Video import settings: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about video import settings in Import Video.

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What are video formats?

The video format you choose determines the video file type. This lets you decide the file type for the resulting video you import from a digital videotape to your computer when using Import Video.

What video formats can I choose?

You can choose to import video from a videotape as a Windows Media Video (WMV) file or as a file that uses the default format for your digital video (DV) device, such as an Audio Video Interleaved (AVI) video file. You can also choose to let Import Video create a WMV file for each clip on your videotape. For example, if there are eight clips on the videotape, Import Video can create eight separate WMV files.

What should I consider when choosing the video format for imported video?

The following list suggests a few things to consider when choosing a video format.

  • The video editing program you plan to use to edit the imported video. Choose to import video in a video format that is supported by the video editing program you plan to use. For example, if the your video editing program supports editing AVI video files or MPEG-2 files, choose Audio Video Interleaved (single file). If you plan to use a video editing program that supports editing WMV files and you plan to use individual clips in your edited video, choose Windows Media Video (one file per scene).

  • Plans to record your final movie back to videotape. If you plan to eventually record your final edited movie back to tape, choose Audio Video Interleaved (single file).

  • Available hard disk space. If you have large amounts of video and audio to import to your computer, consider the hard disk space you have available. For example, if you choose to import the video as an AVI file, one hour of video will consume about 13 gigabytes (GB) of hard disk space, while the same length of video imported and saved as a WMV file will consume approximately 1 GB of hard disk space.

  • The aspect ratio of the original video on the videotape. Depending on your DV camera and the camera settings at the time you recorded the original video to tape, your video might be recorded at an aspect ratio of 16:9 (widescreen) or 4:3 (standard). Choose a video format and aspect ratio setting in Import Video that is the same as the recorded video on tape.

  • Computer system resources. If you have a computer with limited system resources, such as a slower processor, lesser RAM, or a hard disk that does not have a lot of available free disk space, consider importing video as an WMV file, rather than a AVI file. This can help prevent problems when importing video, such as dropping frames of video.

  • Dropped frames. If you plan to allow dropped frames during the import process, choose Audio Video Interleaved (single file). If want to avoid dropping frames of video, consider importing video as a WMV file.

What determines how many video files will be created when I import video?

When you choose to import your video as multiple WMV files, Import Video recognizes places in the video where scene breaks occur and creates a separate WMV file for each clip. When you choose to import your videotape as a single WMV or AVI file, the video you import from a DV camera is usually imported and saved as one video file on your computer. However, at times, more than one video file is created for one of the following reasons:

  • The format of the video on the tape changes. If the video on the tape was originally recorded using one video format and then changed to a different video format, a new video file is created each time the video format of the recorded video changes. For example, if part of the video was recorded in the NTSC video format and then the next part of video on the tape was recorded in the PAL video format, a new video file is created when the recorded video switches from NTSC to PAL.

  • The aspect ratio of the video on the tape changes. If the video on the tape was originally recorded at one aspect ratio and then changed to a different aspect ratio, a new video file is created each time the aspect ratio of the recorded video changes. For example, if part of the video was recorded a 16:9 (widescreen) and then the record setting on the camera was changed to 4:3 (standard), a new video file is created when the recorded video switches from 16:9 to 4:3.