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  1. Member
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    ... if I already have 2GB RAM on my pc, with a motherboard including onboard graphics (ASUS A8V-MX) and a Firewire 1394IEEE port?
    The reason i'm asking is that my Ulead Video Studio software and even with Microsoft Movie Maker have problems importing video from my Canon MV830 dv camera. Frames get dropped, overall quality is very poor, sound is very slow sometimes.
    I'm wondering if having a Capture Card or a Video Card would make any difference? from what i've already read, the main thing seems to be copious amounts of RAM and a Firewire connection.
    any help greatly appreciated, thanks
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  2. Member dadrab's Avatar
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    Well, if I understand it correctly, a transfer from DV camera to computer is just that - a data transfer. There should be no capture card needed for that.

    Does your mobo have on-board video?

    What program do you use to grab your DV? Try WinDV. For me, it works fine.
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    Video cards have NOTHING to do with capturing video in any way. They simply make your monitor work. ATI does make some combo video/capture cards, but these are exceptions to the rule. I don't know of any other manufacturers that make such combo cards.

    Video capture cards don't normally allow firewire input. I suppose their might be something out there that does, but I've never worked with such cards.

    I think your problem is what you are using to get the video. My extremely limited understanding of DV is exactly what dadrab says - it should just be a data transfer, so I think what you are doing is wrong and that is your real problem. Maybe someone with DV experience can tell you the correct procedure to get your video onto a PC. Sounds to me like you're trying to transfer/convert at once and having problems when what you need to do is transfer and then convert.
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  4. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    With DV, lots of RAM doesn't help much. With XP 1GB is more than enough for most anything. Vista seems happier with 2GB. But DV does need lots of hard drive space, about 13GB per hour of video. And I also recommend WinDV.

    More than one hard drive is also highly recommended. Video takes up a lot of space. You could figure 13GB for the transfered video, and another 13GB for the edited version and then another 4GB for the encoded to MPEG version and finally 4GB more for the DVD when it's authored. You could end up using 40GB for your one hour of video.

    If you are transferring to your boot drive, your OS is also writing and reading from it at times. No really a problem with DV as the rate is not that high. On the other hand using a capture card and capturing direct to MPEG could cause problems when using the boot drive. DV should never drop frames. And there is no quality loss with a transfer. You will get exactly what is on the tape. There's a problem somewhere. Some 1394A inputs are part of a sound card or on the motherboard. Most work well, some don't.

    You also should defrag your capture drive on occasion if doing either a transfer or a capture. And make sure you have more than enough hard drive space available.
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    I've just been though the meat grinder, so I can share a little bit of what I learned.

    I recommend a DV-firewire capture device, like the ADStech Pyro, Canopus 110, or DataVideo 200. It'll cost you $200-250. However, they have a HUGE advantage compared to PCI cards: they impose very few demands on the host PC during the capture. This ended up being handy for me, because I was able to go buy a $15 1394a cardbus card from Tiger Direct and use my older laptop w/1.6GHz Pentium M and external USB hard drive for capturing. The thing is, your host computer isn't quite a SLAVE to the capture device (the way it was to, say, a CD writer back in the old days when the CD writer insisted on being fed a steady drip of data in absolute lockstep with its demands, and would burn a coaster if Windows happened to decide it might be a good time to see whether any new updates were available from Microsoft.com & distracted it for a moment), but you can't be completely indifferent to it, either. Trying to do something CPU-intensive (like simultaneously encoding a video with a single-core CPU, or a multi-core CPU if the encoder itself is SMP-aware and actually USING all the cores) isn't a great idea while capturing via DV, because the DV bitstream is broadcast down the Firewire bus by the capture device once, then forgotten until the next burst of data. If Windows isn't able to grab that burst of data and do something with it before the next burst comes, it can still drop frames. That's why most people use minimal apps, like WinDV, to do their capturing instead of doing it from inside a full-featured app like Premiere or Ulead Video Studio -- there's less bloat to distract Windows and keep it from buffering incoming data in time.

    If you're doing VHS captures, you'll need a frame Timebase Corrector. Really. You will. The cheapest one I'm aware of is by AVToolbox -- the AVT-8710. I bought one last week from markertek.com & had it sent via Express Mail for around $240 (Express Mail is great, because they deliver on Saturday & Sundays). Why do you need a timebase corrector? Because the signal output by most VCRs isn't stable enough to capture. A TV can deal with fields that come a little early or a little late. A capture card won't. Where your TV might skew the picture, roll a bit, or otherwise display a mangled picture for a few frames, the capture card will just drop the frames outright. At best, a TBC might clean up the signal enough to make the video look better in the capture than it did on the screen straight from tape (without the TBC). At worst, it'll enable you to capture frames that will warp, roll, and distort exactly the same way they did on the TV (instead of dropping completely).

    There's a bigger problem: Macrovision. Or more precisely, the willingness of most capture devices to suspend their disbelief and refuse to capture the moment they see the slightest hint that a video might be Macrovision protected. The problem is, most old VHS tapes will cause the Macrovision detection circuit to fire, even though they're not protected. It sucks, because all you need to copy a Genuine Macrovision-protected tape is a $30 Macrovision remover. Unfortunately, if it's false-firing, only a TBC can clean up the signal enough to capture.

    Some capture devices (Canopus 300) have a built-in TBC. Unfortunately, it's a line TBC, not a frame TBC, so it won't do the least bit of good if your problem is an unprotected tape that's triggering the Macrovision detection. Some VCRs (like mine... JVC HR-S7800U) have a built-in TBC as well. And it's equally useless for preventing false-firing of the Macrovision detection. However, the VCR's built-in TBC *is* helpful in other ways, and usually works well together with the external TBC to produce a better overall signal.

    If you just can't stomach spending $200-250 for the capture box, check out the ADStech VideoXPress. It's basically a firewire capture device that uses USB, instead. It costs around $50 at CompUSA (the firewire big brother, the Pyro, costs $199). HOWEVER, be warned: it uses proprietary drivers that aren't WDM-compatible, so you HAVE to use their program ("CapWiz") to do the actual captures. And it probably won't be useful in 3-4 years, because USB devices with weird, proprietary drivers almost never are. That's the nice thing about Firewire-DV capture devices -- the drivers they use are an open commodity. You don't need a "Linux Driver" for a Pyro, or a "Windows Vista" driver for a Canopus 110... you just need a "Firewire DV" driver for your OS of choice. The make and model of your device itself is irrelevant, because they all follow the same standard. So the $200-250 Pyro/Canopus/DataVideo box you buy today probably WILL be the last NTSC/PAL/SECAM capture device you ever need to buy.

    However, if you had to choose between a TBC and ADStech VideoXpress, or ONLY one of the firewire boxen, I'd go for the TBC + VideoXpress.

    One more thing -- the Pyro and DataVideo 200 both ignore macrovision. I believe the VideoXpress does, too. But that doesn't really matter, because you WILL need to get a TBC anyway, which renders the whole thing moot Also, I was originally quite prejudiced against Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 (included with the Pyro) because the last time I used Premiere (~3 years ago, sometime around version 6.5, I think), it sucked miserably. Well, it doesn't suck now. It's actually quite nice. The jury's still out on the Pyro itself... you can read my messages about it on this subforum. At the moment, though, I'm planning to keep it, so that probably says a lot

    Also, be wary of the ADStech DVD Xpress DX2. It's not really a bad device, but I'd recommend the Video XPress instead, even though it makes you do more work. The DVDXpress can ONLY capture to MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, maxing out at around 4mbit/sec. If you're capturing clean, noise-free video, that's nice... if you're capturing VHS, well... it'll be disappointing. Remember, that's 4mbit/sec for REALTIME encoding, which will never allow as much quality per bit as two-pass encoding.

    Whew
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  6. Going Mad TheFamilyMan's Avatar
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    Answer to your posted question: no, providing all you want to do is to get your DV camcorder footage on to your computer. The dropped frames can be caused by a few things, such as not using a dedicated disk or the capture software is using a video codec for which your computer cannot handle very well. WinDV, as mentioned is excellent for DV camcorder firewire captures, using the DV2 codec. Your quality/sound issues could be due to the codec you used for the capture. Also realize that your footage will (or at least should) be captured interlaced (which is a good thing), which will make the footage, when viewed on the computer, appear horizontally "smeared" in scenes with motion. Finally, the bit rate used for a compressed video codec also greatly effects the image quality (more = better, to a point). If none of this makes sense, you are in for a treat. Good Luck.
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    Whoops... I just noticed that you already have a DV camcorder. In that case, scrap everything I said. Well, most of it, anyway. You don't need a capture card. Just be aware that transferring DV video over firewire is more like streaming web video than copying a file to/from an external hard drive -- the camera sends the data to the computer, but there's no two-way communication taking place. The camera sends each chunk of data according to its schedule, and makes no effort to ensure that the computer actually received it correctly.
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    Getting back to the original question, your system should easily transfer DV from a camcorder and it will be no different in quality to what is on your tape. Because it is identical to what is on your tape!

    If you are having problems there is a problem with the setup of your system somewhere and no amount of new hardware will cure that. Although in saying that, if you added new hardware you may need to do a reinstall of Windows and suddenly find it all works perfectly. Save the money and just do a reinstall.....
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    wow, thanks for all the replies everybody, i'll stick WinDV on the PC first and see if that does a better job of importing than Ulead and Movie Maker. There's no onboard video on the motherboard but it does have onboard graphics. I'll give it a defrag beforehand too for good measure. Many thanks!!
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    Originally Posted by gnomeChomsky
    There's no onboard video on the motherboard but it does have onboard graphics.
    Onboard graphics is onboard video...... In the same way as some people refer to a graphics card and others refer to a video card. They are both the same thing, the bit that makes a picture appear on your monitor!
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gnomeChomsky
    wow, thanks for all the replies everybody, i'll stick WinDV on the PC first and see if that does a better job of importing than Ulead and Movie Maker. There's no onboard video on the motherboard but it does have onboard graphics. I'll give it a defrag beforehand too for good measure. Many thanks!!
    In case it got lost in all the above, you capture camcorder DV video over the IEEE-1394 port with an IEEE-1394 cable. No capture "card" or "device" is needed. Is that your understanding?
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    yes, was connecting before via a PCI-slot firewire card IEEE-1394, thanks Richard_G for the graphics explanation, that clears up a few misunderstandings i had previously!
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    The question is, have you got it working properly yet? Now we've given you an explanation of how it works and you have everything you need, your system should be easily capable of transferring DV to hard drive without dropping frames. I capture a tapes worth at a time on a machine with a slower processor and less memory than you have and never drop any frames at all. The only difference is that I have 2 hard drives, one for the operating system and applications and one to save the video on. That is recommended but DV does not require a particularly fast sustained data rate so even with one drive you shouldn't have problems.
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    There's a bigger problem: Macrovision. Or more precisely, the willingness of most capture devices to suspend their disbelief and refuse to capture the moment they see the slightest hint that a video might be Macrovision protected. The problem is, most old VHS tapes will cause the Macrovision detection circuit to fire, even though they're not protected. It sucks, because all you need to copy a Genuine Macrovision-protected tape is a $30 Macrovision remover. Unfortunately, if it's false-firing, only a TBC can clean up the signal enough to capture.
    Does the AVT-8710 remove Macrovision too? I got lost a bit ... thanks
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  15. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    'False' Macrovision was more a problem with software capture with some video capture cards. Some ATI cards would have the problem, in my experience. Probably others as well.

    Macrovision is not a problem with DV tapes and FireWire 1394a transfers. But it can happen with VHS captures from Macrovision protected VHS tapes through a DV device.

    I don't think you have to worry about it unless you are using a DV device and capturing from a commercial VHS tape.
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