I'm dropping frames when capturing via firewire! Help! aka The data rate on Drive C: is less than the required rate of 4444 Kbyte/second
Defragment your hard drive. If the disk has to continuously seek, the data rate wil fall and you'll start to loose chunks of data - i.e drop frames. If you still can't capture on a tidy disk, it's time to invest in a better hard drive.
I've got a DV camera and capturing via the supplied USB cable, but the quality is awful! I thought digital was supposed to be better?
The data rate of USB 1.1 isn't sufficient to transfer digital video. You need to use the DV (firewire/ilink) connection to get better quality. And before you ask, the DV standard is firewire and camcorders do NOT use USB2 (which has a theoretically higher data transfer rate). This is because the method of transfer in DV is better suited to video.
How should I capture? DV, USB, or S-video?
Capturing via DV (aka I1994, ilink or Firewire) is a lossless process - the video transferred from your camcorder is an identical copy of the original. This is possible due to Firewire permitting fast data transfer rates - faster than the rates USB allows. If you capture via S-video (or indeed USB), you'll necesarily see a reduction in the quality of your captured video, so always opt for the DV option if available
A firewire connection also enables remote control of camcorder functions via the PC.
Video won't play in my DVD player!
First off, you'll need to create either a VCD (or variant) or DVD to play in in a standalone DVD player - guides at http://www.marcpeters.co.uk/guides.html. Secondly, not all players are happy with VCDs and then there's compatability problems with the discs themselves. The nice guys at vcdhelp.com are there to answer your problems with a compatability list: http://www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers
What capture card should I buy?
Remember that all Firewire cards are created equal. A bog standard firewire card is less than $25/£25 and combined with video capture software, will enable DV capture from your camcorder. You can get a freeware DV capture app from http://www.carr-engineering.com/dvio.htm If the link is dead, do a search for DVIO in google. If you're not going to edit your footage, this is a very cheap option! If you do want to edit your video, you can pick up a cheap video editing suite such as Ulead Video Studio, Pinnacle Studio or Pure Motion edit studio. Reviews and guides to these can be found at http://www.marcpeters.co.uk/guides.html
Some manufacturers bundle a standard firewire card with video editing software and call it a video editing card. These usually retail for less than $100/£100. Because the cards don't offer any hardware acceleration, you'll want to make sure you get the best bundled software. Find the video editing app you want, then buy a card that comes with it!
You may also get analogue video connections to enable video transfer from VCRs etc. But if you're going down the DV route, make sure you get a firewire card bundled . Some "video editing cards" at this price range offer a USB connection.
The next "range" of cards are around the $500-700 mark and offer a sophisticated video editing suite such as Adobe Premiere, with a dedicated video editing card (harware accelerated transitions etc)[/b]
My captured video is enormous. Is this normal?
Yes. DV has a data rate of 3.5MB/sec, so mulitply this by the number of seconds in your video and you have the video size in MB. Big, isn't it?
What should I use to make my video size smaller? or My quality is awful, what should I do - I though digital was supposed to be better!
You need to compress your video. This will inevitably reduce the quality of your video depending on the amount of compression used. And no, if you compress you video, you will never be able to get back to the original quality (unlike a zip file, some of the data is actually discarded).
Have a look here for a start: http://www.marcpeters.co.uk/encoding.html