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  1. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Belgium
    Search Comp PM
    Hello!

    I am new to the world of video and am about to backup my Hi-8 family video cassettes to my Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop. I have bought a Hauppauge WinTV 250 PVR USB2 external device to do so. A first test run using the software that came with the device has disappointed me a bit. I am wondering therefore if there exists better software (Pinnacle, Ulead, Roxio, Softarc...)?

    My aim is threefold:
    a) Copy all the cassettes to DVD as a backup;
    b) Edit the digital clips to produce short films for viewing on TV;
    c) Adapt some of the better films for viewing on computers and on the Web (eliminating the horizontal line of interference at the bottom of the screen, reducing the size of the files, etc.)

    I am impressed by the quality of this forum and look forward to getting some good advice!
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  2. Member FulciLives's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2003
    Location: Pittsburgh, PA in the USA
    Search Comp PM
    The capture device that you have is a really good choice ... it works well.

    As for capture software you pretty much have to and want to use the supplied WinTV 2000 software. This software works best with the Hauppauge WinTV 250 PVR USB2 because the software is made to work with what is essentially a hardware MPEG converter and since it does everything "in hardware" you need software that "respects" that and so that means using WinTV 2000 software.

    However you only need to use WinTV 2000 to do the capture. After that you should have a MPEG-2 DVD compliant video file with MP2 audio.

    At that point you can use whatever software you want in terms of editing and DVD authoring.

    For simply creating a standard DVD Video I suggest TMPGEnc DVD Author as it is fairly easy-to-use and will allow you to create a DVD Video with chapters and a menu and you can even do some (very simple) editing with it as well.

    If you need to do a lot of editing you might want to look into either VideoRedo or MPEG-VCR and for very fancy editing it is hard to beat MPEG Video Wizard as it allows for more advanced editing than the other two (even though MPEG-VCR and MPEG Video Wizard are made by the same company).

    As for putting stuff on the web ... this can be done in a variety of ways and formats using a variety of different software SO it can be hard to give a more concrete example of what tools to use without YOU providing more information about how you want to do it. In short it mostly boils down to what video format you want to use and how you intend to host the files on-line etc.

    A couple of things I should note about the captures.

    1.) All televisions have something called TV OVERSCAN which is a term used to describe the effect where the extreme edges of the video (top, bottom, left and right) are "cut off" or "outside" of the range of the image seen on the TV. This means that you do not see the extreme edges. So do not worry about "junk" along the edges. Believe it or not they are there on the original videos ... you just can't see them on your TV. You do see all of that on your computer because a computer does show the entire frame without any overscanning. So when it comes to creating a DVD of your captured footage just leave it "as is" but yes you may want to crop off the edges for any video you intend to make available on a computer but do that AFTER you have made your DVD Video version.

    2.) The WinTV 2000 software has various settings for recording. Make sure you use a setting that is compliant for standard DVD Video. There are some presets for this. You can also make your own custom preset but if you do just be sure it is standard DVD Video compliant. For the best quality possible you might want to consider using a CBR video bitrate of 8000kbps with 384kbps MP2 audio and a video resolution of 720x480 (assuming NTSC) or 720x576 (assuming PAL). This will only allow approximately 1 hour or 60 minutes per single layer DVD-R or DVD+R disc etc. but this will give you the best quality you can possibly get.

    3.) MP2 audio is not the standard for a DVD Video. Either just before or during the DVD authoring stage you will want to convert your audio to the AC-3 format. For standard 2 channel mono/stereo audio (which is what your captures will have) you will want to convert to AC-3 using a bitrate of 256kbps for "best" quality. If using TMPGEnc DVD Author there will be an option to auto convert to AC-3 while doing the authoring but there are other ways to do it if you end up using another DVD authoring program.

    I hope some of this helps and feel free to ask more questions either now or as you progress through the project. Also I am sure other people will also "chime in" with more suggestions.

    Good Luck !!!

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
    "The eyes are the first thing that you have to destroy ... because they have seen too many bad things" - Lucio Fulci
    EXPLORE THE FILMS OF LUCIO FULCI - THE MAESTRO OF GORE
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Belgium
    Search Comp PM
    Thank you very much indeed for such a detailed, informative and helpful reply!

    My first priority at this stage is simply to copy my 30-odd cassettes to DVD. I think I will use the settings you suggest to get the best quality. (By the way, I read elsewhere on this forum that MPEG was not a good standard for archiving purposes. Was that just an isolated opinion or is it a generally accepted fact?)

    In due course I will study the various editing tools you suggest.

    It took you more than a few minutes to write your detailed reply. I am very grateful for giving me so much of your time.

    Good luck to you too in your own projects!

    Boscabru
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  4. Pretty much everyone agrees that MPEG2 will not capture every bit of detail in your source and will introduce at least a little macroblock artifacting (visible blocks) and DCT ringing (noise around sharp, high contrast, edges). This is especially true when capturing noisy analog sources and sources with a lot of motion (handheld camcorder footage for example). These defects may become even more visible if your video needs to be filtered after capturing. But if you're going to use the PVR-250 you don't really have any other choice.

    The first thing you should do is adjust the color settings in WinTV2000 (Pref -> Color). These adjust the video on the PVR-250 before it is compressed to MPEG (so you don't have to do it later in software) and sent to the computer. The most important settings to get correct are the Brightness and Contrast.

    If your video still needs filtering (not just cut/paste editing) you may get better results capturing at the card's maximum bitrate (not DVD compatible), filtering, and then reencoding to DVD compatible settings. You might also consider doing this for achiving as data files on DVD (not watchable on a regular DVD player). The PVR-250 can capture at up to 15000 kbps and there will noticably less artifacting than capturing at 8000 kbps. There is no template for that rate (the highest is 12000) so you have to create your own via Pref -> Movies -> Advanced.

    This is a little tricky. Start by selecting "MPEG2 12.0MBit/sec (CBR)" on the Configurations tab. Switch to the Video tab and change the Bit Rate to 15000. Go back to the Configurations tab and type in a name for the new template -- like "MPEG2 15.0MBit/sec (CBR)", then press the Save New Config button. Exit the dialog to return to the WinTV Settings dialog. Use the Quality Level pulldown to select the template you just created. Exit the dialog. WinTV will now capture at 15000 kbps.

    There is one other setting that you can change but not with the Happauge software: sharpness. This can be adjusted interactively (you can see the changes in WinTV2000) with GraphEdit. Or you can use a registry editor but that will require a reboot every time you make a change. In GraphEdit, add the "WinTV PVR PCI Capture" filter that appears in the "Video Caputre Sources" tree. Graph -> Insert Filters -> hilite filter -> press Insert Filter. Back at the main GraphEdit window right click on the filter and select Filter Properties. Switch to the Video Proc Amp tab and adjust the Sharpness setting (you will also see the color settings here but the numbers are different than those that appear in WinTV2000). High sharpness will make the video sharper but will also accentuate noise and create overshoot artifacts (halos at sharp edges). You need to strike a balance between sharpness and artifacts.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Belgium
    Search Comp PM
    Thank you too for your very useful contribution! I will certainly follow your recommendations.

    Previous to finding VideoHelp I had spent hours on various other forums and in our local library and nowhere did I find the detailed advice that you and FulciLives have given me.

    I realise that you too must have spent quite some time typing your post and getting all those command sequences right and I am extremely grateful!

    When I did my first recording with the Hauppauge device I was a bit disappointed, especially because of the "overscan". When I began surfing the forums I became discouraged because things seemed so complex and I wasn't sure what to do. Now thanks to your two contributions I feel motivated again, knowing what to do to get the best results.

    Thank you both!
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  6. Glad to help out. You may find these web sites to be useful:

    http://www.cask-of-amontillado.com/htpc.html (especially the Tips/Tricks section)
    http://www.shspvr.com/

    Both have information and additional software that will help you get the most out of the PVR-250.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Central Illinois
    Search Comp PM
    Work with one tape at a time. Don't do what some have done here.........capture every tape to the PC and then ask what to do next, only to find ALL YOUR CAPTURES have problems.

    I have a Hauppauge PVR 250 (PCI) and the biggest problem was audio that was too loud and distorted, especially thru the composite inputs. Sharpness was a bit too low, brightness too bright (for most sources). Because I actually authored and burned one tape (then several TV captures) to DVD using VideoRedo and the included Ulead Movie Factory, I realized I had major audio problems when played from DVD player to TV (any TV) that must be solved before I could proceed. It was many, many months before I had the time to mess with it, but I eventually cured all thru registry edits that I ran down on a UK forum.

    Capture a tape, or part thereof, at DVD Standard Play ( 1Hr 30Min Max), then use Ulead Movie Factory to Author a DVD, with automatic chaptering and no edits. Use ImageBurn in build mode to write the DVD image and then again in write mode to burn the image to DVD. Then let us know how it plays on TV.

    Another tip: mp2 audio may not be DVD compliant, but it is universally playable on DVD players sold in the US. Decompressing mp2 audio then recompressing to Dolby Digital is a big mistake in my book, based on actually doing it with captures from a Hauppauge PVR 250 and two (2) ATI Wonder Elites.......never use a DVD Authoring Software that will not let you keep the original audio (it can be a bit marginal to begin with).

    If you're like me and only want to cut out the bad, create chapter points and a menu with good navigation, and end up with a DVD that anyone can use, try TMPG DVD Author. But stick with the free authoring software until you are happy with the captures.
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  8. Member dadrab's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2006
    Location: State of Denial, U.S.
    Search Comp PM
    I ran into the same "first impression" as you when I initially used my PVR-350.

    But, I took a deep breath and learned how to do a few tweaks.

    I use it very regularly now for capturing VHS tapes and television episodes. I'm very happy with my decision.

    The authoring application I use happily accepts files generated with the card and the subsequent DVDs look great on my set and my next-door-neighbor's HDTV.

    As for capture software you pretty much have to and want to use the supplied WinTV 2000 software. This software works best with the Hauppauge WinTV 250 PVR USB2 because the software is made to work with what is essentially a hardware MPEG converter and since it does everything "in hardware" you need software that "respects" that and so that means using WinTV 2000 software.
    Yep. He's right. You can go looking for third party stuff, but you probably won't find much that will satisfy the needs of the hardware.

    Stay with it.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Belgium
    Search Comp PM
    Once again, I can only say how grateful I am to all of you who have taken time to share their experience and expertise with me!

    If I may, I would like to ask a question which is not strictly related to "Capture": does there exist an editing programme which allows you to give multiple tags to individual clips, as in photo-album software? The idea is to be able to build up a database and then be able to find immediately all the clips of, say, "John" in "Spain".

    As soon as I start burning DVDs I'll let you know how I am getting on.

    Thanks once again!
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  10. Member dadrab's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2006
    Location: State of Denial, U.S.
    Search Comp PM
    You can use VideoRedo.

    With that handy little app., you can cut segments till your heart's content and save them out as whatever you like. VideoRedo will not re-encode as it saves either. Your clips will end up with the same quality as your original file.
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Belgium
    Search Comp PM
    Thanks once again!
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