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Thread: Advice on getting started

  1. #1
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    Default Advice on getting started

    Hi all! I have been looking at lots of places on the net to get some advice on video editing. I got myself a dvd burner recently, and I have decided to get some hardware to enable me to convert all my old home videos from vhs to dvd as the quality is getting worse and worse. I just built my new pc, so the spec shouldnt be a problem, I just dont know what to buy!

    Some of the hardware supports resolutions around 300x200 or so, but some of them are about double this and double the price! I do have a mini dv camera but dont use it much since its a bit damaged. I want to be able to do this all at a pretty good quality, I know I am limited by the originals being vhs though.

    Anyway, any help would be super! Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
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    The first thing to check is whether you already have the hardware you need to do it all already.

    Does your new PC have a firewire port? You'll def need that to capture from your MiniDV camcorder (along with a firewire lead of course).

    Also, if your camcorder has analogue inputs and passthru capability then you already have everything you need. If so then your camcorder will be able to act as an analogue to digital converter and then you can capture the resulting digital signal thru the firewire port when the camcorder is connected to the outputs of a VCR. I haven't personally done this so not sure of camcorder settings.

    If not then you'll need an analogue to converter box. These are usually USB. The one I have is a Dazzle Fusion which also acts a multi card reader as well. I capture from it through a USB2 port and I'm happy with the results so far given the quality of the original VHS. There are many of these on the market and probably just about everyone in this forum will have their own preference. You shouldn't need to pay more than about 50 for one of these capture boxes that 'will do the job' though.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Your first step would be to check whether your DV camera will accept analogue video inputs.

  4. #4
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    Default

    thanks for the quick replies! well, i dont have a firewire port, and the camera cant do that anyway. i figured one of these boxes was the way to go, but they do seem too cheap, is it not worth going for one with a better resolution? since i want the quality to be as good as the original!

    thanks again guys!

  5. #5
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    If you don't have a firewire port on the PC you will need one to capture from you MiniDV camcorder. What about USB ports. Better to have USB2 for analogue video transfer. I wanted both and only had a single PCI slot free. I found this http://www.dabs.com/uk/productView.htm?quicklinx=2J0R which has worked a treat. Has both USB2 and firewire ports on the same card for under 19.

    As for the resolution question. I wouldn't worry about it. It's not the capture box that's at fault, it's the original source. It's simply the case (unless anyone proves me wrong) that the original VHS tape is already at that 300(ish) by 200(ish) resolution. Analogue video is low res, which is why the capture res for these devices is quoted lower than you hopes to see.

    My route for this job is to capture from my A-D device. This gives me a very large AVI file at low res, of the order of 1Gb per 5 minutes of footage. This is imported into Adobe Premiere for editting. The export (encoding) from here is where the resolution change occurs ready for me to burn to DVD. The resulting display when watching the final DVD is as good an image as I had on the original VHS copy. Certainly, from memory, I'm seing no degradation in quality.

  6. #6
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    excellent! thats what i wanted to hear! i do have usb2 ports, and dont really care for the minidv right now. but a gig for 5mins! i knew it was a lot, but i didnt expect anything in the order of that!

  7. #7
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    It's the encoding to MPEG2 after editing that reduces the file size down.

    The avi file resulting from capture stores each frame in it's entirety. MPEG2 format stores key-frames in their entirety (about every 15th?) and then subsequent frames just store the bits that change. Hence the file size is much smaller and a manegable.

    Personally, I'm still struggling with the idea of what to backup because the file sizes ARE very large during intermediate stages of editing. And deleting the original capture stops you revisiting a project to make that 'Director's Cut'!

  8. #8
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    Would this be any use to you?
    http://www.averm.co.uk/avermedia/pro...D_ezMaker.html
    I have used this at "best" capture and burned to dvd, with results I am happy with. It cost me 50 from Maplins about a year ago.

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