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  1. I have an inexpensive hardware interface that links my VHS VCR to a USB port on my Mac Mini (late 2014) running on High Sierra. I have about 15 old family VHS tapes that I want to turn into digital files for easy distribution to relatives, available for playing on Macs and PCs. The software that comes with my hardware, Masster AV CAP, will capture audio and video (640x480, H.264, Linear PCM) but only saves as .MOV. I want to have MP4 format, to be of more general use for my relatives. And I want to do basic edits, stripping off some of the uninteresting material. This software only captures, no editing.

    I can import the .MOV into iMovie to do my edits, and save as MP4. However, the smallest display size allowed in the save menu is 960x540. As an example, my 62 second original test .MOV file, weighing 80MB, when edited down to 42 seconds and saved as MP4, comes in at 38MB. Looks pretty good compared to the original 80MB, even given it's about 1/3 briefer.

    However, when I run the original MOV file through Handbrake, converting to MP4 at the same original 640x480 resolution, again with the H.264 codec but with ACC instead of Linear PCM (whatever these are!), leaving the unedited duration of 62 seconds, the file size is only 23MB. It would be even smaller by about a third if edited down to 42 seconds as done in iMovie. Say about 16MB compared to iMovie's 38MB.

    Some questions:

    1) Given my intended use, are MP4 and H.264 reasonable parameters to use?
    2) Does anyone know of Mac software that can (1) import the VHS data converted to go through USB into my Mac, (2) allow basic editing such as cutting out pieces and ideally doing some basic color/exposure edits, (3) save the result as an MP4 file with no more than 640x480 resolution, (4) usable on both Mac and PC, for instance via browser?
    3) Does the above software assume you've also purchased a specific VHS to USB conversion piece of hardware as a package deal, or would it work on any such hardware such as the one I already have?

    Thanks for any help you can offer!
    Last edited by Dlminehart; 16th Jun 2021 at 13:21.
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  2. Welcome to the forum Dlminehart.
    Iím sure someone here can help.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    H.264 is not a good capture format because it cannot be edited well - it's not frame accurate. H.264 is really a delivery format.
    A lossless capture would be better, then you can edit an re-encode it when you're ready.
    Perhaps somebody with Mac experience will have more details
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  4. davexnet,

    My current import software has these compression options, of which one must apparently be picked:

    Animation
    Apple Intermediate Codec
    DV - PAL
    DV/DVCPRO - NTSC
    DVCPRO - PAL
    DVCPRO50 - NTSC
    DVCPRO50 - PAL
    H.264
    MPEG-4 Video
    Photo - JPEG
    YUV422 codec

    You're suggesting that I do the initial import without compression, leaving compression to when I do the final save of my edited version of the original? Makes sense, similar to not saving photo as JPEG, then editing it and saving it again as JPEG. Would any of the above menu options work better for that initial import?
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    Possibly the apple intermediate or the yuy422 codec. . Could you do a test capture and trim off a few seconds and upload the samples to the forum?
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  6. To prune off anything, Iíd have to edit and save from iMovie. I could post the raw MOV imports with the compression settings you recommended, plus the results when those MOVs are edited and saved from iMovie as MP4s.
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  7. Davexnet: here are some raw clips of approx 10 seconds each, Apple Intermediate, YUV422, and H.264 codecs, with the Apple having option of specifying interlaced or noninterlaced, H.264 had compression quality options of which I chose Maximum Quality, getting larger size. YUV422 was huge. All done at 29.97 fps.
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    Last edited by Dlminehart; 17th Jun 2021 at 14:04.
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by Dlminehart View Post
    Davexnet: here are some raw clips of approx 10 seconds each, Apple Intermediate, YUV422, and H.264 codecs, with the Apple having option of specifying interlaced or noninterlaced, H.264 had compression quality options of which I chose Maximum Quality, getting larger size. YUV422 was huge. All done at 29.97 fps.
    Capturing interlaced is the way to go.
    Usually 422 chroma subsampling is recommended for capture Vs. the 420 of AIC, since it retains more of the color information.
    But his may work. Those two clips you posted are both interlaced.

    Was the yuy422 uncompressed?
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  9. Only the Apple listed interlacing as a choice. Given the crude quality of the originals, I couldnít see much difference in the captures. The H.264 seemed tonally a bit lighter than the MPEG-4 I did. I didnít see the YUV422 being 7 times as good, warranting all that extra disk space. But I didnít check all of these converted via iMovie to MP4. My next test project!
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