Digital Video Editing

Becoming the next Steven Spielberg is simple thanks to video editing on your PC.

Why does video take up so much hard drive space?

Video is a continuous stream of still images that our brains interpret as motion. In Australia we use the PAL TV system, which has 25 image frames every second, each made up of 720 by 576 pixels.

Video editing

Non-compressed video data creates huge files. For example, a 10-second uncompressed video file can take up to 340MB. That's 34MB of data per second. In order to just capture a 20-minute video file, over 40GB of storage space would be required. To get around this problem, compression formats were devised to dramatically reduce file size, yet retain acceptable quality. These compressors work by throwing out data unimportant to the overall quality of the image.

Compression formats include:

  • Motion-JPEG (M-JPEG): This is capable of producing up to S-VHS quality video files. It was the most popular high quality video editing compression format until the arrival of DVD.
  • MPEG (Motion Professional Experts Group): These formats provide a variety of different compression and video resolution options to suit different ways of watching video. MPEG-1 was developed for the VideoCD format, which allows over an hour of VHS quality video to fit onto a 650MB CD. MPEG-2 delivers a high quality low compression video file able to produce DVD quality video and audio. MPEG-4 offers a variable compression rate, making it perfect for delivery of video over the web at different connection speeds. DivX, an extremely popular and un-ratified format, is a derivative of MPEG-4.
  • DV: This is the format used by DV camcorders and is similar in quality to MPEG-2, although it is usually at a lower compression rate. Many video camera enthusiasts are surprised to hear that the DV footage that comes straight out of a camcorder is compressed (usually at 5:1). The main reason for this is to save space (one hour of uncompressed video would take up around 120GB) and also, no commercially available PC system is able to deal with the transfer rates needed of around 34MBps.
  • Other web compression formats popular for web videos include Indeo, Cinepak and the popular Apple Quicktime, which in is very similar to MPEG-4.

Assuming you already have your DV camcorder and software application, the only addition to a standard PC needed for editing DV is a Firewire card. Many PCs now come with Firewire (also known as iLink or IEEE1394) although USB 2.0 is more common. Many camcorders offer USB 2.0 functionality as well as Firewire, which is useful for creating streaming video and the occasional DVD movie. However, Firewire is still the best way to deal with DV, as it offers greater control over the camcorder during the video transfer process and the transfer technology is more reliable.

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GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide




Cyberlink Power Director Express

Help! I have been using the Cyberlink Power Director Express software I got with my JVC Everio back in 2007, on Windows XP. As time has gone by, the program freezes almost faster than I can blink, and I keep getting an error message saying that "An error has occurred when opening this media file in the library ..." I haven't moved the files around in my HDD so I don't know why this has happened.
I have recently bought a new computer, with more RAM. Although Cyberlink Power Director Express works in a way, it still has the two problems that happened with XP. I rang JVC who recommended I buy an updated version for Vista. When I rang their technical department the guy answered my questions in a way that doesn't make me confident that the problems will be fixed with the new disk.
So, what I am looking for is advice re a program that has similiar features to Cyberlink but is better! I have used MS Movie Maker but don't like the edit feature. I want all the normal things, including
- to be able to see the first edit frame and the last edit frame as per cyberlink layout
- be able to mute an individual clip when it is on the timeline - or alter sound (Cyberlink only lets you mute all the clips on the timeline - at least my version does)
- be able to fast forward through a clip in preview screen (MS Movie Maker doesn't do this - at least mine doean't)
And any other useful features anyone can recommend. Thanks for your help



DV software

I have been using AVS software for a couple of months now and found it to be quite good. I paid about $90AUD for my subscription a couple of months ago but I see that there is a reduced price on their web site at the moment which entitles you to all their software. Their software covers audio and video editing (as well as some burning and utilities stuff) taken altogether it's like a complete package - just in separate programs.

The free downloads will give you an idea of what the programs can do, but they add stuff to the final product that makes it basically unusable unless you pay the subscription.



Cyberlink - HDV

Nice to hear of someone else in trouble with Cyberlink. I have been using this software for many years now, having done an extensive analysis of many of the available systems - many very good but none I found were so integrated and easy to use with all edit facilities - PIP's, voice-over, etc. included. But recently I updated to a Canon "Full-HD" camera using SD cards - again after an extensive search of what available and coming up - some nice stories to tell of conversations with manufacturers but not here!!!! However, while Adobe Premier Pro has no problems with the card format - and is a fantastic system if you want to do all the learning to be able to use it! - Cyberlink Power Director 7 Ultra - ansolutely the latesdt version - sold as able to handle blu-ray formats etc. - hangs up continuously with an error message "..failed to construct the media source as a graph"! After a dozen emails back and forwards - Customer Support getting mixed in with Technical Support - they still haven't decided that the software is clearly missing a re-code sub-routine! Up to date pricing on all the other systems available would be useful!!!!!!!!!!!



Cyberlink Power Director Express

I have used Movie maker and thought it was very basic. Then went out and got Ulead video studio 11... Not bad, I have no complaints, it hardly ever crashes, and if by chance it dose it will let you reopen your last work. It has lots of other good features. Try it mate, I think you will find it ok.

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