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Thread: capturing VCR

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  1. I had a couple of old VCR tapes from our daughters childhood that I wanted to capture to disk while they are still readable and a VCR player still can be found, so I bought a "Easycap USB 2.0 Video TV DVD VHS Capture Adapter" gadget on Ebay.

    It works fine; I mean, obviously it can't do anything to the awful video quality of VCR but it works. It comes with a mini-cd labelled "EasyCap", and it seems to install two pieces of software - drivers and some proprietary Chinese software called "honestech TVR". It kinda works. I start it and the VCR and I see video. I can click a "record" button and then it records the video, in a choice of formats, including mp4, so far so good.

    The problem is the tapes I want to capture are up to 4 hours long and consist of many individual clips, so I was wondering if there isn't some software available that will automatically create a new capture file after a break in the video? I recall seeing this for DV capture software, though I'm not a regular user and can't for the life of me remember what it was called.

    So, any hints to some software that can do this?
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rcd View Post
    It works fine; I mean, obviously it can't do anything to the awful video quality of VCR but it works.
    Consider yourself lucky. The fake EZCAP things usually suck.

    Originally Posted by rcd View Post
    I was wondering if there isn't some software available that will automatically create a new capture file after a break in the video? I recall seeing this for DV capture software, though I'm not a regular user and can't for the life of me remember what it was called
    No. "DV"(via Firewire) isn't a capture, it's a data transfer. I believe the software you are talking about is/was WinDV.
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    Originally Posted by rcd View Post
    I had a couple of old VCR tapes from our daughters childhood that I wanted to capture to disk while they are still readable and a VCR player still can be found, so I bought a "Easycap USB 2.0 Video TV DVD VHS Capture Adapter" gadget on Ebay.

    It works fine; I mean, obviously it can't do anything to the awful video quality of VCR but it works. It comes with a mini-cd labelled "EasyCap", and it seems to install two pieces of software - drivers and some proprietary Chinese software called "honestech TVR". It kinda works. I start it and the VCR and I see video. I can click a "record" button and then it records the video, in a choice of formats, including mp4, so far so good.

    The problem is the tapes I want to capture are up to 4 hours long and consist of many individual clips, so I was wondering if there isn't some software available that will automatically create a new capture file after a break in the video? I recall seeing this for DV capture software, though I'm not a regular user and can't for the life of me remember what it was called.

    So, any hints to some software that can do this?
    Maybe you are thinking of Scenalyzer, which apparently could detect scene changes and split DV input into separate files during transfer to a PC. There is no similar software that I know of for analog capture that splits files during capture.

    TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works is an editor/converter that can import many types of video files and includes automatic scene detection. It isn't free, but has a free trial.
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works is an editor/converter that can import many types of video files and includes automatic scene detection. It isn't free, but has a free trial.
    TVMW5 is pretty good for what it does and has plenty of features and a nice set of YUV and RGB filters. Not smart rendering, though - not designed for it. If input is lossless AVI or DV, it encodes better than some of the competition. If you have a lossless or DV original, you can get BluRay, AVCHD, DVD, or even progressive-resized for the Web, all from the same input. I see where users say it converts pretty well from decent pre-encoded input. I haven't used it that way, but I hear it's decent. For smart rendering you'd need something else, like TMPGEnc Smart Renderer or one of the few freebies that can smart render several formats like MPEG, DVD, h264 encodes, and a couple of others.
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    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works is an editor/converter that can import many types of video files and includes automatic scene detection. It isn't free, but has a free trial.
    TVMW5 is pretty good for what it does and has plenty of features and a nice set of YUV and RGB filters. Not smart rendering, though - not designed for it. If input is lossless AVI or DV, it encodes better than some of the competition. If you have a lossless or DV original, you can get BluRay, AVCHD, DVD, or even progressive-resized for the Web, all from the same input. I see where users say it converts pretty well from decent pre-encoded input. I haven't used it that way, but I hear it's decent. For smart rendering you'd need something else, like TMPGEnc Smart Renderer or one of the few freebies that can smart render several formats like MPEG, DVD, h264 encodes, and a couple of others.
    I agree that MPEG TMPGEnc Smart Renderer would be a better choice, if the file to be imported is in one of the supported formats and re-encoding is not desired.
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    usually_quiet, you were probably right the first time. I just added comments because lots of people don't check that TVMW5 is really an editor-encoder-converter, not for smart rendering. But I got the idea at first that the O.P. is capturing to either lossless or DV. Not sure. Old VHS really oughtta best be captured with the EZCap to lossless with something like VirtualDub, but he might not be up to that. Maybe "rcd" can let us know what format he's capturing to.

    4 hours isn't too bad if it's being cut down in time. But trying to get all 4 hours onto one disc wouldn't be a great idea.
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    Using an editor like VideoReDo it's not that hard to step through the video and find the break points. I do that all the time to set chapters on DVD for laserdisc captures so that the DVD chapters match fairly closely to the original chapters on the laserdisc. The OP would need VideoReDo TV Suite though if he's capturing to MP4.
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    Uh, maybe wrong thread? Anyway, why capture old VHS tapes to a final delivery format like lossy encoded mp4 (which is a container, BTW, not a format) when the owner knows it will be heavily edited.

    Maybe I read it incorrectly.
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    People who are very serious about VHS capture don't generally use EasyCaps or Honestech software. The OP could well be capturing to an end format like MPEG-2/DVD or H.264/MP4, but we won't know for certain what he is doing unless he tells us.
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  10. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    First of all, if you are capturing these tapes, which I'm assuming are valuable irreplaceable family moments, get yourself a better capture device. You are doing your precious content an injustice by capturing them with a cheapie eBay item - most of which are cheap knockoffs of better products, and will likely give you many problems and bad quality.

    Get yourself either an ezcap.tv (the REAL one), Hauppauge USB-Live2, StarTech SVID2USB2 or, if adventurous on a modern system, an ATI 600 USB.

    Second of all, capture with better software, like VirtualDub, and use lossless formats like HuffYUV, Lagarith, Ut or even DV, which will capture at higher quality. Yes, the files are big, but you can encode later to MPEG-2/DvD, or H.264/AVC/MP4, after edits. (But I say keep the bigger files as your Source for changing formats down the road, especially if they're family moments.)

    Third of all, the main point, looking for software that partitions video automatically during capture - don't bother. Just capture the whole thing, and apply the cuts later - many fewer headaches this way.

    You can do it with many vogue editors, that have scene detection settings, but personally, from my experience, they are not perfect, or maybe too aggressive at more sensitive and slower settings splitting stuff you may not want it to split. They tend to work with a mind of their own sometimes. I'm sure doing this at the capture level will be even worse, and you will have to do much more complicated editing later.

    As Jman98 pointed out, it's better brushing through the video and applying cuts manually (like AFTER the capture). (VirtualDub can do this with lossless or DV easily.) It's really quick when you get used to the software you're using, and many can render without re-encoding and ruining quality and slowing things down, and usually quite perfect to your tastes.

    I don't think you have that much content that you need an automatic procedure.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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