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Chapter 3. Capturing and Adding Footage > Digitizing Analog Footage

Digitizing Analog Footage

Despite the pervasiveness of DV, video and audio are still recorded, stored, and delivered using analog formats. Common consumer analog formats include VHS and Hi8 videotape and audiocassette tapes.

To use analog media, most computers require a video capture card—add-on hardware that you install in one of your computer’s expansion slots. (Sometimes the capture card also includes a break-out box, an external component to which you connect audio and video cables.) The capture card digitizes analog video and audio, converting it to a digital form that can be stored on your computer (Figure 3.2). Digitizing analog video can be compared to using a scanner to convert a photograph into a format your computer can understand. In contrast to using DV, which uses a single IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire and iLink) cable, analog capture cards typically use separate cables to deliver the video, audio, and timecode (data that identifies each video frame with a number, expressed in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames; see the sidebar “Timecode”).


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