Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Location: San Jose, CA
Product: 3D-Album Commercial Suite
|Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:12 pm Post subject: VIDEO CAMCORDER CAPTURE AND EDITING
|Video editing can be confusing at times. Here is what leading publishers have to say.
"Editing video on a computer has emerged on the consumer technology scene very quickly. But in many ways it still has a long way to go.
The biggest factors in this evolution has been Firewire, the DV format, and cheap storage. Firewire cards can now be had for as little as $50. These cards when connected to firewire compatible DV video camcorders ($600 and up) allow you transfer all of your video and audio with out any loss of quality. Coupled with a big hard drive like a Maxtor DiamondMax 7200rpm 180 gig, you have many hours of DV editing space.
DV at its best provides quality on par with DVD movies. So as a consumer format DV provides outstanding quality up to 525 lines of resolution. With the average DV camcorder optics providing about 400 lines. DVD also tops out at around 525. To put that in perspective VHS provides at best 240. The new HDTV format 1080i, has about twice the resolution of DV and DVD but it may take forever to roll out in the consumer market.
While you can still edit video with analog capture cards. They are in general more space and hardware dependent. DVD movies are stored in the format called Mpeg 2 which is different than DV. It has some space advantages over DV but there is not much compelling consumer hardware available right now.
As soon as recordable DVDs become as popular as CD-RW, then you can expect Mpeg 2 to gain and possibly overtake DV but who knows when that will happen (probably a few years at least). And Mpeg 4 is on the horizon as well. It is far more efficient than even Mpeg 2.
Until recordable DVD becomes an affordable reality the best archiving format at present appears to be an offshoot of DV called Digital8 which enables DV quality on standard 8mm and Hi-8 tapes ($3-4 dollars). The optics of the D8 cameras are usually not as good as DV cameras but that is not an issue when recording footage from DV cam to D8 cam, the transfer will be lossless. *DV tapes and cameras of late are also getting so cheap that buying a second budget DV cam to use as a deck is also a favorable option.
The other archiving options are VCD, SVCD, miniDVD, and Mpeg 4. VCD which produces VHS quality is easy to create and is playable in many older DVD players. SVCD is not compatible with very many DVD players, it is also a pain to create, but you can get 50 minute of SVHS quality video on a CD. MiniDVD is DVD video on a CD-R. You can only get 10 minutes on a CD and most players won't play it. Mpeg 4 (of which Divx is a version), is the latest compression format but it can only be played back on a fast computer. Mpeg 4 quality at best can approach DVD at much smaller data rates.
There is also XVCD and XSVCD which is basically MPeg 1 or MPeg 2 encoded video that does not adhere to the VCD or SVCD spec. This means they may not playback on your DVD players however they will play back on your computer. MPeg 1 is actually my preferred PC distribution format because it is the most universal codec, looks very good if you use a good encoder (Cinemacraft, Tmpg, and Panasonic are the best), and will playback even on older slower computers (which will choke on MPeg 2 or 4).
A downside of computer video editing, is that it is still not real time. While simple editing is close to real time on some of the better editors (and completely real time in Premiere 6), once you add titles, filters, and fx, rendering times can soar.
Adobe Premiere 6 Pro is a huge improvement over 5.1 and is really a notch above anything else when it comes to DV editing on the PC. It allows you to output your edited video from the timeline with absolutely no delay. If you can afford it, a good price/performance DV setup right now is the ADS Pyro Platinum, which is basically an ADS Pyro card and a full version of Premiere 6 for under $300.
Once you get your DV video into your computer, returning it to the camera's tape is not your only option. You can also make streaming video for your web pages, video emails, or grab stills with any video editing application.
To wrap-up, the bare minimum ingredients for a competent DV capable setup are a 700mhz+ computer, 128mb+ ram, a 30+gig hard drive, a firewire card, a video editing program, and a firewire equipped DV or D8 camcorder, an Open GL 3D graphics card with 64mb of ram (128 would be better). If you want to spend wisely get the fastest computer for the dollar."
Looking through various local newspaper advertisments, I found a 1.8 MHz computer, 128mb ram, 80 gig HD, firewire and 3D graphics cards w/ 64mb (I would swap this out for a higher performance card), that can be bought for as little as $750. Add Ulead VideoStudio7 for $90 and you've got a nice system for a video hobbyist. If you don't already have 3D Album's CS version, I would also suggest upgrading to this, or, one of the upcoming new versions at the end of March.
Video capture and edit is a wonderful way to enjoy renewed father & son or mother & daughter, bonding. And who knows? You may just be laying the groundwork for a future Steven or Sally Spielberg!
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