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  #1  
03-01-2010, 07:28 AM
Whuntmore Whuntmore is offline
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Lordsmurf,
I've gotten to the point where posting and asking everyone to put in their two cents is overload. Too many opinions, with too many suggestions. There's just too much stuff out there for me to afford trying them all out, or to find the time to test them all.

XP home SP2)

2.4 gig dual core, 4 gig ram, a JVC HR-S9911-U, a Canopus ADVC-300)

I'm converting Home Movies from VHS (NTSC) to dvd, and not a computer movie file (like divx, or mov...) I'm not stealing, or ripping off any movies. This is all my own recordings - Home Movies/videos.

So far, my hardware is pretty decent. as you've posted, you think it's software that's my possible problem.

So my question is: If you had to choose one software for me (I don't care if it's Mac or Win) what would you suggest for me? (other than Virtual Dub)

I need something that's reasonably priced (maybe under $4OO?) That I can select bitrate, size, codec, that has a decent learning curve (This I'm flexible on) and will capture, edit, (maybe be able to add chapters and/or a splash page?) and render interlaced footage directly to DVD - Without converting it to progressive, or re-rendering it as it's burning to DVD (like iMovie does?)

Or maybe also be flexible enough to convert to Divx if it's something I can just render as a computer file movie.

Can you suggest something decent? (I can't select some options with Final Cut Express, iMovie, etc.)

Should I even bother to be doing this, or should I just convert them all to some form of progressive computer movie files?

I just want something that will produce good results. I want to be able to save my home videos in good quality that can be watched. I also would like to do these myself. My family has some VCR tapes that they want me to do, but I'm having problems here.

I've read most of what you've posted on your site, and I can't figure out what you would consider as really good consumer software, or even Pro-sumer software.
Can you help me out?
Thanks,


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  #2  
03-02-2010, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Lordsmurf,
I've gotten to the point where posting and asking everyone to put in their two cents is overload. Too many opinions, with too many suggestions. There's just too much stuff out there for me to afford trying them all out, or to find the time to test them all.
That's a very common issue! While this site may be smaller than some of the mega-sized sites on this topic, we try to give more detailed advice, one-on-one, step-by-step. We won't just vomit random info in your direction and leave you hanging.

So let's see what I can do for you...

Quote:
So far, here's what I have: iMac (running Leopard,
Mac is not capture-friendly, but it's workable. It will take some trial time with software, but I'll make it as painless as possible.

Quote:
and XP home SP2)
Windows XP is the most video-friendly OS out there, so this is a wise choice. From our past conversations, I know you're not one of those boneheaded Mac fanboys, and this will serve you well. I'm also platform agnostic -- computers are just tools.

Quote:
2.4 gig dual core, 4 gig ram, a JVC HR-S9911-U, a Canopus ADVC-300)
Good CPU
Good RAM
Good VCR
Not-so-awesome capture box, but it works. Turn noise reduction down or off.

Quote:
I'm converting Home Movies from VHS (NTSC) to dvd, and not a computer movie file (like divx, or mov...) I'm not stealing, or ripping off any movies. This is all my own recordings - Home Movies/videos.
VHS to DVD, check.

Quote:
So far, my hardware is pretty decent. as you've posted, you think it's software that's my possible problem.
Yep.

Quote:
So my question is: If you had to choose one software for me (I don't care if it's Mac or Win) what would you suggest for me? (other than Virtual Dub)
You have a DV input box. Whatever you choose should handle DV. On Windows machines, I'd look at WinDV.

Since you're on a Mac, let's find a Mac tool. I don't have Avid Free DV Mac anymore, sadly. (In fact, I just got lost making another post, because I did have the Windows version of Avid Free DV archived!!!)

I could suggest any number of things, to be honest. Final Cut Express for Mac OS X is a good safe option -- for capturing, some editing and output to DVD. It doesn't do much for restoring, but it works for the basics.

I hesitate to suggest anything for Windows, because I'm not so sure Windows can see the Firewire port (virtual device?), or if it can quickly enough pass the DV file without bottlenecking and the dropped frames that would cause. I've not worked this exact scenario before.

Quote:
I need something that's reasonably priced (maybe under $4OO?) That I can select bitrate, size, codec, that has a decent learning curve (This I'm flexible on) and will capture, edit, (maybe be able to add chapters and/or a splash page?) and render interlaced footage directly to DVD - Without converting it to progressive, or re-rendering it as it's burning to DVD (like iMovie does?)
I think I'm still looking at Final Cut Express for this.

Quote:
Or maybe also be flexible enough to convert to Divx if it's something I can just render as a computer file movie.
While you can inevitably find software tools for Mac, to convert to MPEG-4 video types (Xvid, Divx, WMV, H.264, etc) -- they really, really suck at it. Even the commercial software like Sorenson Squeeze is craptastic compared to any number of Windows tools, even the free ones.

Quote:
Can you suggest something decent? (I can't select some options with Final Cut Express, iMovie, etc.)
Explain.

Quote:
Should I even bother to be doing this, or should I just convert them all to some form of progressive computer movie files?
Just to be sure I'm perfectly clear on this... NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

You don't want to butcher perfectly good VHS tapes, by ruining the interlacing before archiving to DVD. Only under certain restoration techniques would you ever convert interlaced video to progressive.

At most, you can make ANOTHER COPY for a web version, as the web version would need to be progressive, and usually lower quality than the archived DVD version. Filtered more, too, to clean up streaming-unfriendly noise. But I don't think you'll be doing much of this anyway, judging from what you've written to date.

Quote:
I just want something that will produce good results. I want to be able to save my home videos in good quality that can be watched. I also would like to do these myself. My family has some VCR tapes that they want me to do, but I'm having problems here.
Maybe we can help solve this for you.

Quote:
I've read most of what you've posted on your site, and I can't figure out what you would consider as really good consumer software, or even Pro-sumer software.
Can you help me out?
Thanks,
Hopefully this post will clear up some things for you.

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  #3  
03-03-2010, 12:42 PM
Whuntmore Whuntmore is offline
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Ok, so you don't prefer the capture box I have, what would you recommend (running under windows? Hauppauge? ATI? anything under a few hundred dollars? I Should consider something either firewire, or USB.
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  #4  
03-03-2010, 07:52 PM
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While the Canopus boxes are over-marketed and over-hyped, especially the ADVC300, the box will work for basic DV capture. It can convert an incoming signal to a DV AVI (or DV Quicktime), for use in editing applications. Since you already have the box, just move forward with using it. For now, at least. No need to buy anything different right now.

On a related note...

I know you had some concerns that the information suggested above was "commercial" in nature. I assure you, that's not at all the case. While it is true that many of our posts have affiliate links to software (when such an program is available AND we have partnered with them), the advice would be the same with or without links. For years this site suggested hardware and software, never earning anything from that advice -- which isn't fair, nor good for site finances.

We still suggest lots of freeware, and even have some for download here in the forums.

Also keep this in mind: A product like Final Cut Express earns maybe $5 in commission. However, there are MANY crappy Chinese software programmers offering a $20-30 commission on their junkware. If this site were in it for the money, FCE would clearly not be the best product to suggest! A lot of those "Top 10" sites you see online are offering that kind of crap, with the #1 rated product simply being the one that brings them the most $$$$.

Back to FCE and/or Windows capturing ...

If Apple offered a trial for Final Cut Express, that would have been mentioned in the last post. (Now if you want to talk about a company only interested in profit ...!) If you can run something under Windows XP, look to use WinDV to capture your video. It's freeware.

And then for editing, it comes back to a good editor. If you really want to look at freeware, try Avid Free DV. There's a not post with a free download of Avid Free DV 1.6.1 for Windows. On that same page is links to some other suggested consumer NLE's, like Adobe Premiere Elements or Sony Vegas Studio.

Hope that helps..

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  #5  
03-04-2010, 10:24 AM
Whuntmore Whuntmore is offline
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Quote:
Can you suggest something decent? (I can't select some options with Final Cut Express, iMovie, etc.)


LordSmurf says: Explain.

I can't select/choose bitrate, capture type (mpeg2 or AVI) or any other option in Final Cut Express that has been mentioned to improve quality.

Also, if I am to stick with Mac, I need a dvd program - better then iDVD. iDVD re-encodes the footage, and I get macroblocks in the final result. I know you can't get iDVD Pro without getting FCP, and that's $900+. I don't think I can get from FCX to a img file, and I would like to use some kind of program so I can burn to a DVD with chapters and splash page.

I'd still consider running everything over on the Win side.

Also, when I ask for suggestions, I understand why you wouldn't want to actually suggest anything. Some would come back and say,"hey, that didn't work for me!"

As far as asking for suggestions, what I'm asking for is a shortcut in research here. I know I have to make the final decision, and it's mine to make, but if you suggested some ideas to what could be good in (a good software package, DVD authorizing, etc.), and maybe suggest like 4-6 possibles, then I could focus reading up on those.

Freeware, or something paid, I don't care, as long as I can put out a good DVD from a VCR tape.

Last edited by Whuntmore; 03-04-2010 at 10:26 AM. Reason: added
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  #6  
03-04-2010, 09:08 PM
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A shortcut, eh? Well how about this: I'll tell you some of the methods I would possibly use, and then you can chew on that info a bit.

#1 --- Mac, basic DV workflow. Input camera or DV converter box via Firewire. Record into Final Cut Pro, export to MPEG-2 with custom settings. Author in DVD Studio Pro.

#2 --- Windows, basic DV workflow. Input camera or DV box, use WinDV. Import in editor (Premiere) or restore (VirtualDub), encode out with an MPEG encoder. TMPGEnc Plus would work if not using Premiere. Author DVDWS2.

#3 --- Windows, restoration workflow. Use capture card capable of lossless or uncompressed AVI (maybe I-frame high bitrate MPEG-2), like the ATI All In Wonder cards or the Blackmagic cards, filter in VirtualDub, re-export for edit in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 or CS4, export as MPEG-2 for DVD. Author in Ulead DVD Workshop 2.

#4 --- Windows, non-restore conversion workflow. Use capture card capable of MPEG-2 in high quality, such as ATI AIW, Hauppauge PVR250, or Matrox NLE card, encode to DVD-Video spec MPEG-2, author in Ulead DVD Workshop 2.

#5 --- Non-computer, non-restore or light-restore conversion, use LSI chipset DVD recorder (or Toshiba XS), record to MPEG-2. Pull into Windows computer via DVD Decrypter, editing in Womble MPEG editors, author in DVDWS. For Mac, use Yadex to rip and MPEG Streamclip to edit, author in DVD Studio Pro.

Now admittedly, some of the programs mentioned costs a few bucks! Premiere, DVD Studio Pro and Final Cut Pro being the big nasty ones.

However, the others in use are much cheap:
Software like Premiere and Final Cut has consumer versions, but they often skimp on options. For example, DV input only for many. Some act as the authoring software too.

When you have a DV box, all it does is DV. It can't be used to capture MPEG-2 or lossless/uncompressed AVI. For that type of capturing, you need another card.

For Mac, you may want to research the Elgato cards, which come highly recommended from so folks that also do decent video work. I've not had a chance to use them, being without a Mac these days. Although advertised mostly as a "TV PVR" type card, it is capable of far more quality video functionality. The details, however, I"m not 100% familiar with. (What I did know, I have forgotten in recent years.)

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  #7  
03-08-2010, 02:10 PM
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great info, thanks, and I'm researching it all.

As for a windows capture card, I would prefer something that plugs in USB or Firewire, as I'm running Windows on my iMac, so I can't put in any PCI, AGP, PCI-E cards of any kind.

Any USB cards out there that compare to what you're suggesting?

I do have a home built windows computer, but it's really old and running a Socket A motherboard (K7N2 delta 2, AMD 2600+ Barton core running at 2.08 gig, 1 gig Ram) so it's not that fast. It runs a AGP video card, and the rest of the card slots are PCI.

I have an older Avermedia card, where I can set size, and (I think) bitrate. It captures in MPEG 2.
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  #8  
03-08-2010, 02:30 PM
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the Avermedia can capture in:

240x180,
320x240,
352x240,
640x480 and
720x480

I can select any bitrate (above 9000 kbps).
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  #9  
03-09-2010, 10:29 AM
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Are you running Windows as a BootCamp install, or inside a virtual machine, like VMWare Fusion or Parallels?

I don't recall if Bootcamp had a virtualization layer, or if it was a "dual boot" where Windows had direct access to all the hardware.

Given all data so far, and assuming it's a Bootcamp "direct access" Windows install, then I'd take a serious look at the ATI 600 USB2 card: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B00138EOH8

Yes, it's labeled a "TV tuner" card.
Yes, it only shows a coaxial "screw in" connection in the photos.
Ignore that.

The card is a fully functional capture card, and it comes with a break-out bundle for s-video or composite input (+audio RCA), connected to a slot on the stick. It also includes a USB extension, in case you can't put the stick directly into the laptop.

It captures lossless HuffYUV AVI beautifully in VirtualDub, and it records MPEG-2 nicely in ATI Catalyst.

I still prefer the older ATI AIW AGP Radeon internal desktop cards, but this makes for a good second choice. Or for a laptop, the ONLY choice. I take this one on the road, just in case I need to capture on-location.

That AMD system you have would work perfectly for an ATI All In Wonder Radeon AGP card, just FYI. The two dedicated ATI capture boxes on this desk I'm sitting at are ~3Ghz systems, one an Intel with 1GB RAM, the other an AMD with 1.5GB RAM. Those computers are not slow/old for standard definition video work, not at all!

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  #10  
03-09-2010, 10:52 AM
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Yes, I'm running Windows XP SP2 on bootcamp - It's a dual boot and has access to all the hardware. It's not a virtualization layer.

this computer isn't a laptop.

I've heard about the AIW cards, but I thought it was old tech. I'll research that.

I'll look into that ATI 600. See if I can get it locally.


Thanks for the advice, I'll see what happens.
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  #11  
03-09-2010, 11:00 AM
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"Old tech" is relative. There's been no changes to standard definition video hardware for several years now. Your sources are "old tech too", being VHS tapes from probably a decade or more ago.

The best capture devices were made from 2001-2006 ...
.... while most gear made in 2007-2010 was low budget and junky. Recent SD stuff tends to be aimed at basic TV recording, often with limited options for recording, both in hardware and software.

The ATI 600 is from 2008-2009, I doubt you'd find it local. The 650 replaced it, but I know the 600 works. The 650 is not the exact same hardware. The 600 is one of the few items I've seen in recent years that isn't buggy/limited crap.

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  #12  
03-09-2010, 03:44 PM
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interesting... Here I thought a AIW card would be old tech, and replaced by newer, better chipsets. ok...

So isn't an AIW card both a video card, and a capture card?

back then I researched, and it came up a dedicated capture card would require less resources, then a card providing both video and capture, I figured it would be better to not capture with your vid card.

Yeah, I'm aware of VHS are old source, but they are the only copies of friends/family I have. Considering some were made as early as 1989, They were the only source of recording I had at my disposal back then. There were no Digital cameras then (not that I've ever heard of), or pocket recorders. My friend had financed a large VHS camcorder then (thing weighed like 4-6 lbs, and sat on your shoulder).

So most of the recordings were made with this camera, starting in 1989. I also have some Hi-8 camera tapes, but they don't make up the bulk of the tapes I have. I'm just trying to save them, before they deteriorate.

Alot of them are still in very viewable shape. Kept them dry, outta humid places, on their side, rewound, and in the sleeves they came in. That's probably what saved them this long.
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03-09-2010, 04:15 PM
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I have an old ATI Radeon 8500 (64M) card, but I don't think it's a all in wonder. it has no inputs, just an S-Video out, Crt out, and digital out (DVI)

I think I also Have an older Ti-4200 (MSI) card, it was a 128M card. Just outputs on that as well...
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03-15-2010, 05:57 PM
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It's amazing how one little project snafu can back you up a whole week. Hence the near-MIA here lately.

The ATI All In Wonder is both a graphics card and a video capture card, correct. It runs data across the AGP bus.

There's a lot of misinformation online. (I'd love to say "back then", but there's still a lot of BS online in 2010, too.) The merged-function card didn't really add any extra resource use to your computer. In fact, AGP ran with lower overhead than a PCI card did. The confusion came when you had a slower computer (sub-2Ghz), and saw the CPU bottlenecking. ATI uses hybrid hardware+software encoding, by way of the ATI MMC application. A small yet complex portion of the encoding was offloaded by the onboard Theatre chipset before being fed to ATI MMC. Slow and crappy systems would still drop frames -- as they would with almost any card that did not do fully-internalized hardware encoding (like the Hauppage PVR series, or a DV box). Adding to this confusion were people using crappy default ATI MMC settings, which deinterlaced video on the fly, make it not only look bad, but added to the resource usage. (BAD ATI PROGRAMMERS, BAD!) However, those fully-hardware cards didn't come without their own baggage, be it softness or audio issues from Hauppauge MPEG chipsets, or the inherent limits of DV compression in a Canopus box.

VHS tapes stored in a typical home/office environment should last 30-65 years. It would take outdoor storage and greenhouse conditions to kill a tape in 10-20 years. The worst thing that can happen to a tape is to be played. Time isn't the enemy, the hungry tape-eating VCR/camera is! So even 1989 isn't all that bad, the tapes are relatively young in their life cycle. I still have the family camera from the 80s -- it feels like you're lifting weights!

Your ATI Radeon card does not sound to be an All In Wonder card. Look for a chip on it that says Rage Theatre or Theatre 200 -- a chip found on ALL of the AIW cards.

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  #15  
03-16-2010, 07:01 PM
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It has that chipset on it, I just don't see the typical "inputs" for a AIW card. I've posted pics of the actual card I'm speaking about:

http://s636.photobucket.com/albums/u...ntmore/Videos/

Three views of the card. BTW, those are blue stick on heat sinks on the card (just in case you didn't know - lolol)
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