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  #1  
06-19-2010, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bbartley9
Hi, just joined and have been very happy with all the great advice in these forums. Awesome site!
Glad to hear it!

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OK, I am assembling eqpt for transfer of old VHS and VHS-C tapes to a Macbook Pro for editing in FCP and then burn to DVD. Already have a good JVC VHS-C camera for VHS-C playback (has TBC/DNR built in), and also just purchased a used JVC SR-VD400U D-VHS player, new AVT-8710, and used Vidicraft VDM300S proc amp / detailer.
Using a Mac is always a challenge for analog-to-digital video conversion work. Now I have nothing against a Mac, I've been using Apple computers for at least 20 years now. But they are a niche system, built around certain workflows. When it comes to video tasks, they're best used for editing digitally-shot video tapes/cards out of your own camera. These days, that's mostly going to be DV and some of the HDV/H.264 type formats. So you have a bit of a challenge, from that angle. The hardware and software is not really made for tape-to-DVD work (tape-to-Youtube, etc).

Watch out about those VHS-C cameras -- they're evil and eat tapes. I really like my JVC S-VHS-C camera, but I've started to use the JVC-made powered VHS-C to VHS adapter inside a Panasonic AG-1980P S-VHS VCR. It's not eaten any tapes. But even if it did, I could open the deck and "un-eat" the tape. When the tape is crammed in the little VHS-C/S-VHS-C cameras, you're screwed. You'll further abuse the tape getting it out of the cams.

The D-VHS player is probably a good buy. (Note that I still don't trust VHS-C tapes in any JVC branded VCRs, pro or otherwise. Experience. Only use them for VHS/S-VHS tapes, not the compact "C" versions.)

Vidicraft detailer + proc amp unit is probably another good item you have there.

For the video hardware, you're msotly in good shape.

Quote:
So I am hopeful this will give me good control over the analog video to be captured, but I am worried about the capture quality on the Mac.
I'm replying to this as I read it. You're pretty much spot-on with the assessment, for the reasons I just gave above.

Quote:
My first attempt was with a Hauppauge HD-PVR (H.264) using its S-Video input, and I am seeing degraded color, and a glow and softness around the edges of objects in the picture. Also some slight jagged edges when there is motion in the image.
MPEG-4 is not a capture format. It's a distribution format, meant only to be used after all capturing, editing, etc.

Technically MPEG-2 is an end-user format, too -- but it can be used for capturing, intermediaries and even editing. Unlike MPEG-4, it's generally a short-GOP format. MPEG-4 (and sometimes MPEG-2 used for broadcasting) is almost always long-GOP format, making it a bad choice for captures.

Consumers often see it as an available format in many modern consumer/junky video devices, but pros would raise an eyebrow and look at you weird. This is mostly because consumers seem to be able to tolerate near-trash for video (just see most of Youtube uploads!) and is therefore given as an option. It exists mostly because consumers were dumb enough to ask/demand it be there.

Your needs are obviously more high end, given the questions and work you've done so far.

Quote:
The MP4 result looks slightly worse than the source analog video, after burning to a DVD and playing both on the same TV. Hauppauge told me this device is really not made for analog SD conversion, but rather for HD capture. So I assume the A/D HW is not the best in there (?)
Yep, you're going from compressed to more compressed.

Hauppauge is actually correct on this. (I've had run-ins with Hauppauge support, so I'm a bit surprised to see them get something right for a change.)

Quote:
Anyway, I noticed a post from last summer where you recommended to someone the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid, and I wanted to see if you have any updated opinions on that one, or any other USB capture devices (Mac-compatible), like Miglia.
No, not much changes on the video capturing front. And I say that with despair and regret -- capture cards and DVD recorders were so good 5 years ago, and were getting better. Then the DVR crowd squashed it.

The El Gato is my go-to Mac suggestion. (Buy from Amazon.)
Another runner-up would be the Blackmagic Design cards and boxes. (Buy from Amazon.)

Quote:
As another option, I also have a G4 (750 Mhz) PowerMac with open AGP slots (motherboard is circa 2000), so would you recommend I try to find an old ATI AIW card that would work in that machine, rather than pursuing USB or Firewire external options for the Macbook Pro? Getting an older Windows PC w/ XP is a possible other option (and AIW card), though I'd prefer avoiding that if possible.
I've never tried an ATI All In Wonder Radeon card in a Mac environment. I don't know that it's even possible. There's no ATI software for this (to my knowledge), so you'd probably be relegated to AVI capturing with the card.
Dual-booting the system with BootCamp is an option.
As would be adding a Windows XP system.

Quote:
I just want to make sure the capture step is not going to be the weak link, and I am willing to spend another $100-200 to get something better than the Hauppauge HD-PVR I have now. Or if more $$ is necessary to get a really good capture box, I might consider it.
I think $100-200 for a card is a good budget. I see far too many people asking for a "good card" and then only wanting to spend $25-50 on it. That doesn't really work, of course.

I think you'd best be served adding a simple Windows XP system with the ATI All In Wonder card. You can always put the box under the desk or beside the Mac. You don't need another mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc -- just use a KVM.

Quote:
Sorry this got so long, I am trying to give all the details to help in answering the question.
Brian (bbartley9)
Nope, you did the right thing giving details.


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  #2  
06-19-2010, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbartley9
One update to add: I talked to Elgato, and they recommend the EyeTV 250 plus b/c it has MPEG2 encoding HW built in (Hybrid does not). Their HD unit has H.264 encoding HW, so I'm waiting to here more from them about that unit's ability to handle SD video. I plan to do some more Hauppauge HDPVR tests with a clean SD signal, to compare capture from SVideo input to their Component input. The HD capture on component looks very good on my Macbook Pro.
The H.264 is best done after the capturing and editing anyway. Turn the video into H.264 / AVC / MPEG-4 last.

I don't know that I have a preference of MPEG-2 hardware vs hybrid encoding. Simply being hardware driven doesn't always make it superior. The Hauppauge PVR-150, 250 and 350 cards were pure MPEG-2 encoding hardware, but were visually inferior to the ATI All In Wonder cards that used a hybrid hardware/software method. I've not compared the cards, so I can't give you an affirmed yay or nay here.

Component or composite?
S-video should have less dot crawl and more accurate chroma/luma overlay, compared to composite. Sometimes it can be hard to see that in tests, as the variances can range wildly between sources. In general, stick to s-video.

Component is even more resolved that s-video (separated video), as it splits not only chroma from luma, bit splits the chrominance carriers. It's basically a "RGB" connection. It can also carry HD signals.


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  #3  
06-19-2010, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bbartley9
And one correction below, my G4 PowerMac is 1.5 GHz CPU, not 750 Mhz. And I already have an ATI Radeon 9000 AGP card (64 MB VRAM) in there, but not an AIW capture card.
Being 1.5Ghz makes capturing with it possible on the hardware side -- at least if it were a Windows based system using standard PC hardware. I just really don't know how a Mac G4 would work with a ATI All In Wonder Radeon.

I've never come across software that would allow for it. The G4 doesn't even have generic capturing abilities (i.e., VirtualDub) that I know of. It's all run through Apple software like Final Cut Pro, which I doubt would acknowledge the ATI AIW series cards.

Beyond that, are there even drivers? Can drivers be hacked? It'd be a cool experiment if you have the time and are good at hacking these sorts of things. It's above my pay grade, I can say that now. My knowledge drops off just before that level of required IT skills.

Putting in a Windows computer would be far, far easier, I'd imagine.


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  #4  
06-20-2010, 10:59 PM
bbartley9 bbartley9 is offline
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Thanks lordsmurf and admin, this is very helpful input on all counts
I also am not finding any info online regarding support of AIW card on Mac, and am not up for taking the hacking route on my old G4 machine. I am leaning toward finding a slightly older WinXP machine and buying a good ATI AIW card. Do you have a link to the ones you have for sale? Also, are there any minimum CPU/RAM and bus specs I should stay above to work well with these particular capture cards (they are mostly AGP, I think)?

Last edited by bbartley9; 06-20-2010 at 11:04 PM.
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  #5  
06-21-2010, 12:09 AM
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1. Ideally, you'd want a 2.0Ghz Intel system. Anything as low as 1.5Ghz can work, but you're better off with 2.0Ghz. Below 1.5Ghz, you may run into problems, although a poster within recent days has a good experience on his 1.0Ghz system (Win2000, 512MB RAM, Intel, 1Ghz).

2. Intel is preferred over AMD, but both can work fine.

3. You'll need a system with an AGP slot. (Yes, there are some PCI slot versions of the 7200 card, somewhat rare, but I'd suggest those only for more complex dual-boot BIOS systems that don't have AGP.)

4. At least 512MB RAM, but 1GB preferred.

Obviously this isn't anything high end -- especially not in 2010. Then again, you don't need high end for this task!

Buying a ready-made system may not be entirely possible, excluding craigslist or eBay, but buying a few individual parts is probably a better method. A couple hundred bucks at most is all I needed to build a system last month (without capture card), for a family member. It's using "old" parts, but it was an AMD 3000+ system, worked great. All somebody else's "junk" off eBay or even a few forums. New case, new hard drive, new RAM -- less than $100 for that.

A new case can be bought from Microcenter or Fry's for about $20-30, if you have one near you. Geeks is another great source, online. Best Buy and the lot want a high-priced (stupid-priced) $75-150 for cases -- ridiculous.

I may have some old AGP motherboards and CPUs that I'm willing to just give you. You'd pay for the shipping, and that's all. These were scheduled for the trash, being unnecessary equipment. I won't be access to them until late July, however, as they're not on me here.

Will PM about ATI AIW AGP Radeon card.

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06-21-2010, 12:16 AM
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I just noticed you listed your location in your profile. (Good job, that helps!)

You have a few Microcenters around you.
Find them at http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/index.html
That will help for some basic parts -- cases, RAM, hard drive. That's what I used them for.

It's good to have one of those stores near you.

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06-21-2010, 10:50 AM
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Yes, I have a Microcenter down the street, much to my wife's chagrin It comes in very handy.
Just to clarify, will it work to buy a new motherboard with an AGP slot, or is it best to locate an older motherboard from the same era of these AIW cards?
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06-21-2010, 11:47 AM
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I would suggest an AGP card from the ATI AIW era simply because I don't think you'll find much in the way of suitable options at Microcenter.

HOWEVER, a friend of mine in Kansas City got a good deal from Microcenter on an refurbished AGP system just a few months ago. So it could happen. Just not likely.

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