Getting Your Video
Before you start to collect the footage for you amv, you need to have a good think about where you are going to get your footage from and how you are going to prepare it. This page is intended as a simple rundown of the options available for you to use and the pros and cons of each source.
VHS - this is the worst source (although I have seen a video that captured footage from TV using a webcam). It requires a capture card, and a reasonably good one in order to maintain any quality. Only use VHS sources if there is really no other source around. A big hard drive will be required for the captures.
Laserdisc - The king of analogue. Laserdisc sources are pretty good and with a good capture card you can get some very good quality footage from them. You will need good cables and a big hard drive for all the information but laserdiscs really aren't all that bad.
DVDs - Plentiful, accessible, good quality and very useable. If you have an option to work from a DVD source then by all means do - HOWEVER, if you are only using the DVDs for analogue capture then they will offer no vast benefit over Laserdiscs. If you have DVDs then you really should be ripping them.
Game footage - a viable option for those making GMVs, See Quu's Guide.
Downloaded footage - No. I don't care what anyone says about the current quality of fansubs or anything like that, downloaded footage is always second grade. Even if you think it looks fine on your monitor it will always make your final compression more difficult and when shown alongside a DVD source will always look poor. Not to mention the fact that if you are going to be violating copyright when making AMVs, the least you can do is actually pay for the thing you've used. Which means, invariably, using DVDs which is always the best option. For dvds of your fave fansubbed anime, try cdjapan, amotokyo or animejungle. Be moral, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
If there happens to be some footage that you've downloaded that you really really can't find officially (like, for instance, the Daicon III and IV opening animations) then the best thing to do is to make clips with the codec HuffYUV, similar to the "making clips from DVDs" guide.
OK, now that you've decided on your source, there are two guides to help you use these sources: