What compression settings are you using for capture of cable television?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Jon Danniken, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest


    I have been playing around with VirtualVCR for the last couple of days, using it to capture CableTV (NTSC)
    to a divx AVI format. Once captured, I convert to VCD or SVCD after cleaning up the audio a bit.

    I am interested to know what bitrates those of you doing a similar thing are using for capture. I have
    been using divx settings of "Standard" at "2400 Kbps" with audio set to PCM uncompressed. These settings
    will allow me to record an hour and change before the resulting file runs into the two gigabyte limit.

    My main question here is, do these settings seem typical for what you would use?

    Any suggestions or insight appreciated,

    Jon Danniken, Jun 18, 2004
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  2. Jon Danniken

    Keith Clark Guest

    First, I'd stay away from out-dated VCD and SVCD formats.

    When doing DivX or Xvid, consider storing the audio at 128 or 256 kb/s MP3 audio. This will save a lot of
    space and any player than can handle DivX will handle the audio fine.

    You can also save a lot of space by doing a 2:1 reduction (give a 352x240 size which will scale perfectly to
    full frame on playback). After I edited out the commercials, one movie I recorded from cable fit on a CD. Of
    course it didn't look as good as the original 7 GB mpeg-2 file but it was good enough and better than anything
    on a tape considering playback was on a TV rather than a PC monitor.

    Lastly, you need to upgrade your OS to one that can handle NTFS and you won't have file size issues. I don't
    know about Germany, but here you can get XP Pro "OEM Edition" from many mom & pop computer stores for less
    than $150 (I bought a copy yesterday for $146 plus $3 for a mouse to qualify as "hardware" required by MS to
    be sold with the OS), that's a lot less than buying the boxed edition...
    Keith Clark, Jun 18, 2004
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  3. Jon Danniken

    Jon Danniken Guest

    Thanks for your response, Keith. The main reason (for the time being, at least) I am finalizing with
    VCD/SVCD is to take the occasional show to a friend's house. In any case, though, while I am using DivX
    for the video encoding, I can't seem to get any of my capture applications (VVCR, VDub, others) to encode
    to MP3 "on the fly" during capture (post-production works fine to encode the audio in MP3).. I tried the
    LameACM and even the Fraunhofer/Radium thing, but regardless of MP3 codec I choose it crashes the capture
    app (I'm still looking in to why this is occuring)..

    I am using a WinTV (Hauppauge card), capturing NTSC at 320x240 right now, and am using Win2000 with NTFS;
    the two gigabyte limit is for AVI (isn't there a two-gigabyte limit on AVI?).

    My main question, though, concerns how much video compression I can get away with on the original capture
    without a great impact on quality. I do know that the incoming broadcast isn't very high quality, but how
    much more bandwidth I should allow for compression is what I am trying to figure out. In other words,
    what bitrate will give me the best practical quality for capturing cable television, without going _too_
    far into the law of diminishing returns.

    I know it is a subjective opinion, and everyone will have their own settings, but I'm just looking for
    some feedback as to what others are using when doing a similar activity, i.e., capturing cable-tv with
    Divx compression.

    Jon Danniken, Jun 18, 2004
  4. Jon Danniken

    Keith Clark Guest

    Jon Danniken wrote:Thanks for your response, Keith. The main reason (for the time being, at least) I am
    finalizing with
    Hopefully someone more experienced will have a better answer but the way I understand it there's no file size
    limit on AVI files except for one type of DV-AVI.

    For a while I was using ShowShifter to capture directly to Xvid (open source mpeg-4) from a WinTV-Go card and
    was using a quality based compression rather than bit-rate based. I set the quantitization to "2" and that
    gave good results.

    It's been a long time but I think ShowShifter was able to put the audio into MP3 in real time.

    You might want to download a trial version and give it a try.

    I was also trying something from "XMedia Studio" and it would also capture directly to Xvid. You might give
    that a try too : http://www.xmediastudio.com/
    Keith Clark, Jun 18, 2004
  5. Jon Danniken

    Adam H Guest

    using it to capture CableTV (NTSC)
    PCM uncompressed. These settings
    Encoding directly to DIVX and then to (S)VCD is not going to give you very
    good quality. Most people capture to a non-lossy format such as HuffyUV with
    raw PCM audio, and then encode that to whichever format you need afterwards.
    The only drawback is the raw capture files are quite large, but the quality
    is considerably better than going the DIVX->(S)VCD route.

    If you are using Win2K with NTFS, you shouldn't hit the 2GB limit at all,
    although some software or codecs might have such limitations "internally",
    so to speak.

    I use a Win2K and a Hauppauge WinTV with AVI_IO capture software which
    splits the raw capture files into 2GB chunks anyway. I use VirtualDub to
    edit and TMPGenc to encode.
    Adam H, Jun 18, 2004
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