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Old 29th August 2002, 22:15   #1  |  Link
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Capture FAQ. Revised 10 June 2006

Capture FAQ

Last update: added DScaler USB comments to Q3.

Please read this FAQ before asking in the forum. Many problems can be solved this way and you will help all the nice people here. Thank you.

Please note that some parts are a translation of a German FAQ, therefore many links go to German pages, the German capture Guide is translated and now hosted here. A discussion about the guide is going on in the forum. Feel free to join us, if you have a suggestion.

And now

1.) What is capturing?

· An analogue input source (TV, (S)VHS, Camcorder, etc.) is digitized and stored on a computer.

2.) What do I need to capture?

· All you need is a video input on your PC. You can either use the video input of your TV- Capture device or the video input of your Graphics card (e.g. ASUS Deluxe or ATI All in Wonder serie). Using the video input of your GFX card will result in a better signal.

3.) Which TV Capture cards are commonly used?

· The most common video Capture Chip's are produced by Brooktree, and/or Conexant. (Conexant bought Brooktree). The most frequently used chip variants are the BT848 and 878. There are also cards which use chips by. Zoran (ZR36125), or Philips (SAA7146). Some devices even have an FM-Tuner for wireless reception (BT848 or 878). For the BT8x8 chips you can find alternative drivers (which most likely surpass the original ones) on Sourceforge:

Good programs for watching TV on your computer are Dscaler. or MoreTV.
MoreTV apparently works only with BT8x8 chipsets.
DScaler originally worked only with the BT8x8; now it interoperates with USB outboard equipment. See DScaler capture via USB for details.

A few threads that might help you selecting a TV card:
Someone Suggest a Good TV Tuner Card

Card recommandation

4.) Which hardware is recommended?

- Here is a great article on Scuba's site:


5.) Which OS is recommended?

- It depends. As a rule of thumb, use Win98 SE if you own a older system and/or a older capture card or GPU, Windows 2000/XP in all other cases. As with most things, you cannot know it until you try it.

6.) What capture programs exist?


VirtualDub: http://www.virtualdub.org/
VirtualDubMod: http://virtualdubmod.sourceforge.net
VirtualDub Sync VCR: http://www.virtualdub.net/
VirtualVCR: http://virtualvcr.sourceforge.net
Scheduler für VirtualVCR: http://www.zisoft.de/video



7.) What is the best capture program?

- Most of the users here use VirtualDub. Take a look at these threads:


8.) How do I use VirtualDub?

- There are differents guides on how to use it, just have a look:




9.) At which resolution should I capture?

· First let's have have a detailed look at the input. There are two different systems which are commonly used (PAL and NTSC). PAL (Phase Alternate LINE) is used in most European countries (France and some Eastern Europe countries use SECAM which is closely related to PAL). On the PC the TV picture can be displayed in various resolutions, up to the native PAL resolution (768x576). The maximum resolution you can use to capture depends on your capture card and most cards support 7**x576 where the horizontal resolution only depends on your capture device. In order to keep the proper aspect ratio of the picture you can capture either at full resolution (768x576) or at 1/4 resolution (384x288). If you intend to put the video on a VCD use 352x288 pixels, for SVCDs use 480x576 (both times the picture will be horizontally squeezed a bit and then unstretched during playback).
· Using 1/4 resolution has a distinctive advantage. The output will not have any interlacing effects making deinterlacing unnecessary. For more information about interlacing please refer to (De)interlacing - Basics (German link)and this http://www.doom9.org/ivtc-tut.htm. On the other hand using this resolution you will sacrify quality as you're not storing all the information of the original signal.
· No matter what resolution you chose make sure that you use one of the abovementioned horizontal resolutions.

For further informations on the subject refer to the following threads:



A great guide about finding the right resolution is "Der Karl's Capture Karten aspect ratio fuer Dummies ;-) " PDF (sorry only in German language): http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=32604

10.) Why is a high resolution recommended when capturing VHS.?

- We all know that VHS VCR has a resolution of 320x240?
A: First, VHS has no "resolution" of 320x240. This is just an old rumor. Second, if you use filters, there is a big difference in using a low resolution (less informations for the filter) and full PAL (or NTSC) resolution. Last but not least it all depends on your taste, if you are satisfied with a 352x288 direct Divx ;-) capture, then by all means use such a low resolution. In the end only you can tell if the quality is satisfactory.

A very good thread that explains in theory why all those '320x240 stories' are just incorrect http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=34122 .

11.) What settings could/should I use?

- Please read the threads below to get different user's opinions:


12.) Why does my capture software propose a resolution of 640x480?

· It may be that the drivers for your card or the capturing software was written for the NTSC market. If your country uses PAL use one of the resolution suggested above.

13.) OK ! Now how do I capture ?

.. Available English Guides:
- doom9.org Capture Guide of BaronVlad, translated by killingspree with the help of Donald Graft: http://www.doom9.org/capture/start.html
- Luke's (Cart's) capture guide: http://www.lukesvideo.com/
- CK's guide (sadly down): http://go.to/videocapture/
· there are also some good German capture guides available (hopefully
they will be translated one day):
the Capture Guide of BaronVlad.
· Very good alternatives:
- Mattheo's (low&high) quality Capture Guide
- Hawk's Capture Guide
- http://captureworld.videoxone.de/
or here:
- Hawk's Capture Guide v.1.2
- Hawk's Capture Guide v.3.0 (SneakPreview)

A few additional thoughts:
All the guides mentioned above tell you how to capture into a lossless compression first and compressing into Divx (or another compression codec) afterwards.If you absolutely want to capture directly to DivX/XviD instead of an uncompressed format:
- It is possible if:
1. The maximum resolution is set to 384x288,
2. You set the codec to 1-Pass mode and
3. GMC and Bi-directional Encoding have been switched off.

14.) But why?

BECAUSE! ... The encoding process is lossy and your source material will be changed making the later use of filters useless (especially VHS often has artifacts that you would like to eliminate prior to encoding to your target format. Plus, capturing is a very demanding process for your PC. If your PC has to encode to DivX at the same time it may no longer be able to keep up with all the data and your DivX file will have dropped frames Thus, we recommend the lossless Huffyuv codec. If your HD is not large enough you can still use an MJPEG codec (e.g.: PicVideo Q 19/20) which is more suited for capturing.

Depending on your TV chips there are some additional details to
keep in mind:

- If you have a BT8x8 chip, the OVERLAY mode has to be switched off during the capturing session.
- When using a Philips based card, the OVERLAY mode has to be activated!!
- Capturing on WIN2K/XP using WDM drivers does not necessarily have to work. If you use VirtualDub you should install one of the following software if you get an error message like Error 418: NO capture DEVICES installed:
- vfwupd.exe
- dx80bda.exe
- wdm-vfw-wrapper

But there is no guarantee that it will work. And there's a catch:
Using the wrapper the processor load is higher which could result in more dropped frames.

15.) But I still want to capture in DivX!
Do as you please. But think about the following first:

- Have you ever managed to hit a desired file size (e.g. 700MB) in 1-Pass mode?
- You can only cut a DivX at a keyframe. What will you do about the advertising in the middle of a film if it doesn't start with a keyframe?
- Filters (including cropping) cannot be used during capturing so you will have to re-encode the movie if you plan to perform any operations on the input picture. You'll end up encoding the movie twice and since the source for your 2nd encoding session will already be compressed the quality will be much lower than if you were to use Huffyuv and in the end you didn't save any time at all.

16.) Can I crop the input?

- Yes you can. Use the null transform filter to crop. However, you will hardly know in advance how many pixels you have to crop. Imagine watching the news in full screen 4:3 format and the movie you're going to capture is widescreen. You will only know how many pixels to crop once the movie has started. In order to save CPU power you can crop conservatively (about 20 pixels from top and bottom) which will save some CPU time so you'll get less dropped frames.

17.) I want to capture using Huffyuv at full resolution, but my files get huge. What can I do about it?

- Use an MJPEG codec like PicVideo and set the codec to quality class 19 (for really long movies use class 18 ). The files you'll get will be much smaller but the encoding is still almost lossless.

18.) Do I have to register PicVideo?

- Contrary to Huffyuv, PicVideo is not freeware, but you should think about supporting them since they help you solve your size problems. However, if you don't want to spend any money you can simply cut off the logo after capturing (cropping).

19.) Capturing stops after roughly half an hour. What's wrong?

- Win98/ME (ME is very buggy!) use the FAT32 filesystem, meaning that files cannot be larger than 4 GB and AVI files are limited to 2 GB. Windows will remind you with a friendly error message that you have reached this limit. However, Avery Lee, has a simple and ingenious solution. It is called "Multi segment Capture". There's a Guide explaining how to use this feature that you usually don't even get in commercial programs.


Deutsch >> Capture FAQ - Capture Guide
Englisch >> Capture FAQ - Capture Guide

Last edited by Guest; 14th February 2008 at 20:08.
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Old 29th August 2002, 22:25   #2  |  Link
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20.) When capturing I always get dropframes

- When TV and sound device are not working at the same clock speed or the computer is not fast enough, VirtualDub will drop frames during the capturing session. The captured movie will not contain such frames. Ideally you will get no such frames. But let's for a second assume that you do. In PAL we have 25 frames per second. If 75 frames (corresponds to 3 seconds of video) have been dropped during a 3h recording session you will not be able to notice the difference visually but with audio you will notice that the movie will get asynch. Therefore in VirtualDub you should always activate the adjust video clock option (in Virtual Dub:
Capture -> timing -> activate Adjust video clock) which ensures that video and audio stay in synch.
If you like to know more about dropframes:
English Language (rather funny)
or the original in German Language

In other programs there are other options to avoid drops or to get audio and video in sync afterwards.

21.) What can I do against dropframes?

- First lets clear some misconceptions that many users have. Dropped frames are not a disease that needs to be cured. It is simply a solution to maintain A/V sync by dropping or doubling a frame. The problems start when you have dropframes which are not caused by A/V sync algorithm. If you have so many dropped frames that you will notice them (the video "stutters") then the problem is NOT your capture software (if you use a good one) but in your system (software and/or hardware) and/or source (e.g. bad VHS tape). It is normal that Huffyuv clips stutter as this codec was not meant to be used for playback, so you should compress it before watching and if the picture "stutters" then you have a real problem.

You can also (example: VirtualDub), disable the "adjust video clock" and try to synchronize the audio after capturing (could be a bit complicated, but possible).
This way you won't get any dropped frames from the A/V synch algorithm.

To test if you get dropped frames that are not caused by the A/V sync you can disable audio capturing. If you still get dropframes you know your problem lies elsewhere (software and/or hardware) and/or source (e.g. bad VHS tape).

We recommend the use of the excellent VirtualDub modification VirtualDub_sync by Andreas Dittrich ( http://www-user.rhrk.uni-kl.de/~dittrich/sync/ ). It uses a different approach to maintain the A/V sync, a real time audio resampling routine and it drops only frames if the resample routine would add audible errors.

Most users getting many dropframes have simply not optimized their system. We suggest that those people go the recommandations below, and also take a look at Question 4 (recommended hardware).

- Be sure that the DMA (direct memory access) mode is activated on your HDs
- defrag your system and capture disk (you can also quick format your capture disk if you have nothing to loose on it)
- Turn any active background proces off (virus scanners, indexing services, etc.)
- To turn off these background programs you can easily use Enditall
- If you have a BT8x8 chip, the OVERLAY mode has to be switched off during the capturing session.
- When using a Philips based card, the OVERLAY mode has to be activated during a capture.
- always restart before you capture (if you use Win9x)
- lower your capture resolution or framerate (changing the framerate should be the last resort, always keep the framerate same as the source, e.g. 25 for PAL)
- use a separate HD for your captures (on a different controller than your system disk), be sure your HD is fast enough (you can use, for instance, VD's benchmark)
- Try to change your codec setting and/or try a different capture codec (e.g. MJPEG based instead of Huffyuv)
- Change the screen resolution to 800x600, 256 colors and 85Hz refresh rate
- activate cropping (only useful for 16:9 video where you can crop the black bars)
- if you use VirtualDub (or one of its modifications) make a test capture (F7) before the real capture
- make a fixed swap file or disable it
- try a different capture software (you could first try the freeware programs and then switch to the shareware programs )
-if you have a Brooktree/Conexant based card you can try to crop a few pixels of the vertical resolution (PAL example: 704x574 or 704x572

-use a TBC (http://www.questronix.com.au/html/info_tbc.htm)

If everything fails (still too many frame drops) try capturing without sound. If you have NO framedrops for a long time, then your soundcard is using a sampling frequency other than the desired one (instead of, for example, 44100). Possible solutions to this problem (as experienced by Ookami) are:

- use VirtualDub Sync (if not yet)
- try changing the sampling frequency
- fiddle with the settings in MULTIMEDIA - AUDIO - Recording adv. properties (Sample rate conv. and hardware acceleration)
- buy a better souncard

22.) I did everything by the book but it simply doesn't work!

Here are some advanced hints. Use them with care!
- Get the latest driver for your capture device or try an alternative
one (like BtWinCap).
- Get the latest drivers for your mainboard.
- Remove every PCI card except your capture device and GFX card.
- If it works with only these two insert your soundcard.
- Use the video input of your GFX card instead of the one of your capture device
- Try another operating system.
- Deactivate unused HD controller(s).
- Change the screen resolution to 800x600, 256 colors and 85Hz refresh rate.
- Use the latest DMA drivers for your mainboard.
- Switch PCI/AGP Latency to 32 in your BIOS.
- Use regular 33 pin cables for your UDMA disks.
- Turn off ACPI mode in the BIOS.
- Reinstall your operating system and use the latest drivers.
- Monitor the CPU temperature while you capture. Your CPU may get too hot.

23.) Do I have to be at home when I'm capturing?

- No! If you use a modified version of VirtualDub you can use your PC as a VCR. For a how read the following Capture Guide.
The modified VirtualDub version can be found here.

24.) The guide is nice but do I really have to configure everything all on my own?

- Yes, but if you have done it once, it can be saved. And there are many guides available that will help you.

25.) How do I calculate the bitrate for the encoding session after capturing?

- If you didn't sleep during calculus classes you should have no problem figuring that one out. But just in case you can use a bitrate calculator like that one comes along with GKnot.

26.) Where is the official VirtualDub website?

- The official VirtualDub site is http://www.virtualdub.org/, NOT http://www.virtualdub.net/.
The latter is a German VirtualDub 'mod' site.

27.) Where can I find VirtualDub filters?

http://www.virtualdub.org/ The official site
http://neuron2.net/ Donald Graft's (neuron2) site
http://vdfilters.videoxone.de/index_e.html fISH's VD filter site

28.) How do I convert my VHS tapes to DVD?


29.) I could need a glossary, could you please write one?

No need for that. This link should help you: http://www.quantel.com/domisphere/infopool.nsf/html/DFB

30.) There are more and more VirtualDub modifications, is there a list somewhere?

Sure. Here . Altough not all of these are really useful for capturing only.

VirtualDubMod as a summary of modifications: http://virtualdubmod.sourceforge.net/

Andreas Dittrich's sync modification : http://www-user.rhrk.uni-kl.de/~dittrich/sync/
Joe Redfish's modification ( VCR + A. Dittrich's sync modification) : http://www.virtualdub.net/ VirtualDubMpg2 (AC3, VBR MP3 and MPEG2 supported) : http://virtualdubmpg2.chez.tiscali.fr/
The Cyrius modification (OGM supported) : http://cyrius.bunkus.org/
Belgabor's VirtualDubAVS http://www.geocities.com/belgabor/vdubavs
For Nando's Nandub go to Doom9's download page

31.) What is DVB and where can I find more infos?

Look at these links:

http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=34625 ('What is the best DVB card?')

and the forum section: http://forum.doom9.org/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=64

32.) What can I do against the various interferences in the picture?

Please have a look at this: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=46079

That's all folks! Please use this forum for feedback.

One last word:
Capturing video is a mix between finding the right settings and being lucky. Nobody will be able to tell you the best possible setup for your system. If it doesn't work just keep on trying the various things mentioned in this FAQ. And don't forget to share all the nice tricks you find out on your journey with the rest of the world.

P.S.: this FAQ is by no means complete. There's no word about the peculiarities of individual capture device or about the use of filters. Thanks to Hawk, der_Karl, fISH, Kika, Ted66 and all the other guys from Ultimateboard and Doom9.org, all the tips from the folks at DVDboard.de


Deutsch >> Capture FAQ - Capture Guide
Englisch >> Capture FAQ - Capture Guide

Last edited by jggimi; 10th September 2003 at 20:49.
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Old 10th September 2003, 20:37   #3  |  Link
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Please correct my URL

Please correct my URL as below in your #27. Thank you.
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Old 10th September 2003, 20:49   #4  |  Link
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Old 3rd October 2003, 20:24   #5  |  Link
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downloadable guide?

The capture guide is a wonderful resource. It would be great for us 56k folks not to have to connect to doom9 every time to refer to it--I haven't figured out a way to successfully download or mirror it locally. Is there any way you could offer this?
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Old 3rd October 2003, 22:08   #6  |  Link
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Most modern browsers have the ability to store offline content. For example, Microsoft's Internet Explorer can do this (there's a chapter on browsing offline in IE's help system).

Many of our low-speed and dial up users have been doing this successfully with all sorts of Doom9 guides.
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Unfortunately the structure of the site makes offline browsing extremely difficult. If the table of contents were its own page rather than in a frame, I believe it would be easier. That is, if the site were "www.doom9.org/capture/" one could easily mirror it. Instead, the index is http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/capture/start.html
When I try to save it as in offline bookmark in IE, it starts getting a ton of robot.txt files, and then gets stuck!

Oh well, really I'm just complimenting you on the great work--and I can always just save every page individually, not linked to each other.
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Old 4th November 2003, 14:50   #8  |  Link
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Yesterday, I got adobe distiller installed on my pc. If I have time I will make a bunch of pdf's from it. The only problem is that I don't get the links (= references in the html files) working after converting it to a pdf.
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Old 4th November 2003, 19:01   #9  |  Link
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I'm not sure how useful that would be, unless someone wants to print it out and make a booklet--in general most people probably want to refer to the resource while they are working on the computer, so html is perfect. Just as with pdf, saving each page as html is easy enough, but preserving the internal links is the problem.
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Old 29th January 2004, 16:50   #10  |  Link
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For those who cannot capture using WDM driver in WIN2K/XP.

VirtualVCR should be a good alternatives. Virtual VCR is a small and free video capture application designed to work with TV tuner and video capture cards with WDM drivers.
iuVCR is also a good choice with WDM drivers but it is a shareware.

download site: http://www.digtv.ws/
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Old 29th June 2004, 21:32   #11  |  Link
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I have condensed this post into a pdf file (except for the user comments). Is there a way to attach it to a post? It's just over 80k.
I can't host it anywhere, so I can't post a link to it. Any ideas?
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Old 11th October 2004, 19:41   #12  |  Link
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<< Edited per Rule 6 >>

Last edited by jggimi; 11th October 2004 at 19:44.
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Old 11th October 2004, 19:50   #13  |  Link
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Your previous entries in this FAQ thread were moved to:


Please see my comments there, and, in the PM I'd sent you.

Your latest posting in this thread was removed per Rule 6. We are extremely protective of intellectual property rights in this Forum, and that includes the rights of one of our other members. Your behavior is shameful.

This thread is now closed. Comments and suggestions for this FAQ may be submitted via separate threads.
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased."
Kehlog Albran, The Profit

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