Which Video Capturing Device Should I Use?

by Daniel

Question: Hello, you have an awesome site! I was hoping you can direct me. I want to capture bits and pieces of DVD movies for a video art project. I am unsure of which video capturing device i should use for this as i am just starting out. Thanks for your help.

Answer: Hi Daniel, thanks for your question and great feedback on the site. There are actually many way video capturing devices you can use these days.

1. Overview
Let's assume you have an analog video source (e.g. VCR) and you're trying to capture video from there into a Windows PC computer using a external Video Capture device. You can use ADS Tech's DVD Xpress as the capture device and Pinnacle Studio Plus as the capture software. These guidelines would in fact work with any other combination of capture hardware using a USB 2.0 cable, capture software or analog source (such as 8mm, Hi8 or a VHS-C camcorder).

2. What You'll Need
Here is a list of items you need to perform the video capture:

3. Capture Video
Here's what you do

1. First, set up your video capture hardware by plugging in the USB 2.0 cable to the device and connecting it to the port on your PC. Power on the capture device by plugging it into an electrical outlet.

2. Next, turn on your PC. The capture device should be recognized by the PC.

3. Connect the source by plugging in the source device’s video and audio out cables into the video and audio inputs on the capture device. For a VHS VCR, I am connecting the RCA video (yellow cable) output and RCA audio (white and red cables) outputs to the RCA inputs on the DVD XPress capture device.

4. Start your video capture software. Double click the icon on your desktop or go to Start > Programs > Pinnacle Studio Plus (or the name of the program you're using) to run the software.

5. You need to configure the capture software to tell it what format to encode the video to. If you plan on recording to CD, you would pick MPEG-1, for DVD pick MPEG-2. Click the Settings button and then click the Capture Format tab. Change the preset to MPEG and quality setting to high (for DVD).

6. To capture your video, click the start capture button and a dialog box pops up for a file name. Enter a file name and click the Start Capture button.

7. Once your video is captured to your hard drive it can then be imported into a video editing software application for editing or recorded to CD or DVD using CD/DVD Recording software and a CD/DVD writer.

4. Special Tips
1. The video you capture will only be as good as the source it came from. If the tapes are worn, the captured footage will reflect that. Try and store your old tapes in a cool, dry place.

2. Before recording, "pack" your videotape by fast-forwarding to the end of the tape and then rewinding back to the beginning before playing. This will allow for smooth playback while capturing the video.

3. If your source device has S-Video output, make sure you use that instead of composite (RCA) video output. S-Video delivers a much higher picture quality than composite video.

4. If you want to capture lots of video to burn to DVD, make sure you have a large hard drive, or better yet, use a seperate hard drive for storing video.

5. You should also backup your hard drive regularly with a good program like Acronis True Image.

The above concepts work equally well with other video capture software like Corel VideoStudio or WinDVD Pro.

I hope I've helped you out. Do let me know if you have additional questions.

Thank you.

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