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Old Nov 15, 2004, 12:14 PM   #1
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Hi all

This is my first post to the forum. I have two Sony digicams a DCR PC330E and a DCR PC105E they both came with Pixela Image maker which I have installed to my XP (SP2) system.



My problem is that when I playback tape and record in image mixer (using a USB cable) with either of these cameras, the quality of the video is like a bad videophone, also the audio is out of sync with the video. I'm sure it's PC related and was wondering if anyone else has experienced such bad (in fact unusable) quality. The booklet does say that quality can be improved by using an i.link cable, unfortunately my PC is not equipped with that port.

My basic specs are P4 2.2GB Pentium processor with 512mb ddr Ram. Should I perhaps stop every running programme and task then try to record again, or is there some other software that I could ty to use that could capture the video at a better quality rate. I did also use win media player but that was just as bad.

I hope someone can help.

Thanks and all the best.

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Old Nov 15, 2004, 12:45 PM   #2
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Well, if you are just copying the video from the camera to the computer then the cable/connection doesn't matter. All you are doing is using the USB to transfer the file (you are not recording anything*). Whether you use FireWire or USB, the only difference is the transfer speed; other than that, it shouldn't make any difference.

Since your computer is pretty fast, choppiness is likely due to the actual video being choppy (and not because your computer is too slow or anything like that). Furthermore, since you tried it with multiple software (the video editing one, as well as Windows Media player), it likely isn't a software player issue (although it could still be a codec or some related problem).

Check to see what frame rate you recorded the video. If it is a low frame rate (say, less than 24fps) then it would be choppy. To test if the frame rate is indeed the problem, try recording two videos at two different rates and see. If you only have one frame rate setting for the highest resolution, try a lower resolution (usually lower resolutions have multiple frame rate settings).

Another possibility is that the memory card used in the camera is too slow. Usually cameras will stop recording if the card is too slow (eg. instead of recording 5 minutes, camera will stop after 10 seconds)... but it is also possible for video to continue with frames being skipped...

(* Note: some cameras let you use the camera like a webcam and record live and I'm not talking about that case. I'm just talking about the case where you record on the camera first and then transfer it to the PC--this is how you usually use the camera).

Anyway, try different resolutions... then look into the memory card speed...
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Old Nov 15, 2004, 3:35 PM   #3
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Hi Sivaram

Thanks for your input. What's happening is that when I connect by USB to PC then play using the controls on the PC screen rather than on the camera, even the playback is bad. It seems as if the Puter can't handle the amount of info that is USB streaming onto the system.

I.E. there's no buffer, it's not a case of x amount of info that comes onto the puter in a shorter or a longer time. I think it's a capture issue.

What I have found is that ifI record the video to the onboard memory stick on the camera and then send that file to the PC the quality is better, but still like a videophone. I'd like it play back the same as it does on the camera.

You may laugh at this but I'm actually a TV News journalist and I use both of these cameras for news filming and then satellite feeding ofthe material back to my editors. Obviously when I'm feeding I go to a proper satellite uplink facility which costs a fortune... I just plug the camera into the feedpoint and the material transmits at broadcast quality, No problem.

I'm only now playing around with being able to 'feed' via the internet, because the stuff I'm feeding is not work related so there's no budget for a real feed.

My issue is

"How can I get the full quality of what's on the tape to record to the PC without losing any quality?" Then send it via internet. Currently I don't really care about the file size of the image or how long it takes to send, I just want the PC to accept the material from the camera at full quality (no matter how long that takes)

I suppose this must have been asked a million times (in fact I know that Firewire has a solution, my company and other broadcasters do use this technology when they have to)

I'd love to be pointed to other sites who are trying to solve this issue - hopefully someone knows something.



In retrospect I'm now thinking that the subject of this post should have read feeding of TV news material via internet - perhaps a mod would like to change that, it could be helpful to other broadcast journo's
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Old Nov 15, 2004, 11:12 PM   #4
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To start with you're really in the wrong place here, this forum is for digital still cameras rather than digital video cameras, but I'll help you our anyway

Firstly, forget everything the other guy said (that's not to say it's bad advice, but they were under the impression you were using a still camera, and it's not relevant to video cameras).

The problem isn't that the computer can't handle the amount of information the USB cable is feeding it, the problem is that the USB cable can't feed the computer enough information.

The amount of information recorded on the tape is huge, and USB is simply too slow to transfer it across to the computer. You NEED a Firewire/I-link port (they are the same thing, in case you didn't know), it's as simple as that. Firewire operates about thirty times faster than USB 1, and as such is capable of transferring the information at a fast enough speed.

You say you don't have a Firewire port on your PC, but it's very cheap and easy to fit one. I'm not sure what country you're in, but in the UK you should easily be able to find a Firewire PCI card for less than £30 (and I'd assume the same in dollars in the US) in a big computer store, and for half that by shopping around online. It's a simple job to fit it yourself, but if you're not confident enough to do so the store you buy it from should be happy to do it for you for a small fee - it really is just a five minute job.
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 12:54 AM   #5
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Thanks Mr. Pogo

I'll look into that option and post back my results.

Cheers

Steve
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 8:38 AM   #6
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Yeah... ignore what I said... I thought you were talking about taking video using the digital camera... my bad...
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 8:56 AM   #7
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Thank you MrPogo

I bought the firewire port for R299 (US$35) and now have a much faster and better looking video.

Cheers all
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