I'm experiencing problems with my Digital Video Camera. My system may indicate it cannot locate the camera even though it is connected, or my system may completely lock up for no reason at all.
NOTE: This applies only to MiniDV or Digital 8MM camcorders connected to your PC using IEEE 1394 (Firewire).
This answer is a compliation of setup tips and troubleshooting techniques to help explain the basics of Digital Video capture as well help determine the cause of connection problems.
If the V1 software is your first experience with using Digital Video hardware for video capture, you should read this answer even if you're not having any problems. You may learn something that could come in handy later on.
First, it is important to understand that IEEE 1394 is not a 'video input' per se. IEEE 1394 is a high speed serial bus, very similar to USB except only much faster. Because this connection is extremely fast, it is ideal for transferring large amounts of data in very little time. This is ideal for transferring video in digital form directly from a camcorder, therefore it has become a standard port on almost every model of MiniDV or Digital 8mm camcorder being manufactured.
Devices you attach to the IEEE 1394 port on your computer are recognized by your computer as actual computer hardware. Just like USB connected devices or any add-on 'cards' in your computer, camcorders or any other device connected to IEEE 1394 is treated like any other hardware in your PC and requires a driver to function correctly.
On Windows XP, 2000 and ME systems, the required camera driver already exists on your hard drive as part of the Windows Operating System, and it is installed automatically when you first connect the camcorder. Windows 98se users must insert the Windows 98se CD-ROM in order to install the camera, please check your camcorder manual for detailed installation instructions.
Once the camera has been properly installed, Windows performs what is known as 'handshaking' when you connect your camcorder to the computer. This process consists of Windows sending an information request to the camcorder and the camcorder responding with it's device name. Windows then activates the camera driver and adds the camcorder to a list of available DirectShow video capture devices.
As far as the V1 software is concerned, it simply checks this list of DirectShow capture devices at startup and defaults to the first available device for live video acquisition. The V1 software does not have any direct interaction with your camcorder, meaning the V1 software isn't specifically looking to see if your camera is present, it is simply displaying a Windows generated list of available video capture devices and using what devices Windows says is currently available. If your camcorder isn't being recognized by Windows, it isn't going to be available in the V1 software because Windows is telling V1 that the camera isn't there.
The first place to check for problems is inside the V1 software. Use the Hardware Options > Live Video > DirectShow hardware menu to verify that your camcorder is listed as an available DirectShow device, and that it is also the selected device. To access that menu, use the steps below for your particular V1 program:
V1 Professional Edition 5.0: (Newer versions) Click the 'Live Video Options..' button on the Camera Troubleshooter window. (Older versions) Click Options > Hardware Options from the V1 startup page, or click and HOLD the LIVE icon for about 5 seconds while V1 is running.
V1 Home Edition, V1 Tennis Edition: Click Setup > Options
V1 Golf: Open the View Your Swing module and click the Options button along the top (icon appears as a sideways "!!!")
If there is no listing for 'Microsoft DV camera and VCR' listed in the DirectShow hardware list, Windows does not see that your camcorder is attached.
You can verify whether or not Windows has detected and installed your camcorder using the Windows Device Manager. To access this, use the directions for your operating system below:
All OS: Find the My Computer icon on your desktop and right-click with the mouse, then select Properties. Alternately, you can open the System icon in the Windows Control Panel if you do not have a My Computer icon or if your My Computer icon is actually a shortcut (some XP systems).
Windows 98se/ME: On the System Properties window that appears, click the Device Manager tab.
Windows 2000/XP: On the System Properties window that appears, click the Hardware tab, then click the Device Manager button.
For all operating systems: Your camera will always appear in the category 'Imaging Devices' when connected and functioning properly. If you do not have an 'Imaging Devices' category, Windows does NOT see your camera attached.