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Need Advice - Best Video Capture Box

Discussion in 'Video capturing from analog sources' started by joep42, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. joep42

    joep42 Member

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    After researching/reading forums and reviews for some time now, I'm still am unable to pick the best video capture box to convert 40-50 hours of home/family VHS analog video tapes (recorded ever the last 15 years) to DVD.

    When I think I have narrowed it down, I read horror stories or negative reports about the product (especially about the Pinnacle Moviebox and Studio 8 & 9). Then I came across this great forum and learned of the Canopus AVCD-100 box, one I never heard of before. So I would really appreciate any recommendations from folks who have gone down this road before. I have looked closely so far at Pinnacle Studio Moviebox DV, ADS Pyro/Instant DVD and Plextor's ConvertX and superficially at Canopus AVCD-100. I must admit, everything I have read on the Canopus is very positive.

    Here are my parameters;

    1. Video Capture Box - quality capture (from VHS tape) and transfer to DVD is of the utmost importance over any other consideration.

    2. Price Range - up $250 to $300 is acceptable (I realize the Canopus box does not come with software so that would be an additional expense, which is OK).

    3. Software recommendations - I want to be able to title, author, index, sort and combine different family events into new sequences, and copy them to DVD's for distribution to family members.

    4. Digital Capture Ability - We now have, in addition to our analog camcorder, a digital camcorder so digital capture capability is also required.

    5. USB/Firewire - Since my PC has neither USB 2.0 or Firewire, which should I buy? I have heard Firewire is more stable and faster than USB (moot point if the selected video box only supports USB).

    My PC is as follows:
    Dell 8100, Pentium 4, 1.5 GHz CPU, 256 Mb RAM
    OS = XP Home
    USB 1.0 ports, no Firewire ports
    Video = 32 Mb NVIDIA Geforce2
    Hard drive (1) - 38 Gb
    Dell Trinitron 19" monitor

    Plan to Purchase
    120-160 Gb hard drive - 7200 RPM for exclusive use in storing captured video
    DVD Burner - Plextor 708A
    USB 2.0 (if needed)
    Firewire 1394 card (if needed)
    Additional 256 Mb of RAM (if needed)

    Or should I throw the whole PC/Video Capture box idea out and just get one of those DVD recorders with a large internal hard drive?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice. I need to do something soon, neither I or the VHS tapes are getting any younger.

    Joe
     
  2. Minion

    Minion Senior member

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    Well I would definately go for the ADVC-100 as it is one of the Best quality Analogue/Digital converters there is In it"s Price Range...It can Capture from any Analogue or Digital source useing pretty much any Capture/Editing program, It uses a Firewire Interface and compresses the analogue Signal to DV AVI Format (The same Format Most Digital camcorders Record to)and transferes the Data to your Hard drive..After Captureing the Footage you Can Losslessly Edit the DV Format useing any good editing program Like Vegas Video 4 or Premier and then export the Project as a DVD Compliant Mpeg2 file or as a DV AVI File that you can encode to Mpeg2 for DVD useing a Standalone Encoder and then you would author the Mpeg2 file to DVD useing a DVD authoring Program which you would use to add chapters and Menu"s and finally Burn to DVD-R...I work as a Video editor and Have done a lot of Analogue/Digital conversions and DVD authoring and the ADVC-100 and a couple other Canopus products are well Known for being the Best products for this sort of Thing in there Price Range...If you need to know more you can PM me if you want and I"ll try to help out...Cheers
     
  3. joep42

    joep42 Member

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    Thanks Minion, I really appreciate your feedback. Plus I have read many of your posts in this forum and have found them all be be very informative. I'm now sold on the Canopus AVCD-100, now to sort through the software choices. Thanks again.

    Joe
     
  4. joep42

    joep42 Member

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    Minion, one question - the Vegas Video software you suggested is way out of my price range at the moment (I'm retired and on a fixed income). Can you suggest anything else that will work reasonably well and is on the lower end of the $$ scale (under $200)?

    Thanks.
     
  5. fugitive2

    fugitive2 Regular member

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    A good one is Studio 8 or 9, simple to use, good editing & encoding, or when only encoding, use
    CCE basic ($58) (TMPGEnc is too slow)
    Yes, i'm also a happy ADVC100 owner... :)
     
  6. Minion

    Minion Senior member

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    Well you can use Mostly Freeware Software if you want to ,You can use "Windows Movie Maker 2.0" to Capture and edit your Footage in DV AVI format and then use a Standalone Encoder like Tmpgenc to encode the DV AVI file to Mpeg2 and then use something Like "DVD-Lab" or "Tmpgenc DVD author" to Create the DVD...All of these Programs have 30 day trials and Windows Movie Maker is Free...Windows Movie Maker isn"t a Very Good Program but it would work for Basic Editing and to Capture from the ADVC-100...You could get Studio 8 or 9 for about $100 which is an OK program and Fairly easy to use but a Bit limited in it"s capibilities and I don"t like it"s mpeg encodeing very Much but you can allways use a seperate encoder..You might also Check on e-bay for editing software as I have seen versions of Vegas 3 and studio 7/8/9 for dirt cheap....Good Luck....Cheers
     
  7. fugitive2

    fugitive2 Regular member

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    TMPGEnc to encode ? if you want to use the extra features, encoding can take ages.... 53 hours!
    and that's on a 1.8GHz Intel 256Mb, Just registered CCE basic, and this one is realy fast ! and that for 58 dollars !
     
  8. Reader650

    Reader650 Member

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    Joep,

    Nice choice on the Plextor, I bought one a few weeks ago and it is by far the best hardware I have ever purchased. It installed quickly, works smoothly and is incredibly fast. In short..it just seems a cut above the rest in quality.
     
  9. joep42

    joep42 Member

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    Being new to this, I'm still get confused easily with the steps, softwarily, I must take to transfer from VHS tape to my hard drive, edit and rearrange the video events (into chapters?), title scenes and add opening and closing affects, then get the whole effort onto DVD's. Please forgive me if I get terms like "loosely editing", "encoding", "authoring" mixed up at this point.

    What I am looking for is a reasonably priced single software package/solution, to go with the AVCD-100 box, that offers fairly rich editing features without being overly complex, bloated or unstable, and can accomplish things reasonably fast.

    I see on the Canopus site, they have software called "Let's Edit". It seems very reasonably priced (under $100US) and this is within my budget to use with the AVCD-100. Does anyone have any experience with Let's Edit and/or how it compares to like products in a similar or slightly higher price range (under $200) such as CCE Basic, Pinnacle 9, Ulead, TMPGEnc. Let's Edit, from what I read, seems like an all in one solution I desire. Is it?

    Many thanks in advance and thanks everyone for your responses so far.

    Joe
     
  10. Minion

    Minion Senior member

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    I Own Lets edit and it is a Fairly good Capture/Editing program for doing Basic Editing and Transitions and effects ,I would still use a seperate Mpeg encoder and DVD authoring program ,but for Capturing and editing and exporting to DV Format it is a Good Program (Much Better and more stable than Pinnacle Studio 8/9)...I still Prefer the Vegas Video 4/DVD architect Package much more than Lets edit but then again it also costs 5 times as Much...It also comes with Ulead DVD Movie Factory 2.0 which is an OK Basic DVD authoring Program so if you aren"t doing anything too complex that it is definately useable but I still would use a Different Mpeg encoder But you Might as well try Lets Edit"s Own Built in Encoder just to see if it"s Quality is good enough for you.....Cheers
     
  11. piano632

    piano632 Regular member

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    Consider getting the Deluxe version of Pinnacle Studio 8/9 which has DV capture card and all the software you need for about $200. Pinnacle's DV card has 2 firewire ports, then a 6-foot cable with a "breakout box" on the end which has s-video, RCA video & audio connectors in/out. I have used Studio 8 Deluxe on 2 different computers and have not had too many problems with it like so many others have. No complaints from me about the capture quality or the MPEG encoding quality either. (It may be that Pinnacle's MPEG encoder is optimized for use with their own capture cards.) Whatever you decide to get, I would buy it from somewhere that allows you to return it if it doesn't work for you.

    You will definitely need to get a bigger hard drive than the 38GB you have now. DV capture requires 13GB of space per hour of video. But before you buy a hard drive bigger than 137GB, make sure your system BIOS will support it.
     

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