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I have an MPG video and a CSV of times. I am searching for a way to automatically generate clips from the video using those times.

So at each time position a clip is generated with 10 seconds either side of the time resulting in a 20 second clip.

I have investigated scene detectors and trying to import markers into Adobe Premier etc, but with no luck.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

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You can use an EDL (Edit Decision List) in the CMX3600 format. An EDL is a very simple import/export format from the 1970s, when data was exchanged using floppy disks and videos were stored on tape. It's just a text file and most modern NLEs (including Premiere Pro) can import/export it. (Today there are some variations between NLEs, but that doesn't have to bother you.)

To understand EDLs, it's probably best that you create a new timeline and put your MPG video in it. Then export the timeline into an EDL (File > Export > EDL) and open the exported file with a simple text editor. Analyse the content. Then do some cut in your timeline and export it again.

Basically, an EDL consists of several text lines like this:

VJ0K006W V    C         00:00:00:00 00:00:18:19 00:00:22:02 00:00:40:21

The first column is an ID of your video clip, followed by V for a video track and C for a cut. An A instead of V indicates an audio track. The last 4 columns are timecodes which define the in and out point of the source and the in and out point in the timeline. You see that this clip is the first 18 seconds and 19 frames of the input video starting in the timeline at 22 seconds and 2 frames. It's only logical that the clip must end 18 seconds and 19 frames later, at the timeline position 40 seconds and 21 frames.

Now, to answer your question: You have to write a small program (or ask a friend to write) which takes your CSV file as input, extracts the time position, calculates the +/- 10 seconds, and writes an EDL file in the way that Premiere Pro exported. Premiere Pro should import it without problems and assemble the timeline.

Here are some footnotes:

  • Wikipedia explains how timecodes are constructed. If you have simple frame rates like 24, 25, or 30 fps, calculating your +/- 10 seconds is not so difficult. But if your clip has 29.97 fps, then you have to consider drop frames. (You know that leap years have an additional day - February 29, but only occur in distinct years. Clips with 29.97 fps have normally 30 frames per second, but at distinct times have 2 frames less.)

  • I didn't cover the problem of media file names here. When the EDL/CMX3600 format was defined, media only had tape numbers, which were written in the first column of the EDL. When file-based media came into existence, NLEs had to add the file names somehow to the EDL. They did it, but not in a consistent way. But since you only work with Premiere Pro, just see how your video file name appears in the EDL file and mimic the same when writing your file.

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