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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 07:58 PM   #1
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editing,dumb novice needs advice

Iím a complete novice and need to understand some of the jargon I keep coming across regarding the editing side of things. I am sure these are going to be really dumb questions but I havenít a clue, whatís the difference between Linear and Non-Linear Editing? There seem to be so many devices, various accelerators (cleaner?), realtime editing, DV capture cards, firewire connections, and infinite plug-ins. What format should I use, mpegís? (my interest is wildlife photography and hopefully I may get some footage that might interest people like the BBC or Nat Geographic) Personally I canít see me ever using effects and I am only likely to be editing out the rubbish rather than real film making. I canít afford to blow £1,000 for editing, however, I donít want to be all day trying to process 30 seconds of film because the PC canít cope.
I currently own a pc with Ė 700 athlon chip, 20gb hard drive for the system and 20gb for storing my stills (room for more), 256ram (room for more), 32x creative CDRW, a (cheap) nvida riva TNT2 model 64 graphics card (32bit I think), Windows 98, and a La Cie 19Ē monitor. The only thing I really use on it is Photoshop 6 for my stills and I only have 1 SCSI port and 3 USB ports left free now. I am totally confused by the array of stuff out there, can anyone recommend anything in particular for my purposes? the DV camera is an XL1 by the way and I'm not likely to need to be editing in stuff from vhs or cd, just from the XL1.
Cheers A.N.Idiot
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 08:09 PM   #2
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Howdy from Texas,

Briefly, in a nutshell, linear video editing is where you build the project from start to finish, in that order, one clip after the other. Usually this is done from one deck (source) to another (record). It's really hard to make changes this way and if you make a mistake you have to start over. It's like writing a page on a typewriter except you don't have any white-out.

Non-linear video editing is like writing a page on a word processor. Usually done on a computer, you can cut and paste video, move clips around, drag and drop and trim to your heart's content. You can add titles and transitions and change them all you want. In short, it's a much more flexible way to edit video. Hope this helps,

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Old February 2nd, 2002, 09:20 PM   #3
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Your computer is quite adequate for NLE, and, IMHO RealTime editing is only needed if you're in a hurry. With a product like Pinnacle Sudio DV, you can get in for less than $90, including a firewire card. Your XL1 captures in DV and you need a firewire card to download the DV files into your computer. The downloading is called "capturing" and there are a few free, good capture programs available on the net if you don't want to invest the money on software. The Pinnacle package will capture, non-linear edit, and output to some format. Outputting your editted work is really a function of how you or your audience will view your work. The easiest is to output to "AVI", which is really the raw DV format, but, with a wrapper on it that lets your computer play the video. The other alternative is to output to MPEG1,2 or 4. MPEG formats compress the DV information MUCH more than the AVI format, so you can fit it on a CDROM. Also, because CDROM can only play a certain data rate, AVI's can't be reliably played from a CDROM without skips and jumps. The MPEG format, because of its compression, alows playing from a CDROM. The computer's processor is used to "reconstruct" the compressed video for viewing. The drawback to compression is that it affects video quality, displaying blocky images as the amount of compression is increased. The best teacher is experience and a lot of playing with these MPEG formats to see which one suits you the best. MPEG1 is the oldest and the most lossy. MPEG2 and MPEG4 are more efficient and can produce really good images at a compression of 2500 Mb/sec or higher. The other advantage to MPEG2 format is that it can be played on certain desktop DVD players for viewing on TV, This is a real good way to go so almost anyone with a DVD player can view your work.

For a really good place to review all the techniqies and software available, visit: people.freenet.de/codecpage

Your question is hard to answer, briefly. I hope this has helped.
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 11:29 PM   #4
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Hey Bill,

that's a great link, heaps of useful stuff.
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Old February 3rd, 2002, 01:07 PM   #5
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Try reading Computer Video magazine, it has the latest reviews on NLE (non-linear editing) products. Available from WH Smith's, it comes out monthly.

URL: http://www.computervideo.net

You could use StudioDV from Pinnacle, but it will only offer you limited effects. Which might be what you want.

I would also consider Pinnacle DV200, it is supplied with Adobe Premiere 6 and firewire card for only £200. Adobe Premiere 6 on its own is worth £550!!!, and will offer you more creative effects.

Hope this helps,

Ed Smith
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Old February 3rd, 2002, 02:41 PM   #6
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Bill Ravens did an excellent job of surmising what DV editing is and what would be needed.
Main benefits to DV editing are "almost" zero loss of video quality when the dv clips are transferred and rearranged/editied on a computer- because the video is digital the DV "capture" is more like DV "transfer" as the information is already binary in format...Mac's are generally perceived as the best desktop systems for DV editing as the software, hardware and OS are all from Apple, but the pc industry has become very well adept at keeping pace with the Apple crowd....

Get a larger HD if possible- DV consumes massive HD space- and try to run Windows 2000, ME or XP as previous Windows OS's have a 2GB file limit (no DV captures over 8 min)....also invest in a CD or DVD burner to archieve your finished video projects.

If your're gonna produce wildlife clips for CD-Rom consider producing them in .mov format as just about everyone has QuickTime installed (it's a free player- cross-platform for both Windows & Macs) and the .mov format has the best balance of video quality (like avi) and compression (like mpeg)....if you're producing out to videotape- you can just send the finished video back to your XL and then play into a VCR (this will yield the highest quailty possible)...

...welcome to the world of DV editing- I too do it for fun and hobby....this is a great forum for information exchange.

Have fun!
Steve Nunez-New York City
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Old February 3rd, 2002, 07:48 PM   #7
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Allan (?),
I can only add one remark to the body of good suggestions already offered. Don't be confused by the term "effects" with respect to edit tools. Effects don't necessarily only refer to twisting and twirling frames. The term can also be used to refer to remedial tools (such as color and contrast modification) which you will eventually find very useful in nature work, particularly when trying to match clips of the same subject shot under slightly different lighting, etc. In fact, I would suggest spending special attention on such facilities when selecting an editor.

p.s. You are certainly not an "idiot" for asking such questions. Like any other technical undertaking video production and post-production has developed its own wall of nomenclature and concepts that can be extremely misleading and opaque to newcomers.
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