Isadora features three actors which allow you to capture and create new media files within Isadora itself:


Capture Stage to Movie

Capture Stage to Picture (new in Isadora 2.6!)

Capture Camera to Disk


Each of these actors varies slightly in function, however, all three have a few common features discussed below. These flexible actors record either the video feed from a live capture source (in the case of the Capture Camera to Disk actor) or the output of a single Isadora stage (in the case of the Capture Stage to Movie and Capture Stage to Picture actors).

 
Once capture is complete, the newly recorded movie or picture automatically appears in the Media Window, allowing you to use it using any media player actors later in your patch. This gives you the flexibility to re-mix live and recently recorded images by “sampling” video or images from your live capture sources or your stage to use again later.



Important Note: Managing Captured Media


All "capture" actors create new media files on your computer. Make sure you have ample space on your storage device or hard disk to accommodate the media you will be recording. Solid-state storage drives are highly recommended for this purpose! These files can be hundreds of megabytes in size for especially lengthy videos. Furthermore, recording video consumes considerable processing power, especially if you are capturing a live video source at the same time. Plan your project carefully to ensure you are not pushing your computer's performance too hard. 


By default, Isadora simply saves all newly recorded movie files onto the desktop of your computer. However, if you want to stay organized, you can direct Isadora to store recorded movie files in another folder on your computer. This can be done anytime while Isadora is running by performing the following quick steps:


  1. From the menu bar, go to Input -> Set Captured Media Folder. A browser window appears.
  2. Navigate to any existing folder on your computer where you’d like Isadora to store the captured movie files. Alternatively, you can create a new folder within an existing directory.
  3. Select the folder from within the browser, then click “Choose” to set that folder.
  4. The browser window closes automatically, and all recorded media is now deposited into that folder once captured.


Note that all media files created during a single Isadora session are "temporary files". When you close Isadora after capturing media, the following dialog appears:



Selecting “No” will preserve the newly recorded media on your storage device , as well as maintain the media within the Media Window. It then behaves identically to any other imported media within Isadora.


Selecting “Yes” will permanently delete all captured media from your hard disk, and remove the files from the Media Window.


Alternatively, if you wish to delete all of your captured media files while Isadora is still running, this can be done by navigating to Input -> Delete Captured Media from the menu bar. Warning. There is no confirmation dialog when choosing this option, and it cannot be reversed once selected. Only use this function if you are absolutely sure you want to erase your captured media!


Capture Stage to Movie


To learn how to use the Capture Stage to Movie actor functions, it’s best if you take some time now to either create or load up a very simple Isadora file. Consider trying out the Live Drawing actor connected to a Projector actor. Connect a Mouse Watcher to the "horz pos", "vert pos" and "add point" properties of the Live Drawing actor as shown below. This will generate some easily recognized images to help visually distinguish your captured movies.


As above, don’t forget to set your captured media folder!



  1. Start a new Isadora project and create a simple patch as described above.
     
  2. Drag the Capture Stage to Movie actor from the toolbox into your scene. Let's review the parts of this actor before we proceed.


  3. You decide which stage will be recorded using the "stage" property. Since we are only working with a single stage for this tutorial, we will leave the Stage property on the Capture Stage to Disk actor as “1”.

    Note — For those who frequently work with multiple displays, the Capture Stage to Movie actor records one stage at a time. You can specific which stage will be recorded by this actor by changing the “stage” property. Capturing more than one stage output is possible, but can quickly overwork your processor!
     
  4. The "movie" field specifies where the newly recorded movie file will appear in the Media Bin. When this field is set to “add” (the default setting), Isadora automatically imports a newly captured movie to the Media window, almost as if you had imported a new file yourself. It is automatically added to the end of the default movie media bin, occupying the highest movie media number.

    Note -- When this property is set to "add" the "replace" property of the Capture Stage to Movie actor is disabled, since the actor will only produce new files.

    When you specify a movie number in the "movie" property, Isadora will replace whichever movie file is already in this slot with the newly-recorded file. Note that a movie file must already exist in that slot, even if it marked "unassigned". What happens to the previous file is defined by the "replace" property.
     
  5. You can use the "File Name” property to specify a desired file name for the recorded movie files. If you leave this field blank, Isadora will generate a unique file name each time this actor is triggered. Otherwise, the text entered here will be the filename for the captured movie file.

    Note — It is a best practice to not include an extension as part of this name as Isadora automatically adds the correct extension for you.
     
  6. The “replace” input is disabled if the "movie" property is set to "add". When enabled and set to "off"  Isadora will automatically append a number to the end of each file name created. This preserves the previous media file on your computer, while removing the media file from the Isadora project. However, if the “replace” input is set to “on” Isadora will replace any existing file on your computer with the same name with the new recording, thereby erasing the original data.

    Important Note! If you have a Movie Player in the same scene with the Capture Stage to Movie actor and it is already playing the movie you wish to replace with the Capture Camera to Disk actor, then the "visible" of the Movie Player property must be "off" while you are recording. Otherwise, the capture will fail as the movie is “busy” and cannot be replaced.
     
  7. The "start" and "stop" properties are triggers which begin movie capture and end it, respectively.

    Note — once movie capture begins, it will continue until stopped. Therefore, you can start capture in one scene, and end it in another. The properties of the captured movie are always determined by the instance of the Capture Stage to Movie actor which was triggered by the "start" input.


Try it!


Let's see how this all works in practice.

  1. To begin, let's type “TestRecord” into the “File Name” property.
  2. Set the "movie" property to “add”. This automatically disables the "replace" property.
  3. For this example, set the “movie” property to “add”.
  4. Now, add two Keyboard Watchers actors from the toolbox into your scene.
  5. Set the “Key Range” property on the first Keyboard Watcher to ‘r’ (including the quotes). Then, connect the “key” output of this Keyboard Watcher to the “start” input on the Capture Stage to Disk actor.
  6. Set the “Key Range” property on the second Keyboard Watcher to ’s’ (including the quotes). Then, connect the “key” output of this Keyboard Watcher to the “stop” input on the Capture Stage to Disk actor.


We are now ready to capture our stage:

  1. Press the R key on your keyboard to start capture. Move the mouse pointer around (while holding the CMD key) to draw some swirly shapes.
  2. Notice that a red recording indicator appears in the bottom right corner of the screen near the Status monitor to indicate the stage is recording.
  3. After 5 seconds, stop the stage capture by pressing the S key on your keyboard. Isadora creates a new media file and adds it to the media bin. 


Try repeating the steps above a few times to create a few new movie files:


Note — You can use any key you wish: “r” and “s” were chosen here as examples only. Of course, the “start” and “stop” properties accept any trigger input, you can use many other actors instead of a Keyboard Watcher to start and stop stage capture, such as a Control Watcher actor, Comparator output, or even a Pulse Generator.



Capture Stage to Picture


New for Isadora 2.6, the Capture Stage to Picture actor has largely the same functionally and operation as the Capture Stage to Movie actor.



However, there are a few key differences:


  1. As befits the name, the Capture Stage to Picture actor captures and creates still image files, not movies.
  2. You can specify which file format the Capture Stage to Picture actor will create using the "format" property. Animated GIF images are not supported.
  3. There is one instantaneous trigger, the "capture" input. When triggered, the actor immediately creates an image.



Capture Camera to Disk



The Capture Camera to Disk actor allows video and/ or audio from a Live Capture channel to be recorded into a movie file. This new movie is automatically added to the Media window when recording is complete. Using this actor is a great way to “live edit” with original video captured directly during a performance or installation, or to “remix” live events in digital format. The actor is also a useful tool if you just want to record footage directly from your live capture sources for development or archival purposes.


Before starting this tutorial, you may want to review our tutorials on Isadora’s Live Video Capture functionality. You will also need a live video input device. You might use your computer’s built-in webcam, a FireWire HDV camcorder, or another professional camcorder connected to your computer through a dedicated video capture card.


As with the Capture Stage to Movie and Capture Stage to Picture actors, don’t forget to set your captured media folder.

  1. As a best practice when working with video input devices, connect your video input device to your computer before launching Isadora. Remember, many video capture devices may require installation of additional drivers. Once you have connected all your devices to your computer, you may wish to verify the connectivity by using QuickTime or the software provided by the manufacturer.
  2. Once you have verified the connections on your device, launch Isadora and start a new patch.
  3. From the menu bar, select Input > Live Capture Settings (Command + L)
  4. Now, let’s quickly review your live capture settings. Make sure that Channel 1 is enabled and the video input device you wish to use has been assigned to Channel 1. If you wish to capture audio in addition to video, ensure that your Sound Input has been enabled and assigned to the correct audio input device.
  5. If you need more assistance configuring the Live Capture Settings, check out our video tutorial on using Live Capture <link>
  6. Close the Live Capture Settings window.
  7. Drag two instances of the Capture Camera to Disk actor from the toolbox into your scene. We need two instances of the actor: one to start the recording, and one to stop the recording. This is determined by the “function” input on the Capture Camera to Disk actor. By default, newly created Capture Camera to Disk actors have the “function” input set to “start”.
     
    Note: The actor which starts the recording does not necessarily need to be in the same scene as the actor which stops the recording. This is very handy when you are building larger projects when you will capture from the camera for a long period of time and need to transition through other scenes.
     
  8. Choose one of the two Capture Camera to Disk actors to be the one which will stop the recording by setting the “function” property to “stop”.

    Note: After setting the function on the Capture Camera to Disk actor to “stop” the “Movie”, “File Name” and “Replace” properties are disabled. Since Isadora needs to know these properties when you start a camera capture, these are disabled to avoid entering conflicting information.
     
  9. Specify which live capture channel will be recorded. If you’re only using one live video input device, leave the “Channel” property on both Capture Camera to Disk actors as “1”. If you are using multiple live video inputs, you will need change the “Channel” property to correspond to the channel assigned to the device you want to capture.

    Note: For those who frequently work with multiple camera inputs, the Capture Camera to Disk actor records one live capture channel at a time. Capturing more than one live video input channel output is possible, but can quickly overwork your processor.
     
  10. Name your output movie using the "File Name” property to specify a desired name for the recorded files. If you leave this field blank, Isadora will generate a unique file name each time this actor is triggered. Otherwise, the text entered here will be the filename for the captured movie file. Type “TestRecord” into the “File Name” property, or whatever name you wish to use.

    Note: It is a best practice to not include an extension as part of this name as Isadora automatically adds the correct extension for you.

  11. Specify where the captured movie will appear in the media window using the “Movie” property. When this field is set to “add”, Isadora automatically imports a newly captured movie to the Media window, almost as if you had imported a new file yourself. It is automatically added to the end of the default movie media bin, occupying the highest movie media number.  

    Alternatively, you can specify that the captured movie occupy an existing media slot. In this case, the originally imported or captured movie file will be removed from the media bin. The previous movie file itself will not be deleted or erased from your computer at this time unless set the “replace” input to “on” as described in detail below, but it will be removed from your imported media list.

    For this example, set the “movie” property to “add”.

    Note -- When this property is set to "add" the "replace" property of the Capture Stage to Movie actor is disabled, since the actor will only produce new files.
     
  12. Then the "replace" field is enabled and set to "off",  Isadora will automatically append a number to the end of each file name created. This preserves the previous media file on your computer, while removing the media file from the Isadora project. However, if the “replace” input is set to “on” Isadora will replace any existing file on your computer with the same name with the new recording, thereby erasing the original data.
  13. Now, drag two Keyboard Watcher actors from the toolbox into your scene.
  14. Set the “Key Range” property on the first Keyboard Watcher to ‘r’ (including the quotes). Then, connect the “key” output of this Keyboard Watcher to the “trigger” input on the Capture Camera to Disk actor with the “Start” function.
  15. Set the “Key Range” property on the second Keyboard Watcher to ’s’ (including the quotes). Then, connect the “key” output of this Keyboard Watcher to the “trigger” input on the Capture Camera to Disk actor with the “Stop” function.



  16. We are now ready to capture our cameras. For your own reference, you may wish to add a Video In Watcher connected to a Projector so you can see your live camera feed, but this is not technically necessary.
  17. From the menu bar, select Input > Start Live Capture (Command + E)
  18. Start the capture to disk by pressing the R key on your keyboard.
  19. Notice that a red recording indicator appears in the bottom right corner of the screen near the Status monitor to indicate the camera is recording.

  20. After a few seconds  of capture, stop the stage capture by pressing the S key on your keyboard. Isadora creates a new media file and adds it to the media bin. Try repeating step 9 and 10 a few times to create a few new movie files:

    Note: You can use any key you wish: “r” and “s” were chosen here as examples only. Of course, the “start” and “stop” properties accept any trigger input, you can use many other actors instead of a Keyboard Watcher to start and stop stage capture, such as a Control Watcher actor, Comparator output, or even a Pulse Generator.
    21.Once you are done capturing to disk, stop the live capture entirely. From the menu bar, select Input > Stop Live Capture (Command + ,)