Digital Video Editing Getting Started FAQ

It’s not that difficult to set up a digital video editing system and start editing within 1 hour if you are familiar with computers.

But you WILL encounter problems sooner or later. You’d better know the basics of digital video editing to make your editing life easier.

This page features straight-forward, easy-to-understand information about getting started in the world of digital / desktop video editing. I have put all the info in a FAQ format. Hopefully, you will find this page helpful.

What is Digital or Desktop Video Editing?

Digital Video Editing, or Desktop Video (DTV) Editing, is using your computer to edit videos. Continue reading


Professional Digital Video Editing Systems

Although this web site is mainly for home video makers rather than professional video editors, I’ll list the most popular professional video editing systems here for completeness anyway

You may want to upgrade to professional solutions someday. Yes, video editing is an addiction. Or maybe you want to start your own production house and make your living on it. Continue reading

DV, FireWire (or iLink, IEEE1394) Are The Hottest

The latest technology in digital video editing is DV and FireWire.

If you are setting up a new system, go digital right from start. That means, buy a DV camcorder and video capture card with FireWire port.

What is DV?

As you can guess, DV stands for “Digital Video”. It is the new high resolution digital video standard.

DV is compressed at the camera, on the tape itself. The camcorder has the DV “codec” built in.

The DV spec is a 720×480 image size with a 5:1 compression. DV video information is carried in a nominal 25 megabit per second data stream. The color information is sampled at 4:1:1 for NTSC, and 4:2:0 for PAL.

Unlike MJPEG compressed video, DV video can’t be scaled. You can’t lower the screen size, change the screen size or data rate. Continue reading

Choose Storage For Your Video Editing System

One of the most confusing things about digital video editing is the storage requirement. In this page I will help you better understand just what kind of storage you will need for your video productions.

Finally digital video makers have a range of choices for storing their digital video files. Todays new hard drive and RAID technologies combined with larger, cheaper drives have made desktop video editing more affordable then ever!

You can never have too much storage

DV compressed video requires 13GB per hour of footage. While this may not seem like a big deal to you today, it sure was just a few short years ago. Back in 1998 a 9GB SCSI drive would cost you over $1500! And if you wanted to create great looking video, you had no choice but to invest that kind of money. Today’s Ultra ATA66/100 EIDE drives are almost as fast and they are a fraction of the cost. Continue reading

Choose Capture Card For Your Editing System

The process of video production is something like this:

1. Capture the video to your computer using a capture card

2. Edit the video in a video editing software

3. Download edited video to tape or burn it to VCD, CD or DVD

Video capture card is the device that transfers videos between your computer hard drive and camcorder/VCR. A video capture card should carry either analog or DV in/out, or both.

Video capture cards use hardware and/or software compression (CODEC) to digitize the video onto your hard drive. You can the edit the video and play it back to tape or display the finished movie on your computer screen.

The most popular type of video capture cards on the market today are FireWire or DV cards. You can find inexpensive OHCI FireWire card for under $100. Many computers come with FireWire ports already included. All you need to do is add video editing software and you are ready to edit videos. However, these cheap FireWire cards won’t support real-time editing features.

If you want to capture analog videos you’ll need to add a video capture card to your system. You can find inexpensive capture cards for under $500 that support both analog plus FireWire inputs and outputs.

Most of the video captures cards are bundled with video editing software so you don’t really need to buy software seperately.

Some of the reputable video capture card manufacturers are:

  • Pinnacle
  • Matrox
  • Dazzle
  • ADS
  • Canopus
  • Digital Origin

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Choose Camcorder For Your Video Editing System

Before you shoot and edit video, you need a camera or camcorder. This is the first step you must take in order to create great videos to share with others.

The hard part for you is that there are so many cameras out there – so how do you get a good value and enough camera to do the job?

The most important consideration besides the cost of a camera, is whether or not you are working with a digital format (Digital-8, miniDV) or an Analog format (Hi-8, VHS, VHS-C, Super VHS-C). Continue reading

Choose Computer For Video Editing System

If you already have a computer you want to use for desktop video editing, you can simply add one of the video capture cards available to it.

Normally FireWire cards really need a minimum of a Pentium II 300 or faster. Although the older your computer is, the more difficult it can be to add a video capture card, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and get a new computer. It just means you’ll need to do a little more research into your machines resources and probably give it a little tune up. For example, older slower machines may need to be beefed up with memory and storage. Be prepared to upgrade to 128 megs of RAM and add some dedicated storage for video editing. Continue reading