Video Cameras forum

General discussion

External hard drive firewire capture to USB-only pc?

by netx5 / February 16, 2008 12:20 AM PST

I have a small form factor pc, it doesn't have any PCI or other expansion slots to add a firewire card.

It has 6 USB 2.0 ports.

Someone informed me that a camcorder like the Canon HV20 has to be outputted/inputted to pc as a firewire connection during data transfer. (I understand that some Panasonics can go USB - this question is in regards to firewire-only cams.)

I see there are many products that claim to be able to adapt firewire to USB and specifically include camcorder dv in possible scenarios.

Regarding external hard drives, for example this one...

...I am looking for confirmation if this is or isn't possible:

-- Camcorder firewire out to external hard drive/firewire in
-- USB 2.0 out on external hard drive to USB 2.0 in on pc for capture
-- USB back out to external for data storage (or onto internal HDD if external not possible)

Are there any other possibilities besides an external hard drive?

Lastly, since I am able to capture video via a USB web cam and make movie files, this means that my 2.0 ghz/32mb integrated video pc has the ability to capture and I don't have to buy a separate capture card... right?

I know that, ultimately, I have to get a more powerful system (especially for HD) - I just wanted to know if this is good enough for now (i.e. downconvert to SD) - to get me by until I can get another system.

Thanks for your valued responses.

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by netx5 / February 16, 2008 1:15 AM PST

**it's a 64mb integrated video/not 32mb in my op...

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The external hard disk does NOT do this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2008 2:15 AM PST

That's a dead end. I decline to explain why.

-> A rather crass method would be to get then rip the drive out of that into some other USB case...


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If the camcorder is miniDV based,
by boya84 / February 16, 2008 4:57 AM PST

You will use firewire for digital high definition video transfer. Period.

If you have USB only, a firewire-to-USB conversion will not work because the communications protocal is different and the computer will not pass the required information via USB.

Not even "some Panasonics" will do miniDV video transfer to computer over USB - They all have DV ports and expect to connect to a firewire port on the computer and this is the only way the computer can see that connection.

The only external drives that can connect directly to a miniDV video camera is also firewire based. Please refer to Firestore. They are more than a hard drive in a case. The have a power supply and some intelligence in firmware. They work great - but are expensive - It would be cheaper for you to get a new computer with a firewire port.

Webcam video and high-definition camcorder video are VERY different... One is most likely H.264 or some such highly compressed and reduced size IP based video... HDV is not highly compressed and not IP based.

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The ONLY way I can think of
by boya84 / February 16, 2008 5:50 AM PST

to get the video into your computer is to use the AV cable with the composite AV port on the camcorder... and a Pinnacle Dazzle (or other USB based Analog/Digital bridge). This sort of defeats the purpose of having a high definition camcorder, but it will get the video into your computer...

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Downconvert to SD during import
by netx5 / February 16, 2008 7:15 AM PST

I apologize if I didn't make myself clear, I meant using the HV20's downconverting function that allows you to transfer in SD from the HD recording. Does this change anything?

I actual saw a Pinnacle box with firewire/USB/AV on one end and USB out the other - this is what initially made me think of the idea. I posted for clarification because I also saw a bunch of other products online making this claim.

Otherwise, (I know this is enough for SD), but if I were to pick up a 2.8 ghz machine with enough RAM and install a firewire card - would I be able to edit in HD?
The finals would be in SD. Many HV20'S owners claim that editing in HD and then finalizing in SD is much better quality than downconverting during import, editing SD clips and finalizing in SD.

(Note: These last comments are not in reference to the USB-only pc from my original post.)

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Editing HD video really is not that big of a deal...
by boya84 / February 16, 2008 7:39 AM PST

You just need patience. Importing from the camcorder and exporting or rendering DVD is time consuming, but once you start that render process, go do other stuff. Once the video is in the computer, there is some rendering when you do transitions and titles and such, but it is fine as long as the sequence is not very long... I've been importing and editing high definition video (Sony HDR-HC1) for over two years on my iMac flatpanel 2 GHz PowerPC G5 (not Intel CoreDuo)... then either exporting back out to the camera or burning standard def DVDs or compressing for YouTube or MySpace (or whatever) uploading... Having the latest/greatest fastest CPU might get things done faster, but a screamer machine really is not necessary.

I agree that saving the compression as the last step is the correct process (and one of the main reasons why hard drive or flash memory camcorders doing AVCHD just don't do it for me... too much compression as the FIRST step in the capture process - and DVD camcorders compress even more).

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Just curious.
by Kiddpeat / February 16, 2008 8:37 AM PST

When you are in the editing application, and want to play the edited high def video to see what it looks like, what frame rate can your computer maintain?

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haven't checked - but playback
by boya84 / February 16, 2008 8:45 AM PST
In reply to: Just curious.

is smooth and aligned with the video (even when multiple audio tracks are being rendered in). I don't normally go to full-screen... so I guess 29.97 fps.

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Let me try again.
by Kiddpeat / February 16, 2008 11:32 AM PST

I'm not talking about after the video is rendered. I'm talking about real time playback of the captured high def file during the edit process. IOW, if I increase brightness, I will play some of the video to see if I like the brightness level. That is not yet at the rendering stage.

From what I've seen, multiple audio tracks are a minor factor in play back. The video, of course, has to keep up with the audio which can cause the frame rate to drop.

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I understand...
by boya84 / February 17, 2008 1:32 AM PST
In reply to: Let me try again.

I import, cut, adjust brightness, insert transitions... playing back periodically to ensure continuity and flow... The video and audio all plays back fine. I added in the audio piece because when that (music or other sound-design/foley) gets added at the end and I playback, it looks like the hard drive is pushing harder (than before it was added) to keep up. My guess is that in the grand scheme of things, the available hard drive space where the audio now resides is at a place on the hard drive which is far away from where the video is because the LED that shows read/write activity looks to be much busier with the heads grabbing video - then audio - then video, etc... for the playback... but the video and audio are smooth and sync'd... before rendering...

I expect most video editing apps to be pretty similar... There is the "clips" area where the imported video clips reside; the "timeline" area where the editing of the video happens - along with the audio and multiple audio tracks; and a "playback window" where one can view/hear the clips or timeline contents... so I am referring to the "playback window" and no rendering has yet occurred (unless a transition, special effect or title/credit has been rendered on the timeline).

"Final rendering" happens at the end of the project to computer-readable data file or out to DVD or back out to the camera... so, are we on the same page?

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OK, just one more question.
by Kiddpeat / February 17, 2008 4:35 AM PST
In reply to: I understand...

When you capture high def, what is the file format of the captured video, and are you capturing using full 1080 60i? In my capture software, these files are called m2t files, and they are very large files.

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in My software, there are no file extensions...
by boya84 / February 17, 2008 4:47 AM PST

I use iMovie and FinalCutPro on my Apple Macintoshes...

Yes, they are large files. Standard def uses ~13 gig of hard drive space; high def uses ~44 gig of hard drive space. I have two external 500 gig hard drives ONLY for video editing projects.

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