Firewire / DV Questions

I have a laptop with firewire (IEEE1394) connection and was wondering if I can just hook up my DV camera there.
Is there any SW on the net which I can use to retrieve the data, perhaps do some simple editing?
How much space does a 60min DV tape take up on my harddisk?

What about data transfer between two PCs using a firewire connection, does it require some driver/SW or is it plug and play?

Yes, but …

Step 1: Check to see if your verison of Windows recognizes your IEEE 1394 port. If you are using Windows XP, no problem.

Step 2: I assume you have a Sony DV camcorder with an iLINK port (which is their commerical name for IEEE 1394) or you have another brand with a IEEE 1394 port.

Setp 3: Make sure you have a cable with the right A/B/whatever-sized plugs to connect from your camera to your laptop.

Step 4: Find a video capture program that is compatile with your camera. You can check this on the software-maker’s Web site. There are products from Piannacle, Ulead, Adobe, etc. Microsoft has an included program in Windows XP … forgot the name. See if that works to capture. Get a better program if you want to do more complex editing.

If you have Windows 2000 with some service pack, then you can still do alll this, although I don’t know the specs. For some circumstances, you need to update Windows XP with the latest DirectX/MediaPlayer software with SP1.

I’ve can only speak about apple, but presume PC is the same. Connect you camcorder to you firewire port then simply open your editing software (imovie is incredibly easy to use), hit import and bang it’s coffee time as you dv tape is transfering onto your computer in real time.

As for how much room it takes up, good qustion, I’ve edited dv’s of around 40 odd minutes from 1 hour of raw film no problems.

I am running WinXP and my camcorder does have an iLink aka Firewire port (it’s not a trick, it’s a Sony).

I just noticed that my PC has a 4-pin port, like the camcorder. Do I need a crossed cable then?

Actually I was thinking of buying a cable I saw at 3C which comes with 4 adapters (2x 4-pin, 2x 6-pin) that can be plugged in at each end - would this work?


You just need a 4pin to 4pin cable then. Firewire cables don’t have crossover cables, they are all the same except the connectors.

For disk space, DV takes up about 13gb per hour. Make sure you have lots of space.

For PC-to-PC hookup, if you are running XP on both you should be able to just hook a firewire cable between them and go. By default XP is set with TCP/IP auto-config on the firewire ports.

As for software, there’s a wide variety out there. If you buy a DVD burner or video capture card you’ll usually get something like Sonic MyDVD or an old copy of Ulead VideoStudio bundled for free. The free ones are VERY basic, but the good ones like Premiere can cost more than US$500. If you want something basic, I have a couple of unused copies of MyDVD you could have.

If you’re going to get into video editing though, you’ll probably want to get a DVD burner. They currently run NT3000-4000 for 4X DVD±RW. The newest drives are 8X DVD+R and 4X DVD-R and go for about NT5200. (Just upgraded myself to Lite-On LDW-851S 8X drive.) Quality media (I prefer Ritek) goes for NT35-45 each for 4X.

Autsch. Just have an empty 1G partition on the laptop. Guess it’s time to get a desktop then …

Thanks for the all the advise, guys. I actually do regret already that I bought a (external) CD-R/RW instead of a DVD±R/RW for my laptop.
In particular I regret that I choose USB because I wrongly assumed my newish (company) laptop has USB2.0 but of course it doesn’t. :?

Will be off to get the firewire cable and do some testing with the camcorder.

Thanks for the offer. :slight_smile: I might come back on that once I figured which way to go.

Speaking of external DVD burners, if I buy one of those puppies, and then buy a TV-to-PC thingie so’s I could get a TV or cable signal into my laptop, would I be able to burn DVDs?

I don’t need great quality, I just want good sound and preferably readable subtitles… :smiley:

Yes, you could capture TV and burn to DVD with quite good quality.

First though, consider waiting for standalone DVD recorders to come down in price. They are currently NT30k and up here but are as low as US$400 in the US. The manufacturing costs of these are going way down. The nice thing about these is that it’s so simple, just pop a DVD-R in and hit record.

If you do decide to do this on the computer, you should make sure you choose a capture device that has a hardware mpeg-2 encoder at 704x480 or 720x480 resolution. Hardware encoding will save you disk space and the hassle of spending all day waiting for the software encoder to churn out the video. You want one of the above resolutions because they are the standard DVD resolutions. Lower res capture devices are out there and intended for VCD. It is possible to record VCD video on DVD, but some players won’t play it.