I am struggling with converting my analog videos to digital format. I have read a lot of the articles on this forum and in my internet searches, but am not finding an easy way to convert without a lot of hassle. I have a USB encore electronics conversion device to bridge the VCR to my computer. I have PowerDirector for editing the files, but it is not performing well during the capture process. My old VHS tapes have breaks between sessions which PowerDirector translates as a copyright infringement and stops the capture. Is there a better way to convert my audio/video to digital without having to babysit the process? I would prefer not to have to watch every video during the process either. I can do that while I am editing them. I would appreciate as much help as possible.
I know there are quite a few conversion businesses which charge $5/tape or more to convert. What process do they use? I have well over 100 tapes to process, so the most efficient process would be awesome.
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VirtualDub is free, and it's one of the best capture utils around but it depends on what you're using as a capture device. Not all capture apps will recognize all capture devices, and vice-versa.
You should ditch PowerDirector ASAP and find something better. Knowing how to use VirtualDub (free) and Avisynth (free) and some of their 400 filters (free) would be helpful, and you don't have to be a guru with these apps. The key word here is "edit", by which people mean a lot of things. If all you want to do is cut and join scenes and then encode, you don't need to get involved with comp0licated procedures.
Another choice would be something like a Hauppauge PVR, which records SD tape in SD format to a computer. You can take it from there. But if it's old, damaged tape that needs work, you're wasting your time with PowerDirector.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
Thank you for the input. I have downloaded VirtualDub and have tried one capture. I know AVI is larger than other formats, but 1 minute of video created a 1.6Gb file. Some of my videos are hours long. I do not have space on my computer to create an output file that big. Can the software create the output as a different format?
At the link you downloaded VirtualDub from this site I'm guessing, Right ? well if you go down the page you'll see a bunch of places/links that have tutorials for it and as for the big video files you have to compress/encode them into an .AVI container with a codec like uhm XVID that'll bring the file size down a lot, once you get the hang of it, it's a great program to use.
Quote from Avery Lee the creator "I basically started VirtualDub in college to do some quick capture-and-encoding that I wanted done; from there it's basically grown into a more general utility that can trim and clean up video before exporting to tape or processing with another program. I released it on the web and others found it useful, so I've been tinkering around with its code ever since. If you have the time, please download and enjoy."
From your remarks, it seems you're earlier in the learning curve than I anticipated. Nothing wrong with that, as everyone has to start somewhere. I'll echo manono: you should capture analog source using lossless compression designed for real-time capture (Lagarith or Huffyuv) into a colorspace that's similar to that of your source (YUY2 or, not quite as effective, to YV12). I cannot agree with wolfen:
This is another big problem:
If you're working with very limited storage space, you're at a serious disadvantage from the start. IMHO you need to take a step back and get more information about how to capture and process analog source. I'm sorry to say that most of the available capture and processing guides are a bit dated. Some of the software and equipment has changed since those guides first appeared. Still, the basic principles haven't changed. So I'd strongly suggest that you start with one of the mainstay comprehensive video guides where a great many people first got a handle on what they're dealing with: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video.htm . I have a feeling that even the first of the short articles in digitalfaq's guide will be a revelation.
Many beginners capture analog source to lossy encoding formats, notably MPEG2 (which is the format for DVD). It's convenient, and the files are small. They also look substandard; not only are they no better than the sources with all their defects, but they usually look worse. I can't tell you how many threads in these forums involve lossy capture and the arduous time-consuming effort that people have made to clean up those captures, and even simple editing tasks inflict damage. If that's your choice, so be it. Many find it "acceptable". But most people who want clean, permanent archives and value their sources don't think so. If you work with lossless compression you can save that archive and convert it to many different formats for TV or PC display, and you can later adapt to changing technology if you wish. This requires storage and working space, and most people get it with relatively inexpensive external drives. IF you go with lossy compression your choices are limited, and you're stuck with what you get at the outset. Your move.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