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Digital Video Capture and Editing, Where To Start?


To effectively work with digital video, you will need a reasonably fast computer, Intel being better at video editing. 

CPU Speed

For capturing video at 320x240 (low resolution), I recommend you use a computer with at least a 1 GHz CPU.  If you want to capture video at 640x480 (high resolution) with an uncompressed capture card, you should use a computer with at least an 2 GHz CPU.  However, depending on the type of compression you use, you might be able to use a slower CPU than the ones I suggest.  Of course, more MHz will always be better.  In addition to increasing your ability to capture video, a faster CPU will also reduce the amount of time you spend processing a video. 


I suggest at least 1024 Mb if you are running Windows NT/2000/XP (2Gb for Vista).  Having less memory will hurt performance, but adding more memory will not help it that much.  This is because video processing is mostly limited by CPU speed and not by the amount of memory in your PC.

Hard Drive Speed

For capturing video at 320x240, you'll want a hard drive capable of sustaining at least 3-4 MB/sec.  This is a very low transfer rate, so just about every hard drive will support this.  If you want to capture in 640x480, you'll need a faster hard drive.  Depending on the amount of compression you use, capturing video in 640x480 will require a hard drive capable of sustaining between 6 MB/sec and 18 MB/sec.

Hard Disk Space

Digital video takes up massive amounts of space, so you will need a reasonably large hard drive.  For example, 10 minutes of uncompressed video at 320 x 240 @ 30 fps (frames per second) takes up about 4 GB.  After you process the video, it requires 8 GB.  Fortunately, you can compress the video to save on disk space while still retaining full quality.  Therefore, it is my recommendation that you have about 4-5 GB of free space for each 10 minutes of 320x240 video that you wish to capture and process.  You can get by with less, but the less space you use, the more quality you lose. 

Capture Device

If you meet the above requirements, the next thing you will need is a video capture device to connect your external source, usually a digital video camera or VCR, to your computer. The external source device will be either analogue (connection via composite video and/or S-VHS) or digital (connection via Firewire a.k.a. IEEE-1394 or USB 2). The video capture device can be a PCI card installed in your computer or an external USB connection device. All Video Capture Devices you can purchase will come ready supplied with video editing software.

Tip from PC-KING

In today's environment the following specification should be your target:

A desktop PC with at least a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 or a 2.17GHz Athlon XP 3000+ processor
1Gb to 2GB of memory
Lots of free drive space (43 minutes of video at 720×480 in AVI format can easily chew up 60GB of memory)
A DVD burner
A capture card if your video is in analog format
A FireWire port if you’ll be using a DV camcorder or a USB 2.0 port if your camcorder records in MPEG-2 format
A FireWire cable if you’ll be using a DV camcorder
A good monitor with a resolution of at least 1,024×768


We can help you get up and running, contact us with your requirements and we will supply and install the components you need to Create Hollywood Style Movies.

Check out our Links page for more sites on Video Editing

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Site Updated 17 Jan 2013 15:41


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