by Merrill M Hessel (updated
By now many of you have in your possession a camcorder either an older
analog one (VHS, Hi eight, 8mm etc), a DVD Player or a newer mini-DV camcorder. How can you
turn the work you do into a good home movie or a professional program for
broadcast? In either case you must edit the tape or convert the DVD or
analog Player output for editing by a computer.
This article gives you the first requirements for getting your video images
into the computer.
What are the requirements?
All seasoned video editors agree that you must have two hard drives for
video editing. First you must have a smaller drive for your programs, operating
system and games. Then you need a second one devoted to you video clips. The
second drive must rotate at least at 7200 rpm or above and is as large (has as
many Gigabytes) as your wallet or pocketbook can afford.
Why do I need a second drive?
When you use a non-linear digital editing program (Moviemaker, Imovie, Final
Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Vegas Video, etc.) to shape up your video the program
accesses the program disk to bring up your editing program as well as put
on the video information from your camera on your hard drive. If both the video and your editing program were on the same
drive than as you capture your video from the camcorder you would have 30
frames per second of video images (about 3.7 Megabytes per second) transferred
to this hard drive as well as accessing the same hard drive for your capture
software program. This results in too much information coming into the single
drive and video frames are dropped. This produces jerky
videos. Dropped frames can also occur if your hard drive is below 7200 rpm (you
may get away with a slower hard drive but I wouldn't recommend it). If you
own a PC make sure that it is formatted correctly for NTFS. Many time a
new drive comes formatted as FAT32. This will limit you to 4 GB clips about 20
minutes. If you have data on your drive you can convert it from FAT 32 to NTFS
without losing this data.
You also need a Firewire Card (IEEE 1392) on your computer if you donít
have a Firewire port built in.
A desktop PCI Firewire card costs $18 to $30 and PCMCIA Firewire card for a portable computer
costs $19 to $50. ALWAYS look at
www.froogle.com to get the best prices. If you have a camera with a DV
(IEEE1392) connection (all digital cameras have this and some analog ones) then
you just connect a Firewire cable from your camera to the computer and you are
ready to transfer your video from the tape. If you have an old analog camera then you must buy
a converter such as the ADS Pyro A/V Link, Analog to DV & DV-Analog Media Converter.
This converter works with MAC or PC and costs about $130 and with Adobe Premiere
Elements Software $160 ( I strongly suggest you buy this
bargain if want a great non-linear editor).
Software to Capture Video
You would need a non linear editor (NLE) to capture the video. If you have
XP then free Microsoft Movie Maker is on your computer. If you have a MAC the
Imovie is free. Otherwise I suggest buying Adobe Premiere Elements at a cost of
$40 to $80. Many other editors are available at prices from $80 to $3000. See
www.videoguys.com/nle.htm for a tutorial on NLEís. Most of the commercial
software will produce DVDís to enable you to send these videoís to your friends
Now why a large hard drive?
Whether you are using mini-DV, DVCPRO or DVCAM tapes to record your video
the computer stores the video at 222 megabytes per minute. This means a 30
minute show uses 6660 megabytes of space or 6.66 gigabytes on your hard disk.
This does not seem like much at first glance. Usually you take a few hours
of video for any show and then edit it down but you want to have the extra
footage on your drive to play with while you are editing. In addition, you
put cutaways, rendering files, titles, roll-ins, etc. on the drive as well as
keep some permanent things such as standard opening of shows or sequences. If
you do a studio show you may have several cameras and want to fiddle with the
tapes from each of them. From my experience each show will take up about
35 gigabytes. I typically have 3 to 4 shows on my hard drives.
That's about 140 gigabytes all together. Today you can get a 250 gigabyte drive for $70 (look at
www.froogle.com for the latest prices). I suggest you buy a Firewire hard
drive (about $100 for 120GB) so that you can connect it externally to your laptop or desktop computer.
I store the final and sometimes intermediate products back on mini-DV tape
or DVD when finished so that my hard drives can be used for other projects.
The Digital Video Users Group, a SIG of CPCUG, has a Website
www.dvug.org and meetings on the third Tuesday of each month. If you have
any questions or need help contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page updated March 3, 2006
©MerAl Productions 2006