Analog Video Capture

For those who are using the older Hi 8, SVHS, VHS, or even more arcane cameras, what are you using to capture your video to computer?

I'm getting ready to get some analog video equipment and would like to know your experience with the various issues in analog capture.

Thanks!

John
 
Pinnacle MovieBox USB. Basically an A/D converter with a standard audio/video+S video input and USB output. I have no complaints with the device itself, it does a good job, it's the Pinnacle software it came with that makes me want to pull my hair out.
 
Andy,

Does the USB Version capture in AVI format? If so, does it do it well? BTW, I'm using Studio 9 Plus and really like it.
 
John, what I did was get an ATI video all-in-wonder 9600 video card, it has an s-video input on the card and it came with the Pinnacle 8.4 software. I think it has that movie box, well it is the converter for A/D that plugs into the video card then you RCA the camcorder into the box. I have had no problems capturing any analog video. Then I use Nero to make the DVD's.
 
I think it can capture in AVI, but I'm not sure. I always use MPEG-2 capture so I can burn directly to DVD without having to convert. My software is also Studio 9 which failed to work properly until I downloaded the most recent patch. However I only got to make 2 DVDs with it (one of my August 18 video, which I gave to Scott Weberpal for his charity project) because now my computer's busted.
 
Jay - Unfortunately, I can't use a seperate video card or capture card. The cheap MoBo I have simply will not accept another card other than on board video. Otherwise, I would have gone with that solution. I'm kind of piece mealing it together until I get a good $2500 to build my own machine.

Andy - Pinnacle Studio products have been known for their instability on the Consumer end software. Fortunately, they get better at it with each revision. Studio 10 is using the Liquid rendering engine, which is head and shoulders above the Studio 9X and below products. On that side, I'm hearing about bugs on the software, so I'll wait a bit to update.

Studio 9 Plus (Not the bundle version or Studio 9 version) has been pretty stable for me. I've only had it crash a couple of times and that's only when I've been pulling video in from several sources and had two or three memory intensive programs running at the same time.
 
Jay - Unfortunately, I can't use a seperate video card or capture card. The cheap MoBo I have simply will not accept another card other than on board video. Otherwise, I would have gone with that solution. I'm kind of piece mealing it together until I get a good $2500 to build my own machine.

Andy - Pinnacle Studio products have been known for their instability on the Consumer end software. Fortunately, they get better at it with each revision. Studio 10 is using the Liquid rendering engine, which is head and shoulders above the Studio 9X and below products. On that side, I'm hearing about bugs on the software, so I'll wait a bit to update.

Studio 9 Plus (Not the bundle version or Studio 9 version) has been pretty stable for me. I've only had it crash a couple of times and that's only when I've been pulling video in from several sources and had two or three memory intensive programs running at the same time.

On my old computer I purched the movie box converter and the main problem that I had with it was it would never capture the sound, then again the only software I had at the time was Windows movie maker.
 
Jay - As an interim measure, I've purchased MovieBox USB. We'll see if it lives up to what it says it will do. Eventually, I will probably go with one of the Canopus solutions or go straight in with Pinnacle Liquid Edition 6.6 with the Break Out Box.

Of course, when I win the Lottery, I'll have a nice dual core cpu, PCI-E Video card and 2 TB of storage. :D
 
I have found the best method is to use a mini DV camcorder with analog imputs. I output through S video from my old Hitachi Hi8 into a Sony Mini DV camcorder. Once on miniDV, it is easy to send into a computer using firewire. Most MiniDV camcorders have analog inputs.

Bill Hark
 
Hi Bill!!!

I actually thought about that solution. Just seems like I would be running a greater risk of tape or camera failure in using it as a go between. There is also the question of quality loss, but I wouldn't know to what degree.

The other issue is the Canon Optura 20 has Analog and S-Video outs, but no in's unless they are running dual purpose (Which they may very well be). If I can find my cable, I'll give it a whirl and see where it goes.

Thanks!

John
 
Update on analog video capture:

Ok, the Pinnacle MovieBox USB came in Saturday. I hooked it right up with no real muss of fuss. It's a pretty little box and it pretty straight forward in the set up. Since I already have Studio 9 Plus there was no real installation and the drivers installed right off the bat with the USB recognizing the box.

OK, here's comes the test! I set this up as a pure analog system. This meant cabling over to the box from the VCR with RCA jacks (No S-Video on my cheap VCR). Open up Studio and select capture. Oops! If your going to capture from the MovieBox, you must go into the setup and selects it as your source. Studio does not auto-select.

OK, now I have it configured. Came right up. Interesting interface. You have a few areas that you can change (brightness, contrast, etc) real time during the capture. This helped as the initial capture was a bit dark.

MovieBox captures from a VCR in MPEG-2 format. This is all well and good, but not as good as AVI if you want to use Studio (or NLE of your taste) to edit the capture before outputting to another format. The capture was decent. There is compression artifacting throughout the capture and there was some color bleed on some of the still captures. All in all, not a bad solution for what I paid.

Studio 9, on the other hand, reared up it's ugly head on the edit side. For some reason, it really didn't like the capture and simply would not keep up with it in preview. The sound went way out of sync as opposed to what I was viewing. This required several start and stops of the preview just to see what was happening. Fortunately, this didn't translate over to the DVD as bad. On a 60 minute video, there was noticable out of sync after about 45 minutes. It wasn't bad, but enough to be a little distracting.

So, I have now made it my vow to not capture more than 15 to 20 minutes of Analog video at a time. If I need more than that, I will create another file. I will also look into encoding or converting the MPEG2 file to AVI for final editing and burning to DVD depending on quality loss as there is a definite quality loss just in the capture.

Final conclusion: It will work for now. This may be a decent solution for those that have the older cameras that don't support DV Out (Firewire or USB). It relatively cost effective as I found the MovieBox for $50 on E-Bay and that was brand new in a factory sealed box. This is opposed to $130 retail.

All in all, it's reasonable. It certainly isn't the greatest, but it 'ain't' the worst I've seen either.

Obviously, somthing that captures in AVI and feeds through Firewire is a better solution. I'm looking at some of the Canopus units right now. Now I only wish there were an affordable Mini-DV tape player that allowed DV out to computer.

Awwww someday. :roll:
 
Obviously, somthing that captures in AVI and feeds through Firewire is a better solution. I'm looking at some of the Canopus units right now. Now I only wish there were an affordable Mini-DV tape player that allowed DV out to computer.

Awwww someday. :roll:

Uhmm.. I use a mini DV camera for capturing. panasonic.. they go cheap 300-400$
 
I'll 3rd the DV option if it turns into an option for you. I tape straight to the dv tape from the 8mm then download from the dv tape thru the firewire.
 
I wanted to pick up the tail end of the thread.... are there any decent alternatives to MovieBox? I was about to pick one up on eBay but got to reading some reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, and it appears the thing is hit-or-miss... I'm not about to take a chance.

(if we can keep this focused on analog capture rather than firewire/Hi-8 setups I'd appreciate it)

Tim
 
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