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  1. Member
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    Rather than repeat this over and over again to posted questions, I thought I'd lay out a few quick ground rules:

    1. Video is demanding. Multi-tasking can cause dropped frames. Either learn to do one thing at a time or buy an extra system. Close all TSR programs (like anti-virus and other items in your system tray).

    2. LAN/Internet accesses your system's 65,535 ports and you rarely know it. Unplug yourself from the network and Internet so your usage is solely used on the video and the task at hand.

    3. Heat. An overheated system can drop frames. P4 processors will slow themselves up and hard drives will act erratic when overheated. AMD processors can melt down and/or deteriorate (no safety device like the P4). Be sure you system is cooled with good fans/heat-synchs and that your room is cooled. Know that 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the room is not optimum working temperature, try 70-75 if you can run the A/C.

    4. Is your program setup properly for capturing? Rarely is the out-of-the-box setting worth anything. Tweak.

    5. If a card always dropped, the manufacturer would have never shipped it. It's on your end. Figure it out. Quit blaming XYZ's "horrible" card and then praising ABC's "wonderful" card because your luck/knowledge changed after replacement. (When a driver is speeding down the road, nearly running you over, you don't blame the car - it's the user's fault.) If there really was a problem, there'd be a recall or update. Have you checked the Web site for updates? ...And yes, I know this doesn't always apply, but it does most of the time.

    6. Software vs. hardware. If your device is a software capturing device and not a hardware capturing device, these issues become even more important.

    7. Slow computers. P4 or AMD+ systems can do great. PIII and below is asking for trouble, especially users operating off the stripped-down Duron and Celeron processors.

    8. Computers are like humans. They need rest too. Reset your system before giving it a hearty video workout. I'm still amazed at the number of people that run the computer for weeks on end without rebooting and wonder why it's acting up. Because of the way Windows works, you lose resources after time, especially opening/closing programs. They never truly close. Maybe even consider letting it stay powered down for an hour or so before using for captures or encodes (as it helps to minimize heat too).

    FYI: These rules apply to anything in general. Encoding, capturing, and just any overall piss-poor system performance. These simple tricks work wonders.

    ADDENDUM! Since this post is now a sticky, I feel a bit obliged to update it. The next few issues are either new things I've run across, things I forgot to add the first time, or things other people have pointed out to me. Thanks ya'll.

    9. VHS source. Garbage in, garbage out. It's that easy. Often, VHS and VHS-C tapes can cause your system to drop frames. This is usually confined to old tapes that have seen better days, but it can also apply to newer tapes. The information being fed into your video card is corrupt, and it will throw off your system. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this. A TBC (time-base corrector) may correct the issues, but even then, that is not fool-proof. The number of frames dropped for this reason should be a rather small number (maybe 10 per hour) and will probably happen close together because of a bad spot on the tape.

    10. Check your hard drive settings. (For WinNT/2K/XP: right-click on MyComputer-> Properties-> Hardware-> DeviceManager -> IDE-> Primary IDE channel -> Advanced Settings-> Current Transfer Mode) and (For Win95/98/ME: right-click on MyComputer-> Properties-> DeviceManager-> DiskDrives-> IDE-> Properties). Your system should be set on ULTRA DMA or DMA. Note: Some Ultra ATA cards (example: Promise card that comes with Western Digital drives) will not show DMA as an option, but the feature is turned on.

    11. Hard drive usage. Defrag your hard drive on a regular basis. And use a dedicated hard drive for capturing (meaning a physically separate drive, not just a partition). Capturing to the same drive where your OS is housed can cause conflicts as that drive is always being used by the Windows or Apple swap files. You want to use a drive that is not doing anything else at all. RAID drives may or may not help, and there are reports that both support and reject the use of RAID for video.

    12. CPU usage. If you are using an NT based OS, like Windows NT/2K/XP, or an Apple, check to make sure the CPU usage is not max'ing out. If so, that may mean your system is too slow, improperly configured, or that you codec is too demanding on your system. It cannot keep up, and hence drops frames. Non-NT systems, like Windows 95/98/ME, can use Norton System Doctor to monitor usage.

    13. Capture software and codecs. In most cases, the software that comes with your card will work. It is the software supported by the card, and what was tested to give the optimal results. However, other alternatives include VirtualDub, VirtualVCR, PowerVCR, iuVCR, AVI_IO, WinDVR, and NeoDVD4... just to name a few. Try a freebie or a trial edition of any of these packages to see if you can get better results. If capturing AVI, consider the HuffyUV codec or an MJPEG codec. Capturing MPEG1 or MPEG2 works great on some cards, but not all. Not all cards will cooperate with all software and all codecs, at least from a dropped-frames point-of-view.

    14. Desktop settings. Is your computer system set to use a 1600x1200 resolution at 32-bit color? If so, that may too much for your system to handle, in conjunction with capturing. Try 16-bit or 24-bit color with 1024x768 desktop. This error is normally found with on-board video cards used jointly with a cheap capture card. Change your overlay settings, and try it both with and without overlay activated.

    15. Sound cards. It appears that some sound cards can cause you to drop frames. Typically confined to ISA soundcards, cheap PCI soundcards, and onboard sound (your soundcard is part of your motherboard). This is not a common problem, but has been known to happen.
    I'm not online anymore. Ask BALDRICK, LORDSMURF or SATSTORM for help. PM's are ignored.
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  2. Lost Will Hay's Avatar
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    Excellent post.
    Another point would be the reliability of the source.
    I see many, many posts complaining about dropped frames only to find the original source is some old VHS tape or VHS-C camcorder tape which has seen better days.
    The saying 'you only get what you put in' is as true now as it's always been, and if you source is unreliable then don't expect miracles.
    Will
    tgpo, my real dad, told me to make a maximum of 5,806 posts on vcdhelp.com in one lifetime. So I have.
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    txpharoah,
    very good idea to summarize all sources of dropped frames!

    Some more suggestions:

    9. Check your HardDrive settings in
    MyComputer->Properties->Hardware->DeviceManager->IDE->Primary IDE channel->Advanced Settings->Current Transfer Mode ,
    it must be Ultra DMA.
    Also download SiSoftware Sandra and do benchmark of HD. It must show at least 10 MBps.

    10. Defrag your harddrive before each capture, use a dedicated hard drive.

    11. Check CPU usage in task manager, it should never go above 90%.
    If it does, use less CPU intensive codec, e.g. PicVideo MJPEG, it is almost loseless at 19/20 quality.

    12. You don't need top of the line video card! I know one guy who bought $300 video card hoping that it will help him with capture. I guess any 2 MB card will work for capture.

    13. Very often software which comes with card is bad.
    Try the following:
    VirtualDub
    VirtualVCR
    PowerVCR
    iuVCR
    AVI_IO

    If those programs don't work with you card, most likely you need drivers from http://btwincap.sourceforge.net/
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  4. Member
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    another issue with multi-tasking and encoding is that ur sound may become out of sync, which is kind of annoying. Im speaking from experiance, i batch encoded&burnt 6 svcds while playing counter-strike online, pausing only to change the disk, and the end result was 6 lovely new coasters for my dinner table
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    MrKGB,
    I certainly admire your gallant efforts at providing useful and helpful information to those of us that are not as knowledgeable in the Video production arena. I for one certainly have and continue to make use of your shared knowledge.
    However, I would like to make a very small correction or at least it seemed that way to me. I am referring to the statement:
    13. Very often software which comes with card is bad.
    Try the following:
    VirtualDub
    VirtualVCR
    PowerVCR
    iuVCR
    AVI_IO
    I would like to suggest a slight rewording to avoid a potential flame war starting. I would like to say "13. If you do not like the results of the software that came with the capture card, you can try the following:"

    I know this is just a "nit" and I appologize for this note. But in my defense, Holy wars have started over smaller items.

    I certainly hope this small suggestion does not alter the good efforts you have given to this audience.

    Thanks,
    Ed Smith
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  6. I would like to object to the overtly polite tone this thread is taking. This will all too soon degenerate into pandering. Must we be treated like infants? Are we so fragile that the slightest slur, imagined or real, becomes a source of unbearable angst?

    No sir or madam. We are made of stouter stuff than that. Always remember that we are DVDHelp.com forum members. We bear no truck with the pedantic.

    We are willing to brave slow downloads, buggy software and crashing computers in the search of never ending visual and audio delight. You can all answer this question to your self. How many hours have you spent learning the vagrancies and intricacies of different software. All for at times only a slight improvement over the original. Our work, no, our passion is a demanding mistress. Yet we know not fear.

    We will go to any length, pay any price, for our digital freedom.

    Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Or not.

    Namtog
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  7. Maxtor 40Gb 7200rpm ATA/133 HD: defragged.
    Athlon XP 2100.
    Virtualdub.
    Capturing 720 x 576 avi with huffyuv compression.
    Followed the steps above, i.e. unplugged network, shut down all other progs etc.

    Dropping about 10% of frames.

    I just want some idea whether this is reasonable, or whether I should be getting better results?
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  8. Member
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    Also remember analogue capture cards shove data into the PCI bus at speeds approaching 45mhz so your system has to have the capability to shift this stuff quickly. The computers PCI bus is rated at 66mhz in some cases.

    Then there's audio?

    With most systems if you wish to move this data off the shovel fast enough you need a fast processor to handle compression, a lean system, and possibly a RAID 0 configuration of two independent drives. The drives have got to be empty.

    If your video footage is particular bad you might need a form of video stabilization.
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  9. Lost Will Hay's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwood321
    With most systems if you wish to move this data off the shovel fast enough you need a fast processor to handle compression, a lean system, and possibly a RAID 0 configuration of two independent drives. The drives have got to be empty.
    I had more sucess when I split my RAID 0, but I have since found out one of the drives was faulty
    Good point on the clean drive issue ~ I always format before each capture (quick format) but the numbert of times I hear people say...
    ...yes, I do have a second drive for capture but it 60% full of dvd rips
    Not wise, but still better than capturing to your system hdd.
    Will
    tgpo, my real dad, told me to make a maximum of 5,806 posts on vcdhelp.com in one lifetime. So I have.
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  10. I'll try emptying my disk.
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  11. The Old One SatStorm's Avatar
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    For about 45%, dropping frames is because of the soundcard. Don't use the motherboad built in audio solutions. Go buy a cheap PCI soundcard. And before you buy, check if your motherboard gonna like it. There are so many forums out there for this.
    We talking for PCs with Athlon xp and P4 CPUs here. With older systems the reasons are countless.
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  12. Lost Will Hay's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Chordmeister
    I'll try emptying my disk.

    Let us know if it helped
    Don't forget to format before you capture.
    Will
    tgpo, my real dad, told me to make a maximum of 5,806 posts on vcdhelp.com in one lifetime. So I have.
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  13. Lost Will Hay's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Chordmeister
    Capturing 720 x 576 avi with huffyuv compression.
    I know it isn't free but try with the PicVideo mjpeg codec.
    I use this at quality 19/20 as it gives me no noticable difference in quality than full quality but is one third of the file size.
    I always found huffyuv a bit of a system drainer (despite having an Athlon XP2000+) but more importantly I couldn't distinguish between that and PicVideo.
    Will
    tgpo, my real dad, told me to make a maximum of 5,806 posts on vcdhelp.com in one lifetime. So I have.
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  14. Member
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    I also created a separate OS installation i.e. two windows 2000's or two XP's. One I use for my normal system with office internet etc and the other is used for capturing.

    It just have the basics i.e codecs and capture tools either avi io and amcap.
    huffyuv and the DV codec.

    No screen saver, virus killer or anything. Also it might help to turn indexing off.
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  15. Originally Posted by Silky31
    Originally Posted by Chordmeister
    I'll try emptying my disk.

    Let us know if it helped
    Don't forget to format before you capture.
    Will
    Hmm... it probably doesn't help that my both my HDs are on the same IDE, and thus my capture drive is a slave does it?
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  16. Member
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    Using YUV colorspace is much less demanding than trying to capture in RGB. Turning preview/overlay off also helps
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  17. Member dcsos's Avatar
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    Hmm... it probably doesn't help that my both my HDs are on the same IDE, and thus my capture drive is a slave does it?
    ONLY IF THEY ARE DIFFERING MODEL AND BRAND

    and no one mentioned AMCAP.exe
    If you have a slower computer or multitasking issues, this program
    has the lowest RAM useage of any CAPTURE APPLICATION
    Written by MICROSOFT its a CAPTURE program that can be gotten on the web (floppy sized)
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  18. Member
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    vidcap.exe vfw (Video for Windows) also very old and has bugs. Btwincap's amcap.exe found @ the generic driver page in the tools section is a microsoft wdm (Windows Driver Model) alternative rewritten slightly so it does not generate the filter graph error.
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  19. Member dcsos's Avatar
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    I use AMCAP with my TARGA 1000...
    No CAN DO because BTWINCAP
    is for OTHER CAPTURE CARD than I own
    (I also have a AIW without Brooktree848hardware..if you read my details)AMCAP.....IS MADE FOR ME -I must use WINDOWS NT 4.0 to CAPTURE..
    and the
    FILTER GRAPH error doesn't happen in that OS

    STINGER in a nother forum was asking about audio and AMCAP
    BTW. what does the bug produce -result wise?Does it affect audio sync?

    Otherwise..Hear that STINGER you're on 98se so give it a go?
    you may be having just this error Ironwod described if it'll effect/affect audio

    SO SEE if BTWINCAP can fix you up
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  20. Member
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    Originally Posted by SatStorm
    For about 45%, dropping frames is because of the soundcard. Don't use the motherboad built in audio solutions. Go buy a cheap PCI soundcard. And before you buy, check if your motherboard gonna like it. There are so many forums out there for this.
    We talking for PCs with Athlon xp and P4 CPUs here. With older systems the reasons are countless.
    Bad soundcards won't make you drops frames, but it will cause sync issues. Some cards have diag utilities. The ATI AIW Radeon series does, and will tell you the exact delay in your signals if one exists.

    UPDATE: Nope, I was entirely wrong here. After having two people come to me this past week with proof, I've been shown wrong... cheapo cards and onboard sound cards can cause frames to be dropped. Updates being made above.
    I'm not online anymore. Ask BALDRICK, LORDSMURF or SATSTORM for help. PM's are ignored.
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  21. The Old One SatStorm's Avatar
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    In mine case it does...

    MSI motherboard with PCI soundblaster: Real bad combo!

    It happens. No so often but it happens.
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  22. Originally Posted by txpharoah
    Originally Posted by SatStorm
    For about 45%, dropping frames is because of the soundcard. Don't use the motherboad built in audio solutions. Go buy a cheap PCI soundcard. And before you buy, check if your motherboard gonna like it. There are so many forums out there for this.
    We talking for PCs with Athlon xp and P4 CPUs here. With older systems the reasons are countless.
    Bad soundcards won't make you drops frames, but it will cause sync issues. Some cards have diag utilities. The ATI AIW Radeon series does, and will tell you the exact delay in your signals if one exists.
    Vdub will drop the occasional frame to keep the audio in sync to compensate for the differing clock speeds of the motherboard and soundcard. Personally I would much rather drop the odd frame every few mins (which is unnoticable) than have the audio gradually go out of sync.
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  23. Hello,

    I just finished capturing a movie that was over 2 hours and 10 minutes and ended up with 17 dropped frames total. Is that going to cause much of a problem? If not, I can live with it. I was capturing from LD and it would lose about 4 frames every side. To me that is not too bad, but I'm not an expert. I know when I tried to capture without Huffyuv I would have tons of dropped frames.

    I haven't done any of the enoding yet, so I don't know what effect those few dropped frames will have. I was hoping someone here may know.

    Mythos
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  24. You wont even notice it providing they are spread out. You would notice it if you lost 17 frames in one chunk.
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  25. Thanks for the information Craig. The frames I lost were spread out. I lost an average of 4 per 20 minutes, so I guess I'm okay. I just hope it doesn't mess up my IVTCing.

    Mythos

    P.S. Is anyone else having trouble receiving e-mails when they watch threads here? Up until recently, I was receiving e-mails when I checked the "Notify me when a reply is posted.". I haven't been receiving anything for a couple of days even when replies are posted.
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  26. Yes I have also noticed the email notification is not working at the moment, I will point this out to Baldrick.
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  27. Lost Will Hay's Avatar
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    May I echo the comments I and others made above and point out to anyone having audio/video sync issues to try the superb (and free) Virtualdub before you go changing any hardware.
    One thing to note...
    ...unchecking the box which said 'lock video to audio' eliminated all my problems instantly, as did sticking an ATI card in and changing my horrendous VIA chipset for SiS
    Will
    tgpo, my real dad, told me to make a maximum of 5,806 posts on vcdhelp.com in one lifetime. So I have.
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  28. The Old One SatStorm's Avatar
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    Virtualdub is an excellent problem, but vfm drivers ain't good for cards like those from Asus, etc. On my Asus 7700 is impossible to capture with virtualdub using any technic for example. Basicly, the drivers are the problem...

    From the other hand, my hauppauge win tv primio fm was made to work with virtualdub.... Hours over hours grabbing from VHS, with minimal frame drops!
    Just imagine capturing 8 hours of a LP VHS in the raw, with only 10 frame drops!
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    Previous system was Athlon 1ghz, 512mb pc100, ecs motherboard, Aver
    SteroTV card. Using Virtualdub, I could capture 640x480 29.97fps with
    MJPEG quality 20 with zero frames dropped.

    I've now upgraded the mobo to Asus A7N8X, CPU to Athlon 2600xp, and
    memory to 512 pc2700 ddr. All other components are the same. With all
    the same settings, I now drop a frame every few seconds. CPU usage
    never goes above 30% or so in Virtualdub or Task Manager. Hard drives
    are the same as before, UDMA enabled, and HD Tach shows they're
    performing up to speed. Nothing else is running, it doesn't matter
    what resolution, codecs, compression, etc I use, doesn't matter which drive, frames are always
    dropped.

    I thought it might be bad VHS, but it does it with TV source as well,
    or even with video input to card disconnected. Yes, even with a blank
    blue screen and no audio, I still lose frames. I'm losing my mind
    here. Tried VirtualVCR, which reported no frames dropped, but on playback it was visibly choppy. Tried IuVCR, which also reports 0 dropped and seems to look okay, haven't really gone over it with a fine toothed-comb, but at any rate, I'd like to stick with VirtualDub. Any ideas?
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  30. The Old One SatStorm's Avatar
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    Disabling any kind of hardware acceleration might help!
    With old cards, hardware acceleration actually do the opposite, if the CPU and combo are much faster than the suggested combo!
    So, see what is the suggested for your card: If it is for example pentium 3 @ 1G or p4 @ 1.6, then for Athlon xp @ 2600 disabling acceleration gonna help a lot, 'cause the CPU can do a better job than the inbuilt acceleration of your card.

    My new motherboard is A7N8X - X. It has less issues like the ones you describe for A7N8X. If you can exchange, better do it!
    On amdforums, people reports great disapointent with A7N8X...
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