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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, External Firewire Capture in Technical; Hi All, We have a classroom of 25 Dell OptiPlex 760Ns - the all in one USFF design. They don't ...
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    mee
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    External Firewire Capture

    Hi All,

    We have a classroom of 25 Dell OptiPlex 760Ns - the all in one USFF design. They don't have firewire and have no internal expansion card.

    Does anyone know of an external USB device that can capture via firewire from a camcorder? I know USB / Firewire are different languages but was hoping there might be something out there which would prevent us having to use older PCs for capture.

    Thanks!

    Mee.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    no PCI or PCI Express slots ?

    What about firewire on the actual motherboard ?

    If this is the ultra small form factor then no expansion card slots otherwise you should at least have a PCI or PCI E slot
    Last edited by mac_shinobi; 16th November 2009 at 05:35 PM.

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    No slots at all I am afraid. I've had one apart and can't see any headers on the motherboard.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    you may be able to get a cable ( not sure if this is the correct cable )

    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Firewire-1394-4Pin-Camera-Cable/dp/B001IYHI3Y"]USB A to Firewire 1394 4Pin Male Camera Cable Lead 1.5m: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo[/ame]

    Or maybe even a usb / firewire hub ??

    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belkin-Hi-Speed-FireWire-6-Port-Mini/dp/B000EPFBN2/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1258393148&s r=1-18"]Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and FireWire 6-Port Hub for Mac: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo[/ame]

    something like the above but would be better if you could find a powered one ie one that connects to the mains but still again not sure if it will allow you to use a firewire device / cam corder on that and then go through the usb to the computer ?

    I would try one cable ( ensuring its the correct cable ) and one hub that has both usb and firewire and try both and return whichever one does not work and then once you know which does work you can go from there with regards to ordering more of the same item for the other computers

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    mee
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    I have tried the 4pin firewire - USB cables - unfortunately they only work if the PC supports 'Firewire over USB' - on the offchance I bought one to try and these PCs don't!

    I think the USB/firewire hubs still actually need a firewire cable running from the hub to the PC, just as they do a USB.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    In that case an older pc or pc with firewire or use the analog ie

    2. Analog video capture
    If your camcorder doesn�t have a firewire port, or you for whatever reason you can�t or don�t want to use firewire, you have the option of capturing the analog video signal that comes out of the composite or S-video ports and digitizing it into a signal readable by the computer. There are a number of products out there that support this functionality, and many people claim that video captured with an analog process is actually better to work with for certain functions such as bluescreening. For the average home user however, firewire capture is much simpler and much less frustrating.
    Analog video capture works by transforming the analog video signal with a hardware device into a digital signal that can be saved on computer. Raw, uncompressed video takes up a lot of space, so it�s compressed with a codec to make it easier to work with. Most of these devices use MJPEG (motion-JPEG) compression, but it is possible with some to use your own codecs, reduce frame rate, resolution or frame size, in order to save space. In this regard analog video capture is much more flexible than firewire capture; with firewire, you must capture at the standard 720x480 / 29.97 fps combination, which means your file sizes will be quite large and there�s nothing you can do about it.
    Unfortunately, the success of analog video capture depends heavily on the stability and speed of your computer system. If you don�t have a stable and/or fast system, the video signal will not be transformed fast enough into digital, and you will drop frames. The frustrating part of analog video capture is that there are many variables which affect speed and stability, so even users with 800 mhz machines can see dropped frames and not be able to figure out how to fix it. With firewire capture, dropped frames are comparatively rare.



    Ways to Connect Your Camcorder to Your Computer - Digital Video

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    Thanks for your reply. Analog may have to be the answer although could be frustrating for pupils as it's only real time. Has anyone else with Dell OptiPlex USFF machines found a solution to this annoying problem?

    Thanks
    Mee

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Surely if you bought a 4pin Firewire to USB type A it would be more of a driver issue rather than a physical limitation of the machine?

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    Yes; I think you are probably right. I think the hardware you are connecting (in this case a camcorder) has to support firewire over USB, plus you'd have to have the associated driver for the hardware installed. I don't believe any of our cameras do as it's not stated in the specs, nor can I find a driver. Plugging one in to a PC using a firewire->usb cable gives a usb device not recognised / usb hub surge error.

    I have spent some time googling and have found the Pinnacle MovieBox....which is a USB 2.0 device for capturing analog and digital video. They are around £70 and come with Pinnacle Studio 14. Might order one and give it a try.

    Thanks,
    Mee

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    A lot of laptops have built in firewire. Why not try and track one down, capture to an avi file and then transfer it to wherever. Using analogue is going to be lossy. Firewire throughput is a fair bit faster than USB so surely any adapter would need some form of buffering.

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