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1431 posts

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#227409 6-Jan-2018 07:36
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I've decided that the time has come for me to get serious about digitizing the many video tapes I have lying around. I have a number of vhs tapes (and, fortunately, a working vcr) as well as about 30 mini DV tapes from my Sony camcorder. The camcorder can connect to my pc via IEEE 1394 but I will need to get an analogue capture card for the vcr, which is easy enough. However, I also need video capture software. Can anyone recommend a good package? Free is nice, but I'm happy to pay a reasonable price for a good interface which doesn't make me want to tear my hair out.

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1508 posts

Uber Geek

  #1931130 6-Jan-2018 08:26
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I bought this suite from AVS, happy with it: might not be the correct thing for your needs.


Last time I looked, most if not all capture cards come with their own software.

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Uber Geek

  #1931142 6-Jan-2018 08:50
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You're probably right. I bought a USB capture device a few years ago from Jaycar but the capture software was useless, and I returned it. Price probably plays a part here, but hoping someone can suggest a package that is worth the money.

I looked at your link to the AVS suite but it isn't clear if it's set up to easily capture from external inputs.


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Uber Geek

  #1931144 6-Jan-2018 08:53
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Lizard1977: You're probably right. I bought a USB capture device a few years ago from Jaycar but the capture software was useless, and I returned it. Price probably plays a part here, but hoping someone can suggest a package that is worth the money.

I looked at your link to the AVS suite but it isn't clear if it's set up to easily capture from external inputs.




Worth looking here then: 

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Uber Geek

  #1931157 6-Jan-2018 09:47
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Not all capture devices are created equal. Some of the cheaper ones are, quite frankly, awful and won't give a good result. I started out experimenting with a quite expensive internal capture card from Pinnacle back in the day, and the quality of the captures I got was abysmal.


Some of the specialist forums review capture units, and it's well worth reading a few reviews before purchasing. Quite a few units are over-hyped and underperform other units that cost significantly less.


I have had good luck with an external unit from Hauppauge (the HD PVR Model 1212) previously, which would do pretty much any analog resolution up to 1080i and gave good quality. They aren't still sold new, but there do seem to be quite a few second hand ones on the market. Interestingly, last time I looked, the second hand units of this model were selling at a significant premium to both the price when new, and the newer digital capture units. Presumably because they have a good reputation. If you can find one at a good price, I would grab that. I am certainly hanging on to mine.


Failing that, feeding the analog output into a DVD recorder can also give good results if it's a quality recorder (I like Panasonic recorders).



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Master Geek

  #1931221 6-Jan-2018 12:54
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I've personally used kdenlive (open source software) and a Sony D8 camcorder to digitise family recordings on V8 tapes, I'm quite happy with the end result. The camcorder is likely similar to yours from your description of it, if I remember correctly, there is also a composite video input connector. If so, you can use that to capture other analog sources too. My only problem with kdenlive is the poor documentation, but it was years ago, so things may have changed.


The advantage of this setup compared to a capture card is its simplicity and probably reasonably close quality to a good capture card, and you also don't rely on the manufacturer providing a driver for the capture card since IEEE1394 is a very well supported standard. This approach also allows you to store videos uncompressed (ridiculously high capacity hard drives are dirt cheap nowadays) for lossless editing, and you get to choose the compression format for the final output. This is way better than most cheap mpeg2 capture adapters and DVD recorders, the captured video would be stored in lossy format from beginning, not to mention mpeg2 is a lousy encoding standard compared modern compression techniques.

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  #1931239 6-Jan-2018 13:28
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VLC does screen recording and I have had good results. It’s free.

Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman

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  #1931252 6-Jan-2018 13:53
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I have used OBS to capture in the past when I wanted to record and have an overlay on the content, and premiere took too damn long to do a re-encode with adding it, worked great, didnt see any dropped frames.



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Uber Geek

  #2068119 4-Aug-2018 22:05
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I've just been through this exercise, needing to digitise some very old VHS tapes.

I bought a cheap and nasty  Easycap DC60+ USB capture device from PBTech.  Left my reading glasses behind - didn't read the label on that pack that said Win 7/XP/Vista. In 2018. Oops - drivers wouldn't install on W10. The CD that came with it had 64 bit driver inf files in a sub-folder, I installed those manually, then it seemed to appear ok in device manager, but the device itself was hopeless with provided 2008 vintage Ulead software.  It would stream video really well up to the point I'd start recording, then the capture device would disconnect, the software would reset to default input settings.  Video quality was actually fine (lol - well VHS never really looks fine on a 60" TV, but) .  The audio quality from the USB capture device was really awful.  That's easy enough to bypass, use an RCA to 2.5mm jack to the line in on the PC.


I read this thread - thanks to @scuwp suggestion of using VLC to record - problem solved.  That worked with video from the cheap USB capture dongle, audio direct as above, perfect result.  One issue - when "Display the Output" was checked in the save dialog - VLC didn't display the output - but nevermind, it saved it fine.


But the other thing I suggest is if you've got VHS tapes that you want to digitise, then get on with it sooner rather than later.  The only VHS recorder I could get my hands on quickly was in a state of natural decomposition even though it looked fine and had been stored in a clean dry place.  They are mechanically complex, and they don't make them any more.  It took me a couple of hours to fix mechanical faults with perished drive belts and clean up the heads etc to even get it working properly,  there was a lot of other stuff looking dodgy - decomposing insulation on circuit board components, dust - it won't last much longer.  Soon outside of specialist studios, there probably won't be any working VHS players.

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