March 11, 2004

Digital Video Cam :: How to get the best quality

Event :: I went to Desaru a few weeks ago for an event with Uncle Bob, Cik Sam, Aboy, and Baing. There we met with Malek and few of his guys, having meeting with the people from the ministry regarding the project we're goin to do. I was asked to record the activity during the event using the Panasonic Digital Camera. I made a mistake anyway, suppose to set it to slow mode which can do 1.5 hours, instead i set it to fast mode that can only be used for only 1 hour. Since we've got no player to play the tape, i leave teh tape in Desaru and a week later, Bob retrieved it from Man in Desaru.

Early Attempts :: Bob has ben asking As and his brother to get the tape to be transferred to the PC to be processed. They seem to be failing all the test. Bob called and talked to me about it on last Sunday, just after I went back from PD. I was so sleepy, so I promised him to come to his house on the next day.

First Day :: At nite, I went there and we started with a cable that has 1394 port and USB port head. I was thinking that there's no way we can transfer or transmit the video data from the tape to the PC. The only thing can be done at that time was to transfer the taken digital pictures from the memory stick to the PC. All of a sudden, ROsman was playing around with it while I was playing around with the Image Mixer Software on the laptop, suddenly a stream of video picture appeared on the USB capture program. I was so happy at that time, and thru experience, capturing video would take a lot of hard disk space. I removed the Linux Partition and reboot. OUCHHHH!!!.. The Laptop cannot be started and I was panic. Trying my best to get it up and running and later we called it a nite. Sent Rosman back and I went to sleep with tending to fix the laptop tomorrow.

Second Day :: As mentioned in the previous Blog, I was trying to get it up and running. Yeah managed to get it up and I as usual went back to Bob's house and start capturing thru USB streaming. Unsure about the quality it might produce, I just split them up to 3 portions which each portion contains 20 minutes of captured video. As expected, it was not well synchronied (but the pictures was quite damn good). Then we tried to get it on smaller chunk, the synchronization problem still occur. Then we decided to buy the cable which have 1394 port head on both ends. So we also decided to use Windows Movie Maker for composing the video. We tried it but it's not the version that I'm so used to. Wondering why, I decided that it might be the wring version of XP so I did installed XP Professional and just leave it. I and Rosman went downstairs and talk about so many things till 6 at the morning. We went upstairs and actually the installation failed and I started it back again and fell asleep.

Third Day :: As a result of sleeping early in the morning, I went late to work. We decided to get a new CD Burner to be used at home and I wanted to buy Bob's PC a Network card so that the data can be transferred to Bob's PC as we are gonna burn it on his PC. At muamalat, I tried to burn the WMV format to the CD using Windows Media Player but actually, it only takes the audio and make it into an Audio CD. So, still stuck on how to use WMV to be put on CD. In the afternoon, after went back to my office, I went to Low Yat Plaza near Imbi to find the CD Burner, Cross Network Cable, Network Card and any software that can manipulate the WMV format to be encoded to any other format such as MPEG, so that the movie can be burned into a VCD, I found one. Later back at home, the CD was unusable. Bob manage to buy the cable we desired for and I started capturing the movies.

The ART :: As I plugged in the Firewire cable to both camera and Laptop, we can control the camera from the software. Just click capture and it was stored in the hard disk. As easy as that. Wow! Impressive and incredible. The picture quality was so fine and there's no sign of missynchronization. It was kewl and so easy. I manage to capture some part that I still can remember and then went to sleep. Rosman do the rest.

The State of the ART :: Use the right tools for for a job. Using tools that is not compatible or not suitable will result bad products. As in this case, the right tools had made it much easier for us, and we have no worries about the quality. We've the best quality video being captured in our hard disk.

Technical :: So what are the correct tools for this case; to capture video from a tape to hard disk :-
1. A Sony Digital Camera with Firewire port.
2. A laptop with Firewire port
3. Microsoft Movie Maker Software Version 2
4. A firewire cable with 1394 head at both ends.
To capture the software, click capture movie from the file menu, and select the DV-AVI PAL quality, which is giving us quite the best quality with smaller disk space being used. Use Windows Movie Maker 2 to edit them, it's so easy using it. And to deal with the WMV format, actually the movies can be saved back to the Tape inside the Digital Video Camera (and this is why keeping the finest quality became so imprtant) and later, capture the video back using any of other software than can straight away convert it as MPEG so it can be burned onto CD as a VCD. That's it. Happy Editing your own video!!! :wink:

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