Ok, you can't make a video without equipment
and here is where the major cash expense comes in for creating
videos. You basically have a few things that you must pay
attention to: video capture card, hard drive, RAM, and CPU
VIDEO CAPTURE CARD
First you need to decided if you actually need
a video captrue card. If you are going to use all DVD
footage (never use downloaded footage), a video capture
card is really not necessary. But if you are using an anime
that isn't out on DVD yet, you will either have to use a video
capture card to get the analog surce or just not use that
A good video capture card will have some sort
of hardware assistance for capture and not solely depend on
your CPU. The ATI Rage All-in-Wonder cards use your CPU to
do the capture, so you have to have a fast cpu/hard drive
combo to make captures smooth. The Pinnacle DC10plus, Matrox
Rainbow Runner, and the Matrox G400-TV are considered good
video capture cards, but they are kinda old so video drivers
for Windows 2000 and up may be hard to come by. These cards
range from about $80 - $250, depending on the card and where
you get it. Ebay is a good starting place for these older
cards. If you have to, www.pricewatch.com
will be able to help you with new purchases.
Midrange cards start at about $450 and go up
in price quickly. Personally, I use a Pinnale DV500 card for
video capture, though it really isn't necessary anymore with
so many DVD titles to choose from. The Matrox RT2500 is another
popular choice. These cards, in addition to being good capture
cards, offer real-time rendering of effects. This real-time
rendering saves lots of time when working with and competing
your video because you don't waste time waiting for effects
to render. Check the video card review section of the site
for more information.
Something else you may want to consider when
purchasing a video card is the bundled software. Some video
cards come with Premiere or other professional editing software
bundeled with the card, so check out what comes with what.
Hard drives are key to good video capture. If
you have slow hard drive, you will drop frames during capture
(that's bad). ATA/66 drives on a ATA/66 controller are a good
minimum for most video capture cards. ATA/100 with a dedicated
controller card is nice for PCs. If you can afford SCSI, go
for it but you will be paying a ton for the drives. Most any
modern hard drive will be pleanty fast for video captures.
Of course if you are just pulling source from DVD, hard drive
speed is not as critical, though it does make editing and
rendering a bunch nicer.
Another key thing with hard drives is keeping
them defragmented. You'll want to keep large contiguous chunks
of free space for happy capturing. If your drive has to jump
around looking for places to put the video that you are capturing,
you're probably going to drop some frames. A good tool for
defragmenting is Norton Utilities, which you can pick up [current
version]-1 for about $10 to $15. It's well worth the investment.
After a day of capturing and editing, you can set your machine
to defragment over night, just be sure to turn on "confirm
Another big thing that affects video production
is RAM. At current prices, there is no excuse for having less
than 128 M or even 256 M of RAM. Heck, a stick of 512 M PC133
can be found for about $100 noadays. Video editing takes large
files and manipulates them. The more RAM you have, the less
disk swapping your editing program will have to do and the
more efficient your computer will be at creating the video.
Get as much RAM as you can afford; you won't be sorry.
The last big thing is raw CPU power. The general
rule is the bigger the better, but you'll probably want to
go with the most bang-for-buck CPU you can get. Generally,
an Intel PIII or Athlon Thunderbird will do nicely, though
you can still get by with older chips (you'll just be spending
more time waiting on your computer to do things for you).
The choice is up to you.
For my next video project, I will probably just
use my laptop (Dell Inspiron 8100, 1G PIII, 320M RAM) and
get my footage from my DVD collection. If I have to use analog
source, I can run it through the firewire (IEEE 1394) port
via my camcorder.
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