Best way to capture analogue video to PC

TechiMan

Active Member
Anyone know what is the best way to capture analogue video either a HI8 camcorder and a VHS recorder?. Is it best to use a capture program that captures and records at the resolution of the camcorder and video (ie 320x240) or capture at a higher res?. The reason I ask about this is because in the past I've used a program called Debut Video Capture (IMO an awful external video capture program because it often results in bad, jittery framerate) and I've captured the video at a higher resolution of about 640, but since then when I've imported the saved video file (which reads as being about 4GB) into a difference editing and encoded program, for instance like Nero, it says that the file size is too large and it appears that the actual file size is in excess of 9GB. All I can think of is that because I had captured the video at a higher res the file size was doubled, even though when I hover on the file and click on properties it's saying it's about 4GB, and this is with various file formats like MPEG, MPEG4 etc. Or it could be that I've set the bitrarte too high. But why would one program say it's 9GB but in the file properties it's 4GB?.

I'm currently now using OBS Studio (the only program I've found that seems to capture smooth video on capture and playback, whereas other programs I've tried either have no audio or produce really bad framerate and jittery video despite being set at 25fps). However, OBS only seem to allow to capture in a format called FLV (though there are options for other formats but when I go to select them it gives a warning saying that using any other format other than the set one will affect performance). Why can't these programs capture in AVI, MPEG2/MPEG4, MOV etc?.
 
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Terfyn

Well-known Member
Use an analogue to DVD recorder. The Panasonic one I have also has analogue and FireWire in.

Something like a Panasonic DMR-ES15EB. Firewire, Analogue and S-video inputs. Hope you can find one that works OK.
Another option is an EZCap analogue to USB converter (or a good alternative)

For video editing, I use Corel's VideoStudio. Easy to use and flexible.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The problem is that you are capturing with little or no compression, so the file sizes are large and demand large amounts of CPU processing and disk access.

I've got a 15 year old Pinnacle capture card and capture app. Rock solid, MP4 capture at about 4Gb per hour and relatively low cpu overhead, so my 10 year old i7 machine handles it without breaking a sweat. Pinnacle still sell the Dazzle and for me, it offers the simplest work flow without breaking the bank! Pinnacle Studio 24 | Powerful Video Editing Software
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Pinnacle is now owned by Corel of course, who run Pinnacle and VS in parallel. I never used Dazzle as my, then, PC had a FireWire input but I believed it to be good.
I gave up on Pinnacle in the early days as, under Avid, it had more bugs than a dead hedgehog.:facepalm: You could hear the crashes for miles.
I moved to VideoStudio on the recommendation if my Dealer and other users he knew. I do find VS more stable than the (older) Pinnacle and most suitable for my needs.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Something like a Panasonic DMR-ES15EB. Firewire, Analogue and S-video inputs. Hope you can find one that works OK.
Another option is an EZCap analogue to USB converter (or a good alternative)

For video editing, I use Corel's VideoStudio. Easy to use and flexible.
I have a Panasonic DMR combi recorder (not sure if it's the same model you mentioned), but the DVD recorder doesn't work only the VHS recorder.

I have only got a laptop not a desktop PC with a dedicated capture card, so I'm limited. I have an Ezcap type capture device which I used to hook up my VHS recorder and camcorder to the USB input of my laptop using a different variety of programs, some OK and others terrible - all free programs. I have a version of Nero that is supposed to have a video capture feature, but for some reason it doesn't recognise the capture device.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Kinda off topic here, but does anyone know why I'm getting really large file sizes when with various video file formats, some which I've captured via an external video recorder to my capture device/program?. I know I've asked this several times on other threads but I can't get my around why I'm getting these really massive file sizes when the actual video is around 4GB. For example, I just imported a 2 hr video in mpg format (as far as I'm aware in MPEG-2 not MP4), which it says is 3.65gb. Yet when I import into Nero Video it tells me that the video exceeds the standard DVD limit and asks do I want to compress to fit or not, to which I click NO and it reveals the video to exceed to around 7GB. Can anyone explain why I'm getting really large files?.

Just to explain what I mean I've added a screenshot:

Am I to assume my problem is due to the resolution that the video has been captured in, ie 768x576 rather than 320x240?. As the video I captured from was analogue video (in this case from a Betamax tape), I'm suspecting that I should've captured the video at that resolution. Or is there another reason for this?. I can't imagine it being down to the length of the video as if edited it down to just 1hr the video file would still not fit.
 

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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Resolution does have some effect on file size, but bit rate is much more important. Dvds use 3.5 - 9.8 Mbs and a frame size of 720 x 576. If you can capture and edit at this resolution, it should just be the bit rate that needs adjustment to fit the file to the disk.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
Resolution does have some effect on file size, but bit rate is much more important. Dvds use 3.5 - 9.8 Mbs and a frame size of 720 x 576. If you can capture and edit at this resolution, it should just be the bit rate that needs adjustment to fit the file to the disk.
Well I went back and imported the video and saved an MPEG-2 DVD file, which for some reason is an m2v file (no idea what an m2t file is but the audio is saved as a separate file). I made sure that the video bitrate (I'm assuming it was the video bitrate) was:
Minimum bitrate: 2.8
Target bitrate: 5
Maximum bitrate: 7

As far as I'm aware that is the standard for a DVD.

Yet when I imported the file into Nero video (which took ages), a message appeared saying the file exceeds the DVD limit (the file size is supposed to be 4.25gb, and when I clicked NO the file was 7GB as before I supposedly compressed the video. And yes the framesize is 720x576, PAL, 25fps.

No idea why it's doing this.
Here's a screenshot:
 

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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
This sounds like Nero is using its own encoding and the file is too long for whatever its default quality value is.

I would therefore import the files in as high a quality format as possible, then use Nero to re-encode to the correct rate for the size of file. H264 MP4 would be good for this, as the quality is good, but the file size not too huge. If your PC is less than 3 or 4 years old, it should be able to encode these formats in hardware on the CPU, so shouldn't take too long.

The output from Nero will be about 4.5Gb per hour, so a single layer disc should hold about 1 hour of video at a reasonable compression rate.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
This sounds like Nero is using its own encoding and the file is too long for whatever its default quality value is.

I would therefore import the files in as high a quality format as possible, then use Nero to re-encode to the correct rate for the size of file. H264 MP4 would be good for this, as the quality is good, but the file size not too huge. If your PC is less than 3 or 4 years old, it should be able to encode these formats in hardware on the CPU, so shouldn't take too long.

The output from Nero will be about 4.5Gb per hour, so a single layer disc should hold about 1 hour of video at a reasonable compression rate.
I just re-encoded the video into Nero Recode (although the video is about 2 hrs long), encoded as an MP4 file, and it says the file size is 4.31gb. However, once again when I imported the video into Nero Video it still said that the file is too large (7GB). It's as if Nero Recode did nothing to the video in terms of compressing it just converted to a different format. Very strange. I think I will need to go back and capture the video file again and capture at a lower framesize and see if that solves the large file size, because there's noway a 2hr video in either MPEG2 or MP4 can be 7GB, something's wrong with the software I'm using. I will trim the video down to 1hr and see if that solves the problem.

Edit:

The laptop I'm using is about 4 years old, so kinda old, but seeing as it's a pretty fast laptop I don't see why I would need to upgrade.

I've trimmed down a home video to 55 mins that I'm currently converting it to H.264 with a bitrate of 7, VBR Pass 1, (the framesize is 768x576 for some reason but I can't seem to change it otherwise it resets everything; I think when I captured the footage I couldn't choose that particular framesize as 720 wasn't available for some reason, probably because the software was using some odd frame standard or could only capture in NTSC), Progressive, 25fps etc. But it's taking about 45 mins to save, no idea why. I'm suspecting when it's finished that I will still get a really large file size when importing into Nero or other program.
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I would expect 55 minutes to fit onto the DVD.

I think it's clear that Nero recodes the video, so I wouldn't worry about the warnings and let it re-encode to the best quality to fit the disc.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
I would expect 55 minutes to fit onto the DVD.

I think it's clear that Nero recodes the video, so I wouldn't worry about the warnings and let it re-encode to the best quality to fit the disc.
Well thankfully the video I shortened to 55 mins (saved as an H.264 MP4 file) did fit OK into Nero Video, although it took up just over 3GB of space for a single DVD (4.7gb) disc, despite the file size (according to properties) being about 2.37GB. So where has that extra space come from and which is the actual file size, and why doesn't it take up the whole of a DVD?. Kinda waste of a disc if I have to trim down the video to 1 hr and yet there's plenty of space still left. OK I could add another video file but if I'm only wishing to put that one video onto a disc then I'm wasting quite abit of space. With that extra space I could've trimmed down the video to about 1hr 30 mins, but then again knowing Nero and whatever encoding format I'm using it would say I don't have enough space. I can't win. Just did another video at 1hr 33 mins in H.264, saved the file and it's 4.08GB, which theoretically speaking it should fit to a DVD, but Nero says it's about 5 and half GB. When I trim down the video using Nero Video to just under an hr, it now only takes up about 3 and half GB of disc space. So why won't it allow me to get the full 1hr 33 mins on one disc?. Surely that additional 33 mins isn't taking up nearly 2GB of space.
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
OK, I think there is a misunderstanding as to what you are doing.

Are you trying to create a DVD video disc or simply writing the video files onto the disc as a storage medium?

If you want to be able to view the files on any DVD player, then you need to encode them into a specific format. Simply changing the encoding of the source file will not make any difference, as Nero will recode them before writing in any case. At full resolution and quality, you can get about an hour onto a single layer, single sided DVD, so Nero is reporting this correctly. To fit on more, Nero will use a lower bit rate, which will reduce the quality of the picture. You say that 1 hour is 3.5Gb, so 1hr 33 will be about 5.2Gb, which is too big, hence the message that Nero will use a lower quality setting.

If you just want to store the video files and will only ever want to watch them on a PC, you don't need to use a DVD Video creation tool like Nero, you can just burn them using Windows. Once the disc has been written and finalised, you will be able to view the files in Windows Explorer as you can any other drive, but you won't be able to watch them on a DVD player.

DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc and there are a number of ways it can be written to. DVD Video save MPEG 2 files in a specific format and calls them .TS files, while DVD Data will allow the files to remain in their original format.

Does that make sense?
 

TechiMan

Active Member
OK, I think there is a misunderstanding as to what you are doing.

Are you trying to create a DVD video disc or simply writing the video files onto the disc as a storage medium?

If you want to be able to view the files on any DVD player, then you need to encode them into a specific format. Simply changing the encoding of the source file will not make any difference, as Nero will recode them before writing in any case. At full resolution and quality, you can get about an hour onto a single layer, single sided DVD, so Nero is reporting this correctly. To fit on more, Nero will use a lower bit rate, which will reduce the quality of the picture. You say that 1 hour is 3.5Gb, so 1hr 33 will be about 5.2Gb, which is too big, hence the message that Nero will use a lower quality setting.

If you just want to store the video files and will only ever want to watch them on a PC, you don't need to use a DVD Video creation tool like Nero, you can just burn them using Windows. Once the disc has been written and finalised, you will be able to view the files in Windows Explorer as you can any other drive, but you won't be able to watch them on a DVD player.

DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc and there are a number of ways it can be written to. DVD Video save MPEG 2 files in a specific format and calls them .TS files, while DVD Data will allow the files to remain in their original format.

Does that make sense?
Yes I am wanting to create a DVD video disc not write to the disc.

Another thing I'm confused about is why many programmes seem to set the DVD resolution standard at 720. DVD is supposed to be 576x420 or 500 (VHS being 240) lines of resolution, so why is it that many capture and converting programmes are stating DVD is 720 all of a sudden?. Actually I heard it's more like 400. I remember when DVD was launched very well and they kept stating that the resolution was about 400, no mention of it being 720x576. I had never heard of 720p until Bluray and HD was introduced over 10 years ago.
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
DVDs have 720 pixels across by 540 down for PAL.

Quite why they quote it the other way around to HD - where the line count is used is beyond me!
 

oneman

Active Member
I would expect 55 minutes to fit onto the DVD.

I think it's clear that Nero recodes the video, so I wouldn't worry about the warnings and let it re-encode to the best quality to fit the disc.
You could fit 8 hours onto a DVD if you wanted to or even more by sacrificing quality. The DVD standard does not specify the how much compression to use.
 

TechiMan

Active Member
You could fit 8 hours onto a DVD if you wanted to or even more by sacrificing quality. The DVD standard does not specify the how much compression to use.

I opened to AVS Video Converter to convert to 1hr 33 min video, resized the MP4 video from 704x480 (an odd framesize) to 480x360, set it at 25fps and a bitrate of 3766kbps. After I had converted the video it said the file size is 2.64GB. But again, when I opened up the file in Nero Video the size was about 5GB. I couldn't even tell the difference in quality. Surely by changing the framesize from 704x480 to 480x360 would significantly lower the file size, but it appears it isn't doing.
 

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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I opened to AVS Video Converter to convert to 1hr 33 min video, resized the MP4 video from 704x480 (an odd framesize) to 480x360, set it at 25fps and a bitrate of 3766kbps. After I had converted the video it said the file size is 2.64GB. But again, when I opened up the file in Nero Video the size was about 5GB. I couldn't even tell the difference in quality. Surely by changing the framesize from 704x480 to 480x360 would significantly lower the file size, but it appears it isn't doing.
All you are doing is changing the size of the file you are putting into Nero.

For I think the 4th time...
Nero is recoding the video into an MPEG2 DVD Video compliant file as an automatic operation. You need to let Nero do its thing and it will choose the right level of compression to fit the file to the disc. It will probably have 3 or 4 presets and it will choose the one that allows for best quality but still fits the disc.

The size of the input file doesn't have any affect on the encoding, only the length matters. Just capture and save in the best quality you can, so that when Nero recodes, you don't lose too much quality.

It sounds like you are overthinking this and trying to do Nero's job for it. Just leave it to the software and check the end result is OK.
 

oneman

Active Member
All you are doing is changing the size of the file you are putting into Nero.

For I think the 4th time...
Nero is recoding the video into an MPEG2 DVD Video compliant file as an automatic operation. You need to let Nero do its thing and it will choose the right level of compression to fit the file to the disc. It will probably have 3 or 4 presets and it will choose the one that allows for best quality but still fits the disc.

The size of the input file doesn't have any affect on the encoding, only the length matters. Just capture and save in the best quality you can, so that when Nero recodes, you don't lose too much quality.

It sounds like you are overthinking this and trying to do Nero's job for it. Just leave it to the software and check the end result is OK.
If I remember Nero actually has an option which just says to fit to DVD and it will do all the calculations for you and maintain the best quality it can.

As you say there is absolutely no need to worry about the size of the capture file, it completely meaningless as its going to get re-encoded by Nero. @TechiMan you are confusing two processes here. First process is capturing the video. Second process is recording to DVD. They are not related except the capture process has to output a file the DVD recording software understands. That is it.
 

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