Making Digital Home Movies, Part 1


Panasonic GS70 triple CCD camera

Would you like to produce your own movies and compete with George Lucas or Peter Jackson? Today, you can make movies filled with great audio and visual effects, for only a few thousands dollars. Your movies may not win an Academy Award, but at least they will amaze most people who watch them.

This massive guide, which is divided into two parts, will take all of the guesswork out of making digital home movies. In part one, we break down everything that you will need to buy, why you need to buy it, and how much it will cost. In part two, we will go step-by-step through making a movie, complete with special effects and crazy titles.


The first and most obvious thing to buy is a camcorder. The average consumer just wants something that records video. In contrast, if you are going to be producing movies of decent quality, you must be very careful in selecting a camcorder with professional features. What features are we talking about? How about format, audio/video connections and zoom capability.

Deciding Which Format Camcorder To Buy

Mini-DV tape compared to a Costco card

Just buy a Mini-DV format camcorder. Wasn't that easy? There are several reasons: high-resolution (720X480), tapes can be found anywhere and the video can easily be transferred to the PC for editing. Mini-DV has become the standard for digital video, which makes the camcorders and tapes easy to find. The video signal and the resulting video are recorded in digital format (0s and 1s) to a small cassette tape.

What Is This FireWire Business?

FireWire cable with 6 and 4 pin connectors

FireWire is the type of cable that connects the camcorder to your computer. It transfers information at 400 Megabits per second, which is needed when dealing with digital video. There are two types of FireWire connections: 6-pin and 4-pin. Most camcorders have the 4-pin connector, while most computers have the 6-pin connector. This will be important to know when you are buying the FireWire cable.