What Is a Firewire® Video Camera?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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A Firewire® video camera is nearly the same as any other digital video camera, except it is equipped with a Firewire® port. With this cable connected, it is possible for a Firewire® video camera to upload a movie in real-time to a computer. Uploading a video without Firewire® takes longer, there is a quality penalty for regular uploading, and videos tend to turn out better with this cable. The computer downloading a video normally needs fast hardware to keep up with the downloading, but the hardware in most computers should be enough.

When it comes to comparing a digital video camera and a Firewire® video camera, most people will not notice much of a difference. Both have similar shapes, tools, power and other functions. The major difference between the two is that the Firewire® camera comes with a Firewire® port. The port is so tiny that this may not be apparent at first, making it difficult for people to tell the difference from a single look.

An advantage to using a Firewire® video camera is the speed of uploading. When a digital camera takes footage, it normally has to be saved and then uploaded to the computer after the recording is done. With a Firewire® camera, the footage is uploaded in real-time or near real-time speeds as long as the camera is connected via Firewire® to a computer. Otherwise, the camera just saves the footage internally, like the regular camera does.


If the video is uploaded in real-time, then this increases both the speed of the video upload and the quality of the video. This is because, when a video is uploaded normally, it must go through a conversion that damages the original quality. When a Firewire® video camera uses the Firewire® connection, it bypasses this conversion and the video uploads as-is with the higher-quality recording.

One potential problem with using a Firewire® video camera is that the upload process may require strong components to keep the upload stream stable. This normally requires a good hard drive, because most other hardware pieces are not being used when the Firewire® video uploads. At the same time, most conventional computers should have enough power to accommodate this upload, but it may make the computer hot and noisy — because the fan is going — as the Firewire® cable is uploading from the camera.


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