Help me please, camcorder newbie!


Active Member
Hi All, although experienced in many areas of AV, I am still a complete novice when it comes to camcorders.

Basically, I got married a couple of weeks ago and a mate did some filming at our evening bash. He has now loaned the camcorder (sony dcr-trv245e) to me so I can capture footage onto my PC.

Although my laptop has a firewire connection I don't have a cable to link it to the camcorder, so I decided to use the USB STREAMING method using windows movie maker. I have now captured the footage at the highest quality that the software would allow but I'm not that impressed with the video quality, could this just be a limitation of the camcorder or have I reduced the capture quality by using USB rather than Firewire?

If anyone can tell me that the quality would be better using firewire then I will get myself a cable, I just didn't want to get one unless I had to as I will probably never need it again!


Standard Member
I would use the firewire connection always as the capture

gives more or less the same quality as the original tape .


Active Member
As said USB is not designed/best for full res video capture , it's for stills transfer & webcam use. Firewire is the way to go, but you'll want to make sure that if you are using your laptop that your hard discs are big & fast for video capture.


As has already been advised, you do need to use firewire to capture video to a PC. It is the only way to get the footage onto the PC with 100% qua;ity of the origional recording. Be aware though that the quality on a monitor will look lower due to the fact that the monitor is not designed to display true colour interlaced video, but once copied to a DVD and played on a TV it should look excellent (subject to the quality of the origional recording).

Another thing to mention is that the HDD on many laptops are slow and could cause some problems with video capture, ie dropped frames. Also they are normally quite small and video takes up loads of space, around 1Gb for every 4 minutes captured or a massive 14Gb per hour :eek: . You will then still need a lot more space for editing and file conversion etc.
It is recommended that you get an external firewire HDD (not USB2.0 as it is not fast enough for video), but if this is a one off project then it will be an expensive option.

You also state that you are useing Movie Maker to capture & edit the video. What are you going to do with the footage once edited? If you want to burn to a DVD then you will need to get additional software as Movie Maker is very limited in the output options.



Standard Member
Hi Jonnie,

MarkE19 has made a very valid comment when he stated,

''Another thing to mention is that the HDD on many laptops are slow

and could cause some problems with video capture, ie dropped frames''.

If your laptop HDD has a 5400rpm spin speed as many of the recent models

have and is not cluttered with lots of different programmes, it should be OK

to capture full res video although you may have to defrag the drive first.

Buy or borrow a firewire cable it's the only way to find out if it works or not.


Standard Member
Forgot again :oops: Johnnie

Congratulations on your wedding ,

thought you would be to busy to be fooling around

with the video for it :D


Active Member
Cheers Puffer, we have been together for about 10 years and lived together for about 4, I spun it out as long as I could!! and so nothing much has changed yet, although I'm sure babys etc will be next on the agenda :rolleyes:

Although not exactly professional, I've decided to 'splash out' on a mini firewire cable, at least this time the missus may actually approve of me spending money on 'stuff' :rotfl:

Thanks again for the advice, I will probably go and lurk in my usual areas of the forums now! (PC's, PSP and Projectors)

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