Video Interfaces

Final Cut Studio allows you to use a wide variety of video interfaces for capture and output. The following sections show examples of the most common types of video interfaces available.

FireWire for DV

You can use the built-in FireWire port on your computer to capture and output to almost any DV device, including DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO HD devices.

Figure. Illustration showing a FireWire connector.

In this configuration, you only need your computer and a supported DV device.

Figure. Illustration of a computer, DV VTR, FireWire 400 6-pin connector, and FireWire 400 4- and 6-pin connectors.

FireWire for Uncompressed Digital Video

Interfaces such as the AJA Io connect to your computer via FireWire. However, instead of transferring compressed DV signals, the AJA Io transfers an uncompressed component 4:2:2 signal via FireWire. The AJA Io has a wide range of digital and analog connectors, as well as RS-422 device control.

Figure. Illustration showing a computer, an AJA Io, and a FireWire connector.

Important: Although this type of video interface uses FireWire, it is not used to connect DV devices. If you want to capture or output DV video, you can connect your DV device directly to the FireWire port on your computer.

Figure. Illustration showing a computer connected via FireWire 400 to AJA Io, and AJA Io connected to analog or digital VTR via BNC connector.

PCI Express Video Interface Card

If you are using professional analog or digital formats (either standard definition or high definition) without native FireWire connectivity, you need to purchase and install a PCI Express video interface card to connect your video deck or camcorder to your computer. Many PCI Express interface cards come with a breakout box where video, audio, and perhaps even 9-pin remote connectors are located (rather than on the PCI Express card itself). Interface cards are also referred to as video cards or capture cards. This is not the same as the video graphics card used to send signals to your main computer display.

Figure. Illustration showing PCI video interface card and computer.

Note: Some broadcast-quality video output devices receive both the video and audio from a project. When you use a video output device that supports both video and audio output, Soundtrack Pro automatically routes your audio output to this device to provide the best possible synchronization of the audio and video.

PCI Express Video Interface Card with Built-in Connectors

PCI Express cards allow you to capture and output video with high data rates, such as uncompressed standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) video. PCI Express cards are necessary for high-end applications such as compositing, online editing, and uncompressed video editing. Many PCI Express cards have BNC or RCA connectors mounted directly on the back of the card. In this configuration, you connect your video equipment directly to the PCI Express card connectors on the back of your computer.

Figure. Illustration showing a computer with a PCI card connected via BNC to an analog or digital VTR.

PCI Express Video Interface Card with Breakout Box

Many PCI Express cards aren’t big enough to fit all of the necessary video and audio connectors. In these situations, a breakout box is connected to the PCI Express card via a multipin connector on a long cable, and the connectors are accessible on the breakout box instead of the back of the PCI Express card. A breakout box is also useful because it allows you to place the connectors somewhere more convenient than the back of your computer, such as on an equipment rack or a desktop.

Figure. Illustration showing a computer with a PCI card connected to a breakout box then via BNC connector to an analog or digital VTR.

USB Video Interface

USB video interfaces cannot support the high data rates required for professional video use, so they are not commonly used. USB video interfaces are usually used for converting analog video sources to a digital signal for capture.

Figure. Illustration showing a computer connected via USB to a USB interface and the USB interface connected to an analog VTR via RCA connector.