justsatorn

Video capture card -- advice needed.

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I'm staying with friends in a foreign country. They want to transfer old video tapes onto DVD. We'll buy a DVD burner -- I know a bit ab.out them.

But I know nothing about video capture cards, which I believe I'll also need. So I'm asking for advice about them:

Do they do a good job in transfering old VHS tapes to DVD?

And which is the recommended video capture card to get?

Thanks for any advice given.

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I'm staying with friends in a foreign country. They want to transfer old video tapes onto DVD. We'll buy a DVD burner -- I know a bit ab.out them.

But I know nothing about video capture cards, which I believe I'll also need. So I'm asking for advice about them:

Do they do a good job in transfering old VHS tapes to DVD?

And which is the recommended video capture card to get?

Thanks for any advice given.

You've gotta be really careful here. I had two cards that did a very reasonable job with TV/Cable signal, but worked poorly with tapes (ATI USB Wonder USB 2.0 and AverMedia Ultratv). The cards are basically much more sensitive to degradation of control signals on the tape than the TV itself. You can get ugly artifacts when trying to digitize a tape (like top of the image wobbling), while the TV displays the same thing just fine. I've got slightly better results with a high-quality VCR, but the problem with old tapes was still there. I think a VCR which reconditions these timing/control signals would have done the trick, but these are quite expensive.

Bottomline - you need to look specifically for reviews claiming successful digitization of tapes.

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Thanks for the reply, vlad. I'm now using the capture forum at videohelp.com to do some fast initial learning -- there's a lot of information to process: obviously not an area to rush into without sufficient research.

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I'm staying with friends in a foreign country. They want to transfer old video tapes onto DVD. We'll buy a DVD burner -- I know a bit ab.out them.

But I know nothing about video capture cards, which I believe I'll also need. So I'm asking for advice about them:

Do they do a good job in transfering old VHS tapes to DVD?

And which is the recommended video capture card to get?

Thanks for any advice given.

The best sollution is a Mac and a EyeTV 200.

I have used ditial media to transfer tapes to digital since 1997.

Have been using PCs and Macs.

The macs are GREAT video editing and grabbing solution.

You even get the most simple program to use making DVDs: IDVD free with the system

If you whant to make studio quality DVDs or even make HD-DVDs, you have DVD studio pro.

A more cheaper way is to use a firewire videocamera. Most of them support Pass Throu. Plug in a video into the camera, and the camera converts it to DV, that is transfered to the PC/Mac.

This is not meant as a flame war, but the Mac is miles ahead in the video editing / grabbing area.

It works

and its real, real simple.

/S

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I have Pinnacle Studio AV/DV that is a PCI video capture card with Pinnacle Studio9, but I use VirtualDub as my capture program since it has cropping and other cool stuff then I do the final cut on the Pinnacle(drag and drop).

Remember Garbage IN garbage Out, so if the vhs tape sucks that is what you will see on the dvd. But its better now than never. I actually just spent the capturing from a vhs tape.

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I'm staying with friends in a foreign country. They want to transfer old video tapes onto DVD. We'll buy a DVD burner -- I know a bit ab.out them.

But I know nothing about video capture cards, which I believe I'll also need. So I'm asking for advice about them:

Do they do a good job in transfering old VHS tapes to DVD?

And which is the recommended video capture card to get?

Thanks for any advice given.

Just adding my $0.02. Make sure you get a hardware-based capture card instead of a software-based card. The difference is a hardware card does all the encoding on the card itself, while a software based card uses your CPU to encode. In many cases it will put a very high burden on your system and you may have skipping or stuttering in your video files, especially if you try to do anything else with your system at the time.

Software cards used to be much cheaper than hardware cards, but (for example) Hauppauge has a line of PVR cards (i have a PVR-150) that are the same if not even cheaper (at least here in US) than a software card.

Hardware cards also usually encode directly to MPG so it makes editing them for DVD very simple. For software, there are a ton of different ones out there, usually the card will come with something to use.

And also, to re-iterate what others have said. Don't expect just because its now on "DVD" that it will look better. It won't look any better than the old VHS.

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I have close to $15,000 worth of video digitizing "stuff" lying around here and across all these years and dollars I've learned one thing: nothing matters more than playback device. Nothing. Capture card, encoding format, etc.... they're all pretty minor variables. The piece of equipment you use to play that tape for capture is what will determine your final quality.

For VHS, you really want to get a good quality SVHS player and take advantage of the s-video output. The more modern JVC players with TBC and DNR tend to do a very good job, although build quality was lacking. Via eBay or classifieds, you can pick up some of the older JVC HRS-9xxx, 8xxx or 7xxx series players with fantastic quality. There are other options as well.

Another consideration - unless you're putting some serious time and energy into this on the PC, you may have a tough time matching the quality of the more modern DVD burners. IMO, some of the current models make capture cards obsolete for the majority of people. I still do a lot of the whole Theater 550-->huffyuv-->avisynth-->virtualdub-->cce-->DVD thing and am happier with my results than I would be with a regular set-top DVD burner, but it takes me probably 5x to 10x the time to get maybe 25% improvement.

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@phoenix - I've seent he name Theater 550 before... Is that a brand (Theater?) or a model of another brand?

@justsatorn - Yeah, i agree that it depends on how much time editing you want to spend on it... A DVD burner would actually do the job quite nicely and easily for you. My process is Hauppauge PVR-150 > TMPGinc software > DVD. I record to MPG file from the PVR 150, cut-edit the file and make a DVD with TMPGinc software, and then burn a DVD with it. Phoenix probly takes a lot more time finetuning his output, but it also probly looks nicer than my quicky setup.

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@phoenix - I've seent he name Theater 550 before... Is that a brand (Theater?) or a model of another brand?

@justsatorn - Yeah, i agree that it depends on how much time editing you want to spend on it... A DVD burner would actually do the job quite nicely and easily for you. My process is Hauppauge PVR-150 > TMPGinc software > DVD. I record to MPG file from the PVR 150, cut-edit the file and make a DVD with TMPGinc software, and then burn a DVD with it. Phoenix probly takes a lot more time finetuning his output, but it also probly looks nicer than my quicky setup.

The Theater 550 is a video capture chipset by ATI that is featured in several capture cards by both ATI as well as other companies. It's a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the capture hardware really is good. Need 4:2:2 NTSC to uncompressed YUV2? No problem. Want to take advantage of the hardware MPEG encoder? No problem. Want pretty good ADCs? Check. On the other hand, the software support is downright terrible and many of the advertised "features" were never really implemented in software and, possibly, in hardware. Therefore a lot of us who bought the 550-based cards are a little irked and still wonder when we'll be able to tweak the AGC, noise reduction, MPEG bitrate and all the other features that were promised. It's a great piece of hardware, but as I think we all know, ATI sometimes can't write software to save their life and this is yet another example.

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