Help needed: DV Editing



I've been trying to edit some video on my PC, using several (trial versions of) DV editing software including Premiere as well as MS MovieMaker (part of XP).
During capture, I keep dropping frames ... any ideas why.. what order of tests should I go through to identify the problem?
I've tried 2 MiniDV cams... still the same

PC is P4 2GHz /WinXP/ 256MB RAM / 60G HDD (probably needs to be bigger, but could a HDD problem cause capture problems?)

Firewire connection

Any help gratefully received!


Thanks Fats for pointing out that I hadn't put the proc. speed... its 2GHz as you can now see. ;)
Can I ask what size of proccesor your p4 is ? I presume the problems the same regardless of editing software ?
I'm a bit new to this myself ! but cpu i would imagine plays a big part
With your PC Firewire capture should not be a problem.

If the video is not continuous on tape it could drop a few frames when starting a new section.

Most likely is that some background application running on the PC is causing the problem - close them all down and try again.
I'm no expert either, but i found that my sony pc9 cam dropped frames during capture IF I used the pc for other tasks during capture. If i left it alone the capture was fine, no frames dropped in pinnacle studio 7.

My pc is a 1.4ghz athlon with 512 ddr ram running win xp, geforce 3 graphics card and bog standard firewire 1394 connection.

Just a thought


With that spec, your PC should fall asleep during DV capture ;) It looks like either a background app (as mentioned) or disk issue. Firstly, since you're using XP, use "task manager" to close all unnecessary programs running under your username - leave the system ones alone! Virus checkers and firewalls can also cause capture problems, so if you can close these while you capture. Obviously start these again as soon you're done.

Task Manager is also good for seeing if any programs are heavy on cpu usage. After the unnecessary have been closed, watch the "system idle" cpu usage - this should hover in the high 90%+ if nothing else is running.

On the disk side, a scandisk and defrag are also useful before a large capture. Also 7200rpm disks are better than 5400 ones, do you know what spec yours is? The faster disks are less likely to drop frames, but this is not essential. If you get a disk performance program from one of the numerous shareware sites, check that the disk is capable of the minimum 4MB/sec needed for capture.
Dropped frames can often be caused by the Hard Disk being used for your programmes and your video capture. Try installing a second drive for your video files.
As mentioned above, other programmes can cause problems. I use a programme called "enditall". This will stop all the background progs freeing up the PC to do the capture.
Enditall is a free download that can be found by going to the forums on and then doing a search.
Hope this helps and good luck!

First things first, check that DMA is enabled for your hard drive. To do this in XP, go to Control Panel > System and open up Device Manager. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI Interfaces and right click on Primary IDE controller. Select Properties. Now go to the Advanced settings tab. For both Device 0 and Device 1 the transfer mode should be DMA if available.

Another thing you can try is giving your disk a defrag, a highly fragmented disk is often the culprit when people are having dropped frames. Start Menu > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

A faulty IDE cable can also affect hard disk transfer rates, especially if it has been folded, you could try swapping that out.

Give your drive a quick benchmark with HDTach (a quick search on Google will point you to their homepage). DV footage only needs a sustained transfer rate of 3.6MB/s, so you really shouldn't be having a problem with your hard disk, expecially looking at the specifications of your PC.

Have you tried the same DV cable with both cameras? Could be a faulty cable.

Firewire cards do vary in perfomance depending on which chipset they use. Texas Instuments (TI) chipset based cards are the faster out currently, followed by Lucent chipset cards. It's unlikely that the card you are using could be causing this, but it is a possibility you could check out.

I have a strange problem but i am not sure what it is? I have just bought a panasonic nv-ds29b and am running it on a 2 gig P4 Laptop with firewire. I borrowed a sony camera and it captures superb but with the panasonic i get break up in the video (multi coloured blocks) and can't see anything obvious wrong?

Any ideas please.


The latest video from AVForums

Sony BRAVIA 9 Mini LED TV: The Best HDR TV EVER?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Top Bottom