The DCR-PC115 in a MiniDV camera. You will solve all of your problems by capturing via firewire. If you don't have a firewire port, buy a firewire PCI card and cable for under £20 / £20.
...my first post here so please bear with me...
First off, here are the pertinent specs of the PC I am using:
IBM Intellistation E Pro 6214-58U
1 x Intel Pentium 4, 2.2GHz processor
Windows 2K SP4
C: Seagate 100GB Barracuda ATA Internal IDE (system disk)
D: Maxtor 160GB DiamondMax Plus 9 Internal IDE (capture disk)
Video Board: ATI AIW X800XT AGP
The problem I am having with audio synch happens both in the capture phase and edit phase using Pinnacle.
In the capture phase, I am transferring via analog signal from a camcorder (Sony Digital Handycam DCR-PC115 NTSC) to the video-in of my video board. During capture it initially dropped about 100 frames a minute and during playback, audio got out of synch almost immediately. I tried it again after closing everything in the Win2K task tray and cut the dropped frames to about 50 per minute, and during playback the audio got out of synch, but it took longer than in the first capture.
Is the dropped frames due to system performance? I'm hoping the specs of the computer platform I am using are sufficient to capture from a camcorder without this kind of problem. Any suggestions on settings that may eliminate the dropped frames?
In the edit phase, I noticed that sometimes when changing the start frame of a scene to begin later than the captured start of the scene by moving the edit knob to the right, the audio also can get out of synch. This doesn't happen all the time, but in my experience this has happened twice in my editting about a dozen movies (which is a large ratio in my view).
Can I solve this by unlocking the audio track, resynching it manually and then locking it again on the scene where it got out of synch? The version of Pinnacle Studio I am using currently doesn't allow unlocking the audio track for editting, but if I spend $19.95 to upgrade it, supposedly it will. I wanted to ask if using this feature as I described above will allow me to adjust the audio synching and solve this problem, so I can avoid purchasing it if it won't.
Any suggestions/alternative solutions to solving this problem are greatly appreciated. Thanks for any help you can offer!
Thanks for the advice on the firewire PCI card and cable. I'll look into that. I did try USB, but the camcorder was never recognized by the system. Of course I tried it before I read a number of posts here that say USB quality capture is lousy, so I won't be going there anyway.
However, I need to clarify that the audio synch issue with Pinnacle Studio in edit mode was during an edit of a movie captured from TV, not from the camcorder, so it is a different issue. When the captured content is played back, there is no audio synch issue, however when I edit the scene that I want to skip the beginning of (part of an advertisement), the audio gets out of synch.
I've done this with a number of movies captured from TV without a problem, but it doesn't always work, and in the case of a movie I'm currently editing, I need to fix this. I'm asking if Pinnacle Studio will allow manually adjusting the audio synch in that one scene, and afterward lock it so the remaining video/audio content remains in synch for the remainder of the movie.
Has anybody had this same problem and have you been able to fix it this way?
Thanks again for the help!
If this is recored from TV, I'm assuming it's been recorded using either MPEG2, or compressed further to MPEG4. I suggest you convert to a less compressed format for editing. Or if you simply want to remove adverts, use something like videoredo.
I'm not sure whether the compression is MPEG2 or MPEG4, I just chose DVD quality.
It turns out in edit mode the audio synch issue appears when adjusting the beginning of a scene to start some time after the detected start; it doesn't happen when the end of the scene is adjusted. It also seems to appear only when using preview play-back starting on a prior scene to the editted one, i.e. if you use preview play-back on the next scene after the editted one there doesn't seem to be an audio synch issue.
In addition, I found that in general for new projects, audio synch is not an issue when the source and target files are on different hard disks, e.g. captured mpg is on the slave disk and target project is on the system disk.
So far this seems to hold up. I don't know if the audio synch issue explained in the first paragraph above will be evident during rendering, but I'll post here if it is.
On another related issue, I also noticed the maximum movie time allowed for a DVD is 132 minutes (2 hours 12 minutes)...just FYI as I tried creating a 3 hour DVD and it wouldn't let me.
Here are some approximate times I found when creating a DVD using this version of Pinnacle Studio:
Movie length: 90 minutes
# scenes: 917
capture quality: DVD
Rendering 1st pass: 3 hours 20 minutes (200 minutes)
...for future time estimations, this works out to about 2 minutes 15 seconds elapsed rendering time for 1 minute of movie content.
Rendering 2nd pass: 20 minutes
Compiling disc: 25 minutes
Burning disc: 20 minutes
Total elapsed time: 265 minutes (4 hours 25 minutes)
After viewing the DVD there were no audio synch issues, however it did get choppy between scenes a few times...maybe Pinnacle Studio did this to synch the audio, I don't know.
A couple of questions:
What's the difference between rendering pass 1 and pass 2?
Is the elapsed time for rendering pass 1 related to CPU speed or something else?
Just as a followup to Marc's firewire transfer suggestion, I installed and used the SIIG 1394 DV-Cam Kit-V and it worked like a charm. Pinnacle Studio not only controlled the camcorder from the UI but it automatically created all scenes and skipped any blank tape between them. All transferred with zero dropped frames and no audio synch issues. Firewire is definitely the way to go!
Although I set the transfer quality to DV high quality (which I thought was the highest quality), the video file created was .avi. I thought .mpg provided higher quality video? On .avi playback the video quality is great but not crystal clear, i.e. there are about two dozen or so thin horizontal dark (not black) lines, and sometimes when the camera moves the horizontal video in the center gets choppy. Are these artifacts of the camcorder or the transfer operation and is there any way to fix this? Would a conversion to .mpg help?
Thanks again for the suggestion Marc, it definitely helped me out.
When transfering from your camcorder to PC via a firewire connection, you'll be saving the video on your PC using the exact same compression as that stored on the tape. Essentially you are transferring data from one medium to another and the process is lossless. No reductution in quality.
The term AVI is a generic term used to describe video playable on under a Windows OS. Its a 'wrapper' that encloses the video encoded with one of a plethora of codecs - that could be a lossless codec such as huffy, or a highly compressed format such as MPEG4.
MPEG2 uses an inter-frame compression technique, meaning data is compared between adjacent frames. If data is repeated between the two, it is discraded, therefore reducing the file size. To the naked eye, this is not visible. Quality of video is determined by the video bitrate. The greater the bitrate, the greater the amount of data per second and the greater the quality.
An AVI file encoded with a DV codec (the "highest quality" that Pinnacle describes) uses intra-frame compression at high bitrates with low compression levels (5:1). This means the quality is good, doesn't suffer adversely from encoding generation loss until about 5 encodes and file sizes are huge.
The lines you are seeing could very well be interlaced artifacts. Standard Definition video from a camcoder will be Interlaced, meaning the each frame of video is actually made up of two seperate half size frames. Each of these frames has alternate lines that fit together to make one whole frame. This works fine on a TV, but if you play it back on a monitor (progressive scan), you get lines on the video - this is because the video is trying to play these two half frames ate the same time. As one is slighty ahead of the other, you get a distorted picture and what looks like lines. This gets worse in scenes with high movement.
Thanks very much for the education on the different types of video encoding and how they differ.
If I understand what you said, theoretically if I convert the DV encoded video to a non-interlaced encoding such as MPEG2 or MPEG4, the artifacts described in our previous posts will go away, correct? I'm guessing this is the case because conversion to MPEG encoding could replace the two half-size frames with one full-size frame, unless for some reason the interlacing cannot be rectified no matter what encoding you convert it to.
I recall you mentioned that the DV encoding won't suffer adversely from encoding generation loss until about 5 encodes, so maybe one conversion to MPEG2 would be worth a try, would you agree? I don't know if Pinnacle Studio has a way to convert to MPEG4.
From the way you described it, these particular artifacts are caused by the quality of the original recording (in this case Standard Definition by the camcorder). I am, however, viewing this on TV (not a monitor) through the ATI AIW board via TV-out, but maybe the video board uses a progressive scan technique causing these artifacts to still be present even when using TV-out.
Thanks again for all the useful information. It's good to know there are very knowledgeable folks like yourself who are willing to educate others in this forum!