As stated in my signature, I am very new to analog video digitization. I may be wrong about some of this. Please don't laugh too hard...
I am primarily a (very happy!) Linux user; but as the vendor of my current USB video capture device does not provide Linux drivers, I have been using my father's Windows 7 laptop for experimenting with videotape digitization.
Thus far, I have tried the following:
- Using VLC to capture to (uncompressed?) AVI. Resulting files' disk-space consumption is heinous - somewhere around 1GB/minute.
- Using Stoik Capturer to capture to DV-AVI. Seems to work fine, but DV-AVI is a lossy format.
- Using Stoik Capturer to capture to Lagarith AVI. Again, seems to work fine, but Lagarith is not compatible with Linux-based systems (as far as I can tell) and is not a particularly common codec.
- Using Stoik Capturer to capture to MPEG-2. Failed, because of faulty MPEG-2 encoder.
- Using MP(E?)G Recorder to capture to 720x480 MPEG. Does not work at all - throws back error at startup.
- Using Virtual VCR to capture to AVI. Failed, throws error at startup.
I am not sure where to proceed from here. I have thought of two possible targets:
- Capture to 720x480 MKV for digital storage. Not sure how common MKV is as a codec; also unsure what tool to use for MKV capture.
- Capturing to 720x480 DVD-compliant MPEG2. Common format, but I'm not sure which tool to use to capture.
but don't know enough to accurately choose between them. Any thoughts? My priorities are more or less evenly split between image quality and disk-space usage.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 8 of 8
Last edited by TrackingError; 10th Feb 2013 at 01:17.
I would probably capture to lagarith avi and then reconvert/shrink to for example mp4/mkv h264 or to dvd-mpeg2(bigger file size but you could make dvds directly).
And if it's very important video save the lagarith avi as a backup.
Whether this is relevant or not I don't know, but it may also depend on if you intend the videos to be kept for years as a record. I've only ever worked with DV-AVI (as most of my projects are shot on DV camcorders) with the final output being DVD compliant mpeg2. Due to not doing any video work for a number of years, I wasn't on this forum for 6 or 7 years. In those days the preferred highly compressed formats were Divx and Xvid, but for quality it was DVD compliant mpeg2 of Huffyuf as a lossless capture format. I came back on here a few weeks ago and now find virtually no mentions of Divx, Xvid and Huffyuf, it is now mkv, H264 for web video and Lagarith as a lossless format but DVD compliant mpeg2 is still here and still accepted as an International standard. In a few years time what will have replaced mkv and H264 and will anyone still have the hardware or codecs to play those formats? DVD is so well established that it will still be around in many years time but will the others?
Plenty of people still use HuffYUV. Being both lossless and open source, it's a safe choice: you should always be able to decode it, and you should always be able to re-encode it without loss (if you wish).
I'm not saying it's the best choice for the OP. The OP hasn't told us enough to even guess what the best choice might be. e.g. Will these be the only copies of the tapes that you keep? Are they home movies? Are they reasonable quality? What do you intend to watch the results on?
- Don't record to lossy formats.
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
Last edited by TrackingError; 11th Feb 2013 at 20:37.
So you want to preserve the faults that are inherent (intentional) due to Hi8/video8 and VHS-EP, but not introduce too many digital/coding artefacts?
Given that you are working with SD interlaced video, the most likely watchable end-format is DVD (MPEG-2 video), and the most likely capture and editing formats are DV-AVI or lossless (Lagarith, HuffYUV).
Murky, noisy home movies are quite difficult to encode to MPEG-2; expect to need a high bitrate to avoid adding visible digital compression artefacts. Maybe even at maximum DVD bitrate with a free MPEG-2 encoder it won't look quite right (e.g. a bit of visible blocking on very noisy / fast motion parts).
For watching on a PC, the DVD/MPEG-2 files will be fine, but you are likely to want to deinterlace and convert to H.264/mp4, because this is essential for uploading to YouTube etc. YouTube cannot cope with interlaced video, and neither can some PC software video players. (VLC has decent deinterlacing built-in, if you enable it).
I would use DV-AVI for capture, editing, and as a master finished copy - because, though it's lossy, it is more than good enough, and uses less disc space than lossless. Cut-and-paste editing of DV-AVI is lossless (i.e. it doesn't get any worse with each subsequent generation) in most video editors, and is a much smoother, quicker and easier process than editing lossless on older PCs. Any minor quality loss due to using DV-AVI instead of lossless is going to be swamped by the final MPEG-2 or H.264 encoding.
However, if you don't care about disc space and the capture+editing workflow works fine for you with lossless, use lossless.
With your DV-AVI or lossless master, you can encode to whatever format you want or need at any time: interlaced MPEG-2 for DVD, deinterlaced H.264 for YouTube/facebook/Vimeo/etc, or whatever they invent next (H.265/HEVC...).
You can capture and edit MPEG-2 if you want. Files will be smaller, but quality will be lower, editing will either reduce the quality and be slow to render (re-encoding), or restrictive and cut-and-paste only (smart-rendering using something like VideoReDo). I would not go down this route.