Setting Up Your Hardware for Video Capture

Your first task is to set up your hardware to capture video?that is, to transfer video from your camcorder or VCR to your hard drive. (I'll get into the specifics of the capture process in Hour 3, "Video Capture and Scene Selection.") Your computer already may have a means to do that?a FireWire (Apple Computer), i.Link (Sony Corporation), or IEEE 1394 (everybody else) connection. Trademark issues have forced manufacturers into this acronym stew, but all the monikers mean the same thing?a high-speed technology to transfer data.


It began way back in 1986 when researchers at Apple Computer developed what they called FireWire. Nine years later the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers adopted FireWire as a high-speed serial bus standard and named it IEEE 1394. IEEE 1394 can swap data between PCs and printers, scanners, and hard drives as well as with digital cameras and camcorders.

The features that set IEEE 1394 apart from its SCSI, USB, and parallel interface counterparts are its high speed, small size, and hot "plugability" (you can plug in a device with your computer already turned on).

If you have an IEEE 1394 card, your capture card setup work may be done…maybe. It depends on the type of video you plan to transfer to and from your PC. If you'll be working only with DV, you're set. If you intend to connect analog equipment?VHS, S-VHS, Hi-8, or Beta SP?you'll need a video capture card with the appropriate analog adapters.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video