Spec required for video transfer/editing

  Kev M 12:29 24 Feb 2005

I'm looking to purchase a new pc mainly for basic home/internet use. But I also want to be able to copy a number of home video cassettes to DVD and edit. Is it easy to copy from a standard video player to DVD via a computer. What software/hardware connections would I need.
I would also like to in the future copy digital camera/camcorder direct to DVD. What spec should I be looking for in respect of processor/memory/hard drive/graphics card, etc? Do I need a system with a firewire?
Can I do without USB memory?
I could do with some independent as I feel I'm being pushed towards the highest spec models when I go to PC World and the like.

  gobi 20:11 24 Feb 2005

unfortunately video editing is quite an expensive hobby to start with. A highest spec machine is always recommended as video processing could take loads of processor, memory and storage usage. You are looking at a machine with at least 512MB RAM, 2GHz CPU, 120GB HDD as backbone. You could have some lee way in graphic card - even an integrated type will do. Firewire is definitely a must. I was about to suggest a TV capture card as well, but since you are also looking to buy a camcorder, you could used the pass through feature to capture to your computer. There are many video editing softwares. Most of them has trial version, so you could tried them all before committing to any. I only have used Sony Vegas and could personally recommend it.

  fred 21:04 24 Feb 2005

I use Pinnacle studio 9 and it works well. (about £150 including the breakout box and PCI card.) Mind you I use an Athlon 64 3200+ and 1G RAM. Upgrading from 512M to 1G was well worth while. The standard 80G HDD is adequate for three hours or so but I find an external 250G useful. All cables etc are supplied with the kit.

  kinger 23:32 25 Feb 2005

I've just moved to Pinnacle Studio 9.0 and find it fantastic compared to a number of others.

Easiest to use and affordable too.

I have a large HDD (500Gb), 2GB Ram and 3.8ghz processor.

Memory is very important for faster rendering but, boy, does video editing take up lots of space.

Once a video project is completed onto DVD I remove the raw footage from the disk as I really can't afford to give them the space.

  €dstowe 06:55 26 Feb 2005

For efficient (quicker, less hard drive space used and less work for the CPU) analogue to digital conversion it is better to use a hardware MPEG converter.

The NorthQ NQ6600 available from Scan will convert your videos into digital format and the supplied Intervideo WinDVD 4 will render them into DVD format in approximately real time and using relatively small amount of hard drive space.

Programmes like Studio 9 take several hours to render quite short sections of video and take up huge amounts of hard drive space to do it - up to 40GB per hour of video. It also tends to be very temperamental and prone to losing video/sound sync.

  kinger 11:38 27 Feb 2005

That's interesting €dstowe, I've always been annoyed at the time it takes to render even the shortest videos.

I'll take a look at your suggestion.

Handy post, thanks.

  €dstowe 12:35 27 Feb 2005

There's a slight error in my post, above. The version of WinDVD Creator is No. 2 not 4. That's no problem - you can easily upgrade if you wish.

A little bit more detail of what I meant: The Pinnacle breakout box and similar things convert analogue video to (very large file size) AVI. This is fine if you want totally loss free conversion but, as most of us want to eventually make a DVD or other video disc, a system where the conversion is done at the start is much more efficient. For example, a one hour analogue video takes an hour to load into the computer (obviously). WinDVD via NorthQ will have already converted this to MPEG with a file size of about 3GB. In Pinnacle it will be AVI format and about 20 - 30 GB. You then edit the video (same time with both methods) then render and write to DVD.

As the file in WinDVD is already MPEG, all it has to do is add the bits and bobs that make it a DVD readable file and then write to disc. This is done in approximately real time (about an hour) plus the time to burn the disc (depends on your writer).

With Pinnacle it must convert your edited files from AVI to MPEG, add the DVD bits and bobs and then burn. This conversion (rendering)is a double pass process and can take seven or more hours per hour of video, depending on the speed of your processor, plus the burning time. All the while your CPU is working very hard indeed.

  kinger 19:32 27 Feb 2005

That's the best explanation of video transfer I've ever read. Plain English.

Do you know the URL of the site you mentioned that it is available from? I've looked it up on Google but it is supplied by a lot of foreign sites.


  SEASHANTY 22:53 27 Feb 2005

You could also edit using the new JVC DVD/HDD/VHS
home recorder. All it needs is a spare £516 (on pricerunner) Info on the DR-MX1SEK
click here
and the specification
click here=
. It states twin tuner built in but doesn't say if its Freeview.

  westwit 01:04 28 Feb 2005

kinger: it's at scan.co.uk click here

€dstowe: I have a digital camcorder connected by firewire, and am about to load the Pinnacle Studio 9SE software supplied with my MESH PC (up to now I have just played about with the Windows Movie Maker software). Is what you say about the NorthQ NQ6600 converter box and rendering still applicable for digital video input? Or is the converter really only for capturing an analogue input?

  €dstowe 06:51 28 Feb 2005

The blurb I wrote above is for analogue -> digital conversion. You don't need the NorthQ box for that.

Regarding a digital input, Pinnacle is fussy about the formats it will see e.g. it doesn't like MPEG even though it will eventually convert to that for making a DVD.

I was a fan of Pinnacle but, after many failures, disappointments, drive hogging and crashes it is rapidly descending to the bottom of my list of useful software - and that is not even taking account of its painfully slow speed.

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