Video editing question

I’m borrowing my dad’s digital camcorder (Sony TRV-70) and I’ll probably buy a lower end model for myself in the near future. The software that comes from the TRV-70 can convert the video on the MiniDV to AVI via USB or Firewire. Well the AVI’s are quite large and I don’t have all that much HD space and no way to archive them, so I’m tempted to convert them to MPG-1 format.

Now to the heart of my question, it looks like Adobe Premiere and Pinnacle Studio 8 support importing and working with MPG-1. Is it ok to convert all the AVI’s to MPG-1, or will I rue the day that I left AVI’s behind?

I think the extent of my video editing is cutting out segments, and maybe joining segments and piecing together videos of family events and stuff.

If anybody has good links to beginner video editing sites/tutorials, that would be greatly appreciated.

I can’t offer any advice on websites to get you started, but my experience personally has been the minute you start converting the format of your footage, you run the risk of problems. I’m not saying it’s definitely going to happen (it’s been awhile since I messed with Premiere), but it introduces the chance.

What I would do is mess with a small sample and see what happens. If you can convert from and back to AVI (to export the footage to tape) without your sound going out of synch or any other problems, then it’s probably safe to go nuts with the whole project.

If you convert to MPEG-1 you’re going to lose a LOT of quality.

Converting to MPEG-2 at a high bitrate will get the size way down from the AVIs, without losing much in the way of quality. However, if you want to re-edit the video later, you’re going to lose quality then.

It’s best to work with AVI while you’re editing, and then render the final file to MPEG-2.

Hard drives are cheap. :-)

If you just google on “DV tutorial” you’ll find a ton of info. Once "central site with a lot of links is http://desktopvideo.about.com

Thanks for the feedback and link. Looks like I have a bit of studying to do. I’m gonna need a bigger hard drive tho. Fortunately 120GB drives seem to have fallen to a pretty sweet spot.

Some video editing programs, specifically Final Cut Pro 4 (that I know of) allow you to edit at what’s called “offline resolution,” develop an edit list, then import only the sections you want at a higher resolution. Maybe Adobe Premiere does that as well.

I’m picky about the resolution of the final output. If you’re looking to actually put it to tape to be viewed on a TV, you’re going to want to avoid dropping that quality down for the sake of space.

As someone mentioned, hard drives are cheap. I guess the real question is how serious a project is this? What is your final output goal?

I’m recording footage of my 2 month old son and family gatherings and the like, so nothing that needs professional grade. My folks are moving to CA so I may be putting together VCD’s (and eventually DVD’s) and sending them to my folks now and then.

Make sure the player in question can play SVCDs, not just VCDs (MPEG-2 to MPEG-1 respectively). Some don’t.

— Alan

I think my folks have one of those “play anything under the sun” Apex DVD players. Worst case is I can make VCD’s, or buy a DVD writer.