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USB2 or Firewire for Sony Handycam

Posted on 2009-04-01
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I have a Handycam DCR-HC26 with mini DV tapes and was wondering what the best way to capture the video to my computer is? I am currently using Powerdirector to edit the movie once I have captured it and Nero to do the actual capturingwith a USB2 connection. I see some people say the USB2 will not have as good of quality as Firewire, but others say there should be no difference. The way I am doing it now seems more time consuming than I would think. I have to turn the camcorder on and start playing the movie, then go into the computer and start capturing, so 55 minutes of video takes 55 minutes to capture. I would think there would be an easier way, plus the movies don't look that great, but maybe they are as good as they get.
thanks
derek
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Question by:dmctighe
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Expert Comment

by:partha_expert
ID: 24046046
Hey, please use the i.LINK cable as it would provide you the excellent quality compared to the USB.

If you are using the Vista OS, the USB Streaming feature of the Camcorder is not compatible with the Vista OS. You need to use i.LINK only.

If you are using XP, please go for i.LINK connection itself for a better quality of video.

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:fredshovel
ID: 24053229
Agree with 'partha expert' . Just to clarify iLink is actually Firewire IEEE 1394, which uses 4 pins instead of the conventional 6 pin firewire. But you don't need the other 2 pins as they are simply used to provide a power supply from the PC to non-powered devices. So you need a firewire card for your PC (6 pin) and a 4 pin to 6 pin firewire cable. The Firewire protocol lets you easily control the camera from the PC, as in stop, play FF REW etc. I've found in the situations where I've helped friends with USB that this isn't the case. I've never heard that USB delivers poor quality so your problem here may be capture settings. With miniDV you should always use the DV AVI setting on your capture software as MiniDV as is suggested in its name uses the DV format. You can't speed up the process with tape because all tape captures are done in real time. To save time you can fast forward the footage that you don't want choosing not to capture it and thus save editing time.
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Expert Comment

by:Javed_expert
ID: 24056067
There is no diffrence between Firewire and USB 2.0 in the actual transfer speed when it comes to streaming because it happens in real time... As far the quality of the transfered video is concerned, Firewire has good resolution and frame rate when compared to USB...

The i.LINK connection has a higher bandwidth and lower compression rate, so the image quality is better. The difference between video output using the i.LINK port and USB streaming are listed below:

i.LINK connection  
Aspect Ratio: 720x480 pixels
Frames Per Second (FPS): 29.97


USB Streaming
Aspect Ratio: 352x240 pixels
Frames Per Second (FPS): 29.97

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by:fredshovel
ID: 24056244
Sorry to be a pain Javed expert but you really need to check the source of your advice. Amongst other things USB streaming does not automatically scale down the resolution  to 352 x 240 nor does it adjust the fps. In fact when capturing you can choose any settings that you wish.

Cheers.
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Expert Comment

by:Michael-Best
ID: 24058205
I have to turn the camcorder on and start playing the movie, then go into the computer and start capturing, so 55 minutes of video takes 55 minutes to capture. I would think there would be an easier way.

Not with mini DV tapes.
USB2 connection vs iLink
Same
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Expert Comment

by:anirbandas24
ID: 24103220
If you are using the Windows Vista--
The USB Streaming of the DCR-HC26 Camcorder is not compatible with the Windows Vista, so its not possible to transfer the videos using the USB connection. In that case, use the i.LINK or Firewire cable to transfer the videos.

If you're using the Windows XP-
Install the USB Streaming driver in the Computer from the supplied software CD.
However, you may also use the i.LINK cable to transfer the videos.

Please confirm the Computer has the i.LINK port.

Please let me know whether you got the answer.
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Expert Comment

by:allanch08
ID: 24154844
Transferring video footage from tape (mini DV, DV-CAM, DigiBeta, etc) to your computer is almost always done in realtime so a 1hour tape will take one hour to transfer. If you want faster access you can invest in a camcorder that records directly onto hard drive or even memory card such as the Panasonic P2. FireWire (iLink) is commonly used in the broadcast industry in the process of  transferring/digitize footage as it offers a high sustained data transfer rate and remote device control is possible with video editing software that supports it.
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Expert Comment

by:dinesh_expert
ID: 24301262
If you are using computer with Windows XP Operating System, you can use USB streaming to transfer the video using Picture Package software supplied with the Camcorder.
If you are using Windows Vista computer, the USB streaming feature of the Camcorder is not compatibe with the Windows Vista OS. In this case you have to use i.LINK.

Here is the link with the information to transfer video using USB streaming:

http://www.kb.sony.com/selfservice/documentLink.do?externalId=C222820

Here is the link with the information to transfer video using i.LINK connection:

http://www.kb.sony.com/selfservice/documentLink.do?externalId=C111893

when compared to USB, i.LINK transfer is the best.
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jwenting earned 500 total points
ID: 24752124
Firewire will transfer at up to 400MB/sec (or 800MB/sec if you have Firewire 800, unlikely as it's very new).
USB2 can transfer theoretically up to 480MB/sec but that's shared by all USB devices on the bus so per device the speed will be less.

The image quality you get will be identical, one or the other might just lead to the data being sent to the PC a bit faster.
Of course that's assuming each speed will be enough to meet your bandwidth requirements else you may have to adjust the resolution.
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Expert Comment

by:fredshovel
ID: 26537026
You didn't tell us what you were doing wrong to get your movies that "don't look so great".
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