Just jumping into this

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by s, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. s

    s Guest

    Been doing photo for a long time. Have had a Hi-8 Sony for a while but never
    did any video capture or editing. Now I gotta do some for a wedding that
    just popped up. Question: Can I get a decent capture for editing? What's a
    good capture card for not a ton of money for PC? What file does it output?

    What am I losing by going this route versus picking up a MiniDV cam for this
    one job? I know I want a MiniDV but I'd rather not get one just yet til the
    prices drop some more.

    Thanks folks.
    s, Apr 19, 2005
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  2. Borrow a mini-DV camcorder from somebody in the
    wedding party (or talk THEM into shooting it!)

    Then you can interface with a simple/cheap Firewire
    and transfer the video into a DV-AVI file (13GB/hour)
    and edit using your choice of many edit applications
    ranging from free to very expensive.

    Avoid MPEG until you are ready to release the video.
    Richard Crowley, Apr 19, 2005
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  3. s

    s Guest

    Hmm guess I'll pick up a MiniDV lol.

    Any point in looking at DVD cams?
    s, Apr 19, 2005
  4. s

    C.J.Patten Guest

    NO. "DVD" cameras are gimmicks. VERY poor quality compared to miniDV. Avoid
    like the plague.

    C.J.Patten, Apr 19, 2005
  5. "s" wrote ...
    Not if you intend to do any editing. They are toys, novelties.
    Richard Crowley, Apr 19, 2005
  6. s

    Joel Kamentz Guest

    What mini-DV camera and editing software would folks recommend
    (consumer-level or at least consumer pricing)?

    I probably have similar needs to the original poster -- occasional stuff and
    don't want to spend a lot of $. Have a horse farm and want make videos to
    send to customers. Currently, we use a Hi-8 and just edit directly to VCR
    using the camera. Not very flexible, but it does work, and it's simple.

    I've been experimenting with an All-In-Wonder card with limited success
    (which may be due to limitations of Pinnacle Studio 8 SE). I have a DVD
    burner and I'd like to switch to making DVDs for all the usual reasons, but
    don't want to spend a lot of money on equipment right now.

    Which mini-DV camcorder? From what I've seen, consumer models there seem to
    be bunched at the $300-$400 range, with another bunch around $500-$700, the
    latter adding still photo capabilities in the 1-2MP range. I already have a
    3MP camera. Otherwise, is there any real difference between the two
    segments or between individual cameras? I'd like to spend $500 or less.

    Btw, if I recall correctly, normal video from a Hi-8 camera is effectively
    30fps but interlaced. Do mini-DV cameras also interlace or do they do
    something different?

    Are there any sub-$500 or even sub-$1000 cameras which can do slow motion?
    By that I mean the camera captures at twice normal frame rate so that slo-mo
    need not be reduced quality?

    How would quality and capabilities compare between using the AIW (or getting
    a different capture accessory) with the Hi-8 vs. buying consumer mini-DV vs.
    buying prosumer mini-DV?

    Not sure why, but my impression is that none of the consumer-level software
    packages can harness the graphics card for mpeg encoding or other editing
    tasks. "Real" software / hardware editing combos seem to be $1000+.

    Is there anything that could make better use of what I already have? (3GHz
    Pentium, AIW 9600). I might be willing to upgrade the graphics card if
    editing software would make use of it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Joel Kamentz, Apr 19, 2005
  7. s

    s Guest

  8. s

    s Guest

    Then you can interface with a simple/cheap Firewire
    Is that transferring 13 gigs into my PC per hour... or is that 13 gigs for
    an hour long DV-AVI file?

    On that note how much disk space will a full miniDV tape take up on my HD?
    s, Apr 19, 2005
  9. s

    C.J.Patten Guest

    A miniDV tape is about an hour long - if you transfer it's data to your
    computer, it will occupy 13GB per hour of DV-AVI footage. (DV25 stream which
    is 25 mega BIT per second) All DV25 footage is stored on tape as "60i" or 60
    FIELD per second interlaced, lower field first. (if you de-interlace it,
    it's 30 FRAME per second) This is largely irrelevant if all you want to do
    is edit home movies.

    "Megapixel stills" are NOT a selling point for video cameras. Designing a
    video camera with stills capability comprises video just as the video that
    comes from most digital still cameras is horrible. (postage stamp, low frame
    rate, grainy)

    If you want really good video, look at the used market. You can get a Sony
    TRV900 for under a grand and it's so far above the quality of ANYTHING
    you'll find at Bestbuy you won't believe it until you've seen it. A Porsche
    and a K-car share about as much in common. If you've got the budget, spend
    the money on a good pro-sumer camera. Think VX2000, PD150, DVX100, XL1.
    (google each of those for details)


    John Beale has done the DV community a great service with his web page of
    reviews, tests and links. Read and digest everything there.

    You seriously DON'T want to be buying off the shelf at Bestbuy.

    I had the opportunity to use a friend's older VHS camcorder a few days ago.
    Despite the limitations of that format, it actually produced better images
    than 99% of what I've seen on the store shelves these days. That's just sad.

    Your computer seems fine. Ensure you have fast drives (7200 rpm) and a
    firewire port. (IEEE1394) and you're golden for DV25 captures. (miniDV)

    If you're on WinXP, use "Windows Movie Maker 2" which ships free with it. If
    you outgrow that, there are plenty of consumer packages available
    inexpensively that do fine jobs. My bias is Adobe Premiere Elements for

    C.J.Patten, Apr 19, 2005
  10. Yes, Yes, and Yes.

    13GB per hour. 13GB for an hour-long DV-AVI file,
    and the full mini-DV tape (assuming that means 60-minutes)
    is 13GB. (Actually 13.6GB or so, but whats a few hundred
    MB between friends.)
    Richard Crowley, Apr 19, 2005
  11. By my tests, a 1 minute clip of avi at 720x480 at full quality takes about
    500 megs . That would be 30 gigs of space per hour of movie. Digital
    camcorder may be less - I have not tested that yet.

    I use an 80 gig drive which is mostly empty for my editing, and I delete the
    working files after each project as they are no longer needed. I keep the
    original tapes.

    I was given Pinnacle Studio 9 with the av/dv card. It has video capture and
    a firewire port for direct transfer of dv movies. It may not be the best
    product out there, but it works very well for me.

    Stuart Miller, Apr 19, 2005
  12. s

    C.J.Patten Guest

    Whoa. WAY over... that sounds like a DV50 stream. (double DV25 which a
    typical camcorder outputs)

    Might have to tweak a setting there Stuart...(unless you are indeed using a
    DV50 source)

    C.J.Patten, Apr 19, 2005
  13. s

    PTravel Guest

    There's a saying in the computer industry: "Silicon is cheap, but iron is

    I wouldn't expect the prices on miniDV cameras to drop much in the future,
    particularly given the weak dollar, as they're all manufactured in Asia.

    Most (but not all) miniDV camcorders have analog pass-through, meaning you
    can run an analog video signal into them and get digital video out, i.e.
    they act as an analog capture card. You might want to factor this into your
    decision as to whether to buy a capture card or a camera.

    Some analog capture cards (notably, cheaper ones), will output only mpeg.
    Others will let you choose uncompressed video (usually wrapped in an AVI
    file), compression using a variety of codecs (which can include the
    DV-codec), mpeg compression, mjpgeg compression or something else.

    As to what you would lose going the mpeg-only capture route, the big
    question is what you plan to do with the video that you capture. If you're
    going to do only minimal editing (cuts-only), and want to dump the video to
    a DVD, you're probably okay with mpeg only, though bear in mind that "mpeg"
    is only the name of a "lossy" compression specification. Key to video
    quality is how well the hardware/software combination does mpeg
    compression -- poor transcoding will result in lost detail, inconsistent and
    inaccurate colors, jerky motion and digial artifacts.

    If you plan to do real editing, i.e. transitions, titles, effects, etc.,
    miniDV is the way to to go. There are lots of good, entry-level packages
    that can do surprisingly-sophisticated editing, but they require DV-codec
    AVI video and won't work with mpeg.
    PTravel, Apr 19, 2005
  14. s

    PTravel Guest

    Absolutely not. DVD cams record in mpeg and their real-time transcoding is
    rather poor. Additionally, DVD cams are low-end consumer camcorders,
    meaning they use cheap optics and tiny sensors (which degrade low-light

    Incidently, if you're doing a wedding, low-light performance is critical.
    At this point in time, there is simply no such thing as an inexpensive
    consumer digital camcorder (miniDV, Digital 8 or DVD) with good low-light
    performance. You might want to stay with your Hi8, which will perform far
    better in low-light conditions.

    There are miniDV camcorders that are excellent in low-light, but they're in
    the $2000+ range (new). Sony used to make a nice consumer miniDV machine --
    the TRV-900 -- which can be found used for $1,000 or less that produces
    excellent video and has wonderful low-light performance.
    PTravel, Apr 19, 2005
  15. s

    PTravel Guest

    D-25, which is the format that miniDV uses, is approximately 13 gigs per
    hour of video, i.e. a one-hour file will occupy 13 gigs. However, transfer
    of miniDV to your computer is done realtime, i.e. it takes one hour to
    transfer one hour of video, so it's also 13 gigs per hour.
    13 gigs. However, you also have to allow room for rendering transitions and
    titles. I use a separate program for transcoding to mpeg, so I write my
    edited project to disk first as DV-codec-encoded AVI. The math works out
    like this:

    Capture two hours of video: 26 gigs
    Render transitions/titles/effects: 5 gigs (approximately)
    Write project as one-hour AVI: 13 gigs
    Transcode to one-hour mpeg: 4.7 gigs
    Author DVD for burning: 4.7 gigs

    Total to produce 1 hour DVD from 2 hours of raw video: approx. 57
    PTravel, Apr 19, 2005
  16. s

    s Guest

    I gotta lotta gigs.

    Wonder if I have the hertz...

    Running an Athlon 900 with 640 megs ram.

    Will probably be getting some capture card as well.
    s, Apr 19, 2005
  17. s

    PTravel Guest

    That's more than enough to capture miniDV ("capture" is a bit of a misnomer
    in this context -- it's really just file transfer), but editing will be
    somewhat of a pain, as will transcoding. As long as you're not doing a lot
    of effects, transitions or corrections, allof which require rendering, you
    should be able to manage just fine. I used to edit on a 500 MHz Athlon,
    though I wouldn't dream of doing it now. Transcoding -- compressing the
    miniDV video to mpeg -- will be very slow if you want a high-quality result.
    I use tmpgenc for transcoding -- it's inexpensive and one of the best
    software transcoders. At it's highest quality settings, do 2-pass VBR, it
    takes between 12 and 24 hours to transcode 2 hours of video on my 3 GHz
    Pentium 4. On my old 500 MHz Athlon, it would take a few days. However,
    the results were worth it and, of course, you only have to transcode once
    per project.
    PTravel, Apr 19, 2005
  18. s

    s Guest

    but editing will be somewhat of a pain, as will transcoding

    I hear ya :eek:) I have 4 weeks to complete it so I'll just let it run when I
    Been close to 5 years since I upgraded PC here it comes again.
    s, Apr 19, 2005
  19. s

    s Guest

    Can I get a decent capture from Hi8 that I can edit down to DVD?
    s, Apr 19, 2005
  20. 900 should be enough, even for an Athlon. :)
    I started editing on a 300 MHz P2 machine
    with 512MB RAM
    Richard Crowley, Apr 19, 2005
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