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View Full Version : Anyone know a good Video Capture Device?



EvilBob
2006-Jan-18, 11:58 PM
Over Christmas, we bought ourselves a DVD burner! Pretty cool, huh? However, in order to transfer our vintage VHS tapes onto DVD, I need to find a Video Capture device, since my (fairly new and pretty good - 128MB) ATI video card doesn't have TV In/ Video Capture. I spotted a 'Pinnacle Dazzle' device in a store here the other day, which comes with Pinnacle's video editing software, for AUS$170. The salesman in the shop assured me that he used it at home and it worked really well (he would). However, the reviews on ZDnet regarding their stuff were not impressive, to say the least.

The only other thing I have seen around is Avermedia's 'DVD EZmaker' (both PCI (http://www.avermedia.com/cgi-bin/products_capture_1394PCI.asp?show=4) and USB (http://www.avermedia.com/cgi-bin/products_capture_ezmakerusb2.asp?show=4)versions) for AUS$75 and $150 respectively, but something about it seems a bit dodgy to me. I don't know why.

My VCRs don't have S-Video output, so I think I'm stuck with the composite Video and audio connections. My sound is only an onboard Nvidia AC-97, but I use this for recording my records to CD and it works fine for that, so going the PCI route using the onboard sound is ok. But I'd like to get something that gave pretty good results, preferably with a decent (but not appallingly complex) video editor bundled.

Anyone have any experience? Which brands are good/bad? Is USB better or worse than PCI? Any advice would be appreciated...

tofu
2006-Jan-19, 12:04 AM
I have one of these:
http://www.computervideo.net/dec03-4.htm

and have used it to grab video from a VCR. I don't really have any complaints about it.

EvilBob
2006-Jan-19, 01:56 AM
Thanks, that looks interesting... I've also been looking at this one by Plextor (http://www.plextor.com/english/products/ConvertX-AV100U.htm), which seems to be getting good reviews...

Sammy
2006-Jan-19, 02:18 AM
Plextor is a very respected name. I have the M 402U, very similar to the one in the link. A lot of the discount web sites have the Plextor line. They ship with the WinDVD Creator software packages for capturing, editing, and burning.

You need a USB 2 port to connect the Plextor to your computer. If you don't have one, you can add them for a fairly low proce.

I use mine with a Sony DVD/CD burner/player, and have burned a lot of classic movies bu capturing S-video split from my DirecTV, along with the sound picked up the same way.

EvilBob
2006-Jan-19, 03:35 AM
Thanks, Sammy. Is the WinDVD software useful? I'd like to get software thats good enough that I don't have to buy something else! By the way, all my USBs are 2.0, so no problem there.

mid
2006-Jan-19, 11:33 AM
My VCRs don't have S-Video output, so I think I'm stuck with the composite Video and audio connections.

VHS (and laserdisc, for that matter) is stored with composite video anyway, so you're not necessarily going to gain anything by getting a machine with a different output anyway.

Have you considered avoiding the PC? I'm currently having a similar dilemma; it's £30 for a basic video capture card in order to spend lots of time doing conversion things on the PC, or £70 for a standalone DVD recorder.

HenrikOlsen
2006-Jan-19, 01:11 PM
My father bought a DVD recorder and is a bit disappointed, since the discs recorded with it plays back perfectly when played on that player, but has an irritating skew in audio sync when played on anything else.
Other discs, both burned on the PC and bought, plays back perfectly on the recorder, so it's not consistent.

Sammy
2006-Jan-19, 05:30 PM
Thanks, Sammy. Is the WinDVD software useful? I'd like to get software thats good enough that I don't have to buy something else! By the way, all my USBs are 2.0, so no problem there.

Yes, it's easy to use and does just about anything you would need. The only drawback (which may not be significant to you) is that it doess not support burning double layer DVDs. Their website (http://www.intervideo.com/jsp/WinDVDCreator_Profile.jsp) claims that the newest version DOES support DL recording, but it does not, and theuir trch support people have confirmed this to me.

If you do video capture, an S-video will give definitley superior images than a composite video feed--there are significant differences in quality.

One last point--you need a fairly fast PC to do this, well above the minimums suggested by the device advertising. If you don't, consider a stand-alone capture/burning device. Sony makes a nice unit (VRD-VC20) which can be bought on EBay below the usual $200 price. It accepts both composite and S-video, and supports DL disk burning. It can also be connected to a PC and acts like a capture card, but is less demanding on PC capability.

mid
2006-Jan-19, 05:38 PM
If you do video capture, an S-video will give definitley superior images than a composite video feed--there are significant differences in quality.

Provided the source you're capturing isn't in composite anyway, was all I was meaning.

An alternative to the Sony device is the Hauppauge 250 card and some others in the range that have hardware MPEG2 encoders onboard.

Maksutov
2006-Jan-19, 05:42 PM
Provided the source you're capturing isn't in composite anyway, was all I was meaning.

An alternative to the Sony device is the Hauppauge 250 card and some others in the range that have hardware MPEG2 encoders onboard.I have one of those. The capture quality is almost flawless. When combined with Womble video editing and Nero DVD burning software, the results are impeccable.

EvilBob
2006-Jan-19, 10:11 PM
Thanks for all the input, guys - I'm starting to realise that this might be a longish search to find the right product. A friend at work suggested a Canopus device (his personal object of desire is a A$1000 model - my budget won't stretch to that!) and they look good, but are expensive, considering they don't come bundled with software.
My PC is about 2 years old, AMD 2600+ with 160Gb of HDD and only 512Mb RAM. But I'm sure I can convince my accountant to let me add some memory... it's her VHS tapes we're talking about here. So I think it will be ok to handle it. I hope.
The Hauppauge card looks pretty good, actually. I hadn't seen that one before. VideoHelp.com seem to give it pretty good reviews, which is something that's unusual, although there are some reservations on the software. I'll check it out.

zebo-the-fat
2006-Jan-19, 11:13 PM
I have just (2 days ago) bought a DVD recorder and have been transfering VHS tapes to DVD with it. It seems to work fine (though you have to force it to use the scart input every time, I havn't worked out how to make it default to that connector) It has the option of high, standard, extended and long play modes, the only odd thing I found is in extended mode (4 hours on one DVD) it plays fine on the recorder but on my PC the picture is squashed to half the normal width. Since my discs will only be used on that machine it won't be a problem.
BTW, what is the difference between DVD+ and DVD- and which is best to use? (the recorder will use both)

Maksutov
2006-Jan-19, 11:33 PM
I have just (2 days ago) bought a DVD recorder and have been transfering VHS tapes to DVD with it. It seems to work fine (though you have to force it to use the scart input every time, I havn't worked out how to make it default to that connector) It has the option of high, standard, extended and long play modes, the only odd thing I found is in extended mode (4 hours on one DVD) it plays fine on the recorder but on my PC the picture is squashed to half the normal width. Since my discs will only be used on that machine it won't be a problem.
BTW, what is the difference between DVD+ and DVD- and which is best to use? (the recorder will use both)Use which ever one is cheaper and compatible with your playback hardware.

Here's a report on the differences. (http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/110) That was 2003. These days most hardware (recorders, players) doesn't care if the disc is DVD+ or -.

BTW, when it comes to making DVDs, a stand-alone DVR can't be beat for speed and convenience. Nevertheless, one should be careful about its quality. Most really decent DVRs with hard drives (a necessity for real time recording) start at about $400 and up.

Sam5
2006-Jan-20, 12:42 AM
I have just (2 days ago) bought a DVD recorder and have been transfering VHS tapes to DVD with it. It seems to work fine (though you have to force it to use the scart input every time, I havn't worked out how to make it default to that connector) It has the option of high, standard, extended and long play modes, the only odd thing I found is in extended mode (4 hours on one DVD) it plays fine on the recorder but on my PC the picture is squashed to half the normal width. Since my discs will only be used on that machine it won't be a problem.
BTW, what is the difference between DVD+ and DVD- and which is best to use? (the recorder will use both)

I bought a Panasonic VHS and DVD recorder in one unit nearly a year ago. I’m still not sure what all it will do. My instruction manual is 76 pages long.

I’ve always recorded on DVD+R disks, because the manual said they had the quickest “finalizing” time. Finalizing is a process that makes the recorded disk compatible on all other standard DVD players. I can send them to anyone (including in Ireland and Australia and the US and they can play them on their players). I think the DVD-R is an older system and is supposed to take longer to “finalize” a disk.

I can go up to 6 hours on one DVD+R disk, and the quality is pretty good for old movies and some TV shows. It will also do 4, 2, and 1 hours. I can’t tell the difference between the quality on the 1 and 2 hour modes.

I use Verbatim disks.