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4845 posts

Uber Geek

#55754 8-Jan-2010 22:03
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(mods please feel free to move to the appropriate forum if necessary)

Today I used a video capture card to move a recording of my wife when she was on television from VHS to a digital format I can e-mail to her relatives overseas. Only problem is, the files are HUGE .avi files. One clip is three minutes long and it's 3.5GB!!

I'm trying to think of something to convert them down to a smaller file size; I know this is possible, I've seen 90 minutes of video compressed into around 700MB. But I'm not sure what I can use to compress them down in size or even convert them to another file format, something that's easily transferrable over the internet.

Anyone got any suggestions here? If worst comes to worst, I can redo the files (although I'd prefer not to), but if that's the case, what size/resolution/whatever should I have things set to?

Also - these are half a dozen clips I have - is there any (free) way to splice them altogether into one file?

By the way, this was done using Ulead VideoStudio SE DVD, which came with my device.

Thanks in advance :)

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53 posts

Master Geek

  #288312 8-Jan-2010 22:42
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Try Movie Maker from Microsoft - its free and a good way to learn video editing. It acepts .avi and outputs to other formats. A few years since I've used it as we've moved on to Pinnacle Studio.

Good luck

1528 posts

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  #288319 9-Jan-2010 00:17
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Well for a start, I don't think you should look at using email...

Even if you compress the file to 700mb, most email services will not allow a file of that size to be sent or recieved...and it will just clog/tie up the recipitants email inbox.

You still need to compress the file, but I suggest you upload the file to an online file storage, and then send the address to your relatives so they can just click on the link and download it, possibly using a download program so they resume should they be interupted while downloading...

As for converting, Google is your the format the files are stored in now, and the format you want them stord in...or search how to compress a movie file...Google is your freind.

As for could stitch them all back together into one file should you want...but that will mean 1 large file...harder to send and takes longer to receive....I would recommend keeping them seperate, and let your relies at the other end put hem back together (should they want, and know how to)

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Uber Geek

  #288322 9-Jan-2010 00:40
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Can you give us any more specifics about the original video file?
Video codec
Audio codec
frame rate
interlaced or progressive.
how long is the file?

If you are not sure about the details of the original file then you could use a program called media info. You can download it from here -

Otherwise, I would recommend a program called Handbrake. It will pretty much convert any video file into a smaller output video file.

Website -

There is a really good guide on the website, but you should just be able to simply choose the input file, and then choose to output a new file at a target file size. i.e like you said 700MB for a 90min file. The quality would be reasonable, and probably sufficient if it was from VHS in the first place. But we still don't know your source file details, or how long the video goes for.

And like euanandrews said, you may want to try uploading it to somewhere like Rapidshare -

If you can keep the file size under 200MB then you can upload it in one go for free!!

Hope the helps!! Laughing
Happy Transcoding!!

163 posts

Master Geek

  #288324 9-Jan-2010 00:55
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Have a look at or
Both have a plethora of information regarding video encoding.

I'd suggest an mpeg 4 based codec to get a decent compression level vs quality.

There are plenty of free tools available to do this, each with a different learning curve, so find a tutorial on those sites that suits your goal/time you want to spend working on it.

4845 posts

Uber Geek

  #288367 9-Jan-2010 10:27
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Thanks all for your help and suggestions so far. I've got five video clips, the first one is 01:03 (one minute three seconds) and that one is 936MB!! Way too big. #2 = 02:49, 2.45GB, #3 = 03:33, 3.09GB, #4 = 04:03, 3.53GB, #5 = 01:30, 1.31GB.

As you can see, these are all far too large to be of any use. I wasn't planning on e-mailing them, more like posting them up on Youtube for her relatives to see...

I had a look at the settings in the ULead application and under video compression, "No Recompression" is selected - is this the setting I should be looking at changing?? I want these files sizes to be manageable, not the mammoth things I have now, ie, 1 minute of video should only be about 15-20MB, surely??

I've included a screenshot of the settings I have available, hopefully this makes sense.

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Uber Geek

  #288413 9-Jan-2010 12:37
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If you can be bothered going through the whole process again, I would change the video compression on Ulead to the 'Emused MPEG-4 SP Encoder DMO', and then "re-capture" the files from the VHS tape. This should probably net you smaller and more managable files for a start. The other thing is, does Ulead have any quality settings you can play with on top of selecting the new codec? If it does then you may be able to do all you want from within that program.

Try the MPEG-4 codec for a start, and if you find that the files are still too big you may have to transcode them again, either using a function on Ulead (not sure if it has said function - not familiar with Ulead programs), or a third party program such as Handbrake.

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Lifetime subscriber

  #288431 9-Jan-2010 13:37
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I convert video formats on a semi-regular basis find Any Video Converter to be a really good product.

Euanandrews has the best advice in this case though, unless you decide to drop the files onto a DVD with a proper menu system and send via snail-mail...


4845 posts

Uber Geek

  #829222 1-Jun-2013 15:35
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Thread bump.
I picked up a pre-loved VCR player today. Connected it to my TV and it works perfectly. I decided to restart the above process, but unfortunately I can't get any video to display on the capture device. This is what I get when I try to start a capture:

So, I have a different video player than last time, but don't figure that should make any difference, should it?

Any help much appreciated :)

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Uber Geek

  #829240 1-Jun-2013 16:33
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Perhaps the software and capture card are set up to receive a PAL signal (625 scan lines), whereas the VCR might be outputting NTSC (525 scan lines). 

At least, that's what it looks like in the preview window in your screenshot.

See if there is an option to change the software input to NTSC.

1956 posts

Uber Geek

  #829256 1-Jun-2013 17:08
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Not quite sure how you went about capturing but that's a mighty big file for a few minutes.
A few years back I used the spftware that came with my WinFast TV2000XP analogue TV/Video capture card to capture some Home Movie footage off a mini VHS tape but I did it as an .mpg file and 5 min 40 was only about 257mb. A 23 min .mpg home movie tape was only 1gb.  I also copied some old VHS tapes and a 90 min tape came nowhere near that size in .mpg
I now use VideoReDo for editing which is well worth the purchase price. It is great for editing my .ts and .tts digital capture (Freeview) files plus many other formats but unfortunately it won't handle .avi files (yet) so I convert them to .mpg first using Any Video Converter (Freeware).
Very quick and easy to use. Much faster and easier than Ulead Video Studio was and I never suffer from loss of audio sync now like I used to with Video Studio when burning to DVD. I found Video Studio was a real nightmare to setup for TV or Video Capture and very temperamental when editing and burning as well. I seem to remember it used to crash or freeze a lot and took hours to compile and burn a DVD.

1956 posts

Uber Geek

  #829258 1-Jun-2013 17:11
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dontpanic42: Perhaps the software and capture card are set up to receive a PAL signal (625 scan lines), whereas the VCR might be outputting NTSC (525 scan lines). 

At least, that's what it looks like in the preview window in your screenshot.

See if there is an option to change the software input to NTSC.

Check the VCR output and Capture Card input.
I used to have the same problem til I figured out that the capture card and/or software (can't remember which) defaulted to NTSC. Changed it to PAL and all was fine.

1956 posts

Uber Geek

  #829261 1-Jun-2013 17:19
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I'd recommend using different capture software.
I now have a Hauppage HVR2200 card and use the WinTV 7 software that came with it. Excellent for digital recording and the Video Capture from my VCR is easy too. Only problem I've found is what you see and hear on the screen/audio is about 2 secs behind the output from the VCR. Rather disconcerting when capturing from a video camera but at least the video and sound is in sync.

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  #829280 1-Jun-2013 18:43
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Okay it looks like my settings might already be in PAL (as opposed to NTSC)?

1956 posts

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  #829429 1-Jun-2013 21:58
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I don't have my Video Studio installed here at the moment (my analogue card audio wouldn't work in Windows 7) so I can't do a comparison but if I remember correctly that looks like your project output setting, not capture setting.

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  #829434 1-Jun-2013 22:05
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quickymart: Okay it looks like my settings might already be in PAL (as opposed to NTSC)

Thats the project, the capture device will have its own set of settings.


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