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I think I have figured it out.
Was capturing from cam to computer (firewire) to external hard drive (also firewire)
Guess that caused problems because if I capture to main hard drive and then copy to external drive problem disappears.
Question--is it faster in processing time to keep the original file on the main hard drive and make movie an the external, or do it all on the external??
If you are capturing miniDV over FireWire, it makes no difference, Bill. You are getting data directly from the camcorder and there is absolutely no reduction in quality. It's digital data: you either get it or you don't. And it's identical to what's in the camcorder.
Just a guess, but I'd speculate that you system is hitting a bottleneck. As Steve suggests, the data is but 1's and 0's, and is transferred directly to whatever the disc is. However, if you system is geting bogged down, it could be loosing some of those 1's & 0's. Not a problem with FW, but with the system.
I like to use different FW chips, for different jobs. When I have my externals attached, I use a separate bus for them and for my camera. Externals are IEEE-1394b on an ExpressCard, with built-in chips and the camera goes into an IEEE-1394a outlet attached to the chip on the MoBo. Same for my laptop. On my workstation, it's through a PCIe FW-800 for the externals, and a FW-400 off of the MoBo.
On both, I've Captured to externals (note different bus) without a dropped frame.
In the case of the Capture to an internal, the only downside is doing a Copy/Move to the external. I've been editing from/to FW-800 externals on my laptop, with no problem. However, I have only done SD footage. I have some RAID 0 FW-800, for when I go to HDV, but have not done that yet.
Thanks for replies--am using a fairly large and new Dell XPS --but will probably stick to cature to internal then move to external--no big deal as I am not a pro.
Bill Hunt--you seem to imply that when making a movie it is best to have both the original captured video on the external and to make the project also on the external--is this correct?
The "best" is to have plenty of fast internals and do it all to/from those. Even if I have moved my Captured footage, or other Assets to an external for safe-keeping, I'll copy them back to an internal on my workstation. Nothing else is quite as fast, even eSATA externals. This is based on having several large, fast internal HDD's and having things split over most of these to give the best performance.
However, on my laptop, I've actually been doing the full editing to/from externals, via FireWire 800 (IEEE-1394b) with no real slowdown.
Going back some years ago, I tried (another laptop and another NLE) to edit that way with USB externals, and had a lot of problems. I also found FW-400 to be sluggish, and it wasn't until FW-800, that I really felt comfortable. Actually, I'm doing it, as I type, and am doing a DV-AVI Export from P-Pro from/to a Maxtor 2TB FW-800 drive.
The laptop has 3x 200GB SATA II HDD's, so it'll handle most Projects easily and internally, but if I can do the edits via the externals, for smaller Projects, I get lazy and just do it, rather than copying the Assets back to the internals. Only reason that I often move Captured footage to an external is for backup. That is my common workflow. If I'm doing the editing immediately, I'll Capture to an internal, and then just Copy the captured footage to an external. Since I do not reuse tapes, I'll often delete the copy of the captured files, when I'm done, as I can recapture, if I ever need to. If I anticipate having to pick up the Project again (it happens all of the time), I might Archive with all Assets to another external. The exact workflow is based on what I know of, and anticipate in, the Project.
Now, with a lot of internals and externals, this is easy to do and makes my decisions a lot more fitting to the Project.