Disappointed with picture quality

  Neil-321636 14:25 30 Apr 2003

I have just bought a PCTV Rave TV/video capture card with the intention of putting video footage from an anologue camcorder onto VCD. I have managed to do this but the quality of the image when played on my DVD player is cr*p. What determines the quality? Is it the capture card, the PC, the capture software, the burning software that determines the quality. I'm also not really clued up on the compression techniques?

Please help

  MichelleC 15:37 30 Apr 2003

Usually it's down to several factors, but the capture card is most important. You gets for what you pay - the less expensive ones will give worse results (ie Dazzle etc). When capturing and burning/printing to tape keep non-vitals closed in b/g.

Analogue is converted to avi, then it's compressed to mpeg to burn/ptt. Experiment with various compressions.

  Patr100 22:48 30 Apr 2003

Its the resolution of the captured footage that is most likely to determine picture quality but remember the higher the quality the larger the file - you not get much of high res on CD.

  y_not 05:48 01 May 2003

When I started I had the same problem - this was due to encoding the AVI file to VCD standard.

Try encoding the file to SVCD - the difference in quality is amazing.

Hope it helps

  Neil-321636 08:32 01 May 2003

Thanks for your suggestions. Any others?

  Patr100 12:22 01 May 2003

With analogue the more processes you run the footage through in editing transferring etc the more it will deteriorate. It's inevitable. Unlike Digital Video.

  stlucia 12:48 01 May 2003

Eh? I thought that when you download analogue through your capture card, video card, or whatever, its saved as digital. So, from then on the editing will all be digital and almost loss-free.

The two major losses must be in the initial capture (conversion from analogue to digital) and then in the final recording back to tape or to VCD or DVD, either of which will put the data through another conversion process (back to analogue in the case of VHS tape, or into a compressed MPEG format in the case of VCD or DVD).

If you're editing the pictures, rather than just cutting bits off the ends of scenes and splicing them together, there will also probably be a loss of quality there also; but it won't be as great as the capture and recording losses.

  Jonathan314159 13:29 01 May 2003

Like y-not, the problem I had was the conversion to VCD (I started with high quality AVI). Although conversion to SVCD is much better, this isnt necessarily a solution because relatively few DVD players support it (but fine if you just want to play it on a computer or if you can find a DVD player which works).For compatability info see click here

Solved in the end by buying a DVD recorder, they're coming down in price and of course you then get top quality + discs which can be read in most players.

  Patr100 18:40 01 May 2003

No the only true lossless capture and editing and output is with Digital Video ir DV via a firewire. Analogue capture is only "digital" in the generic sense of being used in a computer. You can convert analogue to DV format which helps with quality during editing and output to Dv tape but for example, capture from VHS to PC and then to CD is not strictly Digital. DV is a specific format.

  stlucia 09:21 02 May 2003

I understand the difference you're making between "digital" and "DV". But my point was that, once the analogue signal has been digitised by whatever means, surely there is then no more further quality loss when it is being edited than there would be if it was a DV original.

So for an analogue original, the main quality losses come in the initial digitising and then when (if) it's converted into some other format for final recording.

  flecc 12:43 02 May 2003

This loss is largely inevitable since, apart from the digitising loss already mentioned, VCD uses MPEG 1 which is similar to standard VHS, rather than the MPEG 2 that DVDs use, which is a step up from Super VHS in quality.

Expressed in line quality terms on screen, the latter is two and a half times better than VCD.

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