Worker Node actions. They are commonly referred to by user field index, for example in worker scripts. If you use Server 7.1 there is a single "All Fields" field set that ensures user field indices are consistent across different production groups, but you can still control which user fields are visible in particular production groups by assigning them to a particular field group and setting visibility of that field group. Fields which are not visible in the current production group will be omitted or shown as "----". To set up field groups and field visibility (based on production group or user role) use the administration pages in the web interface. You can also remap the user field indices from within the web interface if necessary.

Media metadata fields apply to source media files and are normally created automatically when a file is imported to store technical metadata that is harvested from the file (for example, Exif metadata from still images, or XMP metadata from Adobe files). You can also create them manually if required, and can change the type and display label of existing metadata fields, just as you can with user-defined fields. You can also mark low level technical fields that you no interest in as "Don't show", so they hidden from display. An easy way to do this is to select the fields to hide and press the Delete key. You will be given the option whether to delete the field definition (but be aware that it might be added again automatically if it is encountered when importing a media file) or to mark is as being hidden.

Field definition sets

If you are using the CatDV Enterprise Server then you will be familiar with saving different preference settings to the server for each production group, so that all the users in that group automatically load the group settings when they log on and share the same field definitions, view and panel layouts, and other settings. If you want several different production groups (and the worker node) to share the same field definitions you can create a named field definition / config set and then choose which config set each production group should use. The field config set also stores other settings such as pick list values, marker categories, Final Cut 7 field mappings, and customised names for built-in fields.

If you use Server 7.1 (and leave the "Use Server 7 field definitions" option checked in Preferences) then field definitions are directly loaded from and saved to the server using the new server 7 metadata API. Field config sets are only used for other settings, and this is the recommended way of working. If you use Server 6 then fields definitions are loaded and saved via a named field definition set and you need to press the Edit button to explicitly edit this and ensure you have the latest version of the field set before making changes.

Pick lists

Fields of type grouping, multi-grouping, and hierarchy take values from restricted list of values. You can edit these via the Pick Lists button, or using the administration web interface.

Event details

Events provide a new mechanism for grouping related clips together. Often, there will be several clips that relate to the same occasion (for example, a particular interview or location, or an event such as a party). CatDV already provides a number of existing mechanisms for linking these clips, such as storing the media files in the same folder or assigning them a common bin name or user-defined grouping field value, but most of these mechanisms involve duplicating the description of the event in each field. With events the description is stored in the event itself. All the clips link to that event so the description is shared.

Assigning clips to events

You can create events and assign clips to them by selecting the clips to modify and using the Tools > Assign To Event command.

Several options are available. The simplest is to create a single new event, and assign all the selected clips to that event. You can also create and assign events automatically by looking at either the Bin name or Record Date fields of the clip (or both). Whenever the Bin changes, or the date of the clip differs by more than a specified interval from the previous clip (4 hours by default), a new event is created. You can also choose to assign clips to the closest existing event (if any) without creating new events.

Once events have been created they are stored in the catalog, whether or not any clips belong to that event. All the events in the catalog are listed in the tree navigator. As well as using the Assign To Events command you can drag clips on to an event in the tree to assign it to that event.

Editing events

Right click on an event in the tree to edit the event details. An event has a name, notes describing the event, and (in most cases) a date range which that event spans. You can also add custom metadata fields to the event by clicking the '+' button.

Using the tree you can merge two or more events into one. To do this, command- or shift-click the events in the tree to make a multiple selection, then right click and choose the Merge Selected Events command.

The Clean Unused Events will delete any events which don't currently have clips assigned to them. You can also manually Delete Events. (Deleting an event doesn't delete clips assigned to that event, it simply updates those clips so they are not tied to any event.)

CatDV "Field Logger" iPhone app

With the forthcoming CatDV Field Logger iPhone application (to be released shortly) you can already start logging events while on location in the field. Enter a description and keywords to describe the event, and automatically record the GPS coordinates of the event. Later, when you sync the app to your computer, an XML event log file is saved, which you can import using the Import Event Log command. This will automatically create events and link them to your clips (import the clips into CatDV separately, then link them based on the camera record date).

Using the CatDV logger app you can not only get a head start on logging events at the time the media is originally being shot but also geotag all your clips, just as if your camera had its own built-in GPS receiver.

Other features of events

Despite the similarity in their names don't confuse events (a way of grouping related clips together) with timecode event markers (a way to mark specific frames of interest within a clip).

Viewing media and media metadata

Proxies and thumbnails

A clip can have different types of media representation: small thumbnail images, the original movie or media file, and a low-resolution proxy movie. A clip in CatDV contains a reference to its media, not the media itself, so all these types of media can be shared by more than one clip. (This also applies when you create subclips. Subclips refer to parts of a media file, specified by a time offset from the start of the file, and don't involve creating new files or modifying your original files.)


Original media


CatDV supports the use of low-resolutions proxy movies (also known as "preview movies") to use if the original media is offline. In a networked environment the online media might only be accessible to the edit suites while desktop computers might use the previews for logging and to decides whether clips are suitable for inclusion in a project.

Locating media

CatDV performs path-based lookup (of original media or low-res proxies) using the Media Path field.

See also: Source media management, Preferences

Legacy Tape-based lookup is no longer supported.

Media dialog

Often it's convenient to play the movie for a clip so it's scaled to fit within the clip details panel at the top of the main window, but you can also play media in a separate window. The media dialog is resizable and offers additional features, such as full screen playback or slide show operation:

All these options use the media dialog to show the media, either in a window or full screen. Double click or press Escape to close the media dialog. See below for various other keyboard shortcuts you can use to control the media as it's playing. For a description of the movie controller that is used when playing movies see the clip details panel.

There are also a number of Preferences options that control how media is played, for example the slide show delay. The Present Movie and Run Slide Show commands are only available if you turn on advanced menus.

Keyboard shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts can be used to control the media presentation and mark the clip that is playing and also control movie playback in the clip details panel. (Some keys are only relevant to the separate Media Dialog window or in the embedded Clip Details panel, but most are common to both.)

Space barplay or pause a movie
Up, Downmove to previous or next clip in the catalog
Escape (or Cmd-W)close the media dialog
Ftoggle into full screen mode. Double click to return to normal mode.
Tab (or R)start or pause slide show mode
Enterclose a slide show
+, -increase or decrease the audio volume (certain players only)
[, ]rotate image 90 degrees left or right
Ddouble the playback size of the movie or image
Shift-Drestore playback to normal size
Ctrl-Rrefresh the display, re-centering the window on the screen
0-9adjust speed of slide show (when slide show is running)
Alt-0 - Alt-5set star rating of the clip
Ctoggle showing/hiding the movie controller
G/Hslow motion playback (see below)
J/K/L/;jog-shuttle controls (see below)
Shift-Ltoggle looping playback mode
Cmd/Ctrl-Mtoggle the mark flag for the clip
Cmd/Ctrl-Shift-Mclear the mark flag for the clip
Minsert a timecode event marker
I, Oset start/end of a selection (in2/out2)
Pplay the selection from start to end (in2 to out2)
Shift PSet the clip's poster thumbnail to the current frame
T, Ymove to start/end of a selection (in2/out2)
S, Eplay start/end of a selection (in2/out2)
Ctrl-J (or Cmd-I)display clip details dialog
AToggle audio waveform display (if available)
Cmd/Ctrl +/-Zoom in and out of the audio waveform display

JKL controls

The behaviour of the JKL jog-shuttle controls depends on the Preferences setting:

These keys apply in the media dialog, in the Movie and Proxy tab of the clip details dialog, and when playing movies full screen.

Menu keyboard shortcuts

This page summarises all the menu command shortcuts in one place. Press Cmd (Mac OS X) or Ctrl (Windows) together with one of the following keys:

A / Shift ASelect All / Deselect All
B / Shift BBulk Edit / Search & Replace
C / Shift CCopy Clips / Timecode Calculator
D / Shift DToggle Details Panel / Import Directory
E / Shift EExport Movie / Export Still
F / Shift FFind Clip / Remote Query
G / Shift GFind Next / Toggle Grouping
H / Shift H(Reserved by Mac OS X) / (Unused)
I / Shift IClip Details / HTML Summary
J / Shift JFile Details / Catalog Summary
K / Shift KConnect to Server / Server Admin
L / Shift LLaunch In Default App / New Empty Clip
M / Shift MMark Clip / Insert Marker
N / Shift NNew Catalog / New View
O / Shift OOpen/Import File / Programmable Import
P / Shift PPlay Media / Play Media (Windowed)
Q / Shift QQuit / (Reserved by Mac OS X)
R / Shift RRun Slide Show / (Unused)
S / Shift SSave Catalog / Toggle Summary Mode
T / Shift TToggle Tree Navigator / Toggle Toolbar
U / Shift UNew Subclip / Find Master/Subclips
V / Shift VPaste Clips / Verbatim Logger
W / Shift WClose Window / Convert Markers to Subclips
X / Shift XCut Clips / Programmable Export
Z / Shift ZUndo / Redo
- / =Select Reviewed / Select Marked
\Automatic Column Widths
1..5Switch between Media and Details Panel Tabs
Up, DownPrevious/Next Clip
[, ]Rotate Left or Right
F5Refresh Window

Media playback options

There are many different formats of media file in existence and CatDV supports a number of different mechanisms for playing and working with these files. Which player is used depends on the file type and the options selected in Preferences. (A coloured letter in the movie controller indicates which player is being used, and you can click on this letter to jump to the appropriate section of preferences if you need to make any changes.)

Available players

Advanced player
With QuickTime becoming obsolete, CatDV has shifted its focus to the native Advanced player, which combines the functionality of all of the previously used individual codecs in one native player. First introduced in CatDV 11, the native helper process plays common media files, making use of a number of codec libraries, including FFmpeg, RED, and Tin Man libraries. Most formats can be played natively, including QuickTime movies, AVI, MPEG, AVCHD, R3D, XAVC, P2, and XDCAM files, though some professional formats including AVC Intra, Avid DNxHD, XAVC-I require the Calibrated Tin Man application to be installed and licensed.
Image sequences (DPX, EXR and JPG)
Pegasus includes a special native image sequence player that supports image sequences in JPEG, TIFF and PNG formats, as well as DPX and EXR images.
FFmpeg & RED players
Originally introduced as extra codec libraries for the native player, both the open-source FFmpeg library and the RED decode library (the latter is only available in Pegasus and Enterprise) are included in the Advanced player for playback. You can manually choose a specific player if required for diagnostic purposes.
Other players
CatDV has built-in support for displaying common still image formats, including JPEG, PSD, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and many camera RAW files (including CR2, NEF, DNG, ORF, PEF, ARW, and MOS, though some only at low resolution). It also has a built-in player for certain types of OMFI files.

Even if no player is available to play or view a raw media file from within CatDV, you can still use CatDV to catalog and tag such files, and double click on the clip (or use the Cmd/Ctrl-L menu shortcut) to open the file in its default application. You can also use an external application to create a proxy for such files and configure CatDV to play the proxy instead.

Obsolete players

A number of old players are now obsolete and have been removed with the move to 64-bit only architecture:

Configuring the media player

In most cases the correct player is chosen automatically but sometimes more than one player can open a particular file and it may be desirable to override the default player. If you right-click on the media panel a popup menu letting you manually choose a specific player is shown.

You can also configure which player to use. On the Media Playback tab of Preferences you can specify a series of rules as to which player to use based on the file extension or other criteria. One or more rules can be specified, one per line, and the first one which matches the clip and successfully opens the file is used:

In normal use just leave the default box checked and the correct player will be chosen automatically.

FFmpeg transcoding

You can export movies using any FFmpeg export codec. CatDV includes a copy of the open source FFmpeg application, invoked through the command line interface, which it uses for transcoding.

FFmpeg is free, open source software. The source code for the version FFmpeg that CatDV uses is available on request or you can download the latest source code from and compile it yourself, for example to get access to additional codecs and filters or the latest bug fixes.

CatDV provides a graphical user interface to configure the FFmpeg export settings, together with a number of presets. In the export settings dialog you can choose the container format (such as .MOV or .MP4) then the video and audio codec to use, the video frame size, the target bit rate to use, and whether to change the frame rate or audio sample rate. Note that not all video and audio codecs are compatible with all container formats and if you choose an incompatible combination you will get an error when you perform the export. Note also that ffmpeg includes a large number of old and obscure codecs in its list of options and in most cases it is best simply to ignore codecs you are not familiar with.

You can add burnt in text or a watermark into the exported movie. As well as fixed text such as a copyright notice you can include CatDV variables such as ${NM1} for the clip name or tick the option for burnt in timecode. You can also burn in a watermark image by specifying the filename for a transparent PNG or GIF image. This image will be scaled to fill the frame so you would typically place a logo in one corner and leave the rest of the image transparent.

If you check the 'Advanced' option you will see additional export options, including the ability to set the quality level (FFmpeg -qscale option) and control which audio track is used. Note that you can specify either the quality or the target bit rate, not both, and also that some codecs don't use the -qscale setting (for example, the x264 codec is configured using -crf or -qp instead).

You can also directly specify ffmpeg command line options. Detailing these is well beyond the scope of this article and you should refer to online FFmpeg documentation. Certain words in the options list have special processing when building the ffmpeg command line:

Press the 'Test' button to preview the ffmpeg command line that will be used.

Media file metadata

CatDV provides detailed information about virtually any kind of media file that you import into a catalog, including stills, audio files, and other formats, not just movies.

All the metadata (ie. information about the file, as opposed to the media content of the file itself) that CatDV reads from a file is extracted at the time of import and stored in the CatDV catalog. It is displayed in special properties against each clip, and is cached in the catalog so is available even if the media file is offline.

This information can be very useful when searching for clips, when grouping similar clips together, or when diagnosing problems with particular files. A wide variety of metadata fields are available, though which are shown depends on the type of file.

General metadata

The following properties are potentially applicable to any type of media file:

VideoA summary of the format of the visual track, including the codec, frame size and frame rate. (If there are several video tracks the overall frame size of the movie is shown.)
AudioA summary of the format of the audio track, including codec and sample rate.
ImporterDetails of which importer was used to read the file
FormatA concise summary of the container format and codec, based on the Importer, Video and Audio fields.
TracksA list of all the tracks in the file. When using the QuickTime importer the 4 character type and subtype codes are shown, eg. "vide/jpeg" is a JPEG video track, while "soun/musi" is a MIDI music track. The size in pixels (Width x Height), the number of samples, and the duration of the track are shown also.
MetadataAny QuickTime user data or Windows Media metadata, such as movie title or copyright annotations, that might be stored in the file is shown here in concatenated form. This field also shows metadata such as JPEG comments, ID3 tags from MP3 files such as artist and track, and Exif tags. (See below).
Underlying TypeThe clip type icon indicates whether a clip is a DV clip, a still, an audio clip, an interactive file (eg. Flash or QuickTime VR), or other movie.
Aspect RatioThe aspect ratio of the visual frame. In the case of DV the intended display size (4:3 or 16:9) is shown, taking into account the non-square pixel size, even though this won't match the ratio of the frame size.
Frame rateThe frame rate of the visual track, if known, or an indication if this file is a still.
Frame sizeThe normal display size of the movie in pixels, after any transformation matrix has been applied. (By contrast, the unscaled size of each track is shown in the Encoded Dimension field if it's different.)
Audio RateThe audio sample rate (this is extracted from the Audio column and made available separately so it can be used for grouping).
Import NotesIf anything unusual about the file is detected, such as audio and video tracks that differ in length or don't seem to relate correctly to the number of media samples, or if there are problems with the timecode, then a warning message may be displayed here.
DurationThe duration of the media file. The timecode format used depends on the file.
In (and Out)If the file has a timecode track then the in and out points use this timecode information, otherwise each media file is assumed to start at 0:00:00
Media pathThe last known location on disk of the source media file.
Media dateThe modification time of the source media file (typically the time the file was captured or digitized, as opposed to the original record date.)
Media sizeThe physical size of the source media file in kilobytes or MB. (This is the size of the media file as a whole, not the size for a particular scene.)
Data rateThe average data rate of the media. You can choose which units are used for displaying data rates in Preferences.

Exif metadata

The following fields have special meaning for JPEG and TIFF files with Exif metadata:

ExposureA summary of the Exif exposure details (if present). The EV (exposure value) number combines the aperture and exposure times and gives an approximate indication of the overall light intensity in the scene, assuming the shot was exposed correctly and the camera has equivalent sensitivity to ISO100 film. (Typically EV0 would correspond to almost complete darkness, while EV18 might be a pure white object in very bright sunshine.)
MetadataThis lists all the Exif tags commonly recorded by a digital camera, such as camera make and model, exposure time, whether flash was used, etc. combined into one field
GPS CoordinatesIf the image contains geotag information it is extracted and indicated by a blue globe icon on the Summary tab of clip details. Clicking on the icon will display the location in Google Maps.
Record DateIf the Exif data has a DateTimeOriginal or CreationDate tag then this value is extracted and stored in the Rec Date field.

DV metadata

The following fields have special meaning for legacy DV and DVCam/DVCPro clips:

Aux T/CAdditional user-settable or time of day timecode supported by some cameras. (Professional Edition only)
DV T/CThe timecode value at the start of each clip as stored in the DV data itself (this may be different from the QuickTime timecode track).
ExposureCamera exposure details recorded in the DV data at the time of recording by some camera models.
FormatA summary of the format, such as whether PAL or NTSC, widescreen or normal, and locked or unlocked audio. In the case of DV this field is based on the DV data itself, not on what QuickTime reports. For example, if a captured movie file has been conformed by rendering a new audio track then the Format field might report that the original recording was at 32kHz even though the Audio field reports that the movie has a 48kHz audio track.
Record DateThe original date and time of recording, stored in the DV data (assuming the clock on the camera was set correctly at the time of recording).

Metadata columns

Depending on the files you import, all kinds of other metadata may be read and are stored in generic metadata columns. The possible field names are not predefined and new metadata columns may be added as required. They can include:

The "Metadata (media)" field shows all the QuickTime user data (and other textual annotations that's read from a file) together in concatenated form in one field. As well as displaying the metadata fields in concatenated form, you can expand each metadata field as a separate column by checking the Enable metadata columns box in Preferences. You can then choose whether particular columns are shown or not, and also whether they are used for grouping. (This only affects how the columns are displayed, not how they're stored, so these options are safe to change at any time.)

Supported file formats

CatDV natively supports a wide range of common media file types using the FFmpeg media library and its own built-in support. CatDV will play back and export files in formats including:

Camera RAW images

CatDV has built-in support for reading many common camera RAW still image formats, including 3FR, ARW, CR2, DCR, DNG, ERF, FFF, K25, KDC, MOS, NEF, ORF, PEF, RAW, RW2, RWL, SR2, SRF, MPO and RAF. In most cases the files contains a preview thumbnail that can be displayed and CatDV will extract camera metadata such as exposure and white balance information and other Exif data (including camera maker notes). Some formats can be viewed in CatDV but in most cases to view the full resolution version of the image or to make adjustments you will need to open the image in an external application such as Photoshop.

Native importers

CatDV includes its own importers to process MP4, MOV, MPEG, WMV, OMF, MXF, TIFF, and PDF files, amongst others. These importers are designed to allow you to catalog the catalogs and extract metadata from the files (including movie duration, audio and video format, timecode, title or copyright information, GPS coordinates and so on, depending on what the file format supports) whether or not the generic FFmpeg or QuickTime importers support that metadata.

Other file formats

CatDV understands several file formats that can contain clip information, such as batch logs, Final Cut Pro XML files and EDLs. When you import one of these recognised formats a clip is created for each entry in the file.

With CatDV Pegasus Client or the Professional Edition you have access to additional media formats including MXF, R3D, DPX, EXR etc., as well as the option to import arbitrary non-media files, such as text files, Word documents, spreadsheets, project files, and so on.

Import warnings

When importing movies several consistency checks are applied and a warning message may be displayed in the Import Notes column under various circumstances. The most common messages and their meanings are shown below. (These warnings are fairly technical in nature and can usually be ignored.)

Timecode jump
This indicates that the DV timecode in the captured movie is not strictly continuous, either because the original source tape has a timecode discontinuity, because frames were dropped during capture, or possibly because data corruption occurred or the movie was edited or rendered by computer. If the 'strictly base clips on captured DV media' import option is on each continuous segment is processed separately during import into CatDV.
Dropped frame(s) between ? and ?
Repeated frame(s) between ? and ?
These indicate shorter timecode errors of just a few frames. CatDV treats these differently and does not automatically create a new clip at each point.
Timecode differs (DV/QT=?)
There are two ways to determine the timecode for a particular DV frame: either based on the QuickTime 'timecode' track or on the digital data stored in the DV stream itself. Usually these will give the same result but if you have dropped frames or other anomalies occurred during capture the results may be different and CatDV displays a warning during import. If you have set the 'strict' import option then CatDV will always try to use the DV timecode and generate new clips whenever it detects a jump, otherwise it uses QuickTime's concept of the timecode (which may agree more with what other applications use) and displays the DV timecode for reference in the DV T/C field.
Incorrect length (? short of ?)
This means the length of the media in the movie does not match the overall length reported by QuickTime for the movie as a whole. This can occur if frames were dropped during capture but other frames are stretched out to maintain the overall movie length. Sometimes the movie is reported as being longer than it really is and the last frame appears as one long frozen still, stretching out to give the movie its overall length. In this case the length that QuickTime thinks the movie is is shown in the message but the clip in CatDV will be shorter and reflect the media that is actually present.
Audio sample rate mismatch
If a DV movie has a separate audio track this message indicates that the sample rate of the audio track doesn't agree with that originally recorded in the DV stream. This can happen if the audio was resampled during capture, or if you capture a clip where the audio sample rate changes mid way through, in which case QuickTime can sometimes get confused about the sample rate and create an unplayable audio track.
Unstable frame at start
Skipping unstable frame(s) at ?
When the camcorder starts recording a new scene the tape may not have stabilised fully and the DV data in the first frame or two may not have a valid timecode or date/timestamp. Where possible, the unstable data is ignored and the first valid date or timecode is used instead.
Video and Audio differ by ? seconds
This means the audio track is shorter than the video track by the amount shown. This may indicate dropped frames or some other capture problem, but it could also mean that the movie was edited or rendered, or that the camcorder doesn't precisely lock audio and video samples.
? fps invalid for PAL/NTSC DV
This indicates that the frame rate is not exactly 25 or 29.97/30 fps for PAL or NTSC respectively, perhaps because the movie was rendered by computer rather than captured with a camera, or because frames were dropped during capture.
Average ? doesn't match nominal ? fps
The average frame rate (total number of frames divided by movie duration) doesn't match the typical frame rate (this could mean the movie has some dropped frames).

Many of these messages only apply to the clip representing the movie as a whole, which is hidden by default. You should therefore show hidden clips if you are trying to diagnose capture or import problems. You can also use the Media Information dialog to display more details about a media file.

Controlling how movies are imported

Use the 'Strictly base clips on captured DV media' preferences option (which is on by default) to:

Turn off the 'strict' option:

If you get a warning about average and nominal fps not matching and the clip appears to have wrong timecode format try toggling the "Timecode format" advanced preference option. For DV files CatDV can determine the correct format easily but for other files it can base it on the average frame rate or the nominal frame rate (time scale / nominal frame duration).

You should not normally use the "Ignore DV timecode" option but if you do then CatDV will treat DV files as ordinary QuickTime files.

Advanced operation

Marking and selecting clips

Most commands such as exporting clips, playing media or editing clips require you to select the clips you want to work on first. You select clips in a catalog by clicking on them in the main window. Hold down the shift or command/control keys to select a range of clips. You can also use Cmd/Ctrl-A to select all the clips in the window, or use the Find command.

Copy and pasting clips

You can easily move selected clips between catalogs to help you better manage your catalogs:

Note that if you want to copy or paste or delete text within a text field you need to click and select within the text field then use Control-C/X/V (or Command-C/X/V on the Mac) from the keyboard, not from the menu.

Marking clips

Use the Mark check box to mark clips of interest or to save the state of a selection:

You can also mark clips as "good" or "no good" (or as "maybe" if you are undecided) using the Good field:

Hiding clips

Clips may be flagged as being hidden so they don't normally appear in a catalog window. These clips are still part of the catalog, however, and are saved and loaded normally.

Hidden clips can be made visible temporarily by using the Show Hidden menu command (under the View menu).

You can change whether selected clips are hidden or not by using the Hide Selected or Unhide Selected menu commands, or by checking or unchecking the "Hidden" checkbox in the clip details.

When you import a movie with automatic scene detection selected, a master clip representing the movie file as a whole is created, as well as separate clips for each scene detected within that movie. In most cases you are likely to be interested in the scenes on a tape, rather than the capture files, so the clips representing the movie file are initially marked as hidden. You can also manually hide master clips after creating subclips from them.

Searching and filtering

CatDV provides a large number of ways of searching and filtering clips.

Use the Quick Search field on the toolbar to filter the clips shown in the main window to those containing the keywords you type in. As you type more characters fewer clips are shown. (The Quick Search field works by searching the clip's name, notes, bin name, user columns, and metadata fields for each word you type in in turn.)

For more advanced searches you can use the Find command to search for clips based on one or more particular clip properties. You can either move to the next clip that matches the query or use it as a filter so that only those clips matching the filter condition are shown in a window.

A query or filter can have different types of conditions, all of which must be true for a clip to match:

An enhanced query dialog is available in the Professional Edition.

When searching you can move forward to the next clip matching the conditions, or search for all clips in one go (all clips that match will be selected). You can also create a new view containing just the matching clips.

When a filter is in effect only the clips that match the filter are shown. Use the View > Filter command, or press the "All Clips" node in the tree navigator to turn off a filter.

Smart folders, Grouping and Hiding clips are other ways of excluding clips from being shown in a window and can be used in conjunction with the regular filtering mechanism. Use the Reset View command to turn off all the different filter mechanisms and restore a default view showing all your clips.

Finding more clips

The mechanisms above describe how to narrow down and find specific clips within the catalog or window you have open. To find extra clips which aren't already in the current catalog you can:

Summary mode

Please note that this section describes a legacy feature that was originally intended for tape-based workflows and isn't very useful in most modern workflows.

In a normal view each row or thumbnail in the main window corresponds to precisely one clip in your catalog. In certain situations you might want a different view of your clips however. In a summary view the clips in your window are temporarily replaced by an alternative "consolidated" view.

There are several types of summary mode, which you can access via the View menu:

Switching to a summary view is just temporary and doesn't alter your original clips. You can toggle between a normal and summary view by pressing Cmd/Ctrl-Shift-S.

Clip summaries

Sometimes a catalog may contain overlapping or duplicated clip definitions, for example if you import logs from completed projects as well as having imported the raw movie files, or if you capture a tape in several segments.

How tape summary mode works

The changes made by summary mode only affect how clips are displayed and exported. The original clips in the catalog are not altered, so you can safely toggle in and out of summary view as required. Clip Summary mode displays a concise description of the scenes on a tape as follows:

Source Media and Thumbnail views

There are a number of other summary views that temporarily change how the clips are shown without changing the original clips stored in your catalog:

Event markers view

Grouping fields

In CatDV, some fields can contain free format text while others take values from a limited list of choices. Fields that take values from a picklist are referred to as grouping fields (or grouping properties) and provide a convenient way of grouping and organising the clips in a catalog.

Grouping mode

Use grouping mode to view all the clips in a catalog by tape, bin, event, or other grouping property. Select the property to group by from the drop down list at the left of the window, then select the particular item to view.

More advanced operations are possible:

Creating grouping fields

As well as predefined grouping fields (Bin and Tape, and read-only fields such as Video and Audio format), you can create your own user-defined logging fields (using the User Columns tab in Preferences) and define them to be of type 'Grouping'. Similarly, you can select which metadata columns to group on in the Metadata Columns Preferences tab.

Once you have created a user-defined grouping field you can define picklist values for it under the Pick Lists Preferences tab. If a pick list is "extensible" that means the pick list provides suggestions for the user to choose a value from but the user can type in new value not in the list if necessary. If it's not extensible, only values from the drop down pick list can be chosen when editing a clip. An "auto-populate" list remembers new values that you enter for future use.

You can also set a user-defined column to be a Multi-grouping field. These are similar to grouping fields in that they takes values from a pick list of keywords, but you can apply more than one keyword to the same clip. If you then use grouping mode all the distinct keywords are shown, and the same clip might appear under more than one keyword.

Editing grouping fields

When editing grouping fields in the clip details panel you can click on the down arrow button to display a popup list of values to choose from. In the case of multi-grouping fields the popup shows two lists, one of available choices and one of all the keyword applies that have been selected. Double click an item to move it from list to another.

You can also edit both single and multi-grouping fields as if they are normal text fields. Start typing and the first matching value from the picklist is shown. Press the Up and Down arrows to select another item, press the backspace key to delete characters you have typed, or press the Enter key to show the popup. In the case of multi-grouping fields, press semicolon (;) once you have chosen one keyword and want to add another one.



You can print reports from a catalog consisting of all the clips in the current view:

You can also print complete details of an individual clip by bringing up the Clip Summary window and pressing the Print button in the toolbar.

To adjust the appearance of printouts you can:

You can also export clips as HTML or text and print them from an external application such as your web browser or a word processor (for example, if you have large amount of text and want it all to flow on the page rather than be truncated to fit in a fixed row height).


Use the Preferences dialog to enter your registration details and change user preferences. There are a large number of settings, arranged in different pages or tabs for convenience. You can use the Next and Previous buttons to cycle through them, or Highlight to show which settings have been modified and optionally restore them back to their recommended default values.

General tab
Whether to interpret timecode (when no frame rate is specified by the context) as PAL or NTSC; the format for displaying dates and times; whether to use the simplified or advanced menu; how to name subclips created by automatic scene detection or the New Subclip command; whether to force the user interface language to English when using a localised version of CatDV.
Proxies & Thumbnails tab
What size and quality settings to use when creating proxy movies (use one of the presets, or customise your own in the Professional Edition); whether to use tape- or path-based proxies; whether to display a proxy instead if the original movie is unavailable (or whether to always use the proxy); whether to generate thumbnails for imported media; what size thumbnails to create; whether to use the midpoint or start of clip as initial default poster; whether to create thumbnails on the first/last frame or inset by 5% (for shots that fade in from black).
Field Definitions tab
Edit (view, create, modify, or delete) user-defined fields, metadata fields; view or edit the values that appear in drop down pick lists; manage config sets; edit Event Marker categories; edit Final Cut Pro Field Mappings; edit Smart Labels; view, lock, or make mandatory the Built-In fields.
Customise Views tab
Create or modify view definitions.
Customise Workspaces tab
Create or modify workspaces. Customise Details Panel tab - Professional Edition
Customise fields shown in the clip details panel, along with creating panels.
User Interface tab
Whether to open last catalog when launching CatDV; explicitly specify the default view and grouping when a window is first opened or whether these should automatically be the same as the previous window; decide whether to always display tab name; choose whether to prompt which catalog to import files to; choose whether to show toolbar labels; define action when double-clicking a file; whether to use the advanced query dialog for searches within a catalog (Professional Edition).
Tree Navigator tab
Choose tree style; define how browsing and searching the Server tree works; personalise and toggle the Filters, Actions, and File System trees.
Advanced User Interface tab
Select the look and feel of the application; modify the default view; choose whether imports (and similar operations) can take place as a background activity; whether renaming a clip or changing its bin also renames or moves the media file; whether to keep the details dialog on top of the main window at all times; preferred units for displaying data rate; which import and export menu command should have a keyboard shortcut; automatic save interval; whether clicking on a directory in the tree navigator automatically analyses the files; whether to activate legacy 'Good/No Good/Maybe' rating system.
Import tab
Which importers to try when importing a media file; whether to recursively scan subdirectories when importing a directory; whether to do scene detection; which known media types to import; how to deal with complex clips; whether to import non-media files; whether to combine clips with the same tape name, in and out values into a single clip reference; whether to perform scene detection based on changes in time stamp or image contents (check both for automatic operation); whether to import clips based strictly on the DV timecode information embedded in the media (ie. whether to favour the DV or QuickTime timecode if they differ); whether to automatically combine start and end segments of a DV clip that spans more than one capture file, whether to create Image Sequences and if so what frame rate to use.
Media Playback tab
Whether to automatically select the appropriate media player, which media player to use; whether to start playing a movie automatically; whether to launch non-media in external applications; whether to automatically double the size of small movies or images; how fast should slide shows be shown; whether to automatically open still images and movies; what media panel controls to display; what speed to display slide shows at; whether to use jog or shuttle keyboard controls (Professional Edition only).
Advanced Media Handling tab
More advanced options that control how media files are opened and imported, including: whether to resolve QuickTime data references (necessary for some reference movies such as RED, but can result in a long delay when encountering broken reference movies); whether to play WMV files using QuickTime/Flip4Mac or an external application; whether to completely disregard timecode embedded in DV movies; how to decide the timecode format for imported formats; whether to replace the audio track when playing back XDCAM proxies.
Printing tab
What fonts and margins to use when printing (top, bottom, left and right); how much extra spacing to leave around cells; any custom title to be used.
Export tab
What to export text files as and how to encode them; what to have the Export menu shortcut do; whether to use the whole clip or a selection within the clip when exporting clips; whether to prefix the name of exported movie files with the tape or bin name (or create subdirectories based on these names); what duration to apply to still images when exported as a movie or added to a sequence; the custom footer to include on each page when exporting HTML.
File System tab
Whether to create a backup copy when saving catalogs; time between auto-recovery saves; whether to allow deleting or renaming media files from within CatDV; options to speed up performance on slow file systems (avoid pre-loading movies when selecting a clip until you click on the Movie tab, don't check whether files are online when opening a catalog).
Final Cut & Sequences tab
Options that relate to how clips and sequences are imported from and exported to NLEs including Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Avid Media Composer, for example whether to use the CatDV bin name or create a bin based on the current date and time.
Advanced Functionality tab
Miscellaneous options such as whether debug messages are written to the log file, whether the spell checker is enabled, and options affecting printing.
Server tab
Options relating to use with the CatDV Server, including whether to enable commands that publish data to the server; whether to automatically refresh clips from the server; whether to dynamically add to picklist values from clips stored on the server. Registration tab
Enter the name and registration code you were sent to register CatDV, or clear an existing registration. It is easiest to copy both lines from your registration email and press the Paste button. You can also enter a bolt-on license for the Archiving or MXF Option here.


Various useful utility commands are provided in the Tools menu. (Some of these commands are only available in the Professional Edition, and only if you enable Advanced menus via Preferences.)

Disk Space Tool

The Disk Space Tool will quickly scan a folder or volume and summarise the contents according to how much disk space each folder and file type uses.

Click on a folder to see what file types it (together with all its subfolders) contains. Normally a summary of just the largest files and folders is shown unless you check the 'Detailed' option, in which case all the files are shown. You can scan for duplicate files (based on the file name and size being the same, and the modification time if the 'Detailed' option is checked).

Each time you perform a scan a snapshot is automatically saved, so you can go back and open up earlier scans to compare with the latest one to see where files are being added.

Spell checker

A built-in cross-platform spell checker (licensed from i-net software) provides spell checking within the Verbatim Logger, and within the Notes field and other multi-line text fields in the clip details panel.

If a word is misspelled and underlined in red, right-click on it to view suggested corrections. You can also change the language by right-clicking on the text. To add words to your own dictionary click on the Spelling... button in the Verbatim Logger (Professional Edition only).

By default, only an English dictionary is included. You can add new languages by downloading the appropriate dictionary from SourceForge and editing the dictionaries.txt file in the program folder to add the new language code. For example, to support English and German change dictionaries.txt so it says "languages = en,de". On Windows the dictionaries.txt and dictionary file(s) go in the 'lib' subfdolder, on Mac OS X you need to right click on the application to show the package contents and place the dictionary in the Contents/Resources/Java subfolder.

Source media management

A clip in CatDV can represent either a complete media file on disk or a particular clip or scene within a movie or on a tape. This means that not all clips will refer to a media file, and sometimes you may have more than one subclip referring to different parts of the same media file. (It's also possible to have one metaclip that contains many files.)

You can switch to View>Summary Mode>Source Media View to temporarily consolidate your view and show precisely one clip for each source media file.

Locating media files

A source media file need not remain online on disk once it has been imported into a catalog (though obviously you won't be able to play the media file if it no longer exists or can't be found). CatDV stores the last known location of the media file. The following commands affect the media path:

If a directory or volume has been renamed or moved then CatDV remembers this. It keeps a list of original and current locations (under the Media Search Paths tab in Preferences) which it can use in future to automatically locate a file that has moved. Knowing that two paths are equivalent is particular useful if you work in mixed environments, where S:\Media and /Volumes/Shared/Media for example might actually refer to same folder. This enables CatDV to automatically locate and play the media file even if the catalog stores the old location.

Managing media files

A number of commands in the Media menu can be used to manipulate the media file referred to by a clip:

Proxies and thumbnails

If a media file is not currently available CatDV normally falls back automatically to play a low-res proxy version of the file instead.

Manipulating QuickTime movies

While CatDV can catalog and play back many types of media file, including MPEG, AVI and MP4, some features are specific to QuickTime .MOV files.

The commands above will directly modify the QuickTime movie itself to affect how they play in other applications (they don't re-render the media however, just change some movie settings).

You can also affect how media files are displayed within CatDV using the Rotate Left, Rotate Right and Toggle Widescreen commands, and by editing the Aspect ratio field for a clip. This information is stored in the CatDV catalog and doesn't alter the media file.

Media/file information dialog

Normally a media file is analysed at the time when you import it and metadata describing the file is added to your catalog. The Media/File Information command can be used to check the contents of a file directly, whether or not it's in your catalog (for example, you might choose a file using the tree navigator).

When you open the Media Information dialog the file is opened using either QuickTime or JMF, and technical information (including the audio and video codec and details of any dropped frames) for the file is shown. Even if it's not a media file that can be opened then basic information is still shown about the file, for example if it's a text file the contents are shown, or for binary files you get a hex display of the data.

Other commands

Paste metadata

You can copy log notes and user defined field values from one clip to another using the Paste Metadata command.

First select the source clip(s) and copy them to the clipboard, then select the destination clips and choose Paste Metadata. You are then given the option of which fields to copy and whether to overwrite those fields in the destination or merge the new data in with any existing contents.

You can copy from one source clip to many destination clips, and the same value will be applied to each, or select two lists of the same size to copy from the first clip to the first clip, from the second to the second, and so on.

Clip summary dialog

Press the Summary toolbar button (or use the Clip Summary menu command) to display a formatted, read-only view of the properties of a clip. Unlike the normal clip details window, which has fixed size fields, text in the clip summary window flows so it's all visible.

Managing multiple catalogs

If you have a large number of clips you may find it convenient to create several separate catalog files, for example one per tape or per customer or per project. When you open a catalog all the clips from that catalog are loaded into memory so performance may degrade if you have excessively large catalogs, especially if you use large thumbnails.

Use the Browse Catalogs command to list all the catalog files in a directory, together with a summary of their contents:

When a catalog is open you can use the Catalog Details command to enter a brief descriptive comment about the catalog. This description is listed in the Browse Catalogs window to help you determine the correct catalog to open.

Searching catalogs

You can search all the catalogs in a directory looking for particular keywords:

With the optional CatDV Workgroup Server you can also publish catalogs into a relational database and perform much more sophisticated queries, at the granularity of individual clips rather than entire catalogs.

Memory management

If you have very large catalogs open you might occasionally run out of memory. There are several things you can do:

Identifying clips

CatDV can deal with clip records that come from a variety of sources, for example importing a media file or batch log, and you might do things like export a clip to another application then re-import it. The question then arises of when are two clips the "same" or not? (See also: Summary mode)

A number of different fields in CatDV can be used to identify a clip:

Clip Ref
This is a general purpose clip reference field (sometimes referred to as Clip ID in the past). You can choose to have clip refs assigned automatically (it will get a random number calculated from the clip name and the time the clip was first imported) or assign them manually if you have an existing library system or want to refer to external catalog of assets. You don't have to use this field, you can leave it blank and you can have multiple clips with the same clip reference if that makes sense in your system.
File Hash
Whenever you import a file into CatDV a checksum is calculated based on the file contents. Although not guaranteed to be unique, it is unlikely that two files will have the same file hash unless they have the same contents. If a file has been renamed or moved, or there are two copies in different places, the file hash indicates they are really the same. (If you open an older catalog which doesn't include the file hash you can calculate it using the Tools > Re-Analyse Media command.)
Media Signature
This is always calculated automatically and is based on the media that the clip refers to. In the case of movies with a timecode track or clips that refer to a tape it will be based on the tape name and timecode, in the case of other media files it will be based on the file name and file length. In most cases, if you have two clips that refer to the same piece of media they will have the media signature, even if the clips themselves are named differently or the media file has been moved or is offline.
Clip ID
Finally, when a clip is saved to the CatDV server it is assigned a unique numeric id in the database (sometimes referred to as Remote ID). This is an internal identifier that never changes and is guaranteed to be unique.

Find Duplicate Clips

The Tools > Find Similar command will find duplicate clips which are similar to the selected clips based on a particular attribute. It will either search all the open catalogs in memory or compare the current catalog with the CatDV server. For example, you might compare on File Hash or Media Signature to see if anyone has already imported a particular media file.

Clip popup panel

To support visual browsing of a catalog with the maximum available space for thumbnails you can use a grid view and turn off the clip details panel. An easy way to do this is to select the predefined 'Query' workspace using View > Workspace > Query. You can then use the clip popup panel to view details of a clip:

The clip popup panel is primarily intended for quick browsing. If you need further capabilities when the main details panel is turned off you can press Cmd/Ctrl-I to bring up the details panel in a separate window, or Cmd/Ctrl-P to bring up the windowed player (which can be dragged to a second monitor and displayed full screen).

Old clip details dialog

Note: in most cases you will use the newer clip details panel within the main window to view and edit clip details. If you prefer, however, you can enable the old-style details dialog in your Preferences and bring up a separate clip details window.

Select Clip Details to bring up a dialog where you can view and edit all the properties of a selected clip. This window also shows the thumbnails and media for a clip and can be used for logging clips.

You can bring up the clip details dialog from the main window in several ways: via the menu bar, via a toolbar button, via the context sensitive popup menu, or by double clicking a clip (or control double clicking, depending on how your Preferences are set up).

Viewing media


Splitting and merging clips

Viewing and editing clip details

Creating and navigating to other clips

Keyboard shortcuts

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:

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:

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

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

The following commands appear in the Sequences menu:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

Clip lists and smart folders

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

Server Admin Panel

The Server Admin Panel has four tabs:

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:

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:

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:

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).

Named queries

Remote searches

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

Local searches

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:

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:

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:

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:

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. and MyFile.xml or, 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.

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:

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 CatDV Pegasus Client and AVID Media Composer.

Most of these features require the Pegasus Client application, though some may also be available with CatDV Pro and the MXF Option. To play AVID media correctly within CatDV you may also require Calibrated Tin Man to be installed.

Importing from Avid

To import data from AVID into CatDV:

Exporting to Avid

To export clips from CatDV to Avid and have Media Composer link to the media it's necessary for CatDV to know the clip UMID that Avid uses. There are three options for exporting clips (including subclips and simple sequences) with markers and metadata:

1. Import clips into Avid first

2. Import MXF files directly into CatDV:

3. Transcode to DNxHD using CatDV and Tin Man

4. Directly drag files into Media Composer

Legacy features

Some older integration features are still available but don't necessarily transfer as much data as the recommended workflows above, or might have other issues:

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:

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:

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".

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:

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 for more details.

Change History

New features in CatDV 13

CatDV 13 includes the following main changes:

Advanced Player

The Advanced Player (previously referred to as the "sequence player") supports native playback of most media files, including complex sequences, spanned clips and Op-Atom MXF metaclips. CatDV 13 includes the following changes:

Advanced Exporter

The Advanced Exporter (previously referred to as the "segment-based exporter") makes use of FFmpeg and other technologies to provide creation of H.264 proxies and other formats.

Some of these features may require a Pegasus Client or a CatDV MXF license.

New features in CatDV 12.1

CatDV 12.1 includes a number of user interface and other improvements over 12.0:

New features in CatDV 12.0

These changes are in addition to the changes made in CatDV 12:

If you are upgrading from CatDV 10 or earlier, be sure to review the extensive changes made in CatDV 11, including new player and transcoding technology, user interface changes including the use of customisable workspaces, 64-bit operation, and much more.

New features in CatDV 11

CatDV is subject to continuous improvement. CatDV 11.1 featured many improvements over 11.0, including:

New features in CatDV 11.1

These are in addition to the following significant changes that were previously introduced in CatDV 11.0:

New player technology

One of the main changes in CatDV 11 is that it no longer relies on QuickTime for Java (as Apple have discontinued this technology). Instead, CatDV uses a brand new native player technology that can work with a variety of playback engines. This has a number of consequences:

User interface and functional improvements

As well as new player technology, CatDV 11 includes a number of additional user interface and functional enhancements:

These are in addition to the improvements provided in CatDV 10.1 and earlier releases, and those available in Pegasus. For detailed list of changes in each version, see the Version History in the Release Notes.

Legacy 32-bit version

CatDV 11 is available in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions. Some older and less commonly used features which depend on legacy QuickTime libraries are only available in the 32-bit version. These include the 'Adjust Frame Size' command, adding voice over tracks to a sequence, tape-based proxies, legacy DV-based scene detection, and adding QuickTime metadata annotations when exporting movies. If you need access to any of the above functionality then please use the optional 32-bit version of CatDV 11.

A number of features which were unavailable in earlier releases have since been migrated to the 64-bit version, including: transcoding using QuickTime codecs, the media/file information command, the ability to add a timecode track (when exporting movies and to an existing movie file), visual scene detection, the audio channel popup, rotated movie playback, audio waveform display, preserving Exif metadata when exporting stills, and the ability to play and transcode image sequences.

New features in CatDV 10.1

The following features were added since CatDV 10.0:

Some of these features are only available in certain editions or with the purchase of additional options.

CatDV 10.0 includes the following main changes since CatDV 9:

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