Monday, January 12, 2009

Component to FireWire conversion?

Q: How do I convert from component video to FireWire?

A: You need a converter, and there is a number of them, ranging from $140 to $3,000. All of these units can work with NTSC or PAL signals.
  • Grass Valley (formerly Canopus) ADVC-700, approx. $2,000: a 1U rackmountable box that does a great job converting, plus additional features: balanced or unbalanced audio, RS-422 (aka Sony 9-pin VTR control), LTC.
    Pros: compatible with nearly any FireWire-equipped device on Planet Earth, clean conversion that Canopus and Grass Valley are famous for, deck control, XLR/balanced audio, renowned brand.
    Cons: not exactly cheap
    Bottom line: if you need XLR, RS422 or LTC, take this one.
  • Data Video DAC-15, about $800: Component to DV/FireWire and back, RS422, unbalanced audio only.
    Pros: robust industrial unit from a well established manufacturer of broadcast appliances, large buttons to switch between inputs and outputs, mostly BNC connectors (a good thing).
    Cons: no balanced audio (XLR) I/O.
    Bottom line: need a decent quality professional converter? This is the one.
  • ADS Pyro AV/Link, (also: Google shopping search) about $140: RCA connectors, quality and reliability maybe so-so compared to ADVC-700, and the quality of its component input may not be that much better than S-Video. And if S-Video is good enough for you, I'd recommend ADVC-110, for the same reasons as ADVC-700: compatibility, reliability, quality. No RS422, balanced audio or LTC, of course.
ADVC-700 and DAC-15 units are bi-directional, i.e. convert from component video (YUV) to FireWire/DV and back, while Pyro AV/Link has component input only, but not output.

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