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do i need a capture card?

Discussion in 'Digital camcorders' started by dv8, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. dv8

    dv8 Guest

    I jsu bought a panasonic mini dv nv-gs11gn, which has av in/out, dv, usb 2 and a s-video plugs.I connected to pc with usb but no go.I was told I could use this cam like a capture card strait to my pc with windows movie maker but nothing, is the usb to slow, should I get a fire wire lead to my motherboard or capture card and better software...any help here would be great,thx
     
  2. Mark7

    Mark7 Member

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    If I read the ads correctly, your camcorder has an 800,000 pixel ccd which should allow you to make excellent quality DVD's.

    You can make "OK" quality DVD's (although a bit to "fuzzy" for my tastes) by using the software that came with your camcorder and using a Firewire cable, if your camcorder has a Firewire port that is...

    If, you want to make near commercial quality DVD's then you will need to use a video capture device, and some better software.

    DON'T bother using WIndows lousey movie maker if you're looking for quality.

    Same with the USB or S-Video, far too much loss in quality involved..



     
  3. dv8

    dv8 Guest

    thx for the reply mark7. when I connect the cam it show on my computer as connected but movie maker and studio 8 say no devise found, I think it want work without firewire leads.I was useing usb 2. With the software supplied with the cam it only wants to take still pics of the tape to my pc which is poor quality.My motherboard is a msi k8t neo with a mini and standard ieee1394 ports, all I need is the lead I think. thx again
     
  4. ZombyHero

    ZombyHero Member

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    I don't want to sound mean about this, I understand we're all learning, but I do feel the need to correct Mark7 on some statements he made that are more or less incorrect.

    Referring to CCD pixel resolution is always misleading. Consumer camcorders are always advertised with pixel resolution because thanks to digital still cameras, people tend to think the more megapixels the better. That's untrue when it comes to video. NTSC always works at a fixed pixel resolution of 720x480. This means that after about 340,000 pixels, there will be very little effective increase in quality. Also keep in mind that camcorders also advertise total pixel resolution and not EFFECTIVE pixel resolution. Video cameras use some of the pixel information for functions like image stabilization and night vision, so a megapixel camera won't use all 1 million pixels for the image resolution.

    The phyiscal size of the CCD has far more to do with the image quality than pixel resolution, this is why professional camcorders advertise CCD size. They range from 1/5.6 inches in many consumer camcorders to 1/4" to 1/3" in prosumer models to 1/2" to 2/3" in broadcast cameras. And while I'm not entirely sure of this, I have heard people state that cramming more pixels onto a CCD can actually affect image quality, because as more pixels are put onto a CCD, they become smaller, and less sensitive to light.

    So CCD pixel resolution above 340,000 will only see diminishing returns in video quality, and have almost no impact on the quality of DVDs (especially considering DVDs are further compressed).

    Also, to clarify, FireWire IS a video capture device, one which is more than suitable for all miniDV video, and again, has no bearing on video quality (it is simply a transmission method, completely loss-less). Some people claim they can capture okay with USB, but FireWire is really the way to go.

    I have almost no experience with windows movie-maker, but I do know that it does have a DV codec to capture full quality DV (there is a chance the codec could be crap, I don't know). While I would recommend upgrading to nicer software, it should work in a pinch. However, Mark7 is totally right by suggesting you find a good DVD maker program, as poor mpeg2 codec can affect DVD quality.

    That was probably more information than you needed, but I figure it can't help to learn.
     
  5. dv8

    dv8 Guest

    Yeah thx for the heads up ZombyHero ani info on this topicis much appreciated, but I would like to address my question, as it appears I am lacking in knowlage in this area. so hers the Q. again, sorry to be lame. when I connect my cam it shows up on my computer as connected but movie maker and studio 8 say no devise found to import from, I think the programs wont work without firewire leads.As I was useing usb 2 maybe thats the first problem. With the software supplied with the cam it only wants to take still pics of the tape to my pc which is poor quality, but thats cool just standard shit bundled software I think. My motherboard is a msi k8t neo with a mini and standard ieee1394 ports, so all I need is the firewire lead I think, or do I need capture pci card as well, I just wont my son sking on my computer to burn later to dvd.thx again any help good dv8 lamer
     
  6. Mark7

    Mark7 Member

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    I'm afraid I'll have to correct ZombyHero, unfortunately.. All one has to do is look at video files from a 1 gig pixel camera and compare it to a 340,000 pixel camera. The difference is amazing.

    His statement that 720x480 resolution only requires 340,000 pixels is not how the camcorder manufacturer use the ccd sensors to record images. One of my camcorders, a Sony DCR-HC85, has a 2,000,000 pixel sensors - but only 1,000,000 are used for sensing video images - only the full 2,000,000 are use for still pictures. Why do they use more pixels to sense what mathematically would only be 345,600 final bits of information? Because they use ALL of this information in their video processor to arrive at the final video file. That final video file is what you view.

    When you look at your video output on your TV screen, you are NOT looking at the raw data on your tape. The cameras video processor uses the raw data that _IT_ stored on your tape to "unfold" the information back to 720x480 (assuming you're using NTSC) normal screen size for viewing. The camcorders processor formulated that information and knows exactly what to do to get it back to the best presentation using it's own propritory algorithms - not Windows Movie Maker, Adobe, etc!!!

    Next month I plan on purchasing a Sony HDR-FX1 camcorder. Guess what - it has three (3!!) 1,120,000 pixel sensors. If, as ZombyHero maintains, that only one 346,000 ccd sensor is needed then why would Sony (and Panasonic and others) issue these expensive models with a total of over 3,360,000 pixels? Boggles the mind, right.

    Well, they do it because each of the sensors focuses on one portion of the light spectrum. Then, when the camera processor "massages" all this information, it produces a final file that has a tremendously better quality. Having just 346,000 pixels worth of information is just not enough for better quality.

    In your case, I still maintain, that for a camera that has a higher potential quality output - DON'T use the poorly designed "quick and dirty" file structure that Windows Movie Maker sticks you with. Get an ATI capture card to capture the ANALOG (yes, I said ANALOG) output in MPEG1 form at 720x480 resolution at 20 mbits/sec directly from the camcorders video processor. Then compress the video to meg2 using 3XPress (from Pegasys), then use a DVD author to produce the final DVD files. AND amaze your friends with your exception quality DVD's/

    Now thats the REAL world!!!

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2005
  7. ZombyHero

    ZombyHero Member

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    You've really fallen into a marketing ploy used by camcorder manufacturers, and that's the belief that more pixels is always better. I own a 1/6" 3CCD Panasonic GS200 which advertises 800k pixels resolution per CCD or 2.3 Megapixels total. If I shoot some video with that versus the Panasonic DVX100a, which uses 1/3" CCDs advertising 410k pixels per CCD, which is going to yield a higher quality video? The DVX everytime. There is a reason most professional broadcast cams don't use high pixel resolutions. The more pixels you cram onto a CCD, the less sensitive to light they are, resulting in poor low light performance. The SDX900, one of the best standard def cameras available only has 520k pixels per 2/3" CCD. So by your logic, your $900 HC85 should kick the living crap out of a $25,000 professional EFP cam, because it has more pixels on the CCD. It doesn't work that way. You're not entirely incorrect saying that an image captured at a higher pixel resolution than 340k will look sharper. Cameras do use the extra pixel data to produce somewhat higher quality images, but you hit a wall somewhere around 650k. Camcorders also use extra pixel data for functions such as image stablization and night visions, etc, but once you get in the 1-2 megapixel range on camcorders, the extra pixels are used only for digital still capture.

    What's important when judging camera resolution is how many lines of horizontal resolution can be captured. The output is always going to be 720x480, but some cameras put more lines into the image. VHS has a horizontal resolution of about 300, while miniDV has a limit of 540. (my GS200 recods 510 lines, your HC85 is about 530 I think). That's what makes video look sharper.

    The FX-1 camcorder is HD, so yea, its going to require more pixels than SD because the image resolution is higher. But the same principles still apply.

    I'm not making this up. Here's a thread over at www.camcorderinfo.com discussing the issue of pixel resolution: http://www.camcorderinfo.com/bbs/t103675.html
    And to better understand horizontal resolution: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/vidres.htm

    Moving on your capture issues. FireWire transmits the exact information from your tape to you camera, and there is nothing even remotely inferior about it. Editing in DV is so popular because the format allows decompression and recompression to occur without any quality loss. Yea, Windows Movie Maker might have a crappy codec, that's why you invest in a more serious piece of editing software, and use professional codecs from people like Adobe, Apple or Avid.

    You also stated that the "raw" data on the tape is higher quality, and it is compressed at the time of digital capture. It is true that camcorders are capable of producing much nicer images than what's written to tape, but by the time a camcorder records to tape, the video has been compressed using a lossy codec, and you're never going to get that information back. What you see on your screen is exactly what is written to tape. (To see what the image capturing cabalities of a camera like the DVX100 is like without compression, check this out: http://www.reel-stream.com/)

    What was the most frightening thing about your statement was that you said you captured analog out into MPEG1 and then to MPEG2. Not only is this redundant, but each stage of compression takes its toll on the video image (especially since mpeg1 is lower quality than mpeg2). Because these are lossy codecs, the moment you encode to mpeg1, that becomes the best quality you can achieve. Going to mpeg2 won't make your video look any better. When dealing with lossy codecs, the best judge of quality is file size. There's a reason DV takes up 13GB/hour and high quality DVD MPEG2 only ~4GB/hour. DV is simply the higher quality compression. Going from DV to mpeg2 is going to produce the better DVD than from mpeg1 to mpeg2.

    If your only experience with DV is on windows movie maker, I get the feeling your capture settings are not set to full quality DV, resulting in what you believe to be an inferior format.

    Knowing your techology...now that's the REAL world.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2005
  8. dv8

    dv8 Guest

    Wow, holy crap, that reply was mind blowing,no really the things I not shit about is scary. So the answers to my ques are yes you are a cock head useing usb2 to upload video from your cam, and yes the software is crap(buy some good shit). And no one noes weather I need to get a cap card to do this even though I bought a cam that captures....bummer looks like Iam a fuk nut,,, thsx for every ones help,,,still lost
     
  9. jumbalia

    jumbalia Member

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    dv8,
    My Panasonic camera also comes with both a firewire out and a USB out. The USB is ONLY for those lousy still pictures.
    You MUST use the FireWire port to get the video out. Since my computer did not have a FireWire port I had to buy a seperate PCI card that had a few FireWire ports (It also came witha bunch of extra USB ports).
    It was a good quality card from 3-COM and was pretty darn inexpensive...I think $40-60.
     
  10. dv8

    dv8 Guest

    Many thx to everyone for their insight into dv cam processing. Thx very much to jumbalia for you calling a spade a spade approach to my ques , as that was all my interrest is in at this moment, and now feel I'm on the right track, thx mate heaps. to mark7 and ZombyHero also a special thx for imparting your collective learning on this complicated devise. And I'm sure I will be able to use the information delivered by all in my quest for perfection..haha wow I just read back that statement and sound like a dikhead, instead of an australian,cool thx cu
     

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