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  #1  
07-13-2019, 11:53 PM
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I am a newbie to video capture, and I've been trying many things.

So this may not come as anything "new" to people who have traveled this path before.

There are good capture cards, and bad capture cards.

There are recommended capture cards, and capture cards to be avoided.

And there are AGP, PCI, PCIe, USB2, USB3, and Firewire capture cards and devices.

But one thing almost universal is that there are Uncompressed and Compressed capture cards and devices.

Uncompressed produce large files that take up a of disc space, but offer the best capture resolution and least chance for lip sync error.

Compressed produce much smaller files, with a loss of some kind and are more prone to lip sync error.

Compressed cards depend on hardware compression on the card, or software compression on the PC after the uncompressed stream is brought to the PC and before its written to disc.

VirtualDub does best with Uncompressed cards and devices because there are fewer variables to work out getting from the video capture to the disc file. And frankly that is what it was designed to work with.

VirtualDub much later received support from Avery Lee for one particular MPEG hardware compression capture system from Plextor called the M402U compression system. But it wasn't perfect.

Many types of capture software attempt to work with hardware compression systems both hardware and software, but they vary so much its mostly a headache to try to use anything other than the Third Party software that was bundled with the hardware capture video card.

I've been dabbling with the Microsoft DirectShow SDK and Microsoft Windows SDK that contained the GraphEdit prototyping tool for programmers. I made a discovery.

For many Third Party bundled software they do invoke "graphs" behind the scenes which you can review with some snooping tools.. but they do not always work.. because the "filters" they depend on mysteriously disappear when you try to recreate them in GraphEdit.

From 2010 to around 2011 there was speculation they were "locking" up these filters for licensing reasons.. or making them deliberately unavailable. It seems that was not the case.

Rather they were "not registering" them with the DirectShow library of available filters.

That's good and bad.

Good because adding and removing filters as part of your installation can make them appear and disappear from the library and cause other av programs to fail.. so it removes them from the troubleshooting equation.

Bad because other third party programs can not see these custom filters which can make that hardware work with that software.. GraphEdit included. And that includes while the original Bundled software is still installed.

As an example.. I found a card that contained the same capture chip used by the TIVO HD recorder. But could not get it to display the MPEG capture and could not save it to disc.. except with that Third Party software bundled with it which was somewhat "lacking" in stability or features. And VirtualDub would not work with it.

I noticed playback would work using the Windows Media Center MPEG2 decoders for audio and video, if specific MPEG2 capture profiles were used.. but could still not capture the mpeg stream.

Then I noticed the File Writer did not "exist" in the DirectShow library of available filters in GraphEdit.

Long story short.. I found the .ax filter files for the Third Party software were not "registered" with the operating system and only loaded by that software on demand and then unloaded.

By properly "registering" them with regsvr32 suddenly everything became available.

The video capture was rock solid and playback became available in other software using the original playback filters.

I think this is a "meme" that was repeated many times across many different capture products and their software.. there is nothing sinister about it.

But lots of hardware capture software was license key activated "for the application" and those activation servers no longer exist. By manually registering their filters however you should be able to begin reusing those hardware capture cards if its something you would like to do.

In particular a few very choice ones offered [both] Uncompressed or Compressed capture with all sort of advanced filter control panels never seen in other gear for things like Ultra-lock and Time base correction, auto level enable disable and softness/sharpness filters.

Again this could be old news.. or very late news since a lot of this gear is gone now.. but I thought it an interesting find that other people could benefit from.

If there is general interest I can elaborate on specific brands and models, or provide capture samples and screen shots of the control panels.

This information is not specific to XP, it also applies to Windows 7. Whether that extends to Vista, 8.1 or 10 I do not know since I have only tested it against XP and Windows 7.

The most likely scenario is this played out from Windows 2000 through 8.1 and all intervening versions, with some possibility for it being true for USB capture devices known to work under Windows 10.

Last edited by jwillis84; 07-14-2019 at 12:34 AM.
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  #2  
07-14-2019, 01:49 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Do you mean by uncompressed/compressed lossless/lossy? Because lossless can be compressed as you already know in the case of HuffYUV.
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07-14-2019, 04:36 AM
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More traditional in this sense.

I think LordSmurf refers to one as frame compressed and the other as file compressed. Where frame compressed is the "lossy" kind and file compressed is the "lossless" kind.

Huffyuv compresses the Uncompressed stream for redundancy "after" it arrives so in that sense it is always high bandwidth and merely saves file space. It's "lossless".

Lagarith I'm not as sure but I think its similar and "lossless".

MJPEG, MPEG1/2/4 are all examples of stripping out components of the video to make a smaller and different storage format for the frames which then goes into a file type of that format, so that things are actually lossed that can never be retrieved. This is what I mean as traditional. They also use more CPU on an outboard motor (hardware compression) chip either on the capture card, or on a tether to a box that performs the hardware compression and lessens the data stream over the connection to the PC. In exchange for that upfront processing, the playback software or device has to deal with "less" and its lighter.. so it can be played back on cheaper hardware.. even cell phones.. but ironically those aren't cheap anymore. They also make a far far smaller final file size. The file size per hour is perhaps 4 GB or less.

Pretty technical, pretty historical.. we do things differently now.. and Uncompressed is even preferred these days.

But what I'm talking about applies somewhat equally to both Uncompressed and Compressed capture cards and USB dongles. The Directshow filters expose functionality that was not available until now for some devices.. and might open up a new front in old gear that might be usable where it was not before.
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07-14-2019, 12:25 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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It will be nice to get my 500-USB working again, After doing a Win7 re-install I couldn't get Vdub to display a picture from it anymore even the driver is successfully installed from this page, It works fine with Pinnacle software but no lossless option in that software.
I don't know why it worked before? maybe I had some directshow codecs installed back then which I don't remember what they were.
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07-14-2019, 03:37 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Do you mean by uncompressed/compressed lossless/lossy? Because lossless can be compressed as you already know in the case of HuffYUV.
Compressed in this case is that the capture card/device has a chip that encodes the video to some compressed format (typically mpeg2 or DV) and what a program will get from it when capturing is the encoded stream. This as opposed the application uncomressed raw video which the capture application can then encode to something, e.g a lossless codec. Some cards are capable of both.

Having a dedicated encoding chip was useful when computers were slow and disk space was low, as it offloaded the work from the CPU and made it easy to capture in real time and timeshift etc (nvidia even made some with LSI encoder chips!).

Even further back, when DVD was new, dedicated cards to decode DVD video were used a fair bit as well as the CPU would be to slow.
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07-14-2019, 03:44 PM
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I have a 500-usb, the only downside in VirtualDub when using it lossless is the autoswitch for Input selector doesn't work all the time.

You can either set the Crossbar from within the Pinnacle software and stop it then start using VirtualDub (it will remember the last Input selected until reboot) or use the standalone "Crossbar Thingy" together with VirtualDub to switch the Input to S-Video or Composite.
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07-14-2019, 05:32 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
I have a 500-usb, the only downside in VirtualDub when using it lossless is the autoswitch for Input selector doesn't work all the time.

You can either set the Crossbar from within the Pinnacle software and stop it then start using VirtualDub (it will remember the last Input selected until reboot) or use the standalone "Crossbar Thingy" together with VirtualDub to switch the Input to S-Video or Composite.
Yes I actually tried that few months ago and it worked, I just had to uninstall Pinnacle software, whenever it's running my laptop CPU fan goes nuts. What's the "Crossbar Thingy"?
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07-14-2019, 09:24 PM
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LordSmurf has it uploaded to this link "Crossbar Thingy"
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07-15-2019, 02:13 PM
themaster1 themaster1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
In particular a few very choice ones offered [both] Uncompressed or Compressed capture with all sort of advanced filter control panels never seen in other gear for things like Ultra-lock and Time base correction, auto level enable disable and softness/sharpness filters.
I'm dubitative on these Ultra lock/TBC functions but i'd be highly interested to know if you can disable AGC on windows 7-8-10. I got an old pci capture and agc is always enabled on win 7 (which force me to use XP.. can't stand Xp anymore)
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07-16-2019, 08:05 AM
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I will fish out a screenshot of the feature on an old ViXS card.

What I recall is it gives you auto or manual control, which I interpret as having the ability to shut it off. Manual has like four levels of AGC control (if I'm recalling correctly).

Last edited by jwillis84; 07-16-2019 at 08:16 AM.
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07-16-2019, 01:53 PM
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Well I'm pretty much lost in all the option menus I've looked at so far..

These come from a single card from 2005 or 2006, that has the same chip and chipset used in the Tivo HD

These were mentioned several times as competitors to the ATI 550 card which was known to have an AGC problem.

Extracted the graph used by the Arcsoft software that was bundled with the card, then registered the filters manually and recreated the capture program in graphedit to capture, render and save the stream to a file. It saves PS, TS and ES streams.. well the original capture program didn't but after exposing these controls.. it does now.

And it did of course offer the raw Uncompressed stream.. so many of the control panel items apply to that stream type as well.

I'm not sure why exactly the cards seemed to get more and more features, but they hid more and more of the features as time went on... its overwhelming sure, but didn't they want to show case their products capabilities?

Unlike the Tivo.. this card and its successors all had S-Video and Audio capture build in.


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Last edited by jwillis84; 07-16-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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  #12  
07-16-2019, 03:06 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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3D comb filter? What A/D chip does it have?

Most A/D chips and encoder chips have tons of settings, but unfortunately windows drivers, especially the modern ones, rarely expose them. For cards supported on linux you can often adjust a ton of stuff through communicating with the chips directly.
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07-16-2019, 09:24 PM
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Philips SAA7136E

somewhat similar to the Philips SAA7134

but the 7136 was designed five years later to be 10 bit not 8 bit video and was compatible with Win7

Last edited by jwillis84; 07-16-2019 at 09:46 PM.
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