Transferring digital video from camcorder to computer to DVD suggestions....

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    47,682
    Likes Received:
    5,061
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    I am totally new at this so please bear with me...

    I just bought a Sony High Definition camcorder
    that records high definition video to digital videotape.

    Now....

    I need to get the video off of the camcorder and
    onto my hard drive so I can burn it to DVD.

    Let's start with some questions about the process....


    1. Is the process almost like dragging a file from
    camcorder to computer?

    2. The camcorder comes with USB cable to transfer to
    a computer (I have USB2), but would I be better off
    buying firewire cable? Is the speed that much faster?


    Now let's talk software...

    I am not concerned about the price of the software
    that I need to edit and burn over the fact that I
    am a novice and need something that is simple to
    understand.


    I need software that will downconvert the HD video
    to SD before I burn to DVD.

    That same software should allow me to add titles
    and custom fades.

    That same software should be easy to use.

    Can anyone recommend anything?


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    I'm surprised the Sony didn't come with basic editing software that would also handle transfer. My Canon did. Basically you connect up the camcorder and play back the tape in real-time (because even though it is digital, digital tape is a linear medium, so you can't just transfer a file) and it gets recorded to the hard drive. Then you use the editing software to tweak it and set the parameters to burn the DVD. My Canon is not hi-def, but the process should otherwise be very similar. I believe the current versions of Sonic MyDVD and Nero's burning suite are HD capable and should do everything you need to do. I have the non-HD versions of both.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Messages:
    2,036
    Likes Received:
    0
    Software-wise, I use Pinnacle Studio 9.

    I don't have a digital camcorder, but I find this software to be reasonably priced, full of features, and sports a nice intuitive interface (I was new to the process too).

    Not sure how HD fits into the picture, though.

    Good luck,

    Jon
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    Pinnacle has just been acquired by Avid, which has been the gold standard for digital editing in Hollywood for a long time, and they've just released an update to the software (which I haven't had a chance to install yet.) I didn't mention Pinnacle because I thought it was pricier as a stand-alone program. (I got it a couple of years ago bundled with a outboard Analog-to-digital converter that I used to archive VHS home movies and the like to DVD.) Similarly I got My DVD and the Nero Suite bundled with DVD burners and/or TV cards, so never bought those as stand-alone programs, either.

    My copy of Pinnacle will only accept camcorder input via a firewire connection - it can't see the camera if it is attached via the USB cable. I don't know if the latest update adds USB camera support.

    To get back to Ron's question about the relative speeds of the two connection types - I don't think it makes much of a difference. The digital tape is going to play back at 30 frames per second and that's the rate at which the data is going be transferred stored. Processor speed and RAM (which will avoid dropped frames due caused by the digitization process being unable to keep up with incoming data) are more important than connection speed. I've imported and edited video on a laptop with a reasonably fast Celeron-M processor and a gig of RAM without suffering dropped frames, using both the ADC on a USB 2.0 connection and the digital camcorder on a Firewire port on a PC Card without dropping a single frame using Pinnacle.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Kyle

    Kyle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 1999
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Usually USB is used for transfering still pictures from a memory card on the video camera. When the usb is hooked up to the camera XP will see it as a Mass Storage Device. My Pinnacle won't see my Canon ZR Camcorder unless I use Firewire. Sony maybe different. The Firewire would be the preferred way to go even if it does work. Your Video editing software will convert HD into MPG2 once your editting is done.
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    11,680
    Likes Received:
    648
    Location:
    Since 2006
    Real Name:
    Cameron Yee
    I have a friend who loves Sony's Vegas editing program. I myself have only used Mac apps.

    Within the software program will be a function to capture the video. This can only be done in real time, no drag-drop unfortunately, but depending on the app there are ways to make sifting through the footage bearable and systematic. For example, Final Cut has a batch capture feature that I found useful. As I review the footage I can tag in and out points for clips I want to use along with any remarks, etc. These references get saved in a list and once I'm done reviewing footage I have the program go back through the tape and capture the clips using the references created. While it does this I can grab a snack or a soda [​IMG]. Of course this is only useful if you know that you only want certain takes or if you have a lot of footage, not all of which you want to work with. I think most apps will have the feature to automatically separate clips at obvious start-stop recording points, but I've never been too keen on that. I think many will have a maximum clip length as well (e.g. iMovie maxes out at 10 minutes per clip, but nothing gets dropped).
     
  7. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2000
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    0
    Get your editing software set up first and see if it will recognize your camera through the USB connection. If not use Firewire. Speed difference is so small you're not "better" with one or the other.

    For casual editing/DVD creation I use a combo of Ulead Video Studio 9 and Nero Ultra. I capture, edit and save the video using Ulead and burn using Nero. I've found that Nero has a faster rendering process than most editing software suites (though Nero has a capture/edit utility that I've never used...might be worth a look too).
     
  8. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 1999
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does Windows movie maker support HD files? If so, just use that to off-load the video into the computer.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,970
    Likes Received:
    1,543
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    I've only done rudimentary video manipulation, recording low-res video with my digital camera and doing basic edits on my PC.

    For just getting started and playing around, I've found Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft's effort at an iMovie killer, to be capable. It's installed with Win XP SP2, in the accessories menu. It will import video, has basic editing abilities, allows independent soundtracks, and has a broad range of basic effects (titles, transitions, etc.).

    Its biggest limitation is that it only exports in WMV format, except for one AVI option. I don't know if it can create DVDs.

    If your hardware is in hand and you want to dive in before getting a full editing suite, give Movie Maker a whirl. It might satisfy you until you find a more professional package. It might even be all you need.
     
  10. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    Most of the mid-range apps haven't included HD until very recently (I think Pinnacle Studio 10 is the first of the $100 editing tools to embrace HD).
     
  11. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    1,149
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Sacramento/Seattle
    Real Name:
    Keith Plucker
    I am not very familiar with digital video so anybody jump in and correct me if I am wrong....can't you hook up the camcorder directly to a battery powered external firewire drive and record directly to the drive? Then just hookup the external HD to your computer and away you go. I think you can even record to DV tape and to a firewire HD simultaneously which would give you a tape backup of the footage. I guess this depends on your particular camcorder but it might be worth looking into.

    -KeithP
     
  12. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    11,680
    Likes Received:
    648
    Location:
    Since 2006
    Real Name:
    Cameron Yee
    First I've heard of it. How would the HD know where to save the video files or what to name them? I suppose the camera could provide the software "bridge," but that's definitely not a standard feature.
     
  13. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    2
    It seems you may have gotten more answers than needed but I'll throw in mine as well.

    First, none of the programs mentioned so far are technically able to handle HD video. However the Sony HD camcorders compress the video to DV levels, so even though the softwares don't say on the box they handle HD they should work as long as they allow fully customizable resolutions. I'd recommend Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, which is currently getting great reviews (1.0 had a lot of bugs) and is consumer friendly. It may have a slightly higher learning curve than some of the other programs mentioned, but it's far more capable. Also, it shouldn't have any problems using USB.

    BTW, both of Sony's HD camcorders are able to shoot in SD as well, if that is how you plan to archive the footage it would be easier to shoot it that way from the start. Although If I had an HD camera I'd compress it to MPEG 4 (Divx works well and has a specific HD feature) and then burn it to the DVD as a data disc. Then you could play it on any Divx capable DVD player (if yours doesn't already, Philips has one for about 50 bucks, and is perfectly suitable for home video). You could probably hold an hour or so of HD content on a standard DVD this way.
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    My copy of Pinnacle Studio 10 says it supports HD and MPEG4, but a) I haven't installed it yet and b) I don't have an HD camera to test it with anyway. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  15. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    To use MPEG-4, you need the "Advanced Codec Pack" (which comes with the super-deluxe version and otherwise sells for a whopping $10).
     
  16. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    2
    Sorry Joseph, I thought Studio 9 was Pinnacle's latest release. I glanced at the features for it at Amazon and they list it as handling "consumer HD". Editing HD is largely a file size issue, although like I said because of its compression most editing programs shouldn't have any problems with the few consumer grade HD camcorders. A word of warning though, of the 14 reviews for P. Studio 10 at Amazon, none of them were given more than 1 star (the lowest rating you can give). It sounds like it still has a lot of bugs that need to be fixed.
     
  17. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    It's also a processing speed and memory issue because of the need for compressing and uncompressing mpeg video on the fly.
     
  18. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino


    The Media add-on pack that was released at the same time had a serous bug that caused all sorts of problems with the main program. I got an e-mail warning me about this the same day UPS delivered the update discs. (Which I still haven't had a chance to do [​IMG]. )

    Luckily, I read the e-mail before I installed either program. But others might have received their discs before the e-mail went out, installed all the discs and then run to Amazon immediately to report the problem. (As a lot of extremely whiney Amazon customers seem to do. [​IMG])

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  19. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 1999
    Messages:
    3,301
    Likes Received:
    0
    If it's the HC1, according to the specs, that USB port is USB 1.1. I'm not sure what you'd use it for. So you definitely want FireWire (or as Sony calls it, i.Link). Even if the i.Link on the camcorder may be limited to 100Mbps (S100 as Sony calls it), that's a lot better than USB 1.1's 12Mbps. FireWire also gives you universal support without having to load special drivers/programs, including deck control. You can rewind the tape and start a capture right from the computer.

    However, since HDV is actually MPEG-2 and not DV (don't you love this mumbo-jumbo?) you will probably need a program that knows that, so that when the video is tranferred, it is saved as the right file/content type. The usual prosumer suspects would be Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5.1 and Vegas 6; I prefer Vegas. That's just for the editing, and DVD would be separate. But as far as complete and easy to use, you might try Vegas Movie Studio+DVD Platinum Edition. The Platinum supports HDV. There's even a free trial download.
     
  20. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 1999
    Messages:
    3,301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Forgot:Not with any off-the-shelf FireWire enclosure, but one built for use with DV, like this one, which does double as a regular FireWire drive.
     

Share This Page