I had made some replys to posts in other forums but since this DV Forum has been expanded, I felt this would be good information for those people who are in search of Software to use with their Digital Camcorders.

This post is about Ulead VideoStudio 7.02.

I've been through VS 5.0, 6.x, and now just upgraded to VS 7. CompUSA had it on sale for $50 last week. I have a Sony Digital Camcorder and VS 7 detect my Digital Firewire input as soon as I turn on the camcorder to VCR mode. I can capture at full 740x480 DV (.avi) frame rate for 2+ hours and never drop a frame. As far as intuitive,..no matter what software you buy, you have to invest the time to learn it. VS 7 comes with animated tutorial on the CD that will teach you how to use it. You can Capture just about anyformat you want. If I don't do firewire,.. it sees my ATI All in Wonder card and captures using their Rage Theater software/hardware. You can capture directly to full res MPEG-2 format on the fly (Firewire input to MPEG-2 storage)

It has good tools for editing,.. you just have to learn how to use them and there are several guides and videos to teach you how to do this. Once edited you can use filters on any clip, add effects to or between clips, add chapters, titles, sound or music tracks, overlay video superimposed on the video, and when your finished to can create a DVD, SVCD, VCD, or just save the project to an .avi, .mpg, and customise the format.

Like any piece of software it is a work in progress. There are problems but I have not found any that can't be worked around. I don't like the way it "Splits" a 5 or 10 minute video clip into separate clips. While it has a "Sensitivity" setting you can change from 0-100, even when I set it on 1 and look for "Frame" changes, it splits the clip into too many small clips, even within scenes. To edit out commercials on DirectTV captures, I just scroll the video to the commercial and cut it out. There is a neat "extract" feature that will take one large clip and allow you to search and cut it into separate clips. Once you select all you want it splits all the pieces at once when you click "OK".

The quality of the MPEG compression seems very good. I've tried to compare it to TMPGen but both are very good. I don't have good enough tools to compare them,... they seem to be very close. It will auto detect your DVD RW device and author your video all the way down to screen controls for chapters and then burn the DVD. It is really end to end software.

It is not perfect and I have found many things I would change,... but it works,... and I'm using it on all my personal Videos, and Direct TV movies.

One other trick I'm using also works very good. Most Direct TV movies turn out to be about 1 1/2 hours of video after the commercials are cut out. When this is converted to full resolution DVD at 6-8 Mbits/sec, this ends up well over the 4.7 GB limit of a single DVD+R. I let the VideoStudio software create the full DVD and leave it at the default settings. I force it to "Create the Video_TS" folder where all the IFO and VOB files are stored. The files are 5-6-7 GB total and therefore won't fit on one DVD. The I load DVD2ONE and it does the magic and drops the vidoe files done to fit on one DVD. Always works great and I can't tell the difference on any of the 15+ movies I've done this way. The worst movie for compression was "Matrix", with all the action scenes,... but it came out fine. When DVD2ONE is finished, I drag the results into Nero-Burining,... DVD Video and burn it. So far I have not made one bad DVD. (Knock, Knock, KNOCK).

I'm adding all this info becaues I'm very satisfied on how simple this process is and good everything works together,.... I just can't believe I struggled all that time trying to make any kind of DVD with my old system, analog camcorder, and the ATI card. What a waste of time.

The other night I set up VideoStudio to capture a DirectTV movie which was set to start at 8:00 PM., the movie was Zorro. VS 7.02 has a timer that you can set the duration of capture,... so once you set it up for 2 hours capture, and get the camcorder turned on with S-video input,.. and the firewire detected by VideoStudio,... all you have to do is wait for the movie to start and click on "Capture Video",.. and you can go do something else for 2 hours. Don't ever worry about dropping a frame.

The next night after dinner, I loaded the program and it took about 1/2 hour to locate and cut out and delete all the commercials. When that was done, all I did was "Finish" or "Share" the project which I selected to Burn a DVD (did not mess with any titles, or chapters, or anything). It took about 1-1/2 hours for the software to encode the DV movie into DVD MPEG-2 format and create all the files. After that about 16 minutes for DVD2ONE to re-compress it down to fit on one DVD. Then about 20 minutes for Nero to burn the DVD. You can see this is pretty much of automatic process with lots of computer crunch time,... which leaves me waiting. So I've set up an older CPU I had, which was a pretty good machine before I built this one, and I use it now to edit other Video, do e-mail, work on messages to DVDRHelp forum, etc. This keeps me going while the othe system is crunching. I guess I could do some work on it while it is working but I don't want to run the risk of screwing up anything during the process,... so I use the other system. Why not,... I couldn't sell it to anyone.

I hope this post will help others seeking information on using Digital Camcorders, and good software with them to make movies that are a good step above plugging your CAmcorder into the back of your TV and hitting "Play"
"Technology",...It's what keeps us all moving forward.