Help needed with AVerMedia video capture card

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Joel Stein, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Joel Stein

    Joel Stein Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got AVerMedia DVD EZMaker PCI, with NeoDVD Standard 4 and can't get it to work right. Captured video seems to be missing frames, so the result plays all choppy and fast.

    When I fire up NeoDVD, I get the message "The DMA of one or all drive(s) may not be enabled..." etc. I'm guessing this might be the source of the problem. So I follow the directions in NeoDVD Help, go through Device Manager and have the following (as I am computer ignorant, I have no idea what the hell this all means):

    Primary IDE Channel properties:
    Device 0
    Transfer Mode "DMA mode if available"
    Current transfer mode "PIO Mode" (no other option available)

    Device 1
    Transfer Mode "DMA mode if available"
    Current transfer mode "Not Applicable"


    Secondary IDE Channel properties:
    Device 0
    Transfer Mode "DMA mode if available"
    Current transfer mode "Multi-Word DMA Mode 2"

    Device 1
    Transfer Mode "DMA mode if available"
    Current transfer mode "Not Applicable"


    My computer runs XP Pro, w/ AMD Duron processor, 797 MHz, 368 MB RAM. That's about all I can tell you about my system...I don't know much about computers, mine was assembled for me by a computer-knowledgeable guy who I unfortunately am no longer in contact with.

    Any suggestions? Are some settings wrong? Can my system simply not handle it? If you need more information, I can try and provide it. But as I said above, I'm a computer dodo.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    CJ
    i've never used the program you're using, but there is a good chance your computer can not handle the task, especially if you are trying to capture at a high bitrate. browse around the options for the program and look for capture settings, see what format and bitrate you are capturing at.

    CJ
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Short primer on video capture: the capture card grabs frames, about 30 times a second. That's a lot of data, and the hard drive has to keep up. If there is no video compression, then no extra work has to be done, and as long as the drive is fast enough, it will work fine. Two problems: (1) many hard drives aren't that fast; and (2) the resulting files would be huge.

    So the CPU or some dedicated video hardware has to spend some time compressing the image. Again, it has to keep up. The faster the CPU or the better the video hardware, the more (or better) compression can be applied.

    If it can't compress a frame before the next frame comes up, you drop a frame. If the resulting compressed frame is still too large for the hard drive to keep up, you drop a frame.

    Now onto your problem. If I had to guess: is your hard drive. You have no other drives.

    The odd thing is that the would put the CD-ROM on the Primary IDE Channel; most builders put it on the Secondary. CD-ROM drives can do DMA; so if for some reason the hard drive is in PIO mode, then that's what that message was complaining about (and they're right -- it's bad).

    One way to check:
    1. Go back to the Device Manager.
    2. Go to the View menu, and choose Devices by connection.
    3. Select the root of the tree -- the thing on the top left, the icon looks like a computer, it has the name of your computer, if you know what that is. It may be selected already.
    4. Hit the * key on the numeric keypad (top right of the keyboard). This should expand all the nodes on the tree.
    5. Start typing out "primary ide channel", without the quotes: P then R then I, and so on. That does a search.[/list=1]With any luck, those first three letters will take you right to it. There should be just one item underneath it, indented one level. You may be able to tell from the icon or name whether it is a CD or hard drive. If not, you can double-click it (or right-click and choose Properties) and check the "Device type". The "Secondary IDE Channel" might be right underneath the Primary, or you can go back to the root and search.

      Which IDE channel is the hard drive connected to? What is the name of it?
     
  4. Joel Stein

    Joel Stein Stunt Coordinator

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    CJ and Ken,

    Thanks for your responses.

    Available formats are MPEG-1, MPEG-2, VCD and DVD-Video. As I hope to burn to dvd once the bugs are worked out, I tried MPEG-2 and DVD-Video. (From what I understand, those two formats are preferable for dvd burning. However, it remains unclear to me the pros and cons of one over the other...any info about that would be appreciated, too! [​IMG] ) Anyway, both formats resulted in identical frame dropping.

    I could not find specific bitrate info. The software offers three quality settings-- "Good", "Better", and "Best". My earlier attempts were "Best" quality. I just tried the others, and skipping was reduced with "Better" and almost completely eliminated at "Good"...Still a little stutter here and there. (Ironic...of the three settings, "Best" is worst.) But I'd like to be able to capture at "Best" if possible, as the frames that were captured do look better than at "Good" level.

    Hard drive (Maxtor 32049H2) is connected to the Primary IDE channel.OK...As I have no idea what that's all about, I'll take your word for it that it's bad...what can I do about this problem, then?

    DVD drive (ATAPI DVD DD 2X16X4X16) is connected to the Secondary IDE channel.

    Thanks for your help.
    Joel
     
  5. Joel Stein

    Joel Stein Stunt Coordinator

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    One more thing...If my computer simply can't handle the task, would getting a new processor do the trick? Or is it more involved than that? (New motherboard, new hard drive, new monitor[​IMG] etc. etc. etc.)
     
  6. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    DVD supports only a few specific configurations of MPEG-2. For example, HDTV also uses MPEG-2, but a totally different set of configurations; you can't mix them. Since you want to make DVDs, you should use the DVD-Video settings, which will create MPEG-2 files that you can use directly, and not have to re-encode them.

    The Best quality setting produces the largest files, so it would stutter more. Once you fix the PIO problem, the hard drive should have no problem with Best. In fact, your computer should work better across the board.
     
  7. Joel Stein

    Joel Stein Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I'm back.

    After reading the article, I could indeed enable DMA mode using the device manager. However, I didn't get "Ultra DMA Mode 5"...I got "Multi-Word DMA Mode 2." I tried capturing again-- "Good" and "Better" are now skip-free, but "Best" still skips.

    I went into BIOS settings and didn't see anything there to enable DMA.

    I then opened the box up and replaced my 40 C cable with an 80 C cable. (The new cable's packaging says it's ATA 133 rather than ATA 100; that's OK, right?) The new cable made no discernable difference-- I'm still on "Multi-Word DMA Mode 2" and "Best" still skips.

    I gather it would be best if I could somehow step up to DMA Mode 5 from Mode 2...how, if even possible, do I do this? Or any other ideas on what I could do now to improve performance?

    Thanks,
    Joel
     

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