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Discussion Starter #1
So I finally got around to playing with some video editing and I've run into a problem. First off, here's what I've got...


Sony Digital8 cancorder w/ firewire out

800mhz Celeron, 256k RAM, 40 gig HD (30 empty)

Plain Jane firewire PCI card & integated graphics card (Presario)

Ulead Video Studio 4.0 SE Basic (Came w/ camcorder)


When I view the picture from the Sony, it looks great until I begin to capture. Then it's stutter city. It hangs for 1/2 second every 10 seconds or so.


So where's my problem? Do I need a "capture" firewire card instead of the cheapo one I have? Does this require a higher end graphics card? RAM? I don't want to spend much since I don't plan to edit video often just yet, but I'd like to be able to passthrough the signal from my HT to the computer and make the occasional VCD. I've tried both AVI and MPEG with the same results. I made a 10 minute VCD (Roxio 5 Platinum) from a TV show and it was almost unwatchable on playback.

Thanks!
 

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What are the specs on your hard drive?


Mainly what RPM? Preferrably you should have at least 7200RPM. You also want to make sure DMA is enabled.


Now, if this is your only drive, as it appears to be, that is not the ideal route to go. For video capture, it is preferred to have a dedicated drive. One thing that can really hurt is a fragmented drive. Since it's your only drive, it is almost certainly fragmented due to the constant writing and deleting of files. You could run defrag before capturing and see if this helps. But ideally, you ought to have a fast, dedicated drive.


Also note, that the higher the resolution, frame rate and audio rate that you are transferring at, the more demands it is going to place on your I/O bus. Firewire has adequate bandwidth, though, so I suspect that the disk transfer I/O is the bottleneck on your system.
 

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One more thing that I forgot to mention:


You want to have the least amount of background tasks running. It's best to have nothing but what is necessary for the capture process.


This means closing down all that bloatware like virus scanners, system agents, instant messengers, ETC!!


I don't know what OS you are using, but in Win9x you can press CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up a window with a list of running tasks. Close unnecessary things in that list. You should be able to get away with just Explorer, Systray, and whatever program you are using to do the capture.
 

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I had to upgrade my PC (from dual Celly @ 550MHz / W2K) to make DV capture work smoothly. But you may want to first check that you do not have IRQ conflicts, and you have the latest video codec from Microsoft (since you are not using a Firewire capture card). It is also recommended that applications and a/v files be stored on seperate HDs for smooth capture to disk. Good luck.


My NLE system:

AMD XP1600 / Abit KG7 Raid / 512M DDRM / Western Digital 20G HD (Apps) / Quantum 80G HD (A/V files) / W2K Pro

Sony PC3 DV Canopus Raptor RT via firewire

Adobe Premiere 5.0
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It sounds like I may just need to toss in another HD. My current drive is a 4500rpm Quantum Fireball. I see Office Depot has a 30gig 7200 rpm Maxtor for $69 after rebates. Do you think adding this as a dedicated drive for capture will do it? Also, how do I specify that drive for capture? Do I just need to install Ulead on that drive?

Thanks for the help.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Lang
It sounds like I may just need to toss in another HD. My current drive is a 4500rpm Quantum Fireball. I see Office Depot has a 30gig 7200 rpm Maxtor for $69 after rebates. Do you think adding this as a dedicated drive for capture will do it? Also, how do I specify that drive for capture? Do I just need to install Ulead on that drive?

Thanks for the help.
Having a dedicated capture drive will definately improve your capture performance. It's impossible for me to know if it will completely eliminate your problems, though. Just keep in mind the other suggestions I made -- Kill unneccessary background tasks while capturing, and keep the capture drive defragmented.


You do not want to install Ulead onto that drive, because that defeats the purpose of it being "dedicated" :) I don't have that software installed on my machine at the moment, but I know that you can specify where you want captures to save to. So just find that entry in Ulead and point it to your new capture drive.
 

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Mike,


Novanus is correct. A dedicated 7200rpm (DMA enabled) a/v drive will help matters greatly. And as far as background tasks, virus protectors with real time file system checkers are your worst offenders.


CPU and generic firewire cards are not your problem. In my job, I produce DV video on a PII 400mhz machine with never a dropped frame. A faster CPU will help in tasks like rendering, etc.


Video editing is about throughput. Getting everyting out of the way so the data stream can be input or output without any interference.


Brian
 

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Mike,


Here are some more things to consider:


1. If the firewire card has a TI chipset (good for NLE), then make sure it is not using a Compaq driver. If it is, delete it, and let Windows reinstall it's own generic driver.


2. Load Microsoft's DirectX 8.0a (newer ones may be OK too?)


3. Ulead 4.0 is kinda old, you may try downloading one of Ulead's newer versions and give that a try (they used to have have trial versions available)


4. I agree with others -- eliminate all TSR's, screen savers, and virus checking s/w before doing any capturing or writing of video.


5. Completely defragment you HD if you are to attempt capturing with a single drive -- 2nd drive dedicated to video is highly recommended (almost any current generation 2mb cache drive should do -- yes, that includes WD's 5400 rpm drives. Many people have the misconception that you need a 7200 for performance, but for streaming video you need throughput performance, not access speed)


6. Set you min/max swap file (virtual memory setting) to the same #, equal to 2x your RAM size. This will keep your virtual memory HD space from fragmenting after you have defragged the drive.


7. Test your HD throughput speed using a free download from Canopus's site called raptest.exe: ( http://www.canopuscorp.com/products/utilities.php3 )


You should be comfortable in the green section, or HD speed is definitely an issure (fix that 1st before proceeding).


8. Get more RAM! Just kidding here, I will assume that you have 256MB, not 256K as you posted!!!


And did you mention yet:


1. What is your OS? (Win98, WinME, Win2000 should all work fine for NLE -- I don't know about Ulead's requirements though)

2. What is your M/B, or if it's a brand name PC, what's the model #?


Good luck! NLE's loads of fun once you get it going.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the help guys. I added a 2nd drive (30 gig 7200rpm) and now get stutter free captures. I formatted in NTFS to get around the 4gig limit.


To answer some questions:

I'm running XP Home

DMA is enabled

Computer is Compaq 5008US


Now for the next questions:

Is there any way to speed the rendering & encoding process? I'd like to send VCD's of TV shows and family videos to family members, but the time involved is a real drawback compared to dumping to VHS. Right now I'm using "avi2vcd" to encode the avi file for burning and it will take 6 hours to do a 1 hour video. I thought I read something about "real time" capture cards somewhere. I'd be willing to get something like Adobe Premier or Pinnacle if I can speed things up a bit.

Thanks Again!
 

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Mike, check out www.videoguys.com. They've got some good articles on desktop video (though some are a bit dated and all are aimed at selling stuff). Also browse the rec.video.desktop newsgroup.


For entry level video editing (on a PC) you might want to look at:


- Pinnacle DV200 $250

- Pinnacle DV500 Plus $600

- Maxtor Rt2500 $800


The 200 is a good capture card and comes with Adobe Premier v6. Editing is non-realtime (eg, need to render), but a good solution for the $'s.


Both the 500 and 2500 add the capability for real-time non-linear editing capability. If you plan to do very much of this the extra $'s are well invested. If you want to get really serious on a PC you can go with Avid ExpressDV or move to a Mac with Final Cut Pro.


Good Luck,


Aslan...


Um, wouldn't it be nice to have a NLE forum added to AVS !!!
 

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Mike,


For PC NLE using the DV format, real-time editing translates to hardware assistance so that transitions (cross-fade for example) can be viewed in real-time instead of requiring "rendering" time by the PC in order to view your edits. Cuts only editing does not require any rendering time, even sans hardware editing card (firewire card only, like your Presario solution, or Pinnacle's DV-200 card).


As you have found, once you want to leave DV, things slow down dramatically!!! There are however hardware solutions for transferring to other digital video formats too, although they tend to be pretty expensive. Matrox's DigiSuite MAX does do real-time MPEG2 compression, but it's pretty $$$. I think that Pinnacle's DC2000 also has hardware assisted MPEG2 compression at about a $2000 price point. Check out www.matrox.com and www.pinnacle.com for more specs.


Matrox's RT2500 ($1000 price point) does not do real-time MPEG2 compression, although it does do real-time DV edit transistions and titling.


Jim
 
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