8 months in the world of vcds

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ryan Ab, Apr 27, 2003.

  1. Ryan Ab

    Ryan Ab Extra

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    I wanted to get some opinions of what others think about vcds and the like.

    My experiment I deem a failure. I bought a video capture card, a bigger hard drive, downloaded the software, camped out over at vcdhelp.com (dvdrhelp.com), and put my computer to work. My computer, a sub pentium, could not handle the restraints of svcd, so I was limited to cvds and (x)vcds. The capture, encoding , and burning of which, for a 1:45 minute movie might take (me) 24+ hours of actual computing time. And my higher res cvds, do to computer or, perhaps, my dvd player, never impressed me. I don't have a dvd rom or high speed internet, so divx and dvd rips never tempted me.

    Anyway, all the time I spent never got me much better quality than what a vcr does. I have the feeling I would have been better off investing that money in an svhs vcr to improve quality. And with stand alone dvd recorders coming down in price like the apex, or the, so I've read, new Philips which is supposed to have DD recording, I feel like i've been spinning my wheels chasing a silver platter dream.

    Anybody else in my boat?
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    You must be running a sub 300MHz Pentium 2 then, my 450MHZ plays back SVCD fine.

    My suggestion, drop $80 and get a new CPU/motherboard(you could definately get a 750MHz range for that) and move up to SVCD, there you will see a quality difference
     
  3. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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    Agreed. The VCD project is a failure, but the SVCD can still be a success. SVCD is where the quality kicks in. Unfortunately, I can't play them in the DVD player in my living room, only in my bedroom DVD player which is JVC and my desktop. They take a quite few hours to make, but I think they're worth it. I'd definitely try to upgrade so you'll be able to make them.
     
  4. BlakeN

    BlakeN Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I dont know exactly where to begin with this.



    Does this mean you have a 486? or just something sub pentium 4 .. well what exactly do you have I guess.

    What exactly are you trying to record? Im guessing home movies since your using a capture card and no one here would dare ask for help with infringing on copywrites.

    The most important thing to remember about capturing any video is your end product will NEVER look better then the begining product. What capture card are you using? What format are you capturing too? If your card is set up to compress to low rez mpeg format your never going to get any kind of quality. VCD and SVCD are just mpeg formats that fall within a specific guidline (audio and video bit rates). The format has very little to do with the quality of your end product if you beggining file is over compressed.

    Before you try to make a vcd or svcd watch the file if it looks like crap then its always going to look like crap. If it looks good and then looks like crap when its done then your doing something wrong. Possibly trying to put 1:45 hours on 1 disk or perhaps using a bad compression utility.
     
  5. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Quoth the Abdominal Ryan:


    My understanding is that VCDs give you (essentially) the same quality as VHS. I think its true that the quality doesn't kick in till you get SVCD.

    There IS another thing to consider, though - MPEG-4/DivX (the file format, not the failed Circuit City DVD scheme). The quality is NEARLY as good as a DVD with approximately the same space as VCD. Granted, you need a fairly powerful computer to play it, but if you're trying to get a nice picture (and you don't need non-computer DVD playback), I'd say MPEG-4 is the way to go.
     
  6. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    VCD vs. VHS is kind of a wash. I would never expect it to be definitely better. On the plus side, VCD has a little bit more horizontal resolution, and none of the wavy noisy junk you typically see with VHS. On the minus side, it has half the vertical resolution, and MPEG compression artifacts, which are practically guaranteed for motion, no matter what you do.

    I've been able to get OK results for film-based material by (a) using a VCR with TBC to stabilize the picture, and then (b) doing an inverse-telecine before doing the size reduction. This way, you can use the NTSC Film rate, and get 25% more bits per frame.

    SVCD seems too bitrate-constrained: 2/3 the pixels of DVD at one quarter the bitrate. My DVD player doesn't play SVCD, so I didn't play with them too much, but I wasn't impressed by the test discs I've seen. If you want to play these discs on a regular player, then MPEG-4 is unfortunately not an option (yet).

    //Ken
     
  7. Ryan Ab

    Ryan Ab Extra

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    I'm running a 475mhz. I've had it since '99 and I'm not sure if its worth upgrading the cpu, or if I'd be better off with a new one. I was hoping when I began I could capture at 480x480 res to make svcds, but it results in too many frame losses.

    Greg*Go: have you tried the header trick on your svcds? You can trick some dvd players into thinking its playing a vcd.

    Blake N: Please give me a little credit for the time I said I'd spent. I've been using virtual dub, no filters, no preview /overlay, huffy or pic video codecs, with a cap ratio of 352x480. I've then encoded the avi to mpg1 and mpg2 with tmpgenc plus. I paid for all the software. 352x480 mpg2 is cvd, or half dvd to some, and is a viable resultion for many many dvd players. I've played with bitrates, going into the x-range, tried cbr and vbr. I never tried to fit one movie on one disc. I wanted quality. My vcds I did make, usually had a cbr of 1500 (my player won't accept much more) and about 40 minutes or so on each disc.

    And I'm not wanting to copy illegal things. I stated that in my post. Last I checked it wasn't illegal to record from satellite for home use. And I found out very quickly that its tough to copy a vhs tape I recorded and hope for high quality.

    Brian Ruth: Abdominal? I hoped not. I don't have a video out on my computer, and my whole point was to watch it on my
    tv. I've seen Divx on the Screen Savers tv show and read about it, but I didn't think it would be of use to me.

    Ken: You have some good points, especially about telecining.
    A post I read the other day that hit home to me was that vcd
    is good as long as you're watching it on less than 27" tv. After that it begins to show its resolution, and thus its lower quality.

    I asked for opinions and advice. I got it.
     
  8. Ryan Ab

    Ryan Ab Extra

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    I've been thinking about the comments recieved and I thought I'd restate my original intention of posting. With my current settup I can only make vcds with a resolution of 352x240 bitrate up to ~1600. The time involved due to my slow pc doesn't make vcds a valid option to me. I'd like something higher quality.

    should I upgrade my processor as suggested? Where are some good sites on how to upgrade and where to purchase?

    If I upgraded I could move up to svcd more efficiently, but is that a dead format as well? Upgrading the processor would allow me to buy a dvdr drive and make dvds. But is this a waste of money/time and I should be going straight to a stand alone dvd recorder?

    That was the intent of my first post. Does anyone feel like anything this side of dvd quality/res is worth the time or money?
     
  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    if you want to make DVDs, outside of a new processory (the faster the better) you're going to want an 80GB HD ($120) and some kind of DV capture device (about the cheapest that's any good is about $250+a firewire card. To get a package that specializes in DVD it's about $4-500)
     

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