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Old May 29th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #1
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Which capture card?

Having a problem with capture cards. I'm planning on buying one, but which one? 10-bit and 4:2:2 would be nice, but input something else than SDI. Material is shot on DVCAM, and my deck doesn't have a sdi output. The budget is... well, anything but enormous, so I wouldn't dare to spend big bucks on the card. I'm editing on PPro, but changing to Liquid might also be an option. What would you suggest?

-Jarno
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Old May 29th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #2
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DVCam is normally transferred via a FireWire interface. Check with the manufacturer of the software/hardware that you are using or will use to select a firewire interface card. While all are relatively inexpensive, some are much better than others. If you select a card that is approved by the software vendor, then they will likely offer support should you need it.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #3
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Which capture card? ...or which codec?

Well, the reason I'd want to capture dvcam via something else than firewire are the (usually) crappy codecs. For example, color correction, or the result, isn't going to be anyhow festive if the already not-so-good dv material is going to be squeezed through a 5:1 (or something like that) compressing DV codec. (Or at least the dv codecs I've used have been locked to a single compression rate, can I for example tweak the Mainconcept DV codec to be less compressed?)

I've always thought that better-than-dv codecs usually use their own capture cards. I might be wrong, after all. How is it? Can I capture through firewire something else than just normal dv? Am I going to need some accessory card, or are the codecs software based?

edit:
So, this far it must've been made clear that I look for quality. That's beacuse I'm gonna have to edit AND color correct a ~70min feature shot by our team. The footage looks this far very nice as it should, because it's been shot on a almost top-of-the-line 2/3" dvcam camcorder. Anyhow, I'm _very_ concerned about the quality degradation if I'm going to have color correct it and after that render it with a crappy dv codec. I've seen examples of such horrible material that was ruined because having been run through a dv codec, that most of you would be scared to death after seeing them :) That's my main concern - finding a better way to treat the fantastic material...

/edit

Thanks,

-Jarno
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Old May 29th, 2004, 07:35 PM   #4
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When the footage hits the tape it's already compressed. They did that to fit all the information onto the small mini-DV cassettes.

You might get a quality boost from editing uncompressed, but that's if:
A- Your output format is better than DV.
B- You are incorporating a lot of computer generated elements (titles, 3d stuff, etc.).

If you want to edit uncompressed, you can capture DV and transcode it to the right format (720X486 instead of 720X480). It saves time if you capture uncompressed so you don't have to transcode.

Adam Wilt's DV FAQ has lots of great pictures of shortcomings of DV codecs.
http://www.adamwilt.com/pix-codecs.html

He also writes in another site that 1st and 2nd generation DV is indistinguishable to the eye. (There certainly is a difference in 1st generation DV though.)
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