What should I use to capture video from VHS tapes?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Joshua Clinard, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    I have some VHS tapes I need to convert to DVD. With this is mind, I read some reviews on the Dazzle DVC 150. Some of the reviews were good, some were bad, but most of the people that had probelms seemed to be using slow PC's, and some seemed to be inexperienced. I don't fall under either of those categories. So I went ahead and purchased the product. I like this one because it captures audio and video with the same device. Most capture cards require a seperate audio card, which can cause probelms with audio snycronization. The device captures good quality video, and the audio is fine, when it works. The problem is the software keeps crashing. My PC is very fast. I have an AMD Atholon XP 2700 system with 768 DDR RAM, and a 120 GB hard drive. I am about ready to give up on this device, unless I can get it to work with another capturing program. If not, I want to try something else.

    Can someone reccoemnd a capture device, internal or external that can capture both the audio and video from a VHS tape that will work with 3rd party applications like Adobe Premiere or Sage. I don't want to spend more than 200 dollars. It doesn't need to be able to capture from everything, just VHS, and coax, so I can record satellite on my PC.
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    If you want to throw the video in Premiere you'd want to capture in a format that is 100% keyframes (i-frames). Otherwise Premiere will run slooooow. Two best bets are:

    1) Canopus external firewire capture device that captures to the DV format. Not sure of the exact model # but their site would show you. The most user friendly and includes audio inputs.

    2) An internal PCI card like the Flyvideo 2000. You'd have to wire the audio to the line-in of your sound card. Capture to lossless Huffyuv and uncompressed PCM audio. Best quality and cheaper but involves more tinkering and takes up even more HD space than DV.

    With either solution it would be nice to have at least 60-80gigs of spare hard drive space. I would recommend #1 because Huffyuv isn't really necessary for VHS.
     
  3. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Thanks. I went to the Canopus website and found the ADVC55 It looks like it will do exactly what I want. I read a review of it at simplydv.com, so it seems I will be satisfied. It's a little out of my price range, but this looks like it will make capturing so easy that I could do several hours overnight while I sleep. This means I would be able to do conversions for friends, and make some money in the process. The only drawback is there would be no way for me to watch or record TV on my PC.

    I was also looking at the ConvertXPVR and it looks like it will do what the Canopus does, only it adds the ability to record video from the satellite. Has anyone used either of these products? If so, can the plextor do what the canopus does? Will it be that easy, or will I still have to use a capturing program like I did with the Dazzle?

    Thanks.
     
  4. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Plextor's capture device got some press when it was first released but it converts to the lossly formats in hardware, meaning you're at the mercy of how powerful the innards are. Not the best solution for quality, especially for a DV editor, but it will work for people who want to record TV for playback later. And to bring it up again the files this thing captures to will not work great in an A/B track editing program.

    Despite the tricky wording on Plex's site, it will NOT connect to your satellite with it's TV tuner, only the analog inputs which the Canopus can do too. This means you have to change channels on your satellite receiver when it's time to record.
     
  5. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Since I'm shopping on price here, I found this ConvertX device for $50 at Bestbuy. Does anyone have any experience with the ConvertX products? The box says it converts video to DV, but I'm not sure if it will be recognized by Adobe Premiere, like the Canopus. I would really like to avoid spending over $200 dollars. On the other hand, if I could get the canopus for less than $200, that would be ideal.

    I also found this ADS Tech A/V Link that may fit the bill. If anyone has experience with any of these products, please let me know. I'm looking to make a decision this week. I plan to do a lot of capturing, and a little editing. I do plan on burning everything to DVD. My qualifications are ease of use, quality, and speed.
     
  6. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    I installed Premiere, and it looks a little difficult to use for daily use. I'm not that interested in heavy editing for these VHS transfers. For most of the transfers, I only plan to clean up the video noise, add wipes, stabalize the video, and add title cards/credits. What are some good packages to do this, and to aurthor DVDs? I have heard good things about Video Soap, but I can't find any information on it. I guess I'm not sure if it's still available.

    Also, the AV Link comes with Ulead Video Studio, which I've heard good things about.
     
  7. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I have a Pyro A/V Link and can't complain about it one bit. I've used a Canopus unit as well, and the Canopus product seem to be a *little* easier to use, but for the difference in price....I don't think it's worth it. They do the exact same thing and give the same end result.

    One thing I do like better about the Pyro unit is that it has seperate inputs and outputs. The Canopus unit I used had one set of analog connections and one firewire connection. They were all in/out connections, so it took some rewireing to use in different situations. The Pyro box has all kinds of connections...ins, outs in every type available.
     
  8. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Joshua,

    At work I use Final Cut Pro, which is a professional quality product used for editing televisions programs and commercials, which is what I do. Obviously that's more than you need, but for other projects that I work on at home, I use Pinnacle Studio Plus. It's certainly not as easy or versatile or powerful as Final Cut Pro, but it would be a great product for what you want to do, and I don't believe it's as complicated as Premiere.
     
  9. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    I capture analog sources using Pinnacles Movie DV (firewire) external box (~$200). I capture for broadcast and it works quite well with all things considered. I use a $1500 AJA box on another system and I can't see the difference in quality. I capture natively into Sony Vegas with it. I'm sure Premiere could do the same since it recognises the box as a standard firewire capture device. It does come with Pinnacle Studio Plus.

    Best thing about this particular capture card is that it is one of the few, if only one in your price range that also outputs video. Not sure if you would need it, but you could use it as a standalone box and record straight to a DVD recorder.
     
  10. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Mike LS,

    Thanks for the affirmation of the Pyro A/V link. I'm now leaning towards that unit. I've read a few reviews, and it seems a lot of people have had dropped frames with it. I've also heard there is a B revision, so that may have addressed the problem. Have you ever gotten any dropped frames with it? I'm willing to pay the $20 extra for the Canopus if it does. The A/V Link only comes with Premier Elements, so I'll still need a seperate video editor and a DVD authoring program.

    Jason,

    I looked at the Pinnacle Movie Box, but after using the buggy software that rendered my Dazzle DVC 150 almost totally useless, I'm not ready to trust anything from Pinnacle. The A/V link does output video, but I really don't need that anyway, since I have a DVD burner in my computer. Thanks for the advice though.

    I haven't made a final decision yet, so I'm still looking for more recomendations for hardware/software solutions.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    how often does your dvc150 crash? i have the same thing and mine rarely crashes. i mean, in all the time i've used it, it's probably crashed about 10 times. definitely not enough to make me worry about it.

    also, what kind of background processes are you running. i use this shareware program called "end it all" to shutdown all those processes before i begin editing.
     
  12. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    It doesn't really matter, since I've already taken it back. I'm glad you didn't have any trouble though. The main problem was that it was very difficult to get it started, and to be sure the capturing was actually working. The preview also stopped working after my second 5 minute test run. And the program restarted at least 4 or 5 times during my 5 test runs. And I was running no more than two small programs in the background. I turned off my virus scanner and instant messenger.
     
  13. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Uh no. From what I can tell from the web page, it converts to "digital video", but not "Digital Video", i.e. the DV format. It captures in real-time to MPEG-1 (VCD resolution, SIF, 352x240) or MPEG-2 (SVCD resolution, 2/3-D1, 480x480; and DVD resolutions, full-D1 720x480 and half-D1 352x480 [yes, not exactly half]). It also provides software to convert to MPEG-4. In any case, MPEG is not an edit-friendly format.

    DV is probably the best bet nowadays. The nice thing about external units that work through FireWire like the Pyro and the Canopus ADVC-110 is that they should just work. No drivers. FireWire has no problem keeping up. Universal support through editing programs, except for deck control. (If you plug in a camcorder with FireWire, the capture program can control the camcorder; with the converters, you have to press Play and Stop yourself, no big deal.) The only time I've ever dropped frames with the ADVC-100 (not the 110, I forget the difference) is when I forgot that the USB interface I was using for an external capture drive was 1.1, and not 2.0; USB 1.1 can't keep up. In general, unless your computer sucks, any internal IDE drive should be able to handle DV, which is under 4MB/sec. Never used the Pyro, though.
     
  14. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Thanks, that's very helpful Ken. I guess it's between the Canopus and the Pyro now. I just need to hear from a few people to see if the dropped frames issue has been fixed.
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I use the Datavideo DAC-100 and have it hooked up via firewire and use WinDV to capture it to AVI (HuffyUv codec). I got it from Harmony Computers for $180 delivered over a year ago.
     
  16. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I can't vouch for every use on the Pyro....pretty much all I use it for is converting DVD's to short samples for my company website. I usually save to mpeg (sometimes DV) then change to a streaming format for web use.

    I've never had a problem with it dropping frames. I'm not sure which version of the box I have....I've had it close to a year so probably the original. Anyway, overall I'm very pleased with it.

    As far as price....seems like there's a bigger price difference between the Pyro and the Canopus. There was when I was shopping anyhow. I got the Pyro for less than $200 and the comperable Canopus product (the ADVC-100 I think) is close to $300 from any reputable dealer. Maybe they've come down or released a different product since then though.
     
  17. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    There are actually various Canopus units, with different features, and price points. The ADVC 55 is $219 MSRP, and only converts from analog to digital. The ADVC 110, which is probably equivalent to what you were researching, also converts from digtal back to analog. The list price for the ADVC 110 is $300. I only need to go one way, so if I choose Canopus, I'll get the cheaper one.

    The problem with the PYRO was that if you were converting from a VHS tape that had bad video, it would drop frames, because it had a low tolerance for bad video. There was new version released last summer that had an increased tolerance for bad video, so it shouldn't have a problem.

    To determine the revision of the Pyro A/V Link, please look at the bottom of the unit. It is placed at the end of the part number. The latest revision is C.
    I.E. - Part Number: API-550 Rev. A
     
  18. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Mine is a C then.

    That's the deal then....I was comparing the comperable units and in my case (needing 2 way transfer) the Pyro was the clear choice in price.
     
  19. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone tried a Sony DVDirect VRDVC10? Saw this online, it looks like a good device.
     
  20. BradCR

    BradCR Extra

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    I'm just getting started trying to save my VHS tapes and my 8mm tapes to either DVD or CD. I have a borrowed Dazzle unit that is relatively old. All I can find on the unit is Dazzle Digital Video Creator USB. It came with MovieStar software. I also have DVD MovieFactory 3 which I had some success in my experimenting several months ago getting a video to a CD. I recently got an OPPO which can support DivX format but I don't believe I have the recording hardware to do anything with that and am not sure I understand the benefit of it anyway other than compression advantages.

    I'm looking for some guidance for the best approach based on the tools I have available. Any insight into specific settings that I should look at (ie. VCD vs. SVCD).

    I'm not opposed to buying the pyro or something else that will make this easier or better quality. Thanks in advance.
     

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