RUN FOR YOUR LIVES wrote:I'm trying to figure out how to get video footage off my VHS tapes [and back on, for A-Kon submission]. What hardware is reccommended?
Older: if you can find a Pinnacle/Miro DC30 or Matrox G400 Marvel (not
one any later, but any G-series Marvel or Millennium graphics card with Rainbow Runner add-on, or indeed *any* Matrox card with the Rainbow Runner), these will serve you well. They are MJPEG capture cards, dealing with de/compression on the card (up to a point) which means basic cuts editing is lossless, and if you capture at around 1.5-2MB sec then recompression for effects shouldn't be too painful, though compositing involving fades and/or black levels will leave visible artifacts behind. You should be able to find one of these cheap. Caveat: though Matrox have apparently sorted drivers out for Win2K and XP, Pinnacle never did, and for long-form capture, or even capture that isn't likely to drop frames, you'll need Win98, as Miro only did Video for Windows drivers for that OS, and VirtualDub doesn't support the DirectShow interface that newer cards use. Moreover the DC30 doesn't, I believe, have drivers that work with any application apart from their own, under Win2K.
Newer: a number of graphics cards (such as recent ATIs) come with video capture and if your CPU is fast enough you can use either Pegasys' MJPEG codec or HuffYUV to compress while you're capturing. A *lot* of CPU power will be needed for that. Alternatively, many cards also offer MPEG de/compression - but bear in mind that if they capture IBP MPEG (ie. with keyframes and two different types of delta frames) then *any* editing is going involve one recompression on output, and compositing will become two or three generations. MPEG is lossy and intended for distribution only, so your kilometreage *will* vary.
Newest: if you have Firewire, and either have disk space to burn or are intending to only capture short segments (which is what I used to do with the Marvel I had, since I didn't have much disk space) then you can use one of the standalone DV codecs, such as the Canopus ADVC100 to compress video externally to the DV format. This has the same generational advantage that MJPEG has - cuts are lossless. The quality is fixed, at 720x480 for NTSC, and pretty damn good, though any fine detail may well suffer as the codec struggles with the noise of VHS.