View Full Version : VCR/Hi8 to DVD - Capture Help Needed

28th March 2004, 18:49
Need to transfer home movies from VCR/Hi8 Camcorder to DVD.

Currently setting up to use an Asus PCI TV/FM Capture card with the Philips SAA7134HL (10-bit) chipset.

Just loaded drivers for the card and then have been playing with WinDVD Creator 2 for capture/burn to DVD.

Initial results using high quality settings on WinDVD Creator look pretty decent but want to make sure I'm getting all the quality I can before I start going through all these tapes.

Is this a good card/chipset for what I'm doing? I see alot of mention about the BT878 chipset cards, would one of these give better or worse image quality?

I don't need a TV or FM tuner (most seem to have this anyway) as I don't intend to capture anything OTA or do any PVR. Only need a card with analog video and audio in (S-video nice but not mandatory).

Are there any cards below $100 that I should be considering? I've got 30days to return the Asus if I need to.

Any suggestions on capture cards and easy to use software is greatly appreciated. I want to keep the quality as high as possible without spending too much time. I expect any editing I do to be minimal but might want to make slight picture changes (contrast, color, etc.)

PC is:
3.0ghz P4
512mb PC3500DDR
160gb, 8mb 7200rpm and 40gb, 2mb 7200rpm IDE drives
LiteOn 812S 8X burner

Standalone Player is:
Denon DVD-1600

One problem with WinDVD Creator, If I do a capture directly to DVD the DVD plays fine on my Standalone player but If I capture to Hard drive then tell WinDVD to make and burn the movie the disc won't play on the Standalone. Any ideas? Both the Video_TS and Audio_TS folders are present when you view the DVD on my computer and the files inside the Video_TS folder look fine.

Also tried Descaler, video looks fine even though this is supposed to be for BT878 chipsets but can't get any audio so far.

What other software and cards should I be trying?

Thanks for any/all advice.

28th March 2004, 23:18
I just finished researching tape formats.

The Hi-8 format has about 430 lines of resolution (the exact number varies with the website :) ) and a bandwidth of 5.5 MHz for luma. This means a sample rate of at least 11.0 MHz is needed to catch all theoretical possible detail. All this technical mumbo-jumbo just means the minimum resolution needed should be 576x576/480(pal/ntsc). DVD is 720x576/480 so as a final target should be fine.

If your Hi-8 camcorder has S-video output, use it. Color is stored separate on Hi-8 tape (color under) and using composite to capture would only mean the camcorder first joins luma and chroma together, after which your capture card has to separate them again. Separating luma and chroma costs detail and causes little color errors. Look in the capture guide for the term 'combfilter' to see what those errors are. Using a s-video lead keeps luma and chroma separate and improves the capture quality.

Wether a BT878 or a Philips is bests depends on what you think is best. I like my Philips SAA7134, others find it blurry. I did not find it so, but this is a matter of taste. The BT878 is rather old by now and has been succeeded by the Conexant CX2388x chips, but there are many other internal and external devices to choose from.

If you go for the Asus, the best capture resoluton for DVD production is 704x576 NOT 720x576 (or 704x480 if you are in NTSC country) if you want to keep the apect ratio correct.

Best capping software depends. I use VirtualVCR. A lot of people use Virtualdub or VirtualdubSync. To get vdub running with the Asus you may need to tweak the registry a bit. Look here (http://www.shdon.com/view.php?doc=vid_faq#saa713x) for more info. Only step 7 is needed, don't try to change the driver. Again, there are many other choices.

Dscaler supports the BT878, the SAA71xx and the CX2388x chips. Dscaler also has some filters enabled (like deinterlacers), so what you see there may not look the same as your caps. That is normal.

If you really want best quality and do color corrections etc., don't cap directly to MPEG2. Cap to harddisk first using a lossless codec like huffyuf, do any filtering and processing that is required in avisynth, vdub or whatever and encode to MPEG2 last. Read te DOOM9 analogue capture guide for the gory details.

29th March 2004, 02:07
Nice explanation!

29th March 2004, 05:49
Conexant CX2388x is a good chipset.
Prolink sells a card called "X-Capture" which has no Tuner or any other crap, just the cx2388x chip and video/svideo plugs.
It sells for around $30 in my area.

You can check out the card:

I have one and it works great, the video is much sharper than generic bt878 card I had before (25 minute huffy captures went from 14gb to about 22gb due to crisper video).

31st March 2004, 05:18
Thanks for the responses, I wasn't all that happy with the Philips SAA7134HL chipset, at least as implemented on the Asus card so its been returned.

I have ordered a Leadtek TV2000 Expert and should have it in a couple of days, it has the Conexant CX2388x chipset. I didn't see the response about the ProLink before I placed my order or I might have got it instead. Who knows maybe I'll use the Tuner to record some Football games I can't watch live this fall.

I have read that if I only trim scenes during Authoring I won't have to re-encode and so can capture directly to MPEG2 without quality loss to speed up my process. Is this true?

If I adjust basic things during the capture like brightness, contrast, color, etc. I assume the same is true?

If I'm correct on the above then I really just need an easy to use high quality Capture program for MPEG2 and an Authoring program. I already have Nero to Burn.

Thinking of using TMPGEnc DVD Author but would like other reccomendations for an easy to use Authoring program as well as a Capture program for MPEG2.

I really just need to do some scene cutting although auto scene detection sounds good if it works.

Thanks for any/all advice.

31st March 2004, 06:20
I would recommend using DVDLab from www.mediachance.com for DVD authoring as it is by far the best looking (both features and price wise) DVD authoring program.

As far as capturing MPEG2 I'll let someone else answer that.
Does Leadtek TV2000 Expert capture MPEG2 in hardware? If not, you aren't going to get any better quality/speed (unless your machine can encode high-bitrate mpeg2 in realtime).

31st March 2004, 08:47
Originally posted by offroad
...capture directly to MPEG2 without quality loss...
Hard to believe that. In any case if you compress to MPEG in realtime you'll get CBR and that does not make the optimal usage of bandwidth. And besides, since you are obviously planning to make DVDs, you'll have to set bitrate lower than 9.8 Mb/s total, including audio. I have not yet heard of the MPEG2 codec that can compress with good quality using CBR at that bitrate in realtime. I've seen that HW codecs mostly use around 12, 15 or even 24 Mb/s for better qaulity, that is too much for DVD, so you'll have to recompress to VBR later anyway. Same applies if you use SW codec, probably even worse since processor is also doing other things beside compression.

Tmpgenc DVD Author is very good at adding chapters and easy to use. DVD Lab has auto detection, bit it's chaptering sucks, they're always a second or so off, according to my experience. Haven't tried Scenarist yet.

31st March 2004, 14:32
Timecop: No the Leadtek doesn't do HW MPEG2. I thought my 3.0ghz CPU would be enough to do it with a program that does a good job of capturing to MPEG2. Maybe this isn't the case? Thanks for the suggestion about DVDlab, I'll give it a look.

Originally posted by violao
Hard to believe that.

I'm a newb at this but here is where that came from: www.digitalfaq.com/capture/avivsmpeg.htm

Second line down under the quick question.

I'm just looking for a way to get my old home movies onto DVD with good quality as easliy as possible. I just want to do basic editing mostly removing material I don't want on the DVD. I realize that I'll have to decide if my method is good enough to suit me. Alot of the tapes I'll be using don't have a full two hours on them so I'm hoping this will buy me some additional bitrate. Thanks for the Authoring suggestions.

Any other advice is appreciated.

31st March 2004, 15:45
Originally posted by offroad
...Second line down under the quick question...
This is just too oversimplified statement. I believe the authors have taken some pressumtions that they didn't mention, like frame size, bitrate, etc. I am sure that majority of posters at this forum will agree that under certain bitrate limitations the one DOES BENEFIT FROM offline VBR encoding. Just look in CCE thread and doom9 guides for methods about getting maximum from CCE (CCE is probably most popular high quality MPEG encoder SW). And BTW, all commercial DVDs use VBR. The goal of compressing video is to produce maximum possible constant quality (VBR) video, with peak bitrate that is lower than accepted maximum (9.8 Mbps for DVD), that can still be put onto restricted storage space (4.38 G for DVDR).

2nd April 2004, 16:18
Originally posted by violao
In any case if you compress to MPEG in realtime you'll get CBR and that does not make the optimal usage of bandwidth.

Played around with MainConcept MPEG Encoder last night and looks like it will do real time captures of MPEG2 in VBR or CBR. It has a calculator built in that shows that using VBR and a resolution of 704X480 (NTSC) I can get about 5200kbps in a two hour capture.

Most of my tapes are shorter than this so I'm hoping to get the bitrate higher.

Is 704x480 a good resolution to capture for VCR/VHS or should I lower it to get the bit rate up? If so what is reccomended to keep the AR correct for NTSC.

So far the short captures I have done using MainConcept look promising but more testing is needed.


4th April 2004, 13:54
Is 704x480 a good resolution to capture for VCR/VHS or should I lower it to get the bit rate up? If so what is reccomended to keep the AR correct for NTSC.

I believe your targer is making a DVD. With a CX23881 based card, you should probably cap at 688x480 and pad afterwards with black bars on both sides to either 704x480 or 720x480 final resolution for correct DVD AR.

and the references mentioned there to determine for yourself if these numbers are correct for your card too.