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Chapter 21. Getting the Picture: Scanner... > Transferring from an Analog Video Ca...

Transferring from an Analog Video Camera to the PC

If you have an older-style analog video camera, you're not out of luck. There are a variety of ways to get your movies from an analog camera into your PC. An inexpensive—though limited—solution is the $70 Studio Online from Pinnacle Systems. It comes with a special cable that connects your camcorder's audio and video jacks to your PC's USB port. You don't need a FireWire card or any other hardware. The package also includes a simple but relatively powerful program that can capture, edit, and output videos. The program can output to three different file formats: AVI, Real, and MPEG. (Real and MPEG files are popular for use on the Web.)

Like all video-editing programs, the software lets you select clips from the tape and edit them together. You can put in titles, transitions, special effects, and music or voice narration in addition to the audio that's already on the tape. The only problem is that to get data through the USB port fast enough, you must compress it. And that means the image loses resolution and can look choppy. That's still OK if you plan to view your movie in a little window on your monitor, upload it to the Web, or send it by email, since you'll wind up compressing it anyway. You might, however, be disappointed if you view your production in full-screen mode or on a standard TV. Still, this is a pretty good way to get started with video editing at a very reasonable cost.


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