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Choppy video (preview on Windows Movie Maker)

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by ico, Oct 4, 2006.

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  1. ico

    ico Thread Starter

    Oct 4, 2006
    I transfered video from my Sony Digital 8 camcorder to my harddrive. The format is not converted to AVI or MPEG, so it's pure (raw?) format because I want the resolution to be maximum when burned to dvd.

    When previewing the video using the timeline editing mode, it plays quite smooth for the first 1-3 seconds. Then it became choppy, only updating the picture every 5 seconds or more. However, the sound is continous, no problem at all.
    If I hold the Next-Frame button, I can see all the frames. So there's no camera-to-harddrive error or frame loss.

    When I play the video directly using Win Media Player 10, it's still a bit choppy but not as bad.

    How can I get a smooth preview/play? I just added 512MB RAM, totaling to 1GB RAM. It doesn't seem to have any effect, still choppy. Should I buy AGP card? There's one 4x AGP slot available on the mobo.

    My current system:
    Sony PCV-RX850
    Motherboard: Asus P4S533VX
    Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4
    System Bus Speed: 533 MHz
    RAM: 2 x 512 MB DDR DRAM (one more open slot)
    L2 Cache: 512 KB
    Graphics Card: SIS651 Integrated Graphics
    Graphics RAM: 32 MB
    OS: Win XP SP2

    I'm thinking about getting this AGP:
    SAPPHIRE 100179L Radeon 9250 256MB DDR AGP 4X Video Card
    Chipset Manufacturer: ATI
    Core clock: 240MHz
    D-SUB: 1
    DirectX: DirectX 8
    DVI: 1
    Memory Clock: 400MHz
    Memory Interface: 128-bit
    OpenGL: OpenGL 1.3
    PixelPipelines: 4
    TV-Out: S-Video Out

    Will this work out?

    I am actually tempted in getting a faster core/memory clock AGP; however, they're 4x/8x card and some have DDR2 type memory.
    I read that if you plug-in 8x to your 4x slot, sometimes you get problem although in theory it should be backward compatible. Some user are successful, some aren't.

    Do I need the 256MB memory? Does larger memory means smoother video?
    Does larger memory interface means smoother video also?
    Do I need faster clock?

  2. thecoalman


    Mar 6, 2006
    Close but no cigar, AVI is just a container file that can contain many types of video like DV which is the type of video on digital video camera. If you did it correctly the file you transferred is commonly referred to as DV-AVI.. Should be about 13.5 gigs per hour of footage and have a AVI extension. The reason I underlined transfer is because that is exactly what it is, it's an exact duplicate of what's on the cam. Not much different than if you were copying the file from one folder to another on your HD, the only difference being that there is no error checking. Your computer has to be able write the data as fast as it's coming off the cam.

    Most likely either you have either dropped frames (some of the data) during transfer or you have successfully transferred it and you have a data bottleneck somewhere. The first thing to do is make sure your drive is in DMA mode. See the bottom of this page for checking what mode it's in.


    If it's in DMA mode you can check to see if you are dropping frames by opening the file in WMM and convert it to a low bitrate WMV. I would suggest doing this with a small clip, a 2.4 is going to take quite a while to convert video. If it plays smoothly after conversion then it would probably be the latter. Try turning off anything running in the background such as AV scanners (suggest you disconnect from the internet first) or any other unnecessary software you have running. Especially anything that could be accessing the drive.

    Also try defragging the drive before transfer, ideally you would want a separate drive for video.

    FYI your system specs should be more than adequate to play the file. DV-AVI doesn't require a lot of CPU, the graphics card is irrelevant as it only displays the video and just about any card is capable of that. I would definitely recommend a faster CPU unless you are very patient. ;) A 2.4 is going to take at a rough guess about 6 hours to convert 1 hour of DV-AVI to DVD compliant MPEG.

    One last thing to note, you can only edit DV-AVI with WMM which you can then export as DV-AVI for use in a authoring program. You can't make DVD's for playback in a standalone DVD player with it.
  3. ico

    ico Thread Starter

    Oct 4, 2006
    thanks for the quick reply coalman. :)

    as I said, if I click and hold the next-frame button, it plays smoothly but of course very slowly. just like you're playing a movie in a standalone dvd player in a slo-mo mode. so I don't think there's any dropped frames.

    yes that sounds about right, it think it is DV AVI format which is the format I choose when transfering the video. the length of the video is over 1hr 15mins and the file size is over 15gigs.

    so the only way to get rid of the choppy play is to get a new faster computer system?

    I actually don't mind if it takes 6 hours to convert to MPEG-2(?), but what I really want is to see in real time my editing since I add fade-in/outs and sometime slow down certain clips.

    btw, what's the best video editing software which includes dvd authoring? i've tried adobe premiere pro 1.5, it's too complicated although of course you can do many things including adjust saturation/hue etc. WMM doesn't seem to be able to run 2 or more clips in parallel in the timeline. I want the software to be able to make title/credits, provide various transitions, and create DVD menu and chapters. I know there's Ulead, Sony/Vegas, and Adobe Premiere Elements.
  4. thecoalman


    Mar 6, 2006
    Did you try any of the things I suggested? Simply adding a faster additional hard drive usually solves this problem but I can't guarantee that.

     but what I really want is to see in real time my editing since I add fade-in/outs
    Only way to realistically expect real time editing is with a dedicated editing card such as the ones offered from Matrox and other vendors. These are not cheap by any means. Not sure about WMM but the better editors will allow you to preview by selection. Basically you apply your transition, filter etc. then select the area you want to preview and it will render just the selection so you can view it quickly. Takes some time but not really long since you're just encoding a small section.

    Best is relative to your budget and needs. If you have Premiere I'd stick with that. A decent cheap authoring package is Ulead Movie Factory. Best authoring package without getting into the ridiculously priced applications is Ulead DVD Workshop IMO.


    Oct 15, 2006
    The problem is most likely HDD contention. Try defragging, first. Then try closing all other apps except the one you need to do what you are doing. If that doesn't work, you will have to get a faster drive.
  6. ico

    ico Thread Starter

    Oct 4, 2006
    With my Norton Anti Virus running the CPU usage jumps to 75% every second. I turned it off (disconnecting my ethernet cable first) and the usage is averaging at 25%. Video play still choppy.

    Tried the defrag suggestion. I used cleandisk first and then defrag. Unfortunately the .avi file cannot be defragged. Why? Is it because the file is to big? 15.2G file, and only 14.7G free space.

    My HDD is Maxtor model 4D080H4: 80G capacity, 2MB cache, 5400 rpm, Fast ATA/Enhanced IDE, Ultra ATA/100 Data Transfer Rate, 2MB Cache Buffer, and 12ms average seek time.

    What do I need to seek for a faster HDD? The rpm? The seek time?

    I only tried the Adobe Premiere for thirty days (trial). I don't think it has DVD authoring capability. Not sure.

    I've looked into the Ulead site since you recommended Ulead. I guess the VideoStudio 10 Plus is good enough for me and fits my budget. It includes DVD authoring also. BTW, does the DVD authoring includes burning to DVD tool (without using 3rd party software such as Nero), or is it just for creating menu?

    The MovieFactory looks great but it seems that it has limited capability for video editing. I want to do video montage, use predefined transitions, etc.

    Another question: How to avoid lost frames during transfer from camcorder to HDD. I use firewire.
  7. thecoalman


    Mar 6, 2006
    Get a secondary drive, 8MB cache 7200RPM

    Not positive but I think it's pretty much standalone, I know it will work regardless of what burning software you have installed so I doubt it uses whatever you have installed.

    You never really determined if you were dropping frames, if you convert it to a WMV in WMM and it plays smoothly then the file is fine, you only have aplayback problem. Most capture software will tell you if you dropped any, I think you have to enable the frame counter in VS.
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