Installing a FireWire card

on Monday, February 18, 2008

If you have a PC and want to work with digital video, perhaps the one upgrade you are most likely to perform is to install a FireWire (IEEE-1394) card. A FireWire card is crucial if you want to capture video from a digital camcorder into your computer.

To install a FireWire card, you need to have an empty PCI slot inside your computer. PCI slots are usually white and look like the open slot. If you have an empty PCI slot, you should be able to install a FireWire card. Numerous cards are available for less than $100. Most FireWire cards also come packaged with video-editing software, so consider the value of that software when you make your buying decision. Pinnacle (, for example, sells Pinnacle Studio DV — which includes both a FireWire card and a full version of the Studio editing software for a retail price of $129. Shop around and you may find an even better sale price!

When you purchase a FireWire card, read the box to make sure your computer meets the system requirements. Follow the installation instructions that come with the card to install and configure your FireWire card for use. After the card is installed, Windows automatically detects your digital camcorder when you connect it to a FireWire port and turn on the camcorder’s power. You can then use Windows Movie Maker or other video-editing software to capture video from the camcorder.