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  #1  
08-22-2012, 10:10 PM
AlpineRocket AlpineRocket is offline
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Hello,

I've been at this for three years. starting with low-end plug&play, VCR/DVD combo, then I moved up to stand alone VCR to Canopus ADVC 300 to iMovie import.

The last one was obviously the best of the three, but I just know I can do better, and I'm willing to invest a decent chunk ($2000-4000), depending on how comfortable I can get prior to purchase.

Couple of items of note:

* These remain personal tapes. I'm not trying to make any money here, just get all this great footage stored in digital form retaining the best quality reasonably possible.

* I noticed that at least for the ADVC 300, they stopped providing updates for MacOS since Lion came along, meaning I have to have a separate Snow Leopard partition just for its use these days

* I'm realizing that the biggest deficiency so far has been my use of modern, low cost VCRs - I'm willing to invest - are their truly no high quality new options?

* My current setup is a 4 year old Mac Pro, quad xeon, 16GB RAM.

What can I go put together that will last and do a great job. As I think about this, there really seem to be likely 4 levels: Entry level plug 'n play ($50 bucks with an old vcr), next level (what I used with the canopus with my Mac, what I think I'm looking for now, and some crazy, studio level option with a price tag of a new car.

Can y'all help?

Best,

-Ben-
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  #2  
08-23-2012, 09:15 AM
AlpineRocket AlpineRocket is offline
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Worth noting - Obviously I don't need to spend this much - just willing - as I've read other threads on the topic, some are a bit dated or shopping lists are 2-3 years old. Wasn't sure if there is new information out there. Thx
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  #3  
08-23-2012, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
I've been at this for three years. starting with low-end plug&play, VCR/DVD combo,
That's pretty much the lowest/worst method, and it's good to see you realized this eventually.

Quote:
then I moved up to stand alone VCR to Canopus ADVC 300 to iMovie import.
Macs are great for certain workflows -- I use an OS X 10.6 Mac Mini daily, and have used Apple hardware off and on since the Apple IIe days -- but they make for terrible video capturing machines. In fact, Macs are pretty much universally weak in all areas of video, which is why they fell out of favor with professionals and hobbyists alike about a decade ago. When you're working with a Mac, you're pretty much confined to using DV and HDV workflows. ProRes422 and DNxHD made editing decent, but both are still lossy compression formats.

The Canopus ADVC DV boxes (including the 300 model) are one of the only real options. You also have Matrox MXO2 cards and Elgato cards that work well. Blackmagic Designs has some higher end cards, but they tend to be fussy on older hardware, and just more fussy in general versus the others I've mentioned, on Apple computers.

Quote:
The last one was obviously the best of the three, but I just know I can do better, and I'm willing to invest a decent chunk ($2000-4000), depending on how comfortable I can get prior to purchase.
Get a good VCR: VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for best video capturing
Get a good separate TBC: What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes

Do you already have these?

Quote:
they stopped providing updates for MacOS since Lion came along, meaning I have to have a separate Snow Leopard partition just for its use these days
Video hardware tends to be very specialized, and very integrated into the function of the OS. As time goes on, better hardware has NOT come out, yet the OS versions change -- often with unwanted consequences. OS X 10.7 Lion broke Macs the way Windows Vista/7 broke Windows. There's a reason videographers have Windows XP installed, and not Vista or 7. The same was actually true of 10.6 Snow Leopard when it came out, as some hardware and software quit working after 10.4 -- but the 10.7 upgrade was far worse.

Quote:
are their truly no high quality new options?
No. You'll need to find one of the many quality pre-owned units that are frequently for sale, including in this very forum.
See here: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/marketplace/

Quote:
next level (what I used with the canopus with my Mac
Unfortunately, Macs are a limiting factor here. A true "upgrade" would require Windows -- either XP or 7, depending on the hardware. Steve Jobs chose to run a walled garden platform, and this was one of the consequences of doing so. For many years, videographers, photographers, and print creatives jumped ship because of lagging functionality readily available on Windows platform tools. While they've made great inroads to bring back the general consumer, little headway has been made in bringing professionals back into the fold.

Quote:
some crazy, studio level option with a price tag of a new car.
Think mortgage pricing -- 6 figures and up. This kind of hardware is very niche/specialty, and is not something you stick into a computer, either. In fact, sometimes computers plug into it. These are hardware appliances that get racked like servers, and add the complexities of networking on top of all the videography knowledge required to operate them once installed.

Quote:
Worth noting - Obviously I don't need to spend this much - just willing - as I've read other threads on the topic, some are a bit dated or shopping lists are 2-3 years old. Wasn't sure if there is new information out there. Thx
It's good to have a sensible budget, though I don't think you'll need to invest quite that much given the options available. The world of analog video capture has changed very little since around 2006. Hardware started to slowly end development over a two-year period starting in late 2005 and ending in late 2007 -- exact dates really depend on the exact software or hardware being questioned..

Also...

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  #4  
08-23-2012, 10:24 AM
AlpineRocket AlpineRocket is offline
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Sincere thanks, me-lord.

Okay, I now have information I failed to stumble upon in the past. That being the mac inferiority. I count myself among the zombie masses who just assumed Macs were superior in all in ways (but knew deep down likely not the case).

So...I'm up for augmenting my home compute with a Windows box. I'll revise a few questions:

* Stay with XP or go ahead with 7?
* Horsepower? I imagine a decent amount of processing is worthwhile, or is that more dependent on the editing function?
* On that note, can I still edit with iMovie or Final Cut once I have the video imported or should I do editing through windows as well?
* Further on that note, if your answer is stay with Windows, what's a good intuitive program?
* Apologies - I know there's plenty in previous threads, but now that we have momentum and you know where I stand, what should I go get regarding capture device hardware (after I get windows up and running)?

I'l start my VCR shopping and look forward to future input. I'm excited to at least have a very clear direction.
Cheers,

-bh-

lordsmurf?
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  #5  
08-25-2012, 06:58 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlpineRocket View Post
I count myself among the zombie masses who just assumed Macs were superior in all in ways (but knew deep down likely not the case).
This morning I was reading one of last month's issues of Business Week, and there was a small mini-article (a note, really) pointing out how Apple has removed the long-bogus stance on being immune to malware. This exact test used to exist on the Apple.com site: "A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers." Earlier this year, at least 600,000 Macs were infected with a new breed of Malware. Apple makes great computers, that excel at many tasks -- I really like them for digital asset management (organizing digital graphics and photos) -- but they're too prone to cult-like nonsense.

Quote:
* Stay with XP or go ahead with 7?
It depends entirely on the workflow. The workflow includes the capture device. And in most cases, higher-end capture hardware prefers Windows XP over Windows Vista or Windows 7. But it differs based on specific device.

Quote:
* Horsepower? I imagine a decent amount of processing is worthwhile, or is that more dependent on the editing function?
The only thing that horsepower (CPU) really affects is encoding time on exported video. MPEG-2 isn't really that needy -- certainly not for any modern dual-core or quad-core CPU. Even older single-core CPUs are not sputtering and wheezing. H.264, however, is another story. That takes maybe 10x (rough guess, probably wrong) the CPU power as MPEG-2. I've honestly never taken time to compare it, though I encode both formats nearly daily.

I have several dual-core and quad-core systems running Windows XP 32-bit with 4GB of RAM (registers as 3GB to 3.5GB in XP, depending on several factors). RAM isn't much of a factor past 2GB, for video work -- excluding editing that involves lots of imported assets (photos, graphics, music files, rendered CG artwork). I have either 8GB or 16GB in my Mac, too, and at least half of it sits idle at all times, excluding heavy Photoshop projects (where I've also tweaked it to use an insane amount of RAM).

Quote:
* On that note, can I still edit with iMovie or Final Cut once I have the video imported or should I do editing through windows as well?
Yes you can. All you'll want to do is install Perian, which adds the Huffyuv lossless codec for decoding purposes. You'll then be able to encode into ProRes422 if you need to create multiple intermediaries. Or just edit one, and export to the final format (Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, etc).

Quote:
* Further on that note, if your answer is stay with Windows, what's a good intuitive program?
For... ?

Quote:
* Apologies - I know there's plenty in previous threads, but now that we have momentum and you know where I stand, what should I go get regarding capture device hardware (after I get windows up and running)?
Not an issue. Search the forum, browse the forum -- and the main site, too! -- read, comprehend, and ask questions here when confused or in need of further guidance. The topic of video isn't easy, and this site has grown so large that it's lost a bit of organization (something we're still working on), but rest assured we'll help you understand it.

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