I have VHS & laserdisc I'd like to transfer. I currently have a Canopus ADVC-50 firewire device, but am thinking I'd like to look into uncompressed capture. I've been doing a lot of research, but it's really left my head spinning. Basically, I am just trying to find out if there are uncompressed capture options for under $200 that would work in either of the two setups I'm currently running:
Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz, 4GB ram (has firewire and USB 2) - currently running 10.6
G4 MDD desktop dual 867 MHz, 2GB ram - I usually run 10.4 or 10.5
I will be capturing PAL & NTSC and editing in Final Cut Pro. I would prefer to capture in FCP.
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I'd look into the Blackmagic Design Intensity Shuttle ($199USD for UBS3.0, $239 for Thunderbolt).
For the future, if you are doing ANYTHING at all on a Mac, your post needs to go in our Mac forum about 95% of the time. At least you put Mac in the subject, but generally speaking, put EVERYTHING in the Mac forum if you're doing it on a Mac. We have members who look for the special Mac symbol on those posts. Few of our members have Mac experience which is why you need to put posts asking for Mac help in the Mac forum.
Are you aware that uncompressed capture has massive disk space requirements? Macs typically don't have enormous disk drives so you may need to have a big external drive attached via USB or Thunderbolt.
You live in the USA and will be capturing PAL???? Are you aware that typical VCRs and laserdisc players sold in the USA do not in any way support PAL video?
I'm of the opinion that if you can capture at a high enough bit rate with a good lossy codec, it's not really necessary to capture losslessly. This is a religious issue though and those who support lossless capture say all kinds of nonsensical things like their lossless captures are a million times better than lossy and so on. The truth is that probably 95% or higher of the population can't really tell any difference between true lossless capture and something like H.264 capture at 15000 Kbps. The odds are that you are in that big number of people for whom lossless capture is complete overkill. It's not wrong to do lossless capture, but I do question whether it makes sense for people here to blindly advise everybody to do it when the truth is that most people can't tell enough difference to get anything out of it.
One final thing - as you get into this, you'll really begin to hate VHS. It was all we had at the time, but it's a truly awful format. Even properly stored tapes may now have various color problems, brighness issues, tracking issues, and so on. Most laserdiscs should be fine if they were properly stored. I've so far only encountered one laserdisc that suffered from bit rot and it was of a Toonces The Cat TV special.
The Startech SVID2USB2 plus VideoGlide is another alternative. (VideoGlide provides Mac-compatible drivers that work with the SVID2USB2 and captures uncompressed video.) The SVID2USB2 uses an EMPIA Technology 28xx series chipset. With the Startech SVID2USB2, you may need a line TBC for some tapes, or full-frame TBC for other tapes, but it should be less picky than the Blackmagic devices.
[Edit] Looking at supported input devices for FCP, it appears that it is designed for capturing already compressed input from various cameras. Perhaps it works with DV from something like the ADVC 50 because the output resembles firewire output from a DV camera, but it is doubtful that it will work for capturing uncompressed video from a USB capture device.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 23rd May 2014 at 10:18.
Thanks for all the replies.
Cornucopia, For USB3 or Thunderbolt, I'd have to update some hardware.
jman98, I'll check out the Mac forum. My Mackbook Pro is upgraded with a 500GB HD with much of that empty right now, plus a few external & internal drives that total 1TB or more of free space. The longest capture would be probably 90 minutes. Most others an hour or less. I wouldn't be storing these in uncompressed. That would just be for capture and processing. Final product would be encoded to SD blu-ray format (MP4 or high bitrate MPEG2, still looking into this). Yes, I'm in the US, but have a number of concert videos in PAL VHS/S-VHS. I also have a multi-system JVC S-VHS vcr to play them.
I currently capture in DV, but don't like the 4:1:1 colorspace issue. There's a good chroma blur filter in FCP that doesn't noticeably blur the overall image detail and since we're talking mostly VHS, even with the blurring of the chroma there may not be a detectable difference over uncompressed. So you're right, there's a chance I wouldn't even be able to tell the difference or any difference wouldn't be worth all the upgrading hassle & money. I'm just trying to cover all my bases before I start as I really only want to do these transfers once.
Oh, I hate VHS already. Always have. Even when I upgraded to S-VHS, the extra resolution was nice, but of course all the other problems were still there.
usually_quiet, I'll check into those devices. I currently have an old Panny DMR-E20 DVD recorder that I run NTSC tapes through to stabilize. But I believe I've read that it just has a line TBC. Since I also want to transfer PAL, I'm looking into buying a region 2 DVD recorder for TBC passthrough. I've read that the DMR-ES10 is full frame and am looking into getting one of those. No luck so far in getting someone on ebay uk to ship one to the US, though. The main reason I like capturing in FCP is because it let's me know when a frame has dropped during capture. This has almost never been an issue during my DV captures, but I was sure glad when I was able to know. Back when I was capturing in iMovie, I had no idea if I dropped a frame until I noticed it on playback. So any capture software that is reliable in detecting & warning of dropped frames would be good. I'm just totally unfamiliar with any other Mac capturing software.