VCR VHS Capture Cards

  Omphale 21:04 28 Mar 2004

From Omphale

Subject: Capture Cards for VHS video.

I would like to be able to transfer video footage from VHS tapes on a normal analog domestic VCR to digital versions on my computer. The ultimate aim is to use these files to make VCD or DVD versions of the original tapes and thus( hopefully! ) to get immortal versions of precious family video footage.

I borrowed a Dazzle DVC 80 USB capture device coupled with Moviestar 5 software and tried using this. At first it worked reasonably well though the enormous .avi files required some handling. However soon problems emerged. Firstly video/audio synchronisation frequently failed and then for no obvious reason, the files that were captured were not recognised as video files by Moviestar 5 though other programs would play them. Finally the captured files became just black-and-white, no colour. I gave the DVC 80 back!

I have heard that some TV PCI cards will capture not only the TV but also input video to disk as .mpeg files. I have no experience of this myself but if it is so then this could be an ideal solution for me.

Does anyone have any experience of this approach and if so could they please recommend suitable hardware/software?

With many thanks in advance


  Diodorus Siculus 08:32 29 Mar 2004

IF you get a hauppauge tv card it will be able to record from a video to your hdd and you can save in mpeg (and other) formats.

Other tv cards will do the same, but that is the one I have experience of.

  underworldmagic 14:42 29 Mar 2004

remember that capturing in AVI is very useful for editing but the file sizes are very big, on the other hand capturing in MPEG2 will make smaller files but is very bad for editing, you will get artefact formations and everything.

one you have edited your AVI movie, then you convery it into MPEG2 as your final movie and burn it.

hope this was useful

  Omphale 20:12 30 Mar 2004

To Diodorus Siculus

Thank you for your suggestion. I have checked Hauppauge cards on the web and find that there are several which would seem to do the job, Can you tell me which model you use?

With best regards


  Omphale 20:26 30 Mar 2004

To underworldmagic

Many thanks for your comments. I take the point about editing but I will be doing most of my editing by starting and stopping the VCR and/or the record button but nevertheless your point is valid and there will be occasions when the ability to do extensive editing within a recorded file could be helpful.

Apart from the size problem which I could solve by buying an additonal 120 GB hard-drive for my computer, there was for me the unexpected and very disappointing problem that not all AVI files appear to be equal. As I remarked in my opening posting, I had captured AVI files produced by Moviestar 5 which were then not recognised as AVI files by that program but were recognised OK by other player programs eg MediaPlayer. Likewise I have heard that MPEG-2 files produced by the Hauppauge WinTV Nova-t card will play back OK on most player programs but are commonly refused by Pinnacle Expression.

You will probably gather that I am a novice at video work but the fact that a file type can be recognised OK by several programs but not by others seems most odd to me coming as I do from more conventional areas of computing.

I would be glad to hear your comments on this,

With best regards


  Diodorus Siculus 22:05 30 Mar 2004

Omphale - I don't have one nowadays, but a few years ago I used the WinTVGo - it was basic, but got a few old VHS tapes onto CD for me.

  Gaz W 22:26 30 Mar 2004

I have a Nebula DigiTV PCI - very pleased with it and Nebula are always updating its features. Unfortunately the analogue video capture is pathetic - frame rate is too slow and it appears to have motion blur, but hopefully they will be working on a resolution to that in the near future.

Other than that it's a good card and like I say since December I've had loads of software updates. The website is click here

  Dragon Heart 00:47 31 Mar 2004

ATI do the 'All In Wonder' range of cards which can ...... well "Do It All" and the cards from manufacturers using the ATI chips are now down in price, unless you go for the top of the range chip.

Your comment "doing most of my editing by starting and stopping the VCR and / or the record button" reminded me of the PINNACLE VIDEO DIRECTOR. In the days of Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 the hard drives where a little smaller so this system used an infra red device to control your VCR & camcorder. Switching it on and off etc. and storing that information in a small file. You then started your VCR and let it take over. Got mixed results due to drive motors on VCR but it worked, not as good as digital editing, but it worked.

  lightfeet 08:02 31 Mar 2004

I use my JVC GR-D70 camcorder,see click here, which can be purchased quite cheaply, for copying my family VHS tapes to CD/DVD. There probably are other camcorders that will do the same but I have found this gives me excellent results especially when edited with Movie Maker 2. I either copy on to the camcorder's 1 hour mini tape & then transfer it to the computer or more usually use the camcorder as a pass through AV-DV converter by placing a tape that has been fully wound to the end in the camcorder which allows the DV signal to be passed straight into the computer without the intermediate camcorder recording stage. I have had no problems whatsoevever with this set up & it's been successful every time.

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