Edit digital video on your PC

Home video has gone digital. The current generation of mini-DV (digital video) camcorders produce all-digital data that you can download to your PC, edit, and then write back to a fresh tape without losing quality as you copy and manipulate the video.

All DV camcorders have a high-speed serial connection for loading video into your PC. On the PC side, you'll need an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) card and, of course, capable video-editing software.

Prices of DV editing components are falling. If you're just getting started, you can buy entry-level packages with both an IEEE 1394 card and editing software from around $300. You can also create a custom editing setup by purchasing a stand-alone IEEE 1394 card (around $170) and editing software. Even lower-end software ($80 to $150) has plenty of capabilities to satisfy most home and semi-professional users, but for really serious work, Adobe Premiere ($1400) is the professional's choice.

Here's how to set up your PC for digital video editing.

Video editing pushes your PC (especially the processor, RAM, and hard disk) to its limits, so you need to make sure that it's in tip-top shape before you install the components.

Before you begin

1. Make a full backup of your PC.

2. Tune up your hard drives.

Open My Computer, right-click the drive icon, select Properties, click the Tools tab, and select Check Now. Once the scan finishes, click Defragment Now. Repeat the steps for all drives in your PC.

3. Stamp out hardware conflicts.

Select Start-Settings-Control Panel, and double-click the System icon. Select the Device Manager tab. If an exclamation mark appears next to any of the entries, highlight those entries one by one, select Properties, and follow the directions for resolving the conflict.

The top down

Benefits: Capture and edit video from DV camcorders
Costs: Starts at about $200-$300
Expertise level: Intermediate
Time required: 30 to 60 minutes
Tools required: Phillips screwdriver, antistatic wrist strap (recommended)
Vendors: All-in-one packages: Pinnacle Systems (www.pinnaclesys.com), Hercules (asia.hercules.com). Video editing software: Adobe (www.adobe.com.au), Ulead Systems (www.ulead.com)Installing the hardware and drivers1. Install the IEEE 1394 card. Turn off your PC, unplug it, and remove the cover. Consider using an antistatic wrist strap to minimise the possibility of static-charge damage. Find a free PCI slot, and remove the metal slot cover. Carefully insert the card, press it firmly into the slot, and screw it down.2. Install the driver software. Plug in your PC and turn it on. Windows should detect the new card and start the Add New Hardware Wizard. Driver installation details vary by card manufacturer, so carefully read the directions that came with your card. Some cards include their own driver on CD-ROM, whereas others require you to install Windows' own IEEE 1394 driver. (You'll need your original Windows installation CD-ROM.)3. Install the editing software and start working. Follow the installation directions that came with your editing software. Then connect your DV camcorder to the IEEE 1394 card, using the cable that came with the card. Now you should be ready to go. If you run into any problems capturing or editing video, first check all your connections. If that doesn't help, read the manual that came with your package for hints and tips, and consult the FAQ section on the maker's Web site. If you still encounter problems, call the manufacturer's tech support line.

Video editing takes a heavy toll on system resources. One way to avoid problems is to free up resources by turning off all but the most essential background operations: open Windows' Task Manager (press --) before you start your editor, and highlight, one by one, all tasks except Explorer and Systray; then click the End Task button for each.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stan Miastkowski

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?