Read Step 1 first.

Although my interests in digital video are currently taking a backseat to game development, web programming and general Linux administrativeness, I thought I'd add a second entry to this series that discusses the software I used to create my DVDs from analog video sources.

We left Step 1 with the knowledge that we now have all the hardware we need to transfer our VHS tapes to DVDs and now we focus on what software we need for this task.

1) The first step in the entire process is transferring (or "capturing") the video from the VHS tape to the computer. Since I'm using a digital video camera as a "go-between" here, I have some software that came with the camera that does the capture. If you've purchased a video capture card it will also come with some software bundle for this purpose.

The software I use is MGI's VideoWave 3.0. Install the software and set it up so that it saves your raw video files on the disk that has the most space. Set it up so the raw video produces is in the best possible format.

a) Connect VCR to Camcorder via "A/V Passthrough", insert VHS source into VCR
b) Connect video camera via Firewire to PC
c) Turn on the video camera in "VCR" mode
d) Press Play on the VCR, you should see the tape playing through the video camera's viewfinder or LCD. If you do not, you may need to enable A/V Passthrough on the camera (rtfm).
e) On the PC, start up MGI VideoWave, click the "Capture" button. By default you should see the video playing (if MGI did not select the DV/Firewire video source you may need to manually set the capture device in the software).
f) Now that you've verified all the connections are jake, rewind your VHS, click the "Video + Audio" button under "Start Capture" in VideoWave and click Play on the VHS. VideoWave will start capturing the video as an AVI file.

VideoWave will also show you how many frames were captured and how many were dropped. For some reason I always got the first frame dropped no matter what I did but that didn't bother me as it was always leader tape anyway. However, if I tried to do anything else with my computer during this time (browse the web, etc), I always saw more frames getting dropped so my suggestion is to just let your computer capture the video uninterrupted. After this step, you'll be able to multi-task to your heart's content.

Before getting into "full production", you might want to run a small test to calibrate the capture software. VideoWave offers a few knobs to tweak that I didn't bother with like Brightness, Contrast, etc. But I've found that my DVDs may be slightly oh so slightly brighter than the analog source so perhaps I should have fiddled with it a little and done the test that I'm telling you to do.

Anyway, at the end of the video capture process you will now have a gigantic AVI file (roughly 14 GB per hour - yes that's right, re-read that: FOURTEEN GIGABYTES PER HOUR OF VIDEO). The question becomes how do I fit a two hour movie at 28 GB raw AVI onto a 4.7 GB DVD?

The answer will have to wait until my next entry, sorry 😉

§38 · February 8, 2005 · Technology, Video · · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Carving DVDs (Step 2)”

  1. Mauriat says:

    When I did video capture I used an MPEG2 capture card so I could speed up the process if in the future I’d want to make a DVD. However my frustration is that when it goes from the analog source to the digital form, the video ends up interlaced. This in effect makes it look almost worse than the original video tape. De-interlacing gives certain undesirable effects.

  2. Jeff Schiller says:

    Hi Mauriat.

    The problem is probably because you are watching the video on your computer monitor, which doesn’t handle interlaced video. If you take that interlaced video and put it on a DVD and then watch it on your regular TV (unless it’s a progressive scan TV that doesn’t support interlaced video – do they make such a thing) then it should look perfectly fine, since that’s what TVs are meant to do. I’ve had the same problem with a couple commercial DVDs I have where a couple of the titles were incorrectly encoded as interlaced video. If I watch them on my PC they look horrible while on my TV they look fine.

    I’m not sure what effects you are seeing when you tried to de-interlace, but I was able to do that with TMPGEnc (which I’m writing about in the next installment) without an issue. Maybe it’s some funky setting (or possibly incorrect MPEG encoding) on your card. Only thing I can suggest is update your drivers…


  3. tony says:

    i just read your blog, CImageBuffer is the powerful video capture that i have met, or you can found some video tool at