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jmt0 01-13-2014 03:10 PM

VHS capture to AVI with VC500 -- thoughts?
Does anyone have experience using the VC500 to capture VHS to PC using VirtualDub in AVI with HuffYUV? It appears to get good reviews here:

I have a Windows 7 laptop with a couple of external hard drives. I do have firewire available also thru a PCI card. Is it better to use firewire or USB?

I've seen on the forums where the best capture card is the ATI All in Wonder, but my understanding was that this was for Windows XP. I do have an older XP desktop, but not sure if it would be fast enough to capture. Any thoughts on the best process? Thanks.

volksjager 01-13-2014 05:12 PM

i have not heard much about the VC500, but most of the other devices on that list are crap.
and i highly doubt they know how to properly test capture cards - i would not go by that website.

what are the specs of your XP computer? does it it have an AGP slot?
the ATI AIW is far better than any card on that list.

jmt0 01-13-2014 06:31 PM

Thank you...glad I asked before I bought it!

So, here are the specs of my Dell desktop XP:

Processor: Intel Celeron 2.53 GHz
Processor speed: 2.47 GHz
RAM: 1024MB

Sorry, but how do I know if it has an AGP slot?

If the specs for the desktop aren't sufficient to capture, can you suggest a card for the Windows 7 laptop or perhaps some other method? Thanks.

volksjager 01-13-2014 06:41 PM

the cpu is fine - i would bump it up to 2gb ram (very cheap to do)
and then do a fresh clean install of XP SP2

what model number dell is it?
even if it does not have a AGP slot you may be able to use PCI or PCI-e as well

msgohan 01-13-2014 07:53 PM

I've compared a bunch of devices including the VC500 using test patterns here. It's a good capture device, but as always you will need something to do line TBC before going into it.

lordsmurf 01-14-2014 03:47 AM

Laptops rarely make good capture machines, but it can be done. Laptop monitors are horrible to view the video on, unless it's one of the higher-end IPS screens (rare).

I wouldn't bother with a Celeron for capturing. Too many dropped frames tend to happen.

Buying a "new" (to you) P4 motherboard would run as low as $20 on eBay. A really good board can be had as low as $40-50. Do that instead. There are even dual-core boards with AGP slots. Or you can try for the PCI-E ATI cards, but generally find those to be incomplete (therefore useless). Stick to AGP if you can.

That's just a spam site, and the "reviews" are fake. Whoever gives the biggest commission in #1, and most are Amazon links. The site is not helping you, it's using you. Just FYI. The only device that's decent on that list is the Elgato for a Mac. The Windows USB sticks shown there are mostly crap. The biggest problem is blown-out highlights and bad IRE on actual images.

The tests do look interesting, msgohan.

jmt0 01-14-2014 07:35 AM

Thanks for the advice about the "reviews" website. Should have come here first!

Darn, I was hoping to be able to use the laptop (I do have an external monitor). The desktop (Dell model DMC) is kind of slow these days, and I don't have the system disks to do a complete re-install. And I don't know that I'm tech savvy enough to change a motherboard on the desktop.

I'm not looking to spend a ton of money to capture these 20 or so home movies, but I would like to TRY to get at least a decent capture. I've actually worked on it previously with an ADS Pyro AV link (that I had purchased years ago) with decent results on my laptop, but it doesn't seem to be working anymore.

Okay, so if I HAD to do it on the laptop (Intel Core i3 CPU M370 @ 2.40 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 64 bit; 2 external drives -- 1 TB and 500 GB), what would you suggest the set up be? Can you also explain why laptops aren't ideal for capturing?

BTW, I also have access to a fairly new MacBook Pro laptop (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3)with retina display if that would be better.


lordsmurf 01-14-2014 07:49 AM

If you only have 20 videos, why not just send them to reputable company to transfer? It'd be a heck of a lot easier and cheaper. You'd easily get better quality from high-quality hardware in the hands of somebody that knows what they're doing.

A project like this is often $600 or so. Less than the TBC, VCR, capture hardware, etc. No work for you, no hassle. And trust me, video can be a HUGE hassle to get the hardware working properly!

We can you DIY, but for something this small, just send them here and we can take care of it.

We really need to update our service page:

volksjager 01-14-2014 07:51 AM

if you only have 20 you are better off sending to a pro service (like here).
the cost of the equipment to do a good job will exceed the cost of having them done.

jmt0 01-14-2014 07:58 AM

Okay, so I may have closer to 30 videos (which can get pretty expensive and I don't have the money for that), and some of the tapes are only half full or sometimes even 15 minutes or so long. I hate to pay for a full tape in those cases. That's why I wanted to do it myself. And I want to edit them as well. There's a lot of garbage (meaningless video) on some of the tapes.

volksjager 01-14-2014 08:05 AM

what are you using for a VCR and TBC?
those are probably even more important than the capture device
you can probably use a ATI600USB with that laptop and get decent results

lordsmurf 01-14-2014 08:12 AM

If some of the tapes are only 15 minutes, then it'll cost less. We charge by the footage hour, not per tape. So it may not be as expensive as you're thinking it is. After TBC, VCR, etc -- this can be the same or even less.

We'll help you with your DIY project if you want. But for something this small, I'd suggest just sending it in.

jmt0 01-14-2014 08:20 AM

Hey, if I had the money I'd LOVE to send them in. And I know the quality would be better, but again it's the cost involved. At this point, I'm going to have to settle for "decent" results as opposed to "best" results. God only knows if my kids will even treasure these home movies like I know how kids are!

As I mentioned, I had fairly good results with the setup I was using (on my laptop) until my current capture device stopped working. I don't have TBC, but didn't notice any sync problems. Can you recommend a capture device to replace the one I was using, one that allows capture with AVI?

Thanks again for all the help.

lordsmurf 01-14-2014 08:33 AM

Without a TBC, you can't capture. So you need one of those.
The VCR is the most important piece of hardware when capturing. It tracks/stabilizes the tape, play correctly, etc.
You can skimp on those two.
The VCR is $150-250, and the TBC is $200-500.

Next comes the capture card. There's some options here. It often runs only $50-100, but it's not the most important piece. A person can skimp here, and get "okay" results. Ideally, for a Windows 7 laptop, you'd want the ATI 600 card. On some systems, some cards have noise errors. I saw that as recently as this month. Hopefully, however, you'll not run into issues with hardware. It's honestly 50-50 there, and takes a while to troubleshoot.

Sometimes the hardware just up and fubars itself mid-project, so you have to troubleshoot again! (I really hate that, but it happens at least once per year.)

TBC isn't for sync issues - it for dropped frames (jerking video). Were you using VirtualDub? If not, the software was probably not reporting the drops. Until you watch the video, you won't notice. It's hard to see just quickly previewing/scrubbing in an editor.

jmt0 01-14-2014 08:50 AM

Oh ok, so TBC is for dropped frames. Thank you for the clarification. Although I didn't use TBC, I had relatively few (less than 1%) dropped frames (I did use VirtualDub). Yes, there were a few spots, especially in the beginning of capture, where the scene was a little choppy, but after that it wasn't too bad. Also used WinDV at one point and, you're right, although I saw dropped frames in preview, WinDV didn't report them.

I see that the ATI 600 is no longer available in the link you provided. Should I be searching on ebay for one of these, or would you recommend another place to buy one? Are they still sold new?


lordsmurf 01-14-2014 08:57 AM

It comes and goes, at various sites. When Amazon doesn't have it, yes, look at eBay.

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