You’re right, you cannot u

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You’re right, you cannot use a computer to replace a camera’s monitor.There is always a significant processing delay for the video. Even networks have to deal with the difference in digital processing times between the video & audio signals. (Ever notice how often voices & images are a tiny bit out of synch? Or that curious half second of replay that happens every now & then.) Digital takes time to display. To compensate for the delay, camcorder monitors (LCD screen or the viewfinder) show images directly from the pickup chip. But the recording on tape (dvd or memory) is delayed by signal processing.

So to recap, any number of software packages will allow you to record DV direct from the camera to the hard drive via the IEEE1394 port (also known as Firewire & I-Link ports.) So select a laptop with Firewire and you’ll be in business. But if you want an external monitor for your camera, you’ll have to send the video out from the camera into a monitor. You could purchase a small LCD TV/monitor to follow the action (they are available in sizes as small as 4×6 to mount on the camera) but do be aware of battery drain. Shooting 16 to 20 gigs of video using a battery is easy with today’s camcorders. But laptops will run for only a couple of hours, especially when they are constantly writing data to the hard drive. And the battery life of monitors tends to be even less.

I’d like to encourage your plan to record directly to your computer. I do it all the time. At first it was to be able to use a broken camcorder. The deck didn’t work but the camera still makes beautiful pictures. So I used the laptop to record the video (and audio.) But I found I really liked not having to do real-time captures of the video I’d shot. I’m sure you’ll love the convenience, too.

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