I did it. I finally did it. I’ve been threatening for a long time to do it. I’ve finally, completely, totally gone off the deep end. And I like it.
I just ordered an 18-gig, 10,000-RPM Maxtor (formerly Quantum) Atlas III hard drive. I ordered an Adaptec Ultra160 host adapter to go with it, since this drive would pretty much saturate my old Adaptec 2940UW. And of course since I’m spending this obnoxious amount of money on a drive–around $200, when a mainstream drive of this size would go for 50 bucks–I’m protecting the investment with a $25 drive cooler. The cooler also deadens the drive’s sound, which is good. I’m a bit nervous about having a 10,000-rpm helicopter in my dining room-turned-office. Hey, where else was I going to put my desk?
I didn’t just get this drive so I could play Civ 3 or compile Linux kernels at blazing speed. I had another reason for this purchase. I also bought a Pinnacle DV500+ video capture/editing card. It’s not a cheap toy, but considering the capabilities it gives you, it’s a steal for the money. I could edit full-length movies with this thing. Well, I could with a capable hard drive. It needs a 25 MB/sec stream to spit out video, and, well, the fastest drive I have won’t do that. Ramdisks? Nice idea, but you can assume a minute of video will chew up a gig of disk, so I’d need 4 GB RAM for most of the projects I have in mind. None of my motherboards will take that much memory.
So my Duron-750 is going to become a video editing workstation. I’ll have to buy or scrounge a bit more memory–Pinnacle recommends 256 MB; I might as well do them a little better and go 384–but then I’ll have the ability to edit video in my dining room. A Duron-750 isn’t much CPU by today’s standards, but Pinnacle lists a P3-500 as the minimum, and the reviews I’ve read do fine with a 500 or 550 MHz CPU. You can assume a Duron runs at a similar speed to a P3 or an Athlon that runs 100 MHz slower, so my Duron-750 should perform like a P3-650. If that proves inadequate, hey, a 1.1 GHz Duron runs $89 these days.
The DV500+ is supposed to be a real bear to set up. We’ll see how it likes my FIC AZ11. I’ve made tricky hardware play before, so I’m not too afraid of this. Every review I’ve read complained about the setup, but once the reviewer got it running, each raved about its abilities.
I can’t wait.
Either you found some well-hidden video editing software for Linux, or you’ve resorted back to using Windows. Which one is it?
I have found video editing software for Linux (don’t have the URL handy) but it’s pre-alpha. But I’ve already got a Windows box so I can play Civ3, so I might as well edit video with it too. Unfortunately that means Adobe Premiere.
But it could be worse. I could be forced to use Apple Pro Tools on a Mac. At least I’ll be dealing with a crash a week, instead of a crash a day, and for about 1/3 the price.
I am looking forward to hearing about your results with the Pinnacle gear and video set-up.
I am especially interested in how well it will capture DVD quality video at the proper frame rate (I don’t know enough about video to use all the right jargon).
I would love to be able to convert all my old tapes (VHS and 8mm) to at least VHS quality digital video and ultimately store them on VCDs or eventually DVDs.
I have heard that one can get a digital video camcorder that has analog inputs and simply record the old VHS and 8mm tapes to the digital video tape in the camcorder and the quality will be very good. Then it would be a relatively simple matter to move the digital video to the PC via the incluced firewire port on the digital camcorder.
What experience or thoughts do you and your readers have about that?
Sounds like you’ll be another "Uncle Leonard". (For those unaware of St. Louis celebrities, Uncle Leonard was an appliance salesman made famous by being one of the first in the area to sell camcorders. He was more like a great, great uncle :-))
Uncle Dave, let us know how it goes. You might have another revenue producing career. 🙂
I vaguely remember Uncle Leonard. He was a very good reason not to watch TV. Schweig-Engel is another very good reason.
As for your questions, Bruce, copying to a digital camcorder should give decent results, similar to what you get by recording from turntable or tape to your computer and then copying to CD. You shouldn’t get the generational loss you would by going to VHS; then of course once it’s digital it can be edited without degredation. You’ll be able to tell the difference between it and video shot with modern equipment, but it won’t look any worse than your original source. I did some editing earlier this year with some video shot in the 1970s and the results were acceptable. I wouldn’t call it excellent, but my source was pretty poor. Strangely enough, when I re-output to VHS and played it it didn’t look as good as when I used the miniDV camera for playback.
The majority of what I’ll be doing is shooting video onto miniDV, then editing it, then transferring it back to miniDV. I’ll be doing one project with DVD as the source (we’ve secured the appropriate permissions). I don’t have any current plans to do anything with really old footage though.
I can’t find Uncle Leonard…Where did he go? Real name Leonard Lewis.
If you find him call me at: