I\'m looking for a fairly cheap but effective video card (one that doesn\'t drop frames) - can anyone recommend one? The Canopus ADVC100 looks good (I\'d like to make use of my firewire port), but do I really need to spend £230 if all I need to do is get video from my VHS to my hard drive. I\'m looking for something that has little or no frills but wont drop frames.
If you have access to a DV-cam, you can record your material into that, and then transfer into the PC with Firewire. The only catch would be if your VHS tape has Macrovision copy protection enabled. It screws up the sync in a way that TVs tolerate, but recorders purposefully do not.
Hi there Jon, the video that I need to get onto my hard drive is a short film that I\'m working on, so copy protection isn\'t a problem. I\'ve done a search on the forum and people recommend the Canopus, but I\'ve seen advertised capture cards for under £100 (some under £50) - for what I want to do would these be ok, or would they give me an inaccurate transfer to hard-drive in terms of frame-rate?
I haven\'t used the Canopus or other inexpensive cards, but if they have reasonable quality, no frames should drop. Dropped frames are typically due to the PC being choked as the data is being transferred from the port to the hard drive.
Picture quality isn\'t generally much of an issue, since VHS is so bad already. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
The nice thing about the DV camera route, is that you get the camera and tape drive functionality in addition to the converters for not much additional cash.
The Canopus card is pretty much the maximum I\'d like to spend so I\'ll have to miss out on the DV cam route. I guess there is another option though - I could get an external DVD RW drive to load the avi/mpeg file onto (it all depends on whether editors these days prefer to deliver VHS or avi to the composer).
Hi!! I consider myself pretty experienced in this subject, since using a VHS tape as a reference is very common in my day-by-day work. First off all, making use of a good software is as important as having a good capture card. Try using Virtual Dub, wich is Freeware, and it will give you a lot of control over any capture card that you may have available. It will also let you encode to Div-X in real time, wich can be very useful if you intend to work with large videos. Concerning the video capture, I used to do all the work with a Pinaccle PCTV PCI card, wich is a very cheap (and low-profile) capture card. The only drawback is that I could only capture video without drops when setting Virtual Dub to capture in \"Safe mode\" (not WINDOWS safe mode, but INSIDE Virtual Dub). This is a good technique when you card is not very reliable. Second, even that your card is an expensive card, consider that capturing video from a VHS is exactly like capturing audio from a Cassete: Your digital video WILL get longer, or shorter, depending on the clock of your VHS. That means that your time reference WILL NOT be reliable, unless you have an alternate reference (as a time code recorded in the tape), or your video is very short (less than 30 seconds). Things will get very messy if you try to capture long videos. Third, I have recently capture a video through a DV camera, as mentioned in one of the replies, and I have experienced lots of dropped frames, much more than my old PCTV. Thus, keep in mind that expensive solutions are not necessarily effective, and even a card like Pixel View Play TV may solve your problems, it will only depend on how well it will \"fit\" in your system, in terms of compatibility. Avoid USB, I have also tested them, and I assure you that they will not do the job, unless you are talking about USB 2.0. Good luck!
Avoid USB and USB 2.0 for video. Firewire provides an isochronous channel that provides guarateed bandwidth. USB is asynchronous only. No guarantees for USB bandwidth.
It\'s important to tweak your PC to avoid frame drops. When I first tried capturing video from my camcorder to my XP machine (Athlon 1800+ w/ 512MB at the time), I got tons of drops. After appying the tweaks, I very rarely drop a single frame.