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Newbie with a stupid question

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by smason5, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. smason5

    smason5
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    Ok sorry for what will probably seem like a stupid question.
    I recently bought a DCR-PC120 and I love it to bits.
    I loaded up the supplied software onto my PC.
    Following the manual I can successfully download photogrphs from the memory stick via the USB which is fine. However it would seem that there is no way to download video from tape to the PC using this connection. Am I correct in saying this ? Am I correct in thinking that I need a firewire port and ilink cable ?

    Any advice will be appreciated.

    Stuart
     
  2. Drafter

    Drafter
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    There are no stupit questions! The USB to the best of my knowlage isn't fast enough to handle Video just stills you need a firewire ieee 1394 cable and your computer needs a ieee 1394 capture card.
    Drafter
     
  3. graham.myers

    graham.myers
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    Correct, you do need firewire. there is a firewire connection on your digicam. If its a EU bought product its likely that the DV-In option will be disabled so you can't dump back onto tape after you have editied. There are ways around this.

    You also need editing software/hardware. This ranges from not much upto 000's

    I use Adobe Premier and a Matrox non-Linear editing card - best part of a £1000 on top of the camera cost.

    There are much cheaper alteratives depending on what you actually want to do with the video once you've got it off your cam.

    If, once edited you want to dump it to VHS tape and not keep it digitally then you could opt for an analouge card with a S-Video connector. It wouldn't give frame accurate rading from tape though but would save cash.
     
  4. smason5

    smason5
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    Phew ! maybe I'm not as daft as i look.
    Thanks for confirming my suspicions regarding the video editing.
    I'll go get myself a firewire card etc.

    Thanks for your help.

    Stuart
     
  5. graham.myers

    graham.myers
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    Before you go out and buy a 1394 card - determine how why and what you're editing. You will need editing software and just buying a 1394 card wont give you that. However some software comes with a 1394 card. Have a look a u-lead (premier on its own is several hundred pounds)

    Dont jump straight in and buy a PCI card only to find the software you buy may clash with it or the drivers don't like other pieces of kit inside your PC.

    Also bear in mind you'll have to lift the lid on your PC to install the card
     
  6. smason5

    smason5
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    Thanks Graham.
    Yes a friend who built the PC (he does that sort of thing for a living) will get the card and put it in so i shouldn't have any system conflicts.
    As for software, well the DCR-PC120 does come with some which I have heard described as 'crap'. So I will probably invest in something else.

    Thanks again for the advice.

    Stuart
     
  7. graham.myers

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    What editing software do you get with the PC120? I've got the PC100 and only got picture gear which is a stills only package.

    That why I went out and got the matrox RT200 card - its the mutts nuts and is an awsome piece of kit, but like I said, damm expensive. Having said that I had a £600 anaolugue editing card (again with premier) for my Video-8 camcorder - it was a Miro DC30. Another nice piece of kit.

    Before you write off the "cr@p" software have a look at it - it may be limited but may do what you want to do.

    finally,

    check that the editing software and firewire card is all you need to achieve what you want to do.

    Also check that your hard discs are upto speed. My original DC30 enhanced machine had to use SCSI 10,000 rev 18gb disks (£900 a piece and I needed 2!), as IDE drives weren't quick enough back then. Today I have 4x60gb IDE drives and they outperform the SCSI disks in my other machine.

    Depending on what your editing and at what quality digital video comsumes a lot of disk space.

    I have
    60gb as a windows/software drive
    60gb as a raw footage load drive
    60gb as an edit drive
    60gb as a print to tape final build drive

    this gives me a couple of hours of editing space at the raw compression ratio from the tape. If you use one drive for more that one task you may get dropped frames as the hdd cant keep up. If you use cheap(ish) software and a cheap(ish) firewire card you may not have the facility to back to tape and retrieve the dropped frame. The software provided should have a benchmark program to test the speed of your disks.

    good luck and have fun
    :D
     
  8. smason5

    smason5
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    Hi Graham,

    The PC120 comes with MGI Videowave III and Photosuite for stills.
    I've loaded both onto the PC and had a quick look.
    It would seem that it provides fairly ok facilities for simple editing - certainly enough to rearrange my footage, paste it all together with appropriate fades and effects and stick it back onto the camcorder. So yeah you're right, it may be ok. After all this is the first time I've done this so I will probably not know any better. Perhaps over time I can upgrade to something else.
    I need to learn the basics of putting footage together and I reckon it will suffice for now.
    My PC is fairly new, with an Athlon 1800XP cpu, Windows 2000 Prof and 40gig of disk.
    I only plan to play around with 1/2 an hour to an hour's worth of footage to begin with. So I think the disk space should be enough. Again as I get better and needs change I'll upgrade components I need but I reckon that's some way off for now.
    So far I've had a really good laugh putting together a video diary with music playing on the hi-fi and credits written down on cards to begin and end the tape. The rest was just carefully narrated footage over a weekend using the on board fader for linking sections. I just put it straight onto VHS.
    It was brilliant fun. The end product is crude but funnier for it . I sent it to familly and they loved it.
    Hopefully the PC will allow me to put together better production and make it eaier to arrange what's on the tape.
    Having said that it does seem a long winded process of downloading in real time from tape to PC, editing and sending the result back to the camcorder before then downloading it again to something like VHS (again in real time). So it would seem an hour of mini DV would take an hour to download to PC, and hour to load back to camcorder and an hour to load onto VHS. Does that sound about right ?

    I guess the other advantage of putting it on a PC is archiving.
    I used to do skydiving and my instructor used a PC5 (I think).
    He kept all the original mini DV tapes of the jumps he filmed! He had loads of them in his house !
    Using a PC might help reduce physical space required to save footage and make it a bit cheaper on tapes too. Am I right ?

    Stuart
     
  9. graham.myers

    graham.myers
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    This is where a non-linear editor cards like the Matrox Rt2000 and the Miro DC30 comes in. They have several input and output options, ususally in the form of a break out box. You can read from Composite or S-Video and write back to the either - so it would support reading from non mini-DV sources too.

    To begin with, and to keep the costs down then the mechanism you're using is the easiest and cheapest. Also, if your graphics card has a video out, you always display your editied footage full screen and output it direct to VHS.

    Here are some links to the offline editor websites
    http://www.pinnaclesys.com/HomeMovieMaking.asp?langue_id=2
    http://www.matrox.com/video/home.cfm
    http://www.hauppauge.com/html/wizprodatasheet.htm
     
  10. altruist

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    Hi Guys
    Sorry for putting in another question. SInce you guys were talking about the system configuration etc, I thought it would be best to ask you this one.
    I want to know whether Windows XP pro is compatible for Adobe Premier 6.0. Its not a recent copy. I have ordered a comp to be assembled with this OS. IF there would be a problem I was contemplating to move down to Windows 2000 pro.
    Thanks
    Arul
     

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