the difference between a video card, a video
capture card, and a video editing card?
PCs have a video card, also called the graphics
card. If you didn't have one you'd have nowhere to
plug your monitor into. The video card fits either
into the AGP slot or the PCI slot of the
motherboard, depending on what type you have.
(Some cheaper PCs have the video card integrated
into the motherboard). At the back of the PC
you'll see a bit of your video card which has a
socket for your monitor.
capture and video editing cards are additional
cards that fit into PCI slots and co-exist with
the video card. Video capture cards are the
cheaper ones. They provide you
with a socket for your camcorder. Some of
them provide you with plugs for both analogue
(S-Video input/composite) and digital (DV or
digital video) camcorders. With analogue
capture cards you want to enquire whether there
are both input and output sockets. Digital
connectors can both send and receive video clips.
editing cards have specialist hardware built into
the cards. This hardware is dedicated to video
editing tasks like rendering and MPEG encoding.
The better video editing cards are real-time
editing cards. Most people see these as very
expensive. We see them as free. Yes, free... When you pay
£500 for a good video editing card the chances are
that in addition to the card, cables, manuals etc
you are also getting a professional video editing
software package that would normally cost
£500-£600 on its own, like Adobe Premiere.
type of video card do I need for video editing?
video card has very little - if anything - to do
with video editing. Whatever you're looking at on
your monitor, whether it's a DVD movie, a game, an
email, or a document, that picture is coming from
the video card, and that's what the video card
does i.e. sending signals to your monitor. Ideally
you don't want the cheapest, most basic video card
in a video editing PC. But you don't need the
latest all singing and all dancing video card
which is probably designed to appeal to gamers
it is useful to have features like dual-head
support (also called twin head, dual monitor,
hydra vision etc). This allows you to plug two
monitors into your video card and gives you an
extended desktop i.e. a lot more screen real
estate. You'll enjoy working with videos when you
can spread your work over two screens. It's useful
to be able to have your main video editing window,
timeline etc on one monitor and your bin, output
window, effects windows etc on the second monitor.
It helps productivity enormously. Another useful
feature to have is TV Out via an S-Video socket.
This allows you to connect a TV set to the PC to
be used as a monitor.
the difference between DV, Firewire, IEEE1394,
stands for digital video. The plugs used to
connect a DV camera to a PC are called DV,
Firewire, or IEEE1394 plugs. They are all just
different names for the same thing. The
DV/Firewire/IEEE1394 plugs come in two sizes.
You'll often find that DV cables have a small plug
at one end that fits into the camcorder, and a
larger plug at the other end that connects to the
PC. Professional video editing cards tend to have
both types of sockets so they can accommodate
whatever DV cable you happen to have. I-Link
is Sony's name for DV.
on the other hand is the interface for the
monitor. It's the type of socket you get on video
cards that allow you to plug in an LCD screen that
supports a digital connection to the video card.
It has nothing to do with video editing.
is IEEE 1394b?
is a new standard of Firewire called IEEE 1394b
offering double the speeds of traditional firewire
(up to 800 MB/sec). IEEE1394 plugs won't fit into
a IEEE 1394b socket. Note also that most of the
new IEEE 1394b cards are 64 bit cards and fit into
server motherboards but don't fit into standard
motherboards used in the average home PC and video
much of hard disk space do I need for video?
is no definite answer to this. You are the best
judge. The storage requirements do depend on the
format of the video, the quality (number of frames
per second), and other factors, but the most
important is how many minutes or hours of video
you intend to store on your PC. Read our article
hard disks for video editing.
Uncompressed video (in AVI format) takes up around
100 GB per hour. Fortunately, compression into
formats that lose very little of the original
quality can save you a lot of space. The main
compression formats are:
capable of video up to S-VHS quality
Indeo: Intelís format, mostly used for video on
Cinepak: The compression format used in QuickTime
DV: Used by Digital Camcorders, very
similar to MPEG-2
MPEG: High compression ratio, tops out at VHS
MPEG-2: Format used by DVD extremely high quality
in mind three things:
You are probably going to be capturing in AVI
format which does take up a lot of space so even
if you compress your clips later you do need to
have enough space to capture the original clip/s.
Actually, you need more than that. You need space
to host BOTH the original clip and the compressed
version. It's only after the compression has been
completed that you can delete the original.
You do need to always have some space free on your
hard disk for the Windows swap file (called
is rendering? What is real-time editing?
you apply an effect, a title or change you need to
set it up in the video editing software and let
the computer apply that change to every frame in
your video clip. While setting up the
effects/changes can take only a few seconds
actually applying that effect to 86400 frames
(roughly what you have in an hour's worth of
video) can take hours if not days. A lot depends
on the speed of your PC and whether you have a
real-time video editing card. With a real-time
video editing card it should usually take only
about an hour to render a 60 minute clip.
all real time is the same. Some cards call
themselves real-time cards but they may offer only
real-time "preview" i.e. you can see how
the effects appear in a small, low resolution
version of your clip. If you do want to see the
final version of the clip you still have to render
good cards will offer most effects and a fairly
large number of "streams" in real time
mode. Some cards and software packages go even
further and do the rendering in the background so
that when you want to see what the final version
of your clip looks like there is no rendering to
be done and it's all ready for viewing.
choosing a card remember that it has to be
carefully matched to the other components in your
PC and to the video editing software you are
using. This is nightmare industry for
incompatibilities problems, driver conflicts and
other such issues. Unlike your average home PC
this setup does take some expertise to get right.
If you fancy yourself as a nerd and ENJOY opening
your PC up all the time, downloading and applying
patches, and using trial and error to solve
problems, then by all means give it a shot. If
getting the job done is of prime importance - and
you regard computers as a necessary evil but one
that you need to work with to get your job done -
then leave the building of your video editing
solution to a company who specialise in the field.
do I need a video editing card when I can settle
for a fast PC and good video editing
question. Today's fast PCs do make lighter work of
video editing. Do remember though that video
editing is the most demanding of any task you are
likely to ask your PC to perform. It requires more
power and speed than the latest and fastest games.
No matter how fast your PC there are some video
editing tasks that can slow it down to a snail's
pace. The hardware in the average PC is general
purpose hardware and not designed specifically for
video editing. That makes it not very efficient at
video tasks. That's where a dedicated real time
video editing card comes in handy. When you
consider that a good video editing software
package will set you back £500 - £700 and that a
real time video editing card costs about £500 but
comes with a free copy of the editing software it
makes sense to buy the card and get the software
for free. Also, having the card means that you'll
have all the connectors and cables you need, other
utilities like encoding and conversion tools, DVD
creation software, and various other bits that are
invaluable to the video editor.
the difference between the various videotape
VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS-C or Super-VHS-C, 8mm, Hi8 or high-band 8mm,
Digital 8, DV or MiniDV or Digital Videocassette
There are various good guides on the internet
covering this. Please try these links: 1
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