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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » Video capture cards

   
Author Topic: Video capture cards
Mike Heenan
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1895
From: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 05-11-2002 10:50 PM      Profile for Mike Heenan   Email Mike Heenan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi all, I was looking into buying a video capture card (MPEG-2/DVD Quality), but was amazed at all the different ones out there. I want to master some VHS tapes to DVD. Ive seen some kits like the Pinnacle and Dazzle go for several hundred bucks. Ive got the software, but am looking for the card and anything else necessary to do this. Dont have a DVD burner yet, but plan on that very soon. Can anyone suggest a good capture card? I was looking at the ATI Radeon 7500 on www.pricewatch.com , which seemed good.

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Adam Wilbert
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 590
From: Bellingham, WA, USA
Registered: Mar 2002


 - posted 05-12-2002 11:48 PM      Profile for Adam Wilbert   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Wilbert   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't have any experience with video capture, but I have nothing but good things to say about ATI cards. I'm on my second All-In-Wonder and swear I'll probably always stay with that particular card as the new versions are released. If you search google groups, you might find a lot of people complaining about ATI's driver support, but they've really been on the ball this past year and shaped things up in that department.

-Adam

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7035
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 05-13-2002 02:21 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have an ATI 'All in Wonder' graphics and video capture card, and for what it cost, I'm very pleased with it.

For UK£150 you're not going to get broadcast quality, but capturing from S-VHS and rendering the stream as PAL DVD-compatible MPEG-2 (at 9.8mbit) the resulting files look, IMHO, almost as good as the original S-VHS cassette projected on a 6-foot across screen.

My only gripes with it are (i) it is quite resource-hungry - I'm using an AMD XP1900+ processor with 1gb of SDRAM and W2KSP2, and that's only just enough to capture uncompressed 720x526 AVI files without dropping frames - and (ii) that it's not compatible with Adobe Premiere. In order to use Premiere for editing you have to capture as AVI using the software which comes with the card, and then import the resulting files.

But for what it does relative to the price, I think the card was excellent value.


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Sean M. Grimes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 247
From: Lunenburg, MA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 05-13-2002 02:22 AM      Profile for Sean M. Grimes   Author's Homepage   Email Sean M. Grimes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well a low budget way into video capturing is the ADS video usb capture device - only 49.99 after a $20 rebate!!! click here . I have been using it for a few months and it works well and includes it's own software.


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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7035
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 05-13-2002 03:44 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only drawback with this one seems to be that the largest frame it'll grab at full speed (i.e. 30fps for NTSC) is 352 x 288. I guess this is because of the limit on data throughput using a USB connection. But you get what you pay for, and that certainly is cheap.

One afterthought on the ATI card: I did have a massive hassle with drivers when I first installed it. The drivers which came with the card did not allow the video capture hardware to be recognised by W2K (i.e. it only allowed the card to work as a display adapter); I then downloaded a newer version which fixed this problem but introduced several new ones.

It wasn't until two releases of the driver later that the thing finally worked perfectly with no glitches.

But, when you think that broadcast-standard analogue capture cards start at around UK£500 (e.g. the Matrox 2500), the fact that the captured video from this one looks not far off it means that for £150, I'm prepared to forgive ATI over the driver hassle.

In short, then, my experience with ATI hardware is that it performs extremely well for what it costs, but be prepared for some mieowing and hissing over installation and if you want to use proper editing software you will have to capture using the bundled stuff first.


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John Moriarty
Film Handler

Posts: 50
From: Cambridge, UK
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 05-13-2002 04:07 AM      Profile for John Moriarty   Email John Moriarty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I built my PC 20 months ago, I put an ATI All In Wonder (rage 128) in my Athlon 800 (VIA chipset) machine, and found that I had frequent (every couple of hours) problems with system lockups and unprompted reboots. I swopped the graphics card for a Matrox G550 (no video capture) and I can count on one hand the number of times the PC has hung in since (last November). So I recomend checking to see if you can find someone with the graphics card, motherboard and processor combination working before spending any money

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7035
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 05-13-2002 04:18 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wouldn't mind guessing that this could have been a driver problem. The early versions of the driver I tried with my All in Wonder 128 caused program errors during capture and playback (unlike W9X, Windows 2000 is a far more stable platform and will usually not allow badly-written program code to pull the whole system down, i.e. hang or blue-screen crash). But since I've installed the latest release version just before Christmas, it's been absolutely fine and very stable.

The other thing UK users have to remember to do is to install the patch for DirectX8.0a which allows it to recognise PAL video. I've never tried DirectX8.1 on the basis that 8.0a plus the patch works and is stable: i.e. it ain't broke and thus does not need fixing.

I agree, you shouldn't have to faff about installing umpteen versions of a device driver just to get a bit of hardware to work properly (he said, in anticipation of gloating comments from Mac users reading this), but this did solve all the problems for me. I guess that when I bought the card it was a pretty new product, and because only a small proportion of people buying them were likely to be using W2K (or any other NT-based OS), ATI didn't initially put as much care and effort into producing the W2K drivers as they did for the W9X versions.


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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 05-13-2002 06:20 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've got one of the older TNT All-in-wonder cards and haven't had the problems described. What I did find is that you can't reduce the My_computer/properties/Graphics/performance/hardware acceleration at all and expect the card to have the full feature set.

For digital photos I use a compact Super VHS Camcorder and have a VCR attached to the input of the TNT card. I can take unlimited 640 x 480 resolution photos, and capture them off the TNT card at my leisure, making sure I capture exactly the right moment. I can't understand why people spend big bucks for the lower resolution dedicated digital cameras such as the Mavica. For less money, this setup has much more capability and no battery hog problems.


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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-13-2002 12:43 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah the Mavica sucks but just about every other digital camera out there (especially the modern ones) will beat out S-VHS by a factor of at least 4. Plus you don't get any interlacing artifacts and your color is true RGB, not NTSC. I've had my Epson digital camera for at least 3 years now and have only recharged the batteries maybe 10 or 12 times. It takes nice pictures, many of which you see in the reviews section and even on the Filmguard product page!


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David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 4016
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 05-13-2002 12:56 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Anyone with a digital camera that's a AA battery hog should check this out:
Be clickin here

These batteries are awesome. They outlast the best alkalines by about 4-to-1 in my Kodak DC-280. Which by the way is a great little camera as long as there's adequate light. 2.1 megapixel. I often look for excuses to buy a newer/better camera but can't really come up with a reason to replace it.


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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-13-2002 01:27 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
NiMH batteries kick ass. Though I do have a super fancy Sony remote control with a touch screen that lights up and has lots of bells and whistles. I put Energizer alkaline batteries in it when I bought it more than 3 years ago. Those same batteries are STILL in there and they still work, including the screen light. The Sony manual says the batteries should only last 6 months. Guess my unit is defective!


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