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Linux Multimedia Hacks by Kyle Rankin

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Hack #66. Use a Digital Video Camcorder with Linux

With dvdgrab and Kino, you can pull video directly from your DV Camcorder and edit it.

One of the "killer applications" for the Apple Macintosh is iMovie. This application is designed to extract digital video from a camcorder or other source and easily edit it. I've been running a MacOS desktop for some time now, but really wanted to get this capability going on my Linux-equipped laptop so I could pull video out of my camcorder when my family and I are away on a trip. It so happens that Linux supports this use quite well, thanks to its excellent IEEE 1394 (Firewire) support and an application called Kino. Kino has all of the basic editing features of iMovie on the Mac, and is on par with iMovie for ease of use. Kino is missing some of the bells and whistles, but for standard editing tasks, Kino fits the bill nicely.

This was tested under Ubuntu Linux (Hoary Hedgehog release), kernel 2.6.10. It should also work with Debian Linux with little or no modification.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A Digital Video (DV) camcorder with an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port. Older Hi8 or Digital8 camcorders will not work with this hack.

  • An IEEE 1394 cable to go from your computer to your camcorder. This could be a 4-pin or a 6-pin type connector on either end: be sure you've got the correct type connector for each end.

  • The video-editing application Kino and its supporting command-line application dvgrab.

  • The package mjpegtools if you wish to export your video ...

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