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Capturing Camcorder IEEE1394 (FireWire) Video on Old Laptop
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MarkG19 [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Jul 11, 2014 17:00 Messages: 5 Offline
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I have a Sony VAIO laptop PC that is 8 years old with an Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of DRAM, and Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. PowerDirector 12 is installed and I used it in the past to capture video from an older Panasonic VHS-C camcorder and older Sony mini-DV camcorder over IEEE1394 (FireWire). The file formats I can choose from to capture camcorder video over FireWire on PowerDirector 12 are:

  1. MPEG1

  2. MPEG2

  3. AVI

After capturing video I plan to edit it to produce a final video file for watching on a PC (as opposed to burning a DVD that I can play in a DVD player). My understanding is that AVI is the highest quality of these three formats and therefore the best choice for a source file that I plan to edit later.

Q1. Is that correct?

In recent years I purchased PowerDirector 14 Deluxe and PowerDirector 17 Ultra for use on a newer HP laptop with Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and Windows 10 Professional 64-bit. That laptop does not have an IEEE1394 (FireWire) port so I must use my older Sony laptop to capture video from my older camcorders. Neither CyberLink's website nor phone support can tell me which file formats are supported for capturing IEEE1394 (FireWire) video on PowerDirector 14 Deluxe and PowerDirector 17 Ultra. They only tell which file formats are supported for editing and saving (export). I am wondering if some newer, better capture formats are supported in the newer PowerDirector versions, like H.264 or MPEG4.

Q2. Does anyone know which file formats are supported for capturing IEEE1394 (FireWire) video on PowerDirector 14 Deluxe and PowerDirector 17 Ultra?

Q3. Would there be any benefit to installing and using PowerDirector 14 Deluxe or PowerDirector 17 Ultra on my old Sony laptop, instead of keeping PowerDirector 12, if I am using the laptop only to capture video?

Thank you!
tomasc [Avatar]
Senior Contributor Private Message Joined: Aug 25, 2011 12:33 Messages: 5215 Offline
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For the original quality, need to capture DV-AVI from the Sony mini DV camcorder from any version of PD. MPEG1 is not necessary and missing in later versions of PD. MPEG2 is second choice to burn to DVD. Many people can’t tell the difference.

There are no advantages in installing later versions of PD for capturing SD video.
MarkG19 [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Jul 11, 2014 17:00 Messages: 5 Offline
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I just found out that PowerDirector 17 supports H.264 for video capture. Would that format consume less disk space without sacrificing video quality compared to AVI? Mini-DV resolution of my Sony camcorder is 720x480.

Senior Contributor Private Message Location: USA Joined: Nov 06, 2008 22:18 Messages: 6042 Offline
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VHS-C is best captured from the camera or player using s-video and lossless AVI codecs not available in 64-bit PowerDirector, only 32bit custom installs.
S-video or RCA from the camera can be captured in 64 bit PD as uncompressed (huuge) AVI files and converted to lossless in 3rd party utility. Uncompressed and lossless AVI reduces the mosquito noise, compression artifacts, and muddy tones often seen in most MPEG1 and 2 captures.
But, to make it easier in PD, capture in MPEG2 using a custom profile of 12,000 bitrate to reduce compression artifacts, or use a 3rd party utility to capture lossless.
Your tape player or camera should have a TBC and DNR for best results. An alternative is a pass-thru using a Panasonic DVD recorder ES10 or ES15 will do remarkable things and you can still find them. Really cleans the signal. Mine was $125 but my TBC was $400.
What is your capture device? Also very important. Cheap dongles are killer, you need a quality capture device such as Hauppage or my Diamond VC-500.

Firewire is firewire, period, it's a copy of the tape data and cannot be altered in capture, it will be 4:1:1 NTSC compression, DV-AVI.
DV-AVI, like MPEG, was meant to watch, not edit, and every edit or render will degrade it more and more. If you have to do a lot of fixing, convert that to lossless also. Lossless AVI codecs preferred are Huffyuv, Magic, Lagareth, UTvideo. Huffyuv seems to most compatible with PD

I'd rather stick ice picks in my eyes than capture tape to lossy H264-265.

For more brain twisting advice from true experts, go to HP Envy Phoenix/4thGen i7-4770(4@3.4GHz~turbo>3.9)/Nvidia GTX 960(4GB)/16GB DDR3/7,200rpm/w10x64---
Canon Vixia HV30/HF-M40/HF-M41/HF-G20/Olympus E-PL5. Analog tape capture equipment.
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