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Thread: DV Capture to PC results is VERY POOR quality

  1. #1
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    Default DV Capture to PC results is VERY POOR quality

    Hi,

    I'm fairly new to the DV world and recently purchased a sony pc105e miniDV camcorder.

    Having taken my first movie shots on a weekend, I played back the footage via my TV directly from the camcorder. I was amazed at how clear and bright everything was. It was exactly what I had expected.

    So, I wanted to edit the movie on my PC - you know, add titles, sound, cut out some stuff, move things around etc.. etc..

    I did some research on the web for what software to use - I came up with Cyberlink's PowerDirector v3.0.

    So I connected my camcorder to my pc (Pentium 4, 2.66 Ghz, 256mb RAM, GEForce 4 card) using a belkin firewire cable. Clicked the "record" button and waited till the whole "movie" had recorded onto my pc. At this point, I stuck to the default capture settings - MPEG 1, Medium Quality.

    Having captured the movie, I started doing my editing and then playing back bits on my PC screen to see what they looked like. I was quite shocked to see the video was all choppy and blurred and well, basically NOTHING like how I had seen it on my TV (clear and beautiful). And this was on a 15" monitor, full screen it looked blocky/choppy and basically ugly. I decided to still burn what I had done onto a VCD to watch on my TV. It came out really bad. (OK, so it was a VCD and not SVCD or DVD).

    Then I thought about changing the PowerDirector default capture settings. I changed it to HIGH quality, and then re-captured my movie. It was marginally better, but still nowhere near the quality stored on the DV tape.

    Incidentally, I had about 55 minutes of "movie" on my DV tape, and when captured, it amounted to only 1GB.
    What I had read about on the web was that a 60 minute tape would probably take up about 30GB of disk space. SO that confused me even more.

    Does anyone have any advice? Am I doing anything wrong? I recorded the movie on LP instead of SP - but I assume that this wouldn't make THAT MUCH difference.

    Is it the software that I am using to capture (PowerDirector v3.0)? I may have to try something else like Pinnacle Studio 8 or something. But then again, the software is mainly for editing purposes right? Capturing the DV onto PC should pretty much be the same when using any software right?

    Please please could someone help and give me some advice.

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Default

    MPEG1 will not look that good, capturing in real time and all. You need to capture to DV format directly, and yes the file sizes will be bigger, then edit and recompress at the moment that you have your edits done. This will allow you to use two pass MPEG-2 encoding for DVD or SVCD, should be loads better.

    Regards,

  3. #3
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    Default

    So let me get this right - I capture the video from my dv camcorder onto my pc using DV-AVI. This will create an AVI file on my pc which I can then edit and do whatever to produce my "masterpiece".

    I can then create a SVCD by dropping this AVI into nero or even using the software's inbuilt mechanism to "produce" the movie.

    I'll give this a try tonight and let you know how I get on.

    I really hope that this works

  4. #4
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    OK - So this time I followed your advice and captured using DV-AVI.
    MUCH better results, although the capture still seemed a bit blocky and jagged in some situations.

    Blocky as in, the picture breaks up into "digital" blocks. You see this generally on TV sometimes too.

    Also, there seems to be bits of grain everywhere. I'm pretty sure the original DV doesn't have this, and when I capture AVI-DV there are no manual settings to change anything.

    Do I just have tolive with this, or is there a way to even smotth everything out when editing?

    THank you

  5. #5
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    Default DV quality

    Disclaimer: I don't have a DV camcorder I'm an analogue oldskooler still

    Now, I've heard a number of people now say that DV captures are blocky. The only things I can think of are - one or more may apply :

    1) That the codec on the PC which is decompressing the DV to display it is not working at full speed, or full quality settings, compared to the digital to analogue converter (probably a dedicated hardware chipset) in the camera itself.

    2) The TV conversion is doing noise reduction inside the camera

    3) The monitors on PCs show up artefacts and noise more than your regular TV set (I'm fairly sure this will be the case).

    However, if you edit, then recompress nicely with twopass encoding down to say MPEG2 (DVD uses this codec) with a high bitrate and good settings, then I reckon you're going to get good results.

    Anyone else with experience on this, it would be much appreciated to have your ideas on this!

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your answer fruey..

    I actually burned the movie onto an SVCD direct from PowerDirector from the AVI format.. so I don't know how it did the 2-pass mpeg2.

    How would i create my own 2 pass mpeg2? And by the way, what does that mean?

    Thanks

  7. #7
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    Twopass means that there are effectively two runs at encoding. The first runthrough (or pass) just looks at the video data and creates a file of statistics, which allows the codec on the second pass to allocate more space for the more complex scenes which have a higher value in the statistics file.

    This is a bit of a simplification, but the end result is that the first pass works out where the hard bits are so that the second pass will give the best quality for a given size. It relies, of course, on VBR (variable bit rate) encoding rather than fixed bitrate encoding, but gives best results.

    SVCD quality should be quite good, but there might be a bit of tweaking that needs doing in order to get best results, especially from "difficult" source material. The main thing I can think of is the camera shake when doing handheld shots, which is incredibly difficult to encode in fact.

  8. #8
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    Spot on as usual Fruey - always impressed by your posts

    I can't really add anything more except that perhaps the MPEG encoder engine used by PowerDirector isn't up to producing high quality video. It seems there's quite a difference in end results of various MPEG encoders. I do remember reading a comparison of various engines available - but this was a few years ago.

    Google produced the following SERPS

    http://www.tecoltd.com/enctest/enctest.htm (almost 2 years old!)
    http://tangentsoft.net/video/mpeg/re...onclusion.html (3 years old!)

    Not sure whether a) Google's algo is going crazy b) I'm entering garbage or c) someone needs to sit down and test/review MPEG2 encoders!

  9. #9

    Default Hope this helps

    I am also new to the DV world but I found a trial program called DV capture the link is here DV Capture - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Download.com. The trial lasts for 15 days & you can all ways uninstall & reinstall if you do not wish to buy it. The video came out with really good quality but was a little too small. I then Rendered this video is sony vegas with the edit/pan/crop tool to adjust the size of the picture to a 1080p. I had to wait a good 12 hours for the video to finish rendering but the quality was paramount.

    I am going to make a youtube video on how to do this. My channel link is drunkanmaster's Channel - YouTube please visit my channel Has I will be uploading a Tutorial shortly. There is other Tutorials on how to use special effect in Sony vegas & some videos I am trying out with the new canon sx220.

    I hope this helps any one out in the future. Best wishes. Drunkanmaster Productions 2011.

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