Upgrading a computer for Firewire compatibility

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Adam Lenhardt, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I have a Dell Dimension T450 computer. It came with a 13 GB hard drive, and 128 MB RAM. This past Christmas, I installed an 40 GB hard drive. For whatever reason, I couldn't slave it to the primary harddrive, so I installed it as the secondary master and slaved the CD-RW/DVD drive to it. So far this setup has worked well. However, I plan on making a series of short films with a miniDV camera, and wanted to put in some Firewire ports to transfer the footage. Alot of my money will be going towards the camera itself, so is there a way to do this for less than $100 or at the most $150?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Yes

    Is it possible to get something good for that price?

    No
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    'Kay. How high would I have to go to get something worthwhile?
     
  4. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    I know you can get a card with multiple firewire ports on it for $20 or less. However, I don't know what transferring footage from a camera to the computer via the port involves. Perhaps the camera comes with software or drivers or something. What camera is it?
     
  5. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    If you are only talking about the firewire ports, those cards can be had fairly cheaply, as already mentioned. If you also need software, it gets more tricky. Is that the case?

    -Christian
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Thanks for your help. I'm looking at a JVC GRD30 for the low end, with Sony DCRTRV33 being the high end. It really depends on both how much I end up working this summer (and therefore how much money I have to spread around), and how much the other factors besides the camera come into play. As for the software, I don't know what's required. I used Adobe Premiere and 6.0 right now for my editing work, and that seems to handle every type of file format. Whether it would do what's needed software-wise, I have no idea.
    As for getting these cards with the firewire ports, how do I know if they'll work with my computer setup. Is there anything I can check for?
     
  7. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Make sure you get one that's a pci card, I notice there are a lot of cardbus (for laptop) firewire cards. Any pci firewire card should work in your system.

    Apparently, all their digital camcorders come with MGI VideoWave software, which can transfer and do some kind of editing. I would guess premiere would probably be better, though, assuming it has capture support.
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Basically the MS codec is awful. honestly. You want a card from either Pinnacle or Canopus, both of which can seamlessly handle long projects (over 5min) and have outstanding codecs. It's worth the extra bank for quality
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Thanks for all of the imput, everybody. I've really learned alot. If any other questions come up, I'll be sure to fire 'em on your way!
     
  10. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    I don't know what Jeff is on about, but in order to capture DV material, you can take the cheapest FireWire card you can find. Codecs only come into play while editing.

    See also this excerpt from the MainConcept site (emphasis mine):

     
  11. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    That's right Christian, and there is severe loss with the MS codec. It also doesn't handle long projects well
     
  12. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    That's not what Adam was talking about. He wanted "to put in some Firewire ports to transfer the footage", and you said something about having to spend lots of money, which is definitely NOT the case. He didn't even mention editing in his initial post.

    So again, my advice to Adam is to get the cheapest Firewire PCI card he can find. The Firewire card has absolutely nothing to do with codecs and editing anyway.

    -Christian
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    If he's making short films though, he wants to edit.

    Either way, you've gotten good advice from both of us [​IMG]
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    While the editing option will remain something we'll debate, there is of course, free work arounds for that too..

    He can get a standard firewire card for less then $30, and get a copy of Ulead DVD MovieFactory2 or something similar for less then $40 and utilize their intake engine. [​IMG] Walla, $70, and the ability to produce. What he'll run into that's a bigger problem is going to be hard drive space.. that 40G will fill up really quickly [​IMG]
     
  15. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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  16. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    I do a lot of video work for my church, and bought Pinnacle Studio DV, which came with a TI firewire card. The quality is outstanding, and it couldn't be easier.

    If you are looking for an easy to use, straight forward video editing software, consider Pinnacle Studio DV 8. Sure, it can't do everything that Premier can do, but it also doesn't have the learning curve the Premier has.
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I've always used Adaptecs Firewire PCI Cards.
    http://www2.warehouse.com/product.as...o&BCID=3556125

    I've installed them in 3 systems and they work great. [​IMG]

    As long as you stick with the 3 port versions, you can get away fairly cheap. I wouldn't go with the cheapest. The $29 ones just worry me...Why spend thousands of dollars on a DV Camera, hundreds in Video software, etc. and skimp when it comes to connectivity to your system?

    Not that you need to spend hundreds on a card, but the Adaptec is about $70 which isn't too much to ask for a decent Firewire card.


    p.s. Just like HT, buying a kick ass DVD player and HD-TV, then connecting it with a crappy Radio Shack wire just isn't what I'd consider a "Good Move".
     
  18. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I had horrific results from an adaptec only a month ago. I don't blame adaptec, I blame the cruddy MS codec. I was using a $3000 sony camcorder at the time
     
  19. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    I can't say this is a piece of hardware that you could compare to a speaker cable, it's one of those things where as long as it works, it works. Since you're digitally transferring data to the computer it won't affect the quality, and I think pretty much everyone uses the same chipset, anyway.
     
  20. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    That makes no sense whatsoever. DV is exactly that, Digital Video. Digital means that computers can directly work with the material. There is no conversion/encoding/whatever-you-want-to-call-it involved when transferring the data from the camera to the computer.

    You can use cheap Firewire cards without any problems, as there are no drivers necessary. Everything that's needed to use IEEE1394 equipment is built into Windows and MacOS for years.

    If you run into problems, it is more than likely a system issue, but not one of the Firewire card used (unless it's defective).

    But hey, if you like to spend more money than necessary, go ahead. You can send me some, too.

    -Christian
     

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