Digital Video Editing

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

What is Firewire?

Firewire or 1394 cards are an inexpensive DV-to-PC solution. It allows users to move footage from a DV camcorder to a PC, edit it, add special effects, then send it back out to the DV camcorders to view instantaneously.

Once you are finished editing your masterpiece you can save your video into numerous digital video formats or transmit back to your video camcorder. The result is 100% digital, 1st generation loss-less video.

A key feature of Firewire is that transmission speed is scaleable from about 100 Mbps to 400 Mbps. This high speed, uninterrupted transfer is crucial for DV to work properly.

If your controller is compatible with the OHCI standard (Open Host Controller Interface), simply open the computer case, put the card into an available PCI slot, close the case and restart your computer. Windows 98SE or Windows XP should have no trouble recognising the card and installing the appropriate driver with little input from the user. If possible, work with Windows XP as Microsoft has ceased support for Windows 98 and Windows ME is a flaky operating system at the best of times. All DV capture cards deliver identical quality in terms of capture and output video, that means DV-in = DV-out.

Firewire Vs USB

At first glance it appears that USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) is indeed faster than Firewire (400 Mbps). However, this is only true under ideal conditions. While 480 Mbps is the maximum speed achievable, USB 2.0 can not guarantee a specified data transfer rate. This is mainly because USB 2.0 is a master-slave, host-dependent technology, meaning it relies on your computer's CPU to facilitate and manage data transfers.

Firewire, on the other hand, is a peer-to-peer technology that does not require CPU resources to facilitate data transfers between Firewire devices. Firewire devices can guarantee real-time delivery of data at a specific rate. Real time data delivery is necessary for certain applications, such as digital video streaming where dropped or delayed data packets is unacceptable. This is why devices like digital camcorders have 1394 interfaces, and why Firewire is the interface of choice for digital video editing applications.

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