Recommendations on video capture device

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by curvature, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. curvature

    curvature Guest

    Folks,

    I'm preparing to pay a local PC deal to put together a video editing
    workstation
    for me. They are quite comfortable deciding on parts for the core
    system
    (memory, hard drives, and so forth), but they want me to tell them
    which
    video capture device to include. They are obviously thinking of a
    video
    capture card for the PC. From reading/lurking here, I've also heard
    of
    separate stand alone devices (Canopus?) and DVRs.

    I'd like to ask for help with two things:

    1) Which do you recommend, card or stand alone converter? (I tend to
    exclude the DVR choice because I think most DVRs record in MPG,
    which means you've done the compression before you can get your
    hands on it. If I'm wrong about that, please say so).

    2) Can anyone give me any card/converter brands and model numbers
    that you've used or can recommend? Some thing that I can turn
    around and give to the system builder.

    Background:
    The PC I'll be using has a budget of $3K-4K, so it should be a
    moderately
    high end system with enough processor speed, memory and disk space.
    I intend to purchase Sony Vegas for editing. I also plan to spend $1K
    - $2K
    on a new HDV camera. I'll be converting roughly 20-30 hours of home
    video and shooting more. Being objective, I'm probably consumer-level,
    but I aspire to better quality.
     
    curvature, Oct 31, 2007
    #1
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  2. curvature

    Ken Maltby Guest

    I don't see where you need to "capture" (Digitize an analog video signal
    and multiplex the video and audio into a file format). You should have
    the output of your camera to work with.

    If you don't want to work with MPEG, then you will have to give
    up the idea of using a HDV camera. HDV is recorded in a high
    bit rate version of MPEG2.

    There are a number of editing options for MPEG and HDV,
    some include hardware acceleration of timeline rendering.

    In the way of inexpensive cards:

    http://www.snazzi.com/ http://www.snazzi.com/Full Range.asp

    http://www.snazzi.com/Video Collection.asp

    There are, of course, more expensive options available from
    Canopus and others. http://www.matrox.com/video/home.cfm
    for example.

    Luck;
    Ken
     
    Ken Maltby, Oct 31, 2007
    #2
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  3. curvature

    Smarty Guest

    I do exclusively HDV editing and have done so for about 3 years with a lot
    of different software. I would strongly support your choice of Vegas 8, and
    suggest your computer should specifically be at least a 6600-based Intel,
    preferably a 6700 or 6800/6850 to bring the rendering speed to a very fast
    level. As Ken says, you should have no reason to buy any capture device, and
    merely need a 10 buck Firewire card assuming your PC mobo has no Firewire
    support.

    I would buy 2 to 3 GB of RAM, since Windows / Vegas does not seem to need /
    benefit from more than that. And I might also consider a Blackmagic, Kona /
    AJA card and a second monitor for real time editing, since even Vegas 8 with
    its' new full screen preview is weak using a single display with no hardware
    assist.

    A nice starting point for simple (and extremely fast) HDV editing is
    VideoReDoPlus. I use it all the time and it is often preferable to Vegas,
    even though it costs only $60 or so.

    Also.....Vegas does have quite a learning curve.....and you might consider
    their $99 consumer version of Vegas or Ulead VideoStudioPlus version 11,
    both of which are way easier to use and produce excellent quality results.

    Smarty
     
    Smarty, Nov 1, 2007
    #3
  4. curvature

    Ken Maltby Guest

    Smarty; I was wondering how you might have found
    VideoReDo's new "TVSuite"s performance with HD
    MPEG? If it performs like the old VideoReDo, it could
    be the best thing for an easy HD to SD DVD workflow.

    Luck;
    Ken

    P.S. I just downloaded a trial of the TVSuite.
     
    Ken Maltby, Nov 1, 2007
    #4
  5. curvature

    Ken Maltby Guest

    I gave it a quick trial and it appears that all the old
    functions are there and working the same. The new
    DVD authoring functions seem somewhat limited but
    have a few interesting features, like 16:9 menus. I also
    was able to create "Hot Spot" type invisible "buttons"
    using spaces. So you can use elements that you put on
    the background image as selection items/buttons.

    I didn't find any support for motion menus, but I've
    just started looking at it.

    There is a good deal more image processing available
    including operations that require extensive reencoding,
    like cropping and resizing the whole movie (to SD DVD
    standard sizes for the most part) It still functions at a
    very impressive speed, even when it is processing all
    the frames.

    I haven't quite figured out how the Titling is supposed
    to work, or how the first play options fit in.

    Luck;
    Ken
     
    Ken Maltby, Nov 1, 2007
    #5
  6. curvature

    curvature Guest

    I need the capture device for the 20-30 hours of existing video,
    all of which is Hi8 or VHS.
    Thanks for the links, I'm checking them out now.
     
    curvature, Nov 1, 2007
    #6
  7. If you have access to a MiniDV camera that has dubbing option, that is
    how we do such dubs and it works very well- as well as any cards we
    have tried.
     
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Nov 1, 2007
    #7
  8. curvature

    Jerry Guest

    You got a mini-DV camera with analog-to-digital passthrough? Use that.
    Not difficult, just time-consuming.

    VHS analog out -> MiniDV analog in,
    MiniDV digital out -> Computer Firewire in
    Fire up the software, push play on the VHS, and there's your AVI.

    Jerry
     
    Jerry, Nov 1, 2007
    #8
  9. curvature

    Ken Maltby Guest


    There is a reason most VCRs only output over a composite
    interface, and while your Hi8 is closer to S-VHS it's still
    only ~420 lines.

    **Caution the following is an opinion of mine that not all
    here agree with**

    Most corrections/improvements to an analog source are
    best addressed while it is still analog, prior to its being
    digitized.

    The processing while analog should include TBC, then
    the separation of the composite video signal into its
    component analog signals and the application of NR to each
    (as is appropriate), then the adjustment of the separated
    RGB analog signals so as to effect any color correction
    needed, and finally a "preamp" sort of strengthening of the
    overall analog video signal.

    *** End of the Heresy***

    As a by product of this processing it is easy to output
    the analog signal in higher bandwidth interface formats,
    like S-Video and Component interfaces. (While the signal
    is now cleaner and stronger, and these interfaces will
    preserve that, the mature of the video material [such as
    its ~420 Horz. TV line bandwidth] will remain the same.)
    Still, equipment made to deal with higher quality S-Video
    and/or Component Video is generally processing the video,
    and made, to a higher standard; than that which is built to
    process composite video.

    If you are willing to spend the money on trying to extract
    as much of a silk purse from a sow's ear as is possible,
    then you should consider something like the Canopus
    ADVC-300, and obtaining the best VHS playback deck
    you can find/afford. For many, the amount of improvement
    obtainable doesn't justify the added expense and effort.

    If you truly only have these 20-30 to do, you might
    want to look around and see if you can find a service
    that will convert them properly for you, at ~ the $500
    cost of an ADVC-300. (Good luck on that.)


    As you are going to be working in MPEG anyway (HDV)
    and the most available from your Hi8 and VHS is low
    bandwidth SD, (converting it to 24Mbps DV AVI, won't
    change that); You might as well consider capturing VHS
    source material directly to the highest bandwidth MPEG
    practical for SD material. In practical terms this will
    normally mean to Main Profile/Main Level DVD
    Compliant MPEG. Most HDV capable MPEG Editing
    programs have made some provisions for having both on
    the same timeline.

    A quality DVD Recorder, at its best settings, can often
    do as well or better than a PC capture card costing a
    great deal more. By recording to a reusable media like
    DVD-RAM or DVD-RW disks you can bring the video
    to your PC for editing.


    Luck;
    Ken
     
    Ken Maltby, Nov 1, 2007
    #9
  10. curvature

    curvature Guest

    Just wanted to check on something.

    I have told my local computer dealer, who is putting this system
    together for me to include the AVDC300 along with the
    editing system. If you'll recall, I'm planning on using the full
    version of Sony Vegas as my editor.

    The comments and write-ups on this unit mention that it does
    not come with its own software. You have to have something
    on your PC that will capture the converted digital information
    coming down the firewire cable. I'm assuming that Vegas will
    do this. Am I correct?
     
    curvature, Nov 16, 2007
    #10
  11. curvature

    Mike Kujbida Guest


    You are correct.
    As long as your new PC has a firewire port, that's all you need.
    Take the firewire out of the Canopus into Vegas and you're good to go.
    If you've never used Vegas for capturing before, you need to disable
    the "Options - Preferences General - Enable DV Device Control" option
    in VidCap (the capture utility) so that Vegas doesn't think it's a
    miniDV camcorder and tries to control it.
    Remember to enable it for normal (i.e. DV) capturing.
    Also, it defaults to C:\My Documents as a capture location. This is
    also changed in the Preferences options window.

    Mike
     
    Mike Kujbida, Nov 16, 2007
    #11
  12. curvature

    Gary Bettan Guest

    While the ADVC300 does not include any software, it supports just
    about every NLE out there - Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Vegas, etc.

    The big advantage of the ADVC300 over other converters is that it not
    only converts the analog footage to DV, it can improve it! With the
    ADVC300 Grass Valley has answered one of the biggest problems facing
    DV editors trying to incorporate older VHS/8mm footage into their
    productions. Lets face it, the quality of these older VHS tapes is
    average at best, and the years of sitting on the shelf or in the
    closet has degraded the video quality further. The ADVC300 has built
    in digital image enhancement technology that cleans, enhances and
    stabilizes old analog video. We tested it with some really old footage
    that wasn't properly white balanced to begin with, and the results
    were quite impressive. I realize all of the new NLE applications have
    fantastic color correction tools, but the old adage "Garbage In =
    Garbage Out "still holds true. Older analog footage doesn't always
    offer a good enough signal and the AV to DV conversion degrades the
    image further. This degraded footage often isn't 'strong' enough for
    even these powerful color correction tools to do the job. With the
    ADVC300 you will get the best possible video quality out of your older
    analog footage.

    We have published a series of DIY articles on our website. The latest
    includes 4 different recipes for builing machines at various price
    levels. Check it out http://www.videoguys.com/DIY5updateNAB07.html
    along with our recommended systems page
    http://www.videoguys.com/system.htm

    Review them both with your computer builder and he'll be able to use
    them as a starting point for your new machine.

    Gary

    Videoguys.com http://www.videoguys.com
    The Digital Video Editing & DVD Production Experts
    800 323-2325 or Free DTV tech advice (516) 759-1615

    All DTV purchases include our 30 day customer assurance program
    and FREE tech support
     
    Gary Bettan, Nov 22, 2007
    #12
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