OK...ug... Caveman is back...ug...need help...ug

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Kevin G., Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Kevin G.

    Kevin G. Second Unit

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    Just got a new Panny mini DV for the upcoming baby, (and Christmas and the like...), Will be burning dvds to save for the future.
    The mini has DV out and USB out. I assume the DV out is firewire?? Which is the better connection?
    I need to check, but as my Dell is quite new, I think I have firewire ports. If so, what is the best way to capture? Will I have to actually PLAY the tape and RECORD it on my PC? I think this is what I read in the manual.
    Will windows recognize, and will their capture be sufficient? Or should I buy NERO, or smething similar? I have Dell Media Experience, Windows movie maker, Power DVD, ARCSoft Video Impression, etc..


    Oh yeah, UG
    Thanks guys
     
  2. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    I can't really speak about anything Windows re: importing/burning, since I'm a lifelong Mac user, but the Firewire port would be much faster and better than USB if you can use it.
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Check your manual to be sure, but I don't think many camcorders will output video using USB. Usually the USB port is for a still camera built into the camcorder.
     
  4. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Yeah essentially that's it, but they usually call it "capturing" rather than "recording".

    I'm sure there's some guides around, but just off the top of my head this is how it goes down:

    STEP 1: CAPTURING THE VIDEO

    On my Sony Vaio, what happens is when the XP operating system senses that a video signal is coming in through the firewire, a box pops up saying "hey, there's a video signal coming in, what software do you want to use to capture it?". And it shows me a list of programs that can do that.

    On the Sony, I select a small program caled DVGate. Your PC likely has something very similar. So I fire that up, start the capture (it shows me a little video window of what I am "capturing"), and yes you just let it play till the end, then stop the capture. It happens in real time, so an hour long tape takes an hour to capture.

    A word of warning - the capture results in a huge AVI file. Immense. Many times larger than the file size will ultimately be when it ends up on a DVD. So be sure to have plenty of room on your hard drive.


    STEP 2: EDITING

    Then as you mentioned, you can use Windows Movie Maker to edit it. It is a fine simple program, very intuitive and easy to use. It does cuts, dissolves, fade-ins and fade-outs (as well as gimmicky transitions that no self-respecting television show or movie ever actually uses). The program doesn't offer much in the way of improving the sound quality though (you can fade-in and fade-out the sound, but that's about it). It doesn't offer much in the way of improving the colors of the video, either. But for beginners it is fine. As you are satisfied with your decisions, save the project now and then just as you would save whatever word document you were working on now and then. Saving the project is different than saving the edited movie - it just saves the set of decisions you've made.

    Finally, you save your edited movie, again as an AVI. Also known as "Exporting" your edited movie - signifying that what you are creating can next be taken to a different program for the final step.

    STEP 3: AUTHORING A DVD

    Using whatever "DVD authoring" program you'd like (could be Sonic MyDVD or Sonic DVDit, could be NeroVision Express, could be Adobe Encore, etc), open your edited movie AVI, and the DVD authoring program will automatically convert it from an AVI into the compressed MPG format that a DVD needs. And then in the same "DVD authoring" program there's the fun of creating chapter points, a menu if you want one, etc. You might not have time to make a menu. When I am in a hurry I don't bother with a menu, I just put chapter points at every five minute mark so it is easy to skip forward or back. Or I put chapter marks at every new scene if I have the time to do that. It is up to you how much effort you want to invest in it.

    You then burn this to a DVD (or, burn it to a hard drive folder if you want to later run off many DVDs for your relatives).

    By the way it can actually take a couple hours for the DVD authoring program to run its course, because that conversion from AVI to DVD is a major effort for the computer.
     
  5. Kevin G.

    Kevin G. Second Unit

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    Thanks for the quick responses guys,
    Will_B, very informative read, I will paste this for future reference.

    I believe, unless I am misunderstanding, The manual states It will transfer both usb 2.0, and firewire. (Depending on where you read...usb 2.0 is SUPPOSED to be as fast as firewire...)
    I am looking on my userguide for my DELL, and am not seeing firewire listed, so I'm SOL there. Any way to add in, say as a PCI, or AGP slot, firewire if need be??
    Thanks again.
     
  6. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    The numbers say USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire v1 (480mbps vs. 400mbps), but Firewire devices are based on a more intelligent architecture which increases overall bandwidth.

    http://www.usb-ware.com/firewire-vs-usb.htm

    I think in the case of streaming video it's not a big deal because the highest MiniDV gets to is 25mbps. I'd still prefer to use Firewire, it gives me warm fuzzies. [​IMG]

    Firewire PCI cards are cheap, but almost all new desktop PCs should have at least 1 firewire connection.
     
  7. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    With minidv cams, the one thing that comes up with me is that with usb I have to control the video on the camera whereas with firewire I can control the video with the computer. It may not always be the case, but with the camera I work with, it is.
     
  8. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    I don't know of any decent video editing software that supports capturing via USB 2.0. That doesn't mean such software doesn't exist; however you'll find many affordable applications that work perfectly with Firewire and it just doesn't make sense to go through the trouble of trying to set up a USB 2.0 capturing system. PCI Firewire cards are cheap, and you can get one bundled with video editing software for even greater savings.



    This is semantics, but neither "capturing" nor "recording" is actually correct when talking about Mini DV. Since you are not working with an analogue but digital signal, the data is simply being copied over Firewire.
     

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