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Old 9th June 2009, 14:47   #1  |  Link
Cyber Akuma
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Looking for a good USB-based video capture device

The capture card I have in this computer is a complete piece of trash that can't do anything right.

I have been looking for a device that can capture from component for ages, but I only found two, a PCI-E card that costs $350 from a company called Black Magic, and a $250 or so standalone device meant to stream HD sources from one place of the house to another, but apparently had a built in HDD to record too that I saw at Frys.

So for the time being, until more options are available (and I build a desktop with hardware designed in this century so it can actually handle a PCI-E card.... or HD video period) I am going to have to make do with SD video.

Now....... my desktop still sucks, but my laptop is decent at least.

Which is why I am looking for a USB based device that can capture video from composite. I know there are several out there, but I have no idea which ones are any good, and what, if any, features they support.

This is why I am asking for recommendations.

Can anybody recommend for me a good video capture device that can capture video from composite and connect to a PC by USB? Preferably something under $100 if possible, I don't have a lot on me right now.

I will probably be capturing in RAW for the purpose of keeping the CPU free so there will be no framedrops and then encode it with a codec (likely Xvid or h264) after the capture process is complete.
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Old 9th June 2009, 14:52   #2  |  Link
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Canopus makes really good capture cards (ADVC-100, -50 and -300, here in Europe) but they are DV (FireWire).

Normally I do not recommend capture cards since they are "economy class" and they are placed within the EM storm of the PC. External USB cards are no much better, but for constructive reasons ...

And about capturing RAW, well, hmm, I'm not sure your HDD will keep up, especially a laptop one. Use a lossless (Huffyuv) or M-JPEG.

Last edited by Ghitulescu; 9th June 2009 at 14:56.
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Old 9th June 2009, 18:09   #3  |  Link
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@Ghitulescu
Well..

Here's something you might call an economy class capture card (PDI Deluxe/SweetSpot) inside a PC Vs. Canopus ADVC-300. Canopus is about 3x as expensive.

Left PDI / Right Canopus (histogram(mode="luma"))
http://www.siluriformes.net/mm/pdi-canopus.png

PDI gives interference free picture, the noise is at the source.

I wouldn't rule Canopus out, but it's not better just because it is more expensive / external.

Also, raw bitrates (YV12/SD) ain't so big that any modern harddrive would be a bottleneck. But yeah, CPU shouldn't be a bottleneck either when using huffyuv.

Last edited by juhok; 9th June 2009 at 18:12.
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Old 9th June 2009, 18:24   #4  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Canopus makes really good capture cards (ADVC-100, -50 and -300, here in Europe) but they are DV (FireWire).

Normally I do not recommend capture cards since they are "economy class" and they are placed within the EM storm of the PC. External USB cards are no much better, but for constructive reasons ...
Please..... this is a laptop, im looking for USB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
And about capturing RAW, well, hmm, I'm not sure your HDD will keep up, especially a laptop one. Use a lossless (Huffyuv) or M-JPEG.
I have 4 gigs of ram installed on the laptop, I can reserve a gig or two into a temporary ramdrive when I perform the capture.

So is there any specific usb device one can recommend?

I am mainly going to use it to record gameplay video from my consoles and handheld systems.
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Old 10th June 2009, 09:39   #5  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
Please..... this is a laptop, im looking for USB.
Have a look for FireWire, it should be there too

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Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
I have 4 gigs of ram installed on the laptop, I can reserve a gig or two into a temporary ramdrive when I perform the capture.
Have you captured RAW video before? 1GB of RAM would be about 100 seconds of PAL (720x576x25).

The best format for capturing if you have such hardware resources would be HuffYuv (lossless) then DV and/or M-JPEG (generously set).

Quote:
Originally Posted by juhok
Here's something you might call an economy class capture card (PDI Deluxe/SweetSpot) inside a PC Vs. Canopus ADVC-300. Canopus is about 3x as expensive.
Canopus ADVC-300 is supposed to have a TBC (it's a line TBC, not even a half-frame) and converts the analog video into DV (NTSC/PAL fullframe). There are licences that have to be paid. PDI, as an internal card, probably relies on your software codecs, I don't know the model, so can be much cheaper.


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Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
I am mainly going to use it to record gameplay video from my consoles and handheld systems.
For such video sources you don't need a high performer, use any budget card you like/afford.


For "digital" sources you don't need a TBC since the signal is clean and well formed (the analog video is output from RAM using a stable quartz PLL). You may need a TBC for tape systems (VHS, etc.). Hand held devices have generally a lower resolution (it's scaled up to the TV standard, be it NTSC or PAL) so any cheap USB card would probably be a good choice. As for game consoles, it depends on their resolution.
Yes, ADVC-300 is an overkill, unless you plan VHS too. Its younger brothers -55 and -50 are simply Ok.

-------

And of course, it depends on what do you intend to do with the capture afterwards - don't bother to buy an AVID system for capturing video from your handheld for youtube (which has VCD like resolution).

Last edited by Ghitulescu; 10th June 2009 at 13:18.
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Old 10th June 2009, 16:39   #6  |  Link
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Sorry, but im confused, a lot of those terms went over my head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Have a look for FireWire, it should be there too

Have you captured RAW video before? 1GB of RAM would be about 100 seconds of PAL (720x576x25).
Yeah, I have (though NTSC), I don't rememebr how much space it took to be honest since it was long ago. I suppose I could always use HuffYuv (never had much luck getting it to work before, everything I captured with it looked like a kaleidoscope).

I could also use a USB drive, which is sadly faster than the internal drive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
For such video sources you don't need a high performer, use any budget card you like/afford.
This is the main thing I am going to use it for, but I still want a quality device in case the need comes up to use it for anything else, especially if I need to capture VHS.

Besides, some of my game systems are designed to output to HD and I sadly don't have a HDTV.... or HD capture device, the games look bad enough on SD, I don't want to make them look worse with a crappy capture device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
For "digital" sources you don't need a TBC since the signal is clean and well formed (the analog video is output from RAM using a stable quartz PLL). You may need a TBC for tape systems (VHS, etc.). Hand held devices have generally a lower resolution (it's scaled up to the TV standard, be it NTSC or PAL) so any cheap USB card would probably be a good choice. As for game consoles, it depends on their resolution.
Yes, ADVC-300 is an overkill, unless you plan VHS too. Its younger brothers -55 and -50 are simply Ok.

-------

And of course, it depends on what do you intend to do with the capture afterwards - don't bother to buy an AVID system for capturing video from your handheld for youtube (which has VCD like resolution).
And here is where I am lost.

What is TBD?

What is a PLL? I know that quartz crystals are usually used for timing though...

And what is ADVC-300?

I didn't understand much of tht last paragraph.
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Old 10th June 2009, 17:08   #7  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
Sorry, but im confused, a lot of those terms went over my head.

Yeah, I have (though NTSC), I don't rememebr how much space it took to be honest since it was long ago. I suppose I could always use HuffYuv (never had much luck getting it to work before, everything I captured with it looked like a kaleidoscope).

I could also use a USB drive, which is sadly faster than the internal drive.

This is the main thing I am going to use it for, but I still want a quality device in case the need comes up to use it for anything else, especially if I need to capture VHS.

Besides, some of my game systems are designed to output to HD and I sadly don't have a HDTV.... or HD capture device, the games look bad enough on SD, I don't want to make them look worse with a crappy capture device.



And here is where I am lost.

What is TBD?

What is a PLL? I know that quartz crystals are usually used for timing though...

And what is ADVC-300?

I didn't understand much of tht last paragraph.
1. DV input is not NTSC, can be also PAL. And can also receive and send HDV.
2. once DV you don't need to bother with Huffyuv or M-JPEG, it's DV (there are 5 or more codecs available, one free in Windows).
3. if an USB HDD is faster than your internal HDD, which I said before but you didn't listen, than you cannot capture RAW on your HDD, possibly also not on your USB HDD.
4. capturing HD is not only a matter of resizing, but a matter of compatibility. You need an HD card which is expensive...
5. for the last paragraph (TBC etc.) you need to read, google.com is your friend, or maybe some stickies under Capture -> http://forum.doom9.org/forumdisplay.php?f=10. Read all the posts concerning Video capture, there are not so many anyway ...
6. If you don't know what ADVC-300 is, then I'm afraid you haven't read the replies (posts 2, 3 and 5)), which is sad ...

Last edited by Ghitulescu; 10th June 2009 at 17:12.
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Old 11th June 2009, 04:14   #8  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
1. DV input is not NTSC, can be also PAL. And can also receive and send HDV.
2. once DV you don't need to bother with Huffyuv or M-JPEG, it's DV (there are 5 or more codecs available, one free in Windows).
I am assuming by DV you mean digital video, such as HDMI, DVI, etc.

Except I said that

1. I am looking for a SD capture device

and

2. I said that used to be looking for a HD capture device that worked with Component, an ANALOG source.

3. I said I had recorded RAW video from a NTSC source before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
3. if an USB HDD is faster than your internal HDD, which I said before but you didn't listen, than you cannot capture RAW on your HDD, possibly also not on your USB HDD.
Like I would capture HD on this laptop through USB, I will need a new system for that.

I also find it rather annoying that you quiz me on "not listening" when I made it very clear that I am looking for a SD capture device that works over analog video and you assumed I am looking for a HD device that captures digital video.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
4. capturing HD is not only a matter of resizing, but a matter of compatibility. You need an HD card which is expensive...
I not only already said this, but listed two HD capture devices already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
5. for the last paragraph (TBC etc.) you need to read, google.com is your friend, or maybe some stickies under Capture -> http://forum.doom9.org/forumdisplay.php?f=10. Read all the posts concerning Video capture, there are not so many anyway ...
6. If you don't know what ADVC-300 is, then I'm afraid you haven't read the replies (posts 2, 3 and 5)), which is sad ...
1. There are kinder and fer less egotistical ways of just saying "look it up" you know.

2. Half the links in the stickies, INCLUDING the one that says what TBC is, are broken.

3. You realize just typing random 3-letter anronyms into Google would give me millions of random results right?
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Old 11th June 2009, 16:16   #9  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
I am assuming by DV you mean digital video, such as HDMI, DVI, etc.

Except I said that

1. I am looking for a SD capture device

and

2. I said that used to be looking for a HD capture device that worked with Component, an ANALOG source.

3. I said I had recorded RAW video from a NTSC source before.



Like I would capture HD on this laptop through USB, I will need a new system for that.

I also find it rather annoying that you quiz me on "not listening" when I made it very clear that I am looking for a SD capture device that works over analog video and you assumed I am looking for a HD device that captures digital video.




I not only already said this, but listed two HD capture devices already.



1. There are kinder and fer less egotistical ways of just saying "look it up" you know.

2. Half the links in the stickies, INCLUDING the one that says what TBC is, are broken.

3. You realize just typing random 3-letter anronyms into Google would give me millions of random results right?
Oh, please!
  1. You're falsely assuming things. DV is a standard acronym for DV -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DV. That was the first link appeared in Google. You cannot associate DVI, HDMI etc. with FireWire, which was an interface specially designed for DV (it can also be used for other purposes), the biggest hint of what DV is.
  2. TBC -> http://www.questronix.com.au/info/info_tbc.htm. The second link (and almost all the next ones) in google.com with the simple query TBC video. Of course with TBC disease you'll get completely different results Is it so difficult to use a search engine?! And misstyping 3-letters words is easily spotted, anyway much easier than misstyping Supercallifragiliscticexpiallidocious
  3. I do not want to cite you several time when you said that you want actually to use the laptop you have.
  4. RAW means no compressed at all, there are also lossy and lossless captures - both requiring a codec.
  5. I assume that people bother to read the stickies or to use search () before asking something - in Europe they actually do, most of the Americans, but all Chinese or Indians, they don't have the time and they want quick answers - their time is precious, not like mine, which is free
  6. if the links are broken, how about using Google with simple terms, Iike under 1. or 2. above, you'll have the explanations one click away.
  7. DV is not HD, but SD. The HD for DV is called HDV. This is the best available codec for amateurs, so good that is used by professionals too. This is why I recommended it to you
  8. Look back in your posts and find the statement saying that game console looks bad in SD - there is the point where I suggested HD capture.
Now a short test for logic analysts:

Quote:
I have been looking for a device that can capture from component for ages, but I only found two... I am going to have to make do with SD video.
Now....... my desktop still sucks, but my laptop is decent at least.

Which is why I am looking for a USB based device that can capture video from composite.
Composite is not component or is it, the laptop is good or maybe not, I want SD or gosh I want HD now ....

Last edited by Ghitulescu; 11th June 2009 at 16:19.
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Old 11th June 2009, 22:38   #10  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Oh, please!
[*]You're falsely assuming things. DV is a standard acronym for DV -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DV. That was the first link appeared in Google. You cannot associate DVI, HDMI etc. with FireWire, which was an interface specially designed for DV (it can also be used for other purposes), the biggest hint of what DV is.
This has even LESS to do with what I was asking then, why would you even bring it up?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
[*]TBC -> http://www.questronix.com.au/info/info_tbc.htm. The second link (and almost all the next ones) in google.com with the simple query TBC video. Of course with TBC disease you'll get completely different results Is it so difficult to use a search engine?! And misstyping 3-letters words is easily spotted, anyway much easier than misstyping Supercallifragiliscticexpiallidocious
You aren't very good at reading comprehension are you? I said that it can be easily confused and buried with results of other acronyms, I mentioned nothing about typos.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
[*]I do not want to cite you several time when you said that you want actually to use the laptop you have.[*]RAW means no compressed at all, there are also lossy and lossless captures - both requiring a codec.
Yes, I am quite aware of what RAW is and the difference between a lossy and lossless compression format.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
[*]I assume that people bother to read the stickies or to use search () before asking something - in Europe they actually do, most of the Americans, but all Chinese or Indians, they don't have the time and they want quick answers - their time is precious, not like mine, which is free
...... seriously?

You are SERIOUSLY going to try to start an "Europeans are better than Americans" argument?

Why are you bringing personal (And somewhat stereotypical) racial debates into a topic about capturing video?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
[*]if the links are broken, how about using Google with simple terms, Iike under 1. or 2. above, you'll have the explanations one click away.
And I suppose this nullifys your rather stern "read the sticky stupid!" post in which reading the sticky didn't help me?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
[*]DV is not HD, but SD. The HD for DV is called HDV. This is the best available codec for amateurs, so good that is used by professionals too. This is why I recommended it to you
I want a codec that is common and compatible with many devices and systems, which is why I was planning to use either Xvid or h264, most devices I know of offer no support for DV/HDV, practically none of mine do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
[*]Look back in your posts and find the statement saying that game console looks bad in SD - there is the point where I suggested HD capture.
And I already stated in MY TOPIC STARTING POST that I was not able to find any such device, the only ones that would work were both too expensive and would require me to build a new desktop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Composite is not component or is it, the laptop is good or maybe not, I want SD or gosh I want HD now ....
Read it again.

I said since I cannot capture in HD using component, I will have to settle for capturing in SD with composite for now.

Seems you completely misunderstood what I was asking and just instantly assumed I didn't know anything.

I don't know why you suddenly chose to pick a fight with me for no reason, I just posted here asking for help, and then you suddenly went off being egotistical, telling me off, insulting me, and didn't even understand what I was posting in the first place.

On top of this you made racist remarks about Americans, Chinese, and Indians.
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Old 12th June 2009, 06:12   #11  |  Link
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This has even LESS to do with what I was asking then, why would you even bring it up?

You aren't very good at reading comprehension are you? I said that it can be easily confused and buried with results of other acronyms, I mentioned nothing about typos.

Yes, I am quite aware of what RAW is and the difference between a lossy and lossless compression format.

...... seriously?

You are SERIOUSLY going to try to start an "Europeans are better than Americans" argument?

Why are you bringing personal (And somewhat stereotypical) racial debates into a topic about capturing video?

And I suppose this nullifys your rather stern "read the sticky stupid!" post in which reading the sticky didn't help me?

I want a codec that is common and compatible with many devices and systems, which is why I was planning to use either Xvid or h264, most devices I know of offer no support for DV/HDV, practically none of mine do.

And I already stated in MY TOPIC STARTING POST that I was not able to find any such device, the only ones that would work were both too expensive and would require me to build a new desktop.

Read it again.

I said since I cannot capture in HD using component, I will have to settle for capturing in SD with composite for now.

Seems you completely misunderstood what I was asking and just instantly assumed I didn't know anything.

I don't know why you suddenly chose to pick a fight with me for no reason, I just posted here asking for help, and then you suddenly went off being egotistical, telling me off, insulting me, and didn't even understand what I was posting in the first place.

On top of this you made racist remarks about Americans, Chinese, and Indians.
What codec can be more compatible than a built-in one, ie in all Windows that support iLink (98SE onwards), and it's not a bad one? My experience with capturing hardware is that DV devices are simply better than any other ones in the same price category. Also they give you a PAL/NTSC compliant video out of the box.

I thought you want a good capture card (you asked however for an USB one) but I assumed that you prefere quality over connectivity.

Unless you capture once and use it as it is, it is against common practice to capture directly xVid or h.264. If you "work" your video, these codecs will generate artefacts making the best capture card output look like a cellphone video. DV use intraframe compression, is therefore easily cut (framewise) with no noticeable generation loss. xVid, h.264 and MPEGs use GOPs. Of course you can recode the output into a distribution format (MPEG, divx, h.264 etc.). H.264 is not as supported by the hardware as you may think (there are numerous limitations to coding parameters, like QPEL for Divx).

If you took you time reading the sticky -> http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=78797 (first link, point 5.3 -> http://www.doom9.org/capture/sizes_advanced.html), then you'd already found the perfect chip for your needs and pick the card using it. The market is changing and diverse, some products are available only in a given region or may bear different names.
Quote:
Quote:
You aren't very good at reading comprehension are you? I said that it can be easily confused and buried with results of other acronyms, I mentioned nothing about typos.
3. You realize just typing random 3-letter anronyms into Google would give me millions of random results right?
TBC and DV are not random anronyms (acronyms?) but well known terms in video practice. Also PLL is known in electronics (you may see this acronym on many radios or TV or at least in their leaflets).

I'm not a racist BTW, it's just statistics, it happens that I work in a multiculti environment in the IT branch, so I know what I'm talking about. Also I'm a member in various European based threads (mainly German) which gives me a better view on both cultural environments.
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Old 12th June 2009, 06:34   #12  |  Link
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It seems there is some confusion.

None of my systems can handle a HD capture right now, the only one that is powerful enough is one of my laptops, and since they only come in PCI-E, there is no way I can install one on it.

Just forget I mentioned HD for now, I know that USB is not enough bandwidth and I do not have a single system that can take a PCI-E card, unless you know of a standalone box that can do it. (e.g., a device that lets me record straight to an internal harddrive, no computer connection needed, then be able to copy that file it recorded to my computer for encoding/editing)

Because of this, for now, I am just planning to capture SD video through composite cables, using a device that is connected by USB (so I can use it on my laptop). I will worry about capturing HD video once I can afford to build a new system, I need a new desktop to replace this aging Pentium 3 system anyway.

I am NOT planning to capture into Xvid or h264.

I am planning to capture into either RAW or with the Huffyuv codec to prevent overloading the CPU and framedrops while capturing. AFTER the capture has been finished and saved as a RAW or Huffyuv file, I will then re-encode it using wither xvid or h264.
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Old 12th June 2009, 07:40   #13  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
It seems there is some confusion.

None of my systems can handle a HD capture right now, the only one that is powerful enough is one of my laptops, and since they only come in PCI-E, there is no way I can install one on it.

Just forget I mentioned HD for now, I know that USB is not enough bandwidth and I do not have a single system that can take a PCI-E card, unless you know of a standalone box that can do it. (e.g., a device that lets me record straight to an internal harddrive, no computer connection needed, then be able to copy that file it recorded to my computer for encoding/editing)

Because of this, for now, I am just planning to capture SD video through composite cables, using a device that is connected by USB (so I can use it on my laptop). I will worry about capturing HD video once I can afford to build a new system, I need a new desktop to replace this aging Pentium 3 system anyway.

I am NOT planning to capture into Xvid or h264.

I am planning to capture into either RAW or with the Huffyuv codec to prevent overloading the CPU and framedrops while capturing. AFTER the capture has been finished and saved as a RAW or Huffyuv file, I will then re-encode it using wither xvid or h264.
Now you said finally what you intentions are

HuffYuv, according to its developer, needs only 600 (or 800) MHz for a Full PAL capture. It compresses about 50%. It's highly recommended, although one has to stay in the color space of YUV till the final encoding. RAW is not needed, because you'll end with a file so large (Huffyuv is also large) that most of your software will not handle it [properly]. Also capturing RAW will overload the internal busses leading to dropped frames on poor designed mainboards and/or periferics or on weak PCs. Converting the RAW into Huff you'll partially free at least one bus. The new PCs may not have such "symptoms".

However, depending on your taste for quality, at least in Europe, there is no good card under 200. The good ones usually come with a PCI[-x] card plus an external break-box.

As I've said earlier, most USB cards capture at low resolution then scale it to the desired one, due to bandwidth limitations (or cheap design). In Germany you have the right to bring back the product within 2 weeks (4 weeks for online), no questions asked. You may find one such shop also in US (I assume there are such shops) and have a try on several with the procedure described in the sticky (or in its reference links, or google after it).
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Old 26th June 2009, 11:18   #14  |  Link
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Argh, I haven't responded to this in a while, sorry about that.

Yes I know, the entire point of this topic was that I made it so people can recommend for me a good USB capture device.
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Old 6th July 2009, 03:07   #15  |  Link
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Old 7th July 2009, 11:24   #16  |  Link
Malaksbane
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You ask for a USB device, but does it have to be one? A DVD recorder might fit your use better (game video capture from various sources, minimal cpu/disk usage) and it has other uses as well.
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Old 11th July 2009, 07:33   #17  |  Link
Cyber Akuma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malaksbane View Post
You ask for a USB device, but does it have to be one? A DVD recorder might fit your use better (game video capture from various sources, minimal cpu/disk usage) and it has other uses as well.
I have one, its nothing but a hassle trying to get the video encoded form the device to my PC. I would far prefer a USB one.

Actually, are there any that can also do 480p through component?
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Old 11th July 2009, 09:32   #18  |  Link
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its not usb, but check http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mxo2_mini/ (from my experience capture cards are still pain in the ass, the pro versions as well, so you may actually spare some (lots of) time by investing a little higher...)
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Old 11th July 2009, 10:28   #19  |  Link
Cyber Akuma
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That thing costs more than my laptop...
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Old 13th July 2009, 08:54   #20  |  Link
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You wanted a good capture card, now you're complaining about its cost
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