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Thread: Capture card suggestions

  1. #1

    Default Capture card suggestions

    I am a newcomer to video capture/editing and would appreciate help with the following points.
    I'd appreciate suggestions on which video capture card to go for - I understand that cards which have on board capturing capabilities are better as the workload on the PCs processor is reduced, but the technical specs on cards I have checked out do not seem to mention this feature. I was under the impression that certain Hauppauge cards had this feature but which models? Is there a recommended card which fits the bill?
    My aim would be to create MPEG2 video from analogue sources (VHS and 8mm/Hi8 camcorder tape) for burning to DVD but again, some of the capture card specs only mention MPEG1 and/or AVI - does that mean I am limited to output in those formats?

    Any help would be appreciated please.

  2. #2
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    Default

    OK, I know I'm mentioning it again, but this time it's the only answer I know to this particular question... so on to the answer.

    The only 'capture card' I know that will convert to MPEG2 on capture (in real time) is the Matrox RTX100.

    However, it's first purpose is a real time rendering card for Premiere Pro. The realtime MPEG2 conversion is a secondary function.

    It's not cheap though - but is worth the money in my opinion.

    It offers real time capabality for rendering and exporting from premiere Pro as well as MPEG2 capture from analogue. It also comes complete with Adobe's latest versions of Premiere Pro, Audition and Encore DVD.

    If you hunt around you'll likely find it for about 700 UKP. It's the only card I've come across that will capture analgue straight to MPEG2. But then again, it would be because I stopped looking once I bought one.

    If you are interested in the card then be sure to check the list of accredited and recommended hardware lists on Matrox's web site.

  3. #3

    Default

    Youchhhh!! 700 ! I wasn't quite looking for that kind of price tag - maybe knock a zero off the end! OK so perhaps I didn't word the question properly but it's mainly down to my lack of knowledge on the subject. If capture cards at the lower end of the scale can only do their job in MPEG1 or AVI, presumably I can convert to MPEG2 via editing/rendering/burning software? Reason I ask this is that I have some limited experience of using an HP DC3000 DVD Writer which is a USB device and it can create MPEG2 files for burning to DVD (it uses Arcsoft ShowBiz editing software). I'm really looking for a PCI card equivalent that will do the same job.

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  5. #5

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    I use my TV card which I bought for about 20 (it's a life-view fly video something or other), it's got s-video, and composite inputs.
    I have used it to capture from 8-mm camcorders and VHS straight to DVD compliant MPEG-2 using Arcsoft ShowBiz. I've "backed up" some of the old VHS tapes that I've made onto DVD and the quality is quite good.

    I've tried to capture AVI from analogue sources but my machine doesn't have much memory so I can only manage small resolutions, never had any problems with MPEG-2 though.

    It's a bit like this Pinnacle card.
    Panasonic SD9, Panasonic NVGS-75, Canon MV600i

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for the help guys. The 'Dazzle' device certainly seems to have the capabilities I'm after but I can see I'll need to investigate this subject a bit further as its not quite as cut and dried as I'd thought.

  7. #7
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    Yep. I can recommend the Dazzle range. I had a Dazzle Fusion befire upgrading to the Matrox card. It capture my old VHS tapes through analogue capture just fine.

    If straight to MPEG2 is not mission critical for you then this will be fine.

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    need to investigate this subject a bit further as its not quite as cut and dried as I'd thought.
    Analogue Capture

    There's broadly three levels here:

    • Software encoded hardware capture: typically this will involve using a TV card or graphics card with an s-video in socket. This is generally the least favoured option due to dependance on the CPU for capture and encoding. An older PC will require a low frame size/reduced frame rate to keep data crunching to a minimum. You may get good results with a lossless codec, but this will require oodles of harddrive space. The least favoured but cheapest option. Can produce good results given cost.


    • Entry Level hadware encoding: This typically involves a USB2 external device offering analogue connections. Generally over 100. Dazzle/Pinnacle are the main players here.


    • "Prosumer" capture: Either hardware accelerated DV or MPEG2 capture from analogue sources. The use of a DV encoder such as the canopus ADVC range of devices is most beneficial for analogue capture with a view to editing. These devices can also be used from with a NLE to output a signal to a TV. Prices here start at around the 200 mark. Main player here is Canopus.

      DV Capture

      This is the most straightforward. Simply connect to your PC via firewire and capture to DV.

  9. #9

    Default

    Hi Marc, thanks for the reply. Option 3 would be a non-runner on two counts as the devices I'd be using to play source material are an analogue 8mm camcorder and VHS recorder. I've checked out user reviews of the Pinnacle Dazzle device and I'm not encouraged to say the least - most of them are extremely negative! So I think I'm more confused and uncertain than before! I was always under the impression that PCI capture cards with on-board processing were the best option as they ease the strain on the PCs CPU - but which ones have this facility, and where do I stand on MPEG2 encoding? I'm sure I read somewhere that some of the cards made by Happague have on board processing.

    Sorry to be a pain but I'm sure you can appreciate that a newbie like me is finding all this a bit of a minefield.

  10. #10

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    Marc - sorry, just noticed - when I referred to Option 3 in my previous message I meant the DV Capture bit you suggested!

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