Video Input: FireWire 1394 versus USB 2.0
Now, to get video into your computer, youll need an input bus with a fast data transfer rate. The two basic choices are FireWire 1394 (which transfers data at up to 50 MB/Sec) and USB 2.0. Many people believe USB 2.0 will eventually replace FireWire. Either one should work great. (For $50 you can purchase PCI expansion cards that add both FireWire and USB ports to your PC.)
Your video camera can determine whether you use USB or FireWire. Some video cameras have FireWire output while others have USB output capability. Incidentally, if you wish to convert your personal VHS tapes to DVD, youd also need a video camera which supports an analog input. Then, you could record your VHS into the digital video camera and out onto your computer with FireWire or USB.
If your DVD burner didnt come with good video editing software, purchasing an expansion card for FireWire or USB gives you a second chance to get a good deal. For example, if you want professional level editing software, Pyro Professional bundles a FireWire card with the full version of Adobe Premier for under $500. Premier is a top-notch program for video editing. Youll pay as much purchasing the stand-alone version of Premier as you pay for the full version bundled with the FireWire card.
For more information about getting started in DVD video creation, I recommend http://www.videoguys.com/started.html. VideoGuys.com also has great reviews of other card/software options for up-and-coming video producers.
As with your DVD burner, always examine the software thats bundled with your video input card. Youll usually want the full version, not a watered down program.
If you already have a FireWire card and if youre a student, another option is to purchase student software. Student software is typically fully equivalent to the full retail version. But, the software companies often charge students much less for it. For example, Adobe typically offers student versions of its main programs (PhotoShop, Premier, etc.) for under half of the cost of the retail version.
So, if youre a struggling film student following in the footsteps of Robert Rodriguez, youll need to sell fewer pints of blood to shoot your films by taking advantage of student software discounts! Its interesting to note that computer video production systems that would have cost many tens of thousands of dollars only a few years ago can be purchased or built today for under a thousand dollars. Thats the general rule of computers. As time goes by, prices come down and PCs become more powerful. You get more, and you pay less. That works for me.
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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005
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