Yesterday afternoon my humble Linux rig captured over an hour of standard-def miniDV footage from a Firewire camera. There were a couple of issues along the way, but considering the utter disaster I was expecting that’s not too shabby at all…
The first hiccup actually had nothing to do with Linux. I had to find a 4-pin to 4-pin cable somewhere to connect camera and computer. Active Surplus to the rescue.
The next step was to find an app for my installation of Mint 8 that could capture video from my camera. It’s a sign of the times, I guess, that most of the modern video editors for Linux don’t actually do this, but Kino is one that does.
A quick ‘apt-get install’ later I and was good to go, or so I thought. Kino has an annoying permissions bug which you can see in action above. It’s discussed early on in a 16-minute screencast by lead developer Dan Dennedy; here’s a direct link to the Ogg Theora file — if you’re on OS X or Windows just right-click the link then view the downloaded file in VLC.
A fix for Ubuntu 10.04-based systems has been posted on the Kino site. I think I got the instructions right…
In a Terminal, enter ‘gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-firewire.conf’.
Uncomment (remove the #-character) ohci1394, sbp2, dv1394, raw1394, and video1394. Then, comment (add a #-character) out the firewire-ohci and firewire-sbp2 lines. Save and quit gedit.
Run ‘sudo update-initramfs -k all -u’ and finally reboot.
Here’s Kino in action. Captured video is stored as a .DV (QuickTime?) file, just like Final Cut Pro. But I can only play them back through Kino — I’m guessing because my default movie player doesn’t have the required libraries to handle this type of file. Not to worry though, Kino has lots of available options for exporting video.
And I haven’t even touched on Kino’s editing capabilities… To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting to get this far. As a former Mac user I couldn’t be more thrilled with how this turned out, and this exercise proves to me that there is nothing Linux cannot do, except maybe suck.