Feature

The MotoDV card from Digital Origin: video editing for low-end PCs

Digital Origin’s MotoDV utilises the newest type of editing technology and offers high-quality video editing software suitable for a low-cost PC system

Video editing falls into two categories: analogue and non-linear digital editing suites. DV format, a sub-set of the latter aimed at the semi-professional market, offers potentially the highest quality video editing available on a sub £2000 computer system. The MotoDV package, from Digital Origin, combines a 1394 Firewire card, Adobe Premiere 5.1 LE and a collection of utilities for setting up your own low-cost video editing solution.

The hardware requires a reasonable specified PC containing a free PCI slot and a DV source, like a camera or VCR, equipped with a bi-directional 1394 port. Installation under the last version of Windows 95 is simple and surprisingly; everything works on the first attempt ( a big improvement on previous 1394/Firewire video-editing solutions).

The first step of the editing process is always to capture footage from your source. Unlike a traditional capture card, your capture rate is set at around 200Mb per minute, so capturing at low quality for a draft edit is not possible. The radius card can also control many video sources directly through the Firewire port providing the user with full timecode information - and a more professional approach to the capturing process.

The Adobe Premier 5.1 LE software, a cut-down version of premier 5.1, offers most of the basic tools for video editing but lacks some of the more advanced audio and special effects features.

When you have finally combined your clips, the system will send the finished piece back to the camera. The playback quality of these finished pieces is high. Superb lip sync offers quality comparable to the original raw footage.

The output of the final piece is where MotoDV and the whole Firewire process excel. By having your final piece on DV, you can take it to a professional post production house for a final edit, add special effects or output to another format like CD-ROM, VHS or BETACAM.

The picture appears rosy but here comes the bad news. MotoDV eats hard disk space and RAM for breakfast. The minimum requirement is 64Mb of Ram. 256Mb is more in order, bearing in mind that that the average 4Gb hard disk

will only hold under 20 minutes of video footage.

If you live in the UK, trying to find a compatible camera is a little bit tricky as many dealers seem slightly confused about the intricacies of DV in/out and Firewire. Digital Origin has addressed this slightly with a comprehensive list of compatible cameras, a useful guide and a helpful customer support via their web site.

This is a very impressive piece of kit for this price; however, the market is still a little bit behind the technology.

Will Garside


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This was first published in August 1999

 

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