I stumbled upon this forum and just registered. It looks really pro so I am a bit hesitant to display my total ignorance but here it goes anyway.
I have a number of small dv tapes shot with an oldish panasonic 1,7 megapixels (the NV-GS120 if that rings any bells...wouldn't mean anything to me) and a few more short with a Sony Handycam (DCR-PC350E). It is time to start getting those tapes onto the hard disk and start doing something with them.
After being mis-sold dazzle this and pinnacle that, and a PCMCIA Firewire adapter (which was normal size and didn't fit my new laptop: I finally understood I needed an express card), I am now the proud owner of a firewire port on my laptop and I did my first capture from tape to hard disk. I figures that bit out. But...
I tried capturing in various ways (some defaults under Vista, Ulead VideoStudio SE freebie I got with one of the kits, and a couple of little utilities. I am now totally confused as to the settings I shoudl use to capture, the best format for capturing (AVI, MPEG etc, given that I want to edit the files thereafter) etc...
So first question: will you tell me or point to a FAQ/article that sets me up for optimal capture from tape to disk please. I suppose all captures are not equal and that it is better to pay attention at this stage that to post-process to death trying to get quality.
If there are great differences betwenn utilities for capture, will you please tell me what tool (free, cheap or relatively expensive) is going to get the job done properly, every time, no surprises? Could be a freebie or Premiere, I don't care, but I really need to get to grips with formats and parameters for optimal capture quality.
I did test capture to AVI and MPEG-2. The results are really different. Getting pixel blocks with MPEG-2, less so with AVI. But with AVI, I also tried several capture utilities and get different quality output (viewed on same player). And then, I try to view the same file with different players (Windows Media, VLC, Gom...) and I get a very different visual experience...but it's the same flippin' file!
So my second question is: how do I streamline my workflow (no but really, I actually understand what those words mean. I think.)? Do I use one capture tool, one output format ready for editing, one player only? If so, which ones do you recommend together please?
For a first post, this is getting way too long. So I will just leave two more questions without the running commentary:
1) Is there a recommended enhancer (editing tool or plugin for one) that will take a bland clip and bring it to life a bit? An easy auti-enhance kind of thing that does a decent job? Just to start with?
2) What all-in tool would you recommend to put my first DVD together that does titles, transitions and some effects well. Very general question but don;t quite know what else to shoot for right now.
Thank you for your patience and advice.
I see in teh FAQs that there are some guides on som editing tools. I will read them but would still value your recommendations.